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Nearly bullet proof. ..simplified seasonal contracts for retirement residential?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Exact Services, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Exact Services

    Exact Services Senior Member
    Messages: 198

    These are tiny short driveways and small porchs or steps are hand shoveled. All work is done with snowthrowers. My biggest competitor has over 80 accounts in this densely packed community and charges charges $300 flat rate for the season. He does not provide service for snow that falls after 2pm (snow sits till next morning) and doesn't show on xmass or new years day under any circumstances.

    Last winter I provided coverage on new years and xmass and charged $275 and showed up when needed. Record low snow fall last winter. Lots of upset retirees who felt ripped off by the flat rate the other Co. was charging $300. I showed up maybe 3 or 4 times often with amounts just below the trigger to make it look good. Prior 2 winters where record heavy years. Lets just say they got their monies worth before the end of December.

    Let's put it this way....this market is all about lowest prices and nearly instant response times. So in light of this I'm considering offering a $150 plan that covers 6 events up to 12" of snow. Any snow past 6 events requires more money from the client. My biggest concern is getting into a debate with a customer you only showed up 4 times but I really showed up 7 now why are you charging me? Or hey can I upgrade to unlimited coverage now that it has snowed 30 times already?

    My other concerned is we may get slammed with another record snow fall and I will get stuck working for penuts again.

    Again complex contract terms will not work well for these customers. ...they want simple and affordable.

    So what would you do?

    I'm considering delivering pizza instead this winter for $15 an hour plus tips.
  2. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    seasonal is seasonal.... the customers take a gamble just like WE ALL DO... I wouldn't give them an option......Stick to your guns or find another place and charge accordingly
  3. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,891

    I agree, you end up screwing yourself if you start playing by their rules. Stick with what you feel is fair, sell them on the 3 year plan, that everything works out over 3 years, and go from there!
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Don't fight price.Push the 24/7 thing and holidays
  5. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    this is a business and if you operate (charge less) you wont be around long. Seasonals are good if you get paid up front. Sell your customer on mutli year contracts.
  6. plowatnight

    plowatnