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Large storm=multiple visits?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by grinch1989, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. grinch1989

    grinch1989 Member
    from CT
    Messages: 82

    I have a Dakota with a 720LT on it, I tell you this because it is a smaller truck with not the best front end or tranny for plowing. During large storms 10+ maybe (like they are predicting for me tomorrow) I like to hit people's driveway twice to not beat the truck too bad. I only do about 10 residentials and charge a reasonable rate, $25-40 max. So my question is, is fair to charge them twice or 1.5 times their rate for large storms? Thoughts? :salute:
  2. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,537

    you should be charging for each trip you make to the driveway. what is your trigger? if its 2" you better be going out at 2" and not waiting for the storm to be over. if it happens that it hit trigger 3 times throughout the entire storm and you actually plowed 2 inches or more on three seperate times, you better be charging for 3 plows lol! thats the gamble people who pay per push take, rather than seasonal contracts.
  3. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    WTF protouchgrounds
    there are many ways to charge.

    I charge per storm and figure in that I will have to return to do a good job. I have a "blizzard clause" (mine kicks in at 8"). Do you have to return at every 2" no, like you said, dont let it build up so you have to beat up the truck
  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    You'll have to realize that most people aren't going to care that you have a light duty truck.

    At the same time, they ARE the ones that hired you.

    It's not their fault that you think you need to plow multiple times so you don't beat your "undersized" truck (your own words).

    At the same time, they ARE the ones that hired you.

    Hopefully you get my drift.

    Your customers should be willing to work with you. You should have also discussed this BEFORE the storm hits.

    Some customers aren't going to care, they're not going anywhere, so let the snow build up.

    Some want to be plowed each time it snows 2", but you don't have to clear the drive until there's at least 4-5" of snow on the drive if it's a larger storm.

    I've never had a customer that wanted a residential drive plowed at every 2", if it's a larger snowfall.

    IMO, that just doesn't make sense.
  5. grinch1989

    grinch1989 Member
    from CT
    Messages: 82

    Thanks for all the replies guys! I don't have contracts with any of these people nor was it discussed ahead of time. I guess I will see how they react when I try to hit them for a bit more this storm. I think say $40-60 for decent size driveways in a 1 foot storm is fair...

    You did hit the nail on the head that some people will not care if I like my tranny in one piece and don't want to beat the truck. Others have no place to go, so why the hell is the plow guy doing his thing in the middle of the storm...I better not have to pay twice! :dizzy:
  6. The mayor

    The mayor Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    That should have been discussed with your customers. But if I was in your postion I would be out twice. Once during and once again when it is all done. By the way your customers don't care of the condition of the truck, just the results. Oh and charge twice.
  7. mycirus

    mycirus Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 589

    What I do is charge per storm. Less than six inches is X amount of dollars. If there is more than 6 inches, 10 dollars gets added to the price. That way it is still reasonable for the customer and you get the extra gas money to do it more than once or twice.
  8. jt5019

    jt5019 Senior Member
    Messages: 853

    Anything 6 inches or under i only plow my driveways once even though my trigger is 2 inches. If its predicted to be a big storm like tomorrow 6-12 i will plow them atleast twice and charge them for plowing twice, any clean up after that i give them a discount but they still get charged for me coming back. My commercial lots i will go back many times to keep the lot open then do a final clean up when the storm is over.
  9. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    we charge per push. every time I plow they get charged. I tell my customers this up front. I do my best to not let snow build up to more then 5 inch, and I also tell my customer that up front. Most of my customers would be pretty pissed if I would let it build up to 10".
    I plow with a heavy dually dump with at least a ton of weight in the dump bed, and even my truck has trouble pushing 10" up a driveway that has a slight incline. on top of that you can ask the customer how a ambulance is going to make it up the driveway in 10 of heavy snow after his wife falls in the shower, breaks her leg and is bleeding all over the place... Don't be a wise a$$ about it but remind them that emergency vehicles need to be able to get to the house...

    But like some told you before, and some have told me in the past, you should talk about this before it comes to this point.
  10. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    I plow twice or more...I tell them if we get to much snow it is two hard to push that much at once & run out of places to put it ......They all understand I treat them fair and they return the fairness....Talk to them in advance so they understand ....WORKS FOR ME.. !!!!!!!
  11. 24/7

    24/7 Member
    Messages: 48

    That is another reason tractors and loaders are more and more used for plowing.
    I not bashing trucks as they have their purposes as well but a good fleet will have all the above.

  12. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    when i did driveways i would charge X amount for X amount of snow.
    it was less of a head ache for me and my customers. they knew exactly how much they would owe me for each storm. also make sure you take into account that you might have to go back 2 , 3 or 5 times and charge accordingly.
  13. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    YAAA let's get a tractor or loader for plowing drives....Reread his question...
  14. 24/7

    24/7 Member
    Messages: 48

    I did make that clear in my statement "I not bashing trucks as they have their purposes as well but a good fleet will have all the above. "

    that being said, trucks are good for some things but it gets hard on them when trying to do more than they can do without alot of effort. And that was the my response to the question that was originally posted >> to not beat the truck too bad. <<
  15. 24/7

    24/7 Member
    Messages: 48


    Edited-- sorry I hit Refresh and double posted same post.

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  16. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    were in ct. are you? $25 to $40, ill sub all my small stuff to you ! lol
    as far as the trans, that should have been thought of before when you bought it! i had a dakota, but it was my toy truck not my work truck, nothing wrong with the truck, but it wasnt made to push snow for a living...payup as far as charging twice, does it cost you cheaper to go back a second time ? there is your answer.....
  17. mmtwin

    mmtwin Member
    Messages: 87

    My questioned is, why don't you have contracts with any of these? They protect you and the customer, and its all there before the snow even flies:gunsfiring:
  18. Hunter9

    Hunter9 Member
    Messages: 64

    I agree, in my area no one or almost no one has contracts unless it is a MAJOR commercial outfit. Might sound weird but it is what it is. 90% of the commercial accounts in my area are verbal and I have yet to see or hear of anyone doing them on residentials.

    I want contracts or service agreements with my accounts more for a communication tool to clarify everything now and later for the customer so there is less margin for error or miscommunication.

    I feel that 90%+ of issues with customers could be handled beforehand with proper communication via an agreement that spells everything out ahead of time for both parties.
  19. Pitt4212

    Pitt4212 Junior Member
    Messages: 25

    I plow 26 driveways with an F-350 and in a 12" storm I will typically go out 2 times to plow depending on the type of snow. As for charging I only charge full price the first time and every return trip I charge half price. The reason behind this is because if I plow a driveway knowing that I will be coming back again I just open the driveway up real quick and leave so I don't spend the same amount of time that I would spend if I was only plowing it once.
  20. Hunter9

    Hunter9 Member
    Messages: 64

    I do things similar to this, but I think this needs to be explained to the customer well beforehand so they are not on the horn after you leave asking "why did you do a half a$$ed job"?