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MN bidding

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by BossPlow614, May 27, 2009.

  1. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    I'm developing a business plan for my Landscape Maintenance Company which includes plowing as a service and am creating pro forma Cash Flow statements. What on average do you Minnesota guys charge for a residential plowing, this will be in the Twin Cities metro area suburbs to give you an idea of the size of the driveways.
  2. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Do you not have any experience plowing?

    Pretty vague question which might generate more questions than answers for you.
  3. blowerman

    blowerman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,275

    To start with a good plan is great, but as tcla stated; you need to provide us with a better description of what you need.. And not just the number $30 per drive X's 14 clearings a season for the cash flow statement.
  4. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    I have experience plowing, however it was for a govt funded park service, so I do not know how to price them. What do you take into account, I know fuel, maintenance, & salting are to be included, as well as taxes, but what else is taken into account?
  5. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    I would consider the terms also. Will they pay upon receipt? Do they pay in 30, 60 or 90 days? Do they hold a % of your pay until the end of the year? How much paperwork and how many hoops do you need to deal with?

    If they are slow pay can you submit your invoicing ahead of the actual activity? I would consider some of these into your pricing if you have to carry the costs.

    Good luck to you sir. :salute:
  6. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    Hate to answer your questions with more questions, but how many of you guys charge per snow fall and how many charge a flat rate per season? I've heard good and bad from both. And my customers will most likely pay upon receipt, probably 30 day increments, and I've never heard of them holding a % of my pay until the end of the year, I'm a rookie and is that something a lot of people do? And the amount of paperwork does not bother me.

    And thanks, I'll need it.
  7. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Don't know about everyone else, but we don't have any "per snowfall" agreements. We do have a nice mix of per push, seasonal (with chems ala carte) and all inclusive customers. They all have their pros & cons. I think it would impractical and somewhat scary to have, or offer only one type of commitment......unless you are a sub.

    We also have many who will withhold a % of $ to be paid at the end of the winter once all repairs and or issues are satisfied.
  8. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I think the % hold was for the government job he talked about.

    Most mix it up between seasonal and per push rates. This way if it snows more than average you have the per push to make money on. If it snows less than average you have the seasonal to make money on. I find residential to be easier seasonal. Commercial/government is per push.

    For me residential seasonal is the only way. They pay at the beginning of the season (or you can break it up to 1/2 & 1/2) all you have to do is hold onto the money to pay your bills. If its per push you will get customers that will complain that you pushed with 1.75" of snow when the trigger is 2.0" and you are charging them for it. If its seasonal you can stick to the trigger amount and not have to plow 1.75" if they call you.

    Sending out invoices to 1-40 customers every week it snows is a pain in the a$$. I would rather send out 1 invoice for $1000 to a commercial than 25 invoices for $40 to residentials.

    As far as pricing for your area, you can do a couple of things. Call snow plow company in your area and ask them their rate. You can either pretend you are a customer or be honest and tell them who you are. I would go with the honest approach. Stop in at one of the bigger/well known companies and ask to talk to the owner or sales person. They might help you out because you are not a threat to them. They might tell you to kiss their a$$ and laugh at you also.

    The other thing to do is ask your friends and family that have snow service what they paid.

    But the best thing to do is figure out your costs and divide by the number of accounts you want and that will be your cost per drive. Remember some items are yearly not just winter such as insurance and truck payments.

    I have to go out and work on the mowers for next week. Too early to be talking about snow. Its always a good time to be talking about snow.

    Good Luck
  9. NLS1

    NLS1 Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    I agree, a mix is nice, some seasonal, some per push. Residential can be a huge time waster if you bill all the time, people forget a bill here and there and then you have to call them, etc. But if it snows ten times in one month like last Dec. which was way more than usual here in MN, it is a huge bonus to bill per push on at least some customers.

    As far as how much to charge, I will say, start high and if no one bites, then come down a little until they do, but the worst thing you can do is give away the farm to "get business" and go out of business in a couple years. Not to mention make it worse for anyone who follows in your wake of destruction :D Keep your standards high, and don't work for free!

    Good luck!:waving:
  10. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    Been a while since I've been on this thread, just happened to come across this, I had forgotten I made this one way back when, that last post on 6/3 I had made was my last day of high school, brings back the memories lol.

    No plowing for me, I'm going to college full time and it would be way too much of a hassle to have to plow all night long and then class for 4 hrs in the morning. But that didn't stop me from creating pro forma cash flow statements. I won't post numbers but I have since recognized all that must be taken into account for expenses. Figured out what I would have to charge for a small resi driveway and how many I'd have to do to pay the bills (that includes my salary as well! payup), and the time it would take to complete all of them on on a reasonable snowfall (8in or less or so). I will offer a seasonal rate to resi's, based on 3-4 pushes/month (maybe more) and charge accordingly, possibly 50% upfront by dec 1st and the other 50% by feb or mar 1st. Or I may bill the 3-4 pushes/month each month through the season. Maybe even 100% upfront by dec 1st, it depends on what the customer wants to do, just to get it all out of the way and no worries later.

    I'm not really focusing on comm properties yet, I'm starting small with just driveways because I don't have a skid and a flat bed to haul it with, just one truck. But I'm thinking per push billing with commercial.

    Right now is an excellent time for me to be thinking all this out because I won't be doing any plowing until after I graduate in 2013!

    And don't worry NLS, my prices will be high, the bills will have to be paid and my work is a top notch premium service, if a customer wants it, they're going to have to pay.

    The only thing that confuses me is that what do you guys do on a wknd such as Christmas 09 in MN, where it snowed at crazy hours of the day, generally you plow in the overnight hours, but what do you do if it snows 6 inches from from noon-6pm, you've got vehicles in every single parking lot, cars in driveways, people everywhere etc.
  11. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    You still go out and keep up with the storm. Do your best to plow what you can. Keep things opened up and come back when its done to finish it all.
  12. AiRhed

    AiRhed Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    What? Plowing, in my opinion, is the IDEAL college job. Flexible hours and your professors are usually understanding. I'm 23, a full time student at St Cloud State, and full time father. I have plenty of time to plow. Went out after class yesterday from 4 to 11pm. Got up at 7am and went to class, sittin in class now till 2:30pm. You make time for the things you want/need to do. My life without plowing would be....boring. I'd have too much spare time.

    Well, If I remember correctly, I missed Christmas Eve, most of Christmas day, and new years with the family. But I made $$$$$$, so they understand. Plow what you can, open up the spots closest to the businesses, Keep the thoroughfares open and put down some chems. leave the rest for later. Be careful though, that heavy wet snow we got on Christmas was a bear to clear after a partial push. Usually when you start on the heavy stuff you want to finish. Think of it like Triage, prioritize your businesses by hours of operation, service type etc.
  13. smokin4by

    smokin4by Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 98

    holding a % of your pay is to insure that any damage caused by plowing is repaired...i.e. grass ripped up, broken curbs, or bushes rolled up in snow banks.

    stuff happens when pushing a lot of snow, and MOST business' know this, but they also expect it to be repaired. at your cost, if you did the damage.

    huh just noticed how old this thread is. oh well
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  14. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    Thanks for the info. I started this one back in may or june and revived it a couple days ago.

    Thanks for the info Ryde

    I've got a crazy schedule and I'm taking 19 credits this sem. Not much down time at all! And im in grand forks for school, I live in the metro. not very much of a plowing market here, it's a relatively small city and the market IMO is saturated.

    Class every day at 8am, m and w I got class at 8am then 3pm, and on accounting test days I have the tests at 515 weds evening, weds I also have a meteorology lab from 7-9. fri i have just one class, 8am, tues i have class at 8, 930, 11am and 6-9pm then thurs i have class at 8, 930, 11, and 1.

    I dont get much sleep the way it is, I thank myself every day when Im able to sleep because I dont plow. Professors are not going to flexible when it comes to having to skip class during the day to plow, thats not an excuse to miss class. on every one of my sylabus's (plural?) it says work is not an excuse to skip.

    St cloud must've gotten a diff amt of snow than we did in the twin cities, because the guys I know that plow down there got about 3 hrs of sleep a night from thur-sun.
  15. albhb3

    albhb3 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,523

    that sounds about right