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Lets talk drive ways! - How do you do driveways?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Clapper&Company, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    Well I'm thinking about hitting the drive-way market around my area to see what happens.

    We do alot of call-in drives when it gets bad, but only do like 5 on auto, we push them at 2-3" and they pay per push.

    If I want to do alot of them, i wanted to hear how others do them?

    Whats your triggers?
    Do u salt them?
    Per-push or seasonal?
    Drop the plow back drag and go - or do you shovel in front of the garage door?
    Do you do there walks to?

  2. Chrisxl64

    Chrisxl64 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 574

    Hope this helps.
  3. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    I do about 30 drives and I offer to shovel the walk or free plow damage clean up. 9 times out of 10 they ask for the shoveling. Then I go back in the spring and bill them for then clean up. I do shovel in front of the garage door and get paid by the push. I feel that seasonal driveway contracts that someone is going to get the shaft, and that is not fair to me or the customer. Thats How I feel about it, If it matters. and I have a 4" trigger on most of the drives and I do salt on the "hilly" drives when we get freezing rain
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  4. MeeksCo

    MeeksCo Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    I only do monthly agreements. Not contracts.
    The driveways are tough because everybody wants you there at the same time.
    I always include shoveling their walkway to 1 door of their choice.
    It's not very often that I shovel in front of the garage. I have gotten good with knowing how close my plow is with the garage door as I back drag the garage about one and a half truck lengths (If it's a two car or more, I back drag the entire front of the garage/end of driveway until it's about my truck and plows length back.)
    Sometimes, depending on the snow, I will plow the snow towards the garage to scrape it off the ground, then lift plow, place over pile and bring it all back.
    I always back in after those steps are done and push the stuff on a slight angle away from the house to the edge of the driveway. I keep pushing until I have a large pile of snow at the end of their driveway.
    I then give the truck a little 'umpff' and drive through that pile. I back up, turn the blade (depending on which way I am coming from) and push the snow onto the burb. After one side is done, I turn around, and do the other side.
    Whatever is left on the road, I turn the blade away from the house, pick it up, and immediatley turn the blade back towards the curb and accelerate to throw it.

    I usually don't salt them unless demanded to do so. There is no real value in it.
    2" trigger all the time.
    I tend to take care of the single-service customers (phone calls in while plowing) towards the end, unless it only makes sense to get them depending on how close I am to them.
    Single service = Cash
    Monthly Agreements = Check/Cash (Due within 10 days of invoice date)

    Theres money to be made in residential...

    I can't give you a real length of time that I spend at each one as they differ. But, when selling them, I always make sure to offer that I will shovel one walkway for free. Most guys will pull in, pull out, go. Not me.
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    3 inches
    Yes and No

  6. Whats your triggers?

    Do u salt them?

    Per-push or seasonal?
    Seasonal flat rate broken up into monthly payments.

    Drop the plow back drag and go - or do you shovel in front of the garage door?
    I can get within a few inches or less without hitting the garage. Been doing it a long time.

    Do you do there walks to?
    Last year yes, this year no. I lowered my prices to accommodate for not shoveling but my turnaround time will be much quicker.
  7. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    Driveways can be alot harder than lots . Way more things can be damaged and every customer takes that into consideration, so insted of 1 customer you have 6 all yelling at you.

    I always get the bulk out first then do the detail. If the drive permits I will push the bulk up in my first pass then backdrag the garage and put that where I can even if that means carrying it back to the apron to deposit by the end of the drive. Take precaution of the visual liability always, if the customer can't see while pulling out into traffic it is you butt!

    Try your hardest not to drive on the snow you haven't pushed yet. It always seems that if you drive or plow over it once and not get it clear it will be hard packed and you need to get out some salt to melt it off.

    I NEVER will clear the roadway unless on a private road. To much liability if you make a mistake. Open the apron and thats it!

    Also never ever ever push snow across the road...big NO NO!
  8. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    GV makes it all hard to understand :dizzy: Who needs complicated diagrams to plow out drives? lol

    I'd just pull in & drop n' go! Kinda like my women LOL

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Well the fact you drop into your women tells us a lot!:eek:
  10. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    No offense to the tractor guys but I would rather the stealth of a pickup at 3AM in the morning. PTO's can be loud. A quick push and some shoveling and you can be in and out silently at early morning hours.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  11. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    My business is about 95% driveways. We do them on a 2" trigger, No Salt, Seasonal Price, backdrag- push forward whatever it takes to get it clean. We do a few walks, not many..just not worth it. It takes longer to shovel then it does to plow the driveway.

