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"Most driveways $15!!"

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by JeffNY, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. JeffNY

    JeffNY Senior Member
    Messages: 484

    I love those ads in the local flier. Right on the cover. Handyman during the summer, and plows snow during the slow season. No wonder when I tell people $20-25 for driveways, they say they'll call someone else.

    These people really only last a year? Or is it just a catch, the $15 ones are the drives you pull in, one pass, and gone?

    Just pisses me off, people like this don't help the business.
  2. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I hear ya there! I got some pretty good flack over doing a mailbox cleanup for $15 when I made a special trip (probably never do that again!).
  3. poncho62

    poncho62 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    20 years ago, I was doing single driveway for 10 bucks.........left it that way for years.....In the 90s started charging 20.............Should have heard the whining............."Double the price?...Wa Wa Wa ".......They didnt appreciate that I left it the same for 10 years......Guess I should have put it up a buck or two a year.....and carry a coin changer.............Now, if they don't like 25-30.............call someone else
  4. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    yeah. i went to collect hundred twenty bucks from somebody for four pushes at thirty. figured it would at least get it collected since they hadnt mailed it. got the money but they kept me there a half hour moving cars so i could scrape that area better, pushing snow back further around the mailbox, and trying to scrape ice at the end of the drive that was there from snow melt and freeze.

    scary thing is the driveway was pretty much scraped clean and none of it really needed to be done. guess they wanted me to re-earn the hundred twenty. i started losing my patience.
  5. AbsoluteH&L

    AbsoluteH&L Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    All depends on the area. I have ads that state: pricing starts at $16 per trip or $195 for season contract. It's up to you to sell an up-charged price. It could be worse, there is some @$$ %^&&* that charges $12 per trip, and another for 165 a season.
  6. iflyhelis

    iflyhelis Member
    Messages: 53

    Back when I first got started in 1978 I had 4 rates for a two car behind each other driveway & I cleaned out their mailbox.

    3-6 " $7.00 Trigger was 3"'s
    7-12" $10.50
    13-18" $14.00
    19-whatever $28.00

    But gas was 89.9 cents a gallon & I was local within 12 miles of my house.

    Then I was going to even discount the people if they refered me to their neighbors by a couple of bucks. They must have hated me, because I never did get a referal!

    Then you got the butt-heads that wanted you to move their cars for them so you could do the complete driveway in one stop. Of course I told them I would not do that for safety & insurance reasons. Plus the price I charged was for not getting out of the truck.

    Bunch of Butt-Heads!
  7. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    You can't go by terms like "most driveways $15". This is just a simple marketing too. It is the same as "As low as", or "Starting at". It is smart marketing to get face to face. "Face to face" is a whole marketing term in itself, and is essentially a "foot in the door".
    Now, on the OTHER side of this coin, there IS a lowball issue out there, because you have so many yahoos out there doing it. Come to Flint, where you have all the beer bellied shoprats riding around in their beautiful new Chevy trucks that never get out of their truck but plow all day long doing drives for 20 bucks. No, not a bad low price, but these guys don't pay insurance, don't pay taxes, and SURE don't count on this money to put food on their table like we do who are in the maintenance business. These guys use it to pay for their bass boats, or accessories for their Harleys. Afterall, they only make around $30 an hour plus lifelong benefits....
  8. AbsoluteH&L

    AbsoluteH&L Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Take it easy there Runner. No need to trash so many people at once. So tell who ARE you really pissed off at? The beer bellys, shoprats, Chevy owners, bass boat owners,or the Harley guys? Just messin with yah. Settle down and have one on me:drinkup:
  9. murray83

    murray83 Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    Thats nothing,stopped at Tim Horton's for my break last night this early 80's GM truck pulls up beside me middle age man notice something spray painted on his truck.As I pull out i turn on my headlights and I read it....."Driveways $10 any size" in orange spray paint written on his truck,I nearly died laughing and felt sorry for him.
  10. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    I'm sure I plow drives alot cheaper than most of you. But I pull into a tract and have a min of 3-4, (ussally many more than that). DOES THAT MAKE ME A LOWBALLER???? BTW...... I also plow condo's, HOA's, commercial & industrial buildings. I run commercial insurance on my trucks (4), have bobcats, an ATV's, sidewalk crew, etc. Have 3 million in liability insurance. I could go on & on, price alone does not make one a lowballer, I can plow 6 drives in 8 minites (my wife timed me one night), you do the math. I would rather plow a boatload of drives cheap & fast (& do a good job) rather than drive 5 miles in between jobs.
  11. sparky8370

    sparky8370 Senior Member
    Messages: 234

    I've been thinking about getting the insurance so I can make some money plowing. I don't really want to do it without insurance. I wouldn't be doing it for a living, although I used to. What I don't get is all the people doing it and whining about other people doing it. I understand the whole competition thing, but I'm an electrician. That would be like me complaining about people doing their own electrical work. Except that when homeowners do their own electrical work, it stays with the house forever. It could be a situation that can cause a house fire for the next owner.
    If I do get the insurance and plow, it would be to support my hobbies. It would be better than doing side work @ $50/hr because I wouldn't have to dedicate so much time. I got a 4400sq ft house I am totally renovating up north, so the more time I have the better.
    I guess I just don't understand all the animosity against the "little guy".
  12. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    LOL..... I'm a plow guy not a valet!
    On second thought, wheres the tip?
  13. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Sorry but if you can plow 6 drives in 8 minutes then you have to be doing a really crappy job... so take an extra 15 seconds and snap a few before and after pics---till then I'd call foul on your posting and bragging.

