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How much did you charge for winter storm Stella?

Discussion in 'ATV / UTV Snow Removal' started by brandonh98, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. brandonh98

    brandonh98 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    I have five residential customers I usually take care of with an ATV and snow blower combo. For winter storm Stella we received 26" of snow in a 16 hour period. It was difficult to keep up with but I managed to clear out 13 residential driveways. I charged anywhere between $120 - $180 per driveway. According to the contract I have with the five customers I usually take care of, the bill would have been well over $200. My conscious told me that was just too much and I ended up charging the contracted customers similar (even slightly less) than what I charged the 8 customers that called the day before the storm.

    I'm just curious what others charged for the same 26+" we recently got.
     
  2. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 760

    You had a contract, you did the work, you should have charged it.

    Now watch from now on they are going to expect a discount from you.

    Your equipment takes more of a pounding with more snow and wet heavy snow and while it may not be apparent now down the road it will be.

    I blew my power steering box out pushing wet heavy snow this storm and ended up sidelined around 3pm because nothing was open for me to get parts-(of course it was 16 years old so I can't complain) but that is par for course when plowing.

    Now image that had happened to you at your last driveway storm over.

    There's a extra $250 dollars for the part and more if you can't do it yourself and have to have a shop do it, a easy $600 dollar bill.

    Just saying, I would have given them the option to make payments to space it out so it wasn't one large chunk of money.
     
  3. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,862

    Why give a contract stating prices then? Cant tell you what we charged because we only got about 4" then sleet and rain but the reason you have a contract is to lay out all the payments in advance.. i dont think the homeowner wouldve bat an eye seeing over 2' of snow fall in such a short time. Every dollar counts in business
     
  4. brandonh98

    brandonh98 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Good advice. That's pretty much what my wife said after she told me I was a shitty business man lol! I guess I'm too much of a softie when it comes to charging people.

    Neither one of you said "wow, I can't believe you charged that much" so I must not have been too far off.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  5. Skispowder

    Skispowder Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Well, I charge a very reasonable sessional driveway rate...we got dumped upon here, I plowed it...period. That's the risk I take...if I build a deck & it downpours for days I suck it up, that's the risk I take. Very interesting how some people think that because you are in command for a moment everybody owes you. I agree with OP, maybe I'm a sucker, but I sleep better knowing I didn't **** someone over. BTW: several clients said they send a little $ because they know I was busting ass & probably not making much $. Yes, I sustained a manifold blowout too...that's the risk, my fellow powers. Great site too, full of knowledge from a great bunch of peeps.
     
  6. Arrowbrook 99

    Arrowbrook 99 Member
    Messages: 31

    I feel the same way about changing people. My wife says the same thing about not changing enough. I haven't been plowing long but I do know the cost of running a business. I would listen to guys that have been doing this for a while and know the coast of fixing equipment. I'm sure some people thought that we were taking advantage and changing too much. But as said before 30 inches of wet snow puts a beating on your truck. And those repairs and costly. I know guys that got stuck.Even if you can dig yourself out or have a buddy pull you out that time is money. I changed $100 for a driveway about a 80 yard driveway with a 4 car parking area and they paid me $120 when I was done.
     
  7. Skispowder

    Skispowder Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I hear ya my friend...when I just got done from 36 hours of 3' of light weight snow, I backed into my own downward driveway half-ass fast & had to call you a wrecker friend to pull me out of a drainage ditch...I was HOME w/my lady waiting & food too bed, shower, lady, food...you know what I'm talking about...Home !
    Been doing this thing of ours for 30 years & I always feel great to be home ...stuck or not
     
  8. brandonh98

    brandonh98 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Great advice guys. I think next time I'll go with what the contract says. If someone thinks it's too much then they can get the next guy to do it. I had 128 voicemails on this last storm. It was unreal.
     
    shawn_ likes this.
  9. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,862

    If someone signs a contract then they're expecting what should be billed. Zero reason to give any type of a discount.
     
  10. GMC Driver

    GMC Driver Senior Member
    Messages: 732

    When you go to the grocery store, do they offer a discount because you forgot lettuce last week and now this week you have to buy two? The cost of goods (service) was clearly outlined at the beginning of the season, they should be expecting a big bill.

    It took me many years to realize that I wasn't doing them a favour by giving them a discount, and I certainly was making it a lot harder on myself. Once you give a dsicount, they come to expect it. They also begin to try and negotiate every invoice or estimate. Stick to your original pricing, and you will be fine. If they don't like it, they are not a customer you need to keep.

    BTW - on this last storm "Stella", I have customers that will be billed more for the work done on a per-time basis over those 3 days (their choice at the beginning of the season) then if they had agreed to the contract price at the beginning of the year.
     
  11. Arrowbrook 99

    Arrowbrook 99 Member
    Messages: 31

    To skispowder. Your kind of all over the place but aside from that you just sound like an angry person I don't think any of these guys are out to screw anyone over, if I'm getting your message right, I just think they want to be paid accordingly for there work and time. Not to mention the extra beating the truck and plow take with a large amount of heavy snow. Now I will give you there are people out there that will take advantage but I don't feel any of there guys are like that. And on a personal note I don't really care to much about folks from Vermont. You people did elect burnie sanders.
     
  12. Arrowbrook 99

    Arrowbrook 99 Member
    Messages: 31

    Correction. Bernie.
     
  13. FredG

    FredG PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,095

    I don't have no drives, We got about 20'' and my lots got plowed every 2'' or as fast as I could get thur the route and start over, Each job took 7 trips in 72hrs. Plus salt and stack. We bill for plowing, Salting and stacking. Yes it cost the clients a lot of money, Don't bother me at all. Never ever ever ever feel guilty for collecting money for your services. They were in there homes watching TV and snoring when you were out there humping not to mention expenses.
     
    Philbilly2 and iceyman like this.
  14. FredG

    FredG PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,095

    Edit, Each job took 10 trips and 6hrs stacking which was only two locations, The rest never need stacking.
     
  15. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,623

    I am in this to make money, no other reason. I am going to make as much as I can. Contracts state what I am going to make. No discount because they may not like the price after a large storm. Now flag downs are marked up, you can call it gouging if you want I call it a stupidity charge. If they are not smart enough to have a service in place before a storm I am not giving them a price break. These people know the price upfront, they choose whether to accept it or not.

    Do you think any of these clients are gonna give you a break if you damaged something on their property? Are they gonna understand if you can't afford to fix your truck/equipment and can't service the property since you are giving them a discount? So in the end charge what you are owed. This may make me a donkeys arse but I really don't care.
     
    Philbilly2 likes this.
  16. Arrowbrook 99

    Arrowbrook 99 Member
    Messages: 31

    I think kimber said it right. Non of us are driving around in blizzard conditions because we like it. And yes, just wait to see how nice or understanding a home owner is if you damage there property. This is a business not a charity. I'm not saying I wouldn't push some snow for free if I passed an 80 year old couple shoveling there driveway but otherwise I charge what's fair. And usually people that work for a living (blue collar work) understand that. If you don't your free to do it yourself.
     
    FredG likes this.
  17. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,623

    This past storm we had a wiring harness melt down, a 5.4L spit a spark plug out, spinner motor die and a shoveler stick his hand in a running snow blower. Not counting the shoveler that is well over $1k in needed repairs. No add in fuel, labor costs, materials and the costs don't allow for discounts, not if we want to put a decent amount in our own pockets.

    I am not gonna tell anyone how to run their business but if giving them a discount lets you sleep better by all means have at. As for those taking a hit on seasonal contracts, my guess is you need to learn how to price them better. We have never lost money on seasonal contracts.
     
  18. FredG

    FredG PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,095

    What about the ones that wait till yesterday to call for service, I had to have one of my cheap buddy's go get my skid to get him out he's a Operator. I did call him a tard a couple times he just laughed and I got no money. The windrow by the road you need a jackhammer lol. $200. $250. minimal now.