    Driveways can be a real pain in the azz seems like my elderly people call when ever it snows. We show up every time and they still call to see if we are coming.
  12. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Right on Lux, we tell potential driveway or residential customer, Heres our price for clearing the driveway and if you want walks etc done its a extra charge per minute. We prefer in cab work only. We start our commercials early in the morning and residential get done when the malls etc are cleared unless its a emergency. The customer has to fit what the business is able to carry out.
  13. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I hit the end first and push off to either side. Then I plow straight in if I can. I shovel in front of the garage door because it's not worth hitting it accidentally. I'll back drag only as far as I have too and then stack it. My trigger was 3" usually.
  14. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    well heres how I do mine, it may not pretain much to you since I use a quad and all of you guys have much more experience then me since I am only 16. I have found that there is good money to be made in residentials. I am targeting small ones that would be a PITA in a truck.

    Whats my trigger?

    I wont plow if its under 2in, I usually try and have the drives passable by 7am and 5pm. I then go around a cleanup once everyone has been opend up. I talk to the customers, and if they dont care when there done they are pushed to the end of the route.

    Do I salt?

    I havnt seen a big demand for salting on residentils. I usually throw a couple hand fulls down on the sidewalk, but unless they ask and are willing to pay, the drive way is just plowed.

    Per Push or Seasonal?

    All of mine are per push. Most customers will pay me on the spot if there home, because they dont wanna worry about getting a bill. Three of my places are apartments, so they get billed monthly.

    Shovel in front of door?

    I always shovel in front of the door. It is the extra step that you can take to retain a customer in my opinion. But I also do some other gestures like that, that most will say is leaving money on the table.

    Do walks?

    Side walks are included in the bid I submit.
  15. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    Thanks for the input guys.

    I've plow many of drive ways, but mostly call-ins.

    So i wasn't sure how to offer it as a account type of deal.
  16. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    "We prefer in cab work only" - What a bunch of p****y's. God I can't stand that crap. If your doing residential you have to commit to shoveling and blowing. Around here your not getting the work if you don't. There are a few companies still trying the lazy way( NO HAND WORK ) but competition is fierce so its dying out.

    I can do drives with the Blizzard and pull plow in 2 swipes towards the street and 1 swipe down the curb. Less than 2 min. on anything up to 4" deep. After 4" I have to make 2 swipes down the curb.

    Most time is spent doing front sidewalks and walks to the house. I salt a few that ask for it. Trigger is 1". Always some left in front of garage door to be shoveled or blown, but you got the shovel or blower out anyway for the walks.

    I always bill per push. ( Sorry Toronto )
  17. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,756

    I have about 30 drives we do every storm. They are all great customers, never complain. That also means I have great workers. We give our customers full service, clean in front of the garage, and shovel what needs to be done. Usually they go for around $35-$45 around here for a complete service. Nobody seems to want just the drive done. That's alright though, we are properly equiped to handle that. It usually takes us about 10-15 mins with a 2 man crew on drives for about a 3" storm. We allow a max of 6" to pile up before we plow. For instance, during a 12" storm, we will plow twice. Sometimes for a 7" or 8" storm, I let it slide and only plow them once. But usually we are there when there is about 6" on them, otherwise people start calling. And I should add, everything is per push, billed each time we show up, except for cleanup at the end of the drives. That's usually free, unless the whole drive needs it again. This keeps our customers happy.
  18. Snowman7

    Snowman7 Member
    from WI
    Messages: 69

    Hey Brant's what has been your average pushes per season for the residental accounts the last few years
  19. dingybigfoot

    dingybigfoot Senior Member
    Messages: 342

    lmao...lmao...lol...:) apology accepted bud!
    yep!!! i wish we could get some per push accounts here in toronto.

    RCSLINC Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Well I I have to answer your questions. But do not mind my answers as a lot of them make me chuckle.

    Whats your triggers?
    No trigger as i do not own guns but i do start at 3 inch of snow fall.

    Do u salt them?
    offer it but a low sale.

    Per-push or seasonal?
    Well i push and pull so i go per time plowed and seasonal, But i do like collecting all the money up front so when i get rid of a bad customer i can duduct and send refund.

    Drop the plow back drag and go - or do you shovel in front of the garage door?
    We only shovel in front of door if we left a big pile of snow by it dropping off blade.
    While you are shoveling not making money.

    Do you do there walks to0?
    never ever, no way, i like warm and dry and my back. Plus in my opinion does not pay.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009