    ..and please don't respond telling us about the quality of your work....you couldn't even do a decent job on a short sidewalk in a minute.
  14. jrush

    jrush Member
    from ct
    Messages: 41

    wow, I guess my prices are high. I have a $35 min every 1-4" I must say I'm surprised by some of the prices. (not stepping on toes, so please don't take offense) but I'd rather have 4 houses at $35 than 8 at $17.50 But, this is how I support my family, - (it's not to pay for my bass pro!:D)
  15. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Nnnnnno. It's not even CLOSE to being the same thing.....apples to oranges. For Mr. Smith to go out and do his own drive, or his own hardware parking lot is one thing. But for literally thousands of guys that go out and do this under the radar and skip paying taxes, don't have the building and business expenses because it is a "side thing", it does have an all around effect on the market itself. Think of it this way....What about if there was a sudden influx in all the unlicensed, uninsured "handymen" started doing wiring and installing fixtures at half the going rate, and because of that, your prices and availability of quality ended up declining. THIS is what is happening.
    Now I know - that it is different, because what you do is an actual skill,...not like plowing snow or mowing lawns,....and has much higher standards - both in education, and safety requirements,...but I use this as an example.
    Speaking of which,....this is the same reason why we are phasing out of the maintenance and "mowing" end of it. It is the only industry I know of in this whole WORLD that has had such little (if any) price increase in the last 20-25 years.
  16. poncho62

    poncho62 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    OK....All well and good. I am a guy that lives in the country, have a big driveway, so I have an old Blazer that I plow my driveway with. If one of my neighbors asked, I would do his driveway...probably a little cheaper than the pros would.....but I don't go looking for any business.

    That said.................You are complaining about being undercut.................and that the lawn maintenance business is lousy. From what I have seen in this area, there seems to be plenty of lawn maintenance companies around, most of which plow snow in the winter..There seems to be tons of business out there......

    And............the trucks and equipment that these guys have.........well....its the top of the line (not that it shouldn't be if you can afford it)..............but a truck with steel wheels will do the same job as one with all the chrome wheels and all the other bells and whistles....................I know, I know.......resale value

    Maybe I am out of line.........but thats the way I see it..............
  17. sparky8370

    sparky8370 Senior Member
    Messages: 234

    That's actually exactly what has happened in the electrical trade. Only the ones doing the cut-throating were actual electricians. Electricians used to make more than plumbers, but the plumbers always stuck by their pricing while the electricians cut each others throats. This all happened before I was even in the trade, so maybe that's why it doesn't bother me as much.

    So I do see your point, it's just that I see some people on here getting reamed by the guys who are already established. I guess I'm assuming most of the "little guys" here without insurance or an established business are just getting started. If they went on forever trying to "fly under the radar" than that would obviously be a bad thing. Both for them and their customers. I don't think they would have much of a chance at prospering if they didn't take the next step.
  18. tkrepairs

    tkrepairs Senior Member
    from maine
    Messages: 186

    tons of lawn guys around here. probably 6 or 7 large companies, multiple trucks, trailers, loaded with many walker setups and the like. in a town of 16,000 people. thats just large companies, plenty of other guys posting ad's on bulletin boards and working out of a truck or two. they are all doing what appears to be really really well. it all turns into a madhouse on the roads here with plows going every which way every time snow falls. business for them doesn't seem to be slacking in the summer or the winter, if anything, its growing quite rapidly. at least around here.
  19. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Every guy and his buddy that are between "real" jobs, owns a truck and a mower, has a "mowing business" around here. No name on the truck, no insurance, don't pay taxes, no overhead. Mow, Blow, & Go.

    I just counted 74 listing in the yellow pages under Lawn Maintenance. Most of these I would assume have their name on the truck, insurance, and some over head.

    I don't have a problem with the little guy starting out, under cutting to get a foot in the door. I don't even care if he doesn't have insurance. He is the one loosing his house, not me. I don't care if he gets paid cash for every job and doesn't pay any taxes. When he gets caught, he is going to pay the fine or go to jail, Not Me.

    But there comes a time when you are only going to make so much money doing it that way. I'm past that point. The only snow plowing jobs I bid on require me to have the insurance, name on the truck, DOT #, etc. Little Guy Snow & Mow can't get to these bids, because they can't or won't do the legal stuff to get to that point. When the accounting department of the company you just bid on and got the snow plowing bid calls you to ask for your Tax ID # so they can w-4 & 1099 you and you say, "Dahhh.... what do you mean?" They will take the contract from you and give it to the legit company that bid higher than you.

    If you want to buy a truck and plow your own driveway and some neighbors and friends, then do it. If you want to have a regular job and plow for beer money or toys go for it. But if you want to quit the 9-5 job & make real money, then you have to be legit. Get insurance, pay your taxes, and bid jobs with a rate that will raise the standards for our industry.

    There will always be low ballers. There will always be customers that don't care if their plow guy pays insurance or taxes and they just want the lowest price. AND there will always be customers that require higher standards and are willing to pay a higher rate.
  20. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    I definitely agree with you about the mowing. There is no credential for it as well as the market seems to be getting lower every year. Joe schmoe gets a mower for his 2 acres and goes out and starts his "mowing business" to pay for it. We're making up for it in other areas of the industry. Snow doesn't seem to affect us beings that we're in central ohio and the guys with there brand new plows usually sell them after every season they buy them because they can't pay for it beings we only average 3-4 occurences a year if that and most of them are on a will call basis. Most of the grounds maintenance companies around here that have been in business for over 10 years hire these guys as subcontractors and pay them low low dollar.