1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

measuring the inches

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Donny O., Oct 29, 2005.

  1. Donny O.

    Donny O. Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    i've read alot about triggers and charging a set amount unless it goes over so many inches and so on. so do you actually walk outside and measure the depth and wait for 3" then fire up the plow and measure at the end also to see a total, or how do most work this out. might be an odd question but its got me wondering!!
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Not such an odd question - really a quite legitimate one and the answer will depend on your circumstances. If you either are a large company with contracts in varying locations or have large contracts (usually commercial) you will want to subscribe to a weather reporting service. This will have a section which will report amount of snowfall for any given area at any given time. You could make these reports a part of your file for each place you plow. It would become a part of the record in case it is needed for justifying charges to the customer or may become evidence in a trial for a slip and fall injury case. If you are a small operator (like me), you may just do what I do and measure the snow in your driveway, then apply that measurement to every place you plow. You could also measure every account at an agreed-on site which would represent the "average" depth for that site - not drifted and not wind-swept bare. Also, keep in mind that if you're plowing while it's snowing (plowing "with the storm"), you will need to make multiple measurements and add them together for a storm total. The "trigger" simply means an amount below which you will not plow. So if you have a 3" trigger, you might start plowing at three inches or you might wait till the snow has stopped to start plowing. You need to talk to the customer to see what works best for them, if it matters and finally can you meet their needs.

    In my case, all my customers trust me when it comes to charging. If they didn't, I wouldn't want them as customers anyway. But as you get larger with bigger commercial accounts and probably more metropolitan areas, there is less trust and more need for documentation. Hope this helped a little and anyone who disagrees with me or has a different method, feel free to chime in.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2005
  3. CamLand

    CamLand Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Mick,excellent response.I've had customers actually question my ability to measure snow and for that reason I carry a yard stick at all times just to make those people happy..On commercials we start when 1 inch is in the ground salting and such. otherwise we will just wait for everything to end and get measurements.We do properties in alot of diffrent areas and snow measurement seems to never be the same.As you get experienced in the business you will be able to tell by looking how much snow has fallen.I wish you luck this year as well as everybody else...
  4. ace911emt

    ace911emt Member
    Messages: 83

    I use a weather service, this third party report is great, it costs me 300.00 a year but I have no questions and attach a copywith the bill and it is stated clearly in my contracts. The second advantage is my pricing. 1” trigger and price at under 1” under 3” under 6” when the report is 3.25” I get paid at the 6” rate with no questions. Marketing …..remember 4.99 is cheap payup
  5. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L Senior Member
    Messages: 178

    this question is geared towards those who use weather service reports and attach them with their invoices, or keep in files for possible arbititration issues.

    Where do you get these reports and does it cost $$, can you get them via the internet?
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I perfer all seasonal contracts when it snows i plow. I have one per plow next door to a seasonal and its aflat price to plow each time.
  7. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    The first lesson on "per push" vs "seasonal price" I learned was that those customers on a seasonal price wanted me there every time a snowflake fell. Those on per push didn't want me to come until their cars were stuck in the driveway.

    BTW, Mick, did you notice that you are almost at the 3,000 point for posts. Holy crap man. Do you have a life?? (kidding)
  8. scotty2222

    scotty2222 Member
    from MI
    Messages: 64

    I got seasonal and per push customers and in all contracts they do say what depth to start plowing. so called the TRIGGER amount! That way they can't call and say, where are you I see snow?
  9. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    Me too, but the seasonals took the 3" trigger to mean that I would be there AT 3 inches of snow....and every 3 inches of snow.

    Which led to this line being added to my contract:

    "Plowing visits are made at 3” of snow, or at the end of the storm as determined by time and conditions."

    Like I said, it was the first thing I learned about season vs per push.

  10. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    For our commercials, we have a 1" trigger. In other words, if we get as little as 1", they want it moved - whether we have to plow it or melt it down. Whatever it takes to get wet blacktop. As far as when to start, there is a drawing line, there. If we visit twice in a night, they are charged by the scale however much we get per push. If we only vistit once,...close to the morning hours, then we charge according to the scale for how ever much is accumulated. It is sort of pro-rated. We don't get as much as we do for seperate plowings, but we don't have the drive time and fuel getting there, either. For instance, up to 4", say if it was a $100 push. If it is a restaurant, doctor's office, or something like that, and we hit it at say 1.5" then again at 3.5 to 4", then we charge for two pushes at 100%. If we went in only once (later) and pushed the 5 to 6", then we would only charge 150%, - $150. We get into this with the medical complexes when we get snow Saturdays and Sunday mornings, since they aren't open on Sundays. The restaurants we do,.........they don't care. They want us to just keep coming through during the day and keeping them clear. The reason I like the professional centers and the medical places, is because the doctors don't care. If there is 1/2" on the ground, they just want it taken care of. They do NOT want Mrs. Johnson getting out of her car for her 8 o'clock appointment and slipping and falling in their lot. With these places, your busy all the time. We go out and salt quite a bit just to keep the stuff melted.
  11. Makndust

    Makndust Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    Almost all my triggers are at 1 inch. I go out and literally measure the street infront of my house and also the sidewalk. If it is at 3/4" and is still snowing hard, I go. If it has stopped I will go out and measure each acount to see if part of town got more snow than where I live. It has happeded before. I also document every move I make with the plow.
  12. BayviewLawn

    BayviewLawn Member
    Messages: 67

    How do you find these weather reporting services?Iv never heard of such a thing.Anyone have any names of these companys??
  13. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

  14. BIGRED1

    BIGRED1 Member
    Messages: 44

    As far as the whole accuweather thing goes, anyone used it? I know they are a sponsor, but does anyone have any actual experience with them? I am a fairly small operation and I'm looking for a service that is cost effective, anyone have any thoughts on this?