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How's the commercial plowing stuff work?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by NicholasMWhite, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. NicholasMWhite

    NicholasMWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    I do only residential drives. I have done pretty well with it and have more than enough work. I am not asking how to get accounts or even planning on taking a contract right now. I just want to understand how the commercial end of this industry functions.

    I mainly want to understand how is it bid. Is it generally bid by the machine/hour or is it bid for each time you do it? And then if there is 3 inches on the ground instead of 1 inch, do you charge more? Do you bid it for each inch that you're plowing? As far as salt I'm pretty sure that is billed per ton is that correct. Or are you bidding it saying I will take care of your lot no matter what plowing/salting/sidewalks for $XXXX.XX per month? If that is the case do you have a max inches per year? Like I have one HOA that I do the common area sidewalks for and that I bid for $XXX.XX per month for everything up to 60 inches per year. After that it costs $XXX.XX per event.

    Also do you figure out your pricing based on the square footage of the lot say $XXX.XX per 10,000 sqft or do you just look at it and figure out how long it should take?

    Like I said I'm just looking to get a better understanding. I do understand that every place is different and every business is different. I just want to get the basics.

  2. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 594

    Everything you said is right. It is pretty much completely up to the person submitting the bid. You are your own boss and it seems like there are a hundred different ways out there to charge your clients. Most people have their own way to charge people, and you pretty much hinted into a couple of the different ways that people charge. It depends on the lot, and how you want to do it

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    If you are plowing driveways for money you already are commercial. Commercial snow plowing is any plowing that involves the transaction of monies or payment of some form for your service.

    I think you want to know how to offer your service to retail or manufacturing business's to plow their lots.

    The same way you bid driveways. Figure your costs. Select a number above that and make agreements appropriately. 1st you have to find out what the customer wants or needs. Figure what will work best for his lot and sell him your price.
    Bids are placed in a number of ways. Some want to pay a single fee each time you plow and another price if you use salt. Some will want a seasonal price that includes everything for the entire year in which you must figure the average amount of times you will be out to plow/salt total those events and multiply your per event charge and hope for the best at the end. Some want to pay strictly by the hour with times made available to them.

    You must include variables in your figures for blizzards, large snowfalls and ice storms where extra time and materials will be used. I would stay away from bidding salt per ton and instead sell them on per application and estimate high on your end.

    Open lots with very few light poles and islands you should average about a acre a hour. Add more time for obstructions and problem areas. I would advise not to try to give a hourly price for your work and stick to selling on a total dollar amount whichever way you go. Some hear $200 a hour and are scared off because all they think is you are making $200 a hour and all the talk in the world will not make them falter their thinking.

    Remember that commercial plowing is plowing for money be it driveways or big retail lots or gas stations. Have the proper insurance as I have never seen a policy that separates whether you are doing driveways or lots.
  4. NicholasMWhite

    NicholasMWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    Thanks for the info.

    Yes I do understand that any plowing for money is "commercial" plowing. I was referring to commercial as "not residential." I am fully insured and run a legal business.

    I also don't like letting the customer know the hourly rate, I don't do that with any of the landscape maintenance work I do in the summer for the reasons you've mentioned.
  5. Snowman087

    Snowman087 Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Im in Nebraska, for commercial lots that are large, I am at the 95.00 to 100.00/hour rate. All of my properties don't bat an eye at the price, because the service is worth it. Hope that helps you out. I have a few 7 1/2 ft westerns, and a few boss 8'2 v blades. Same rate for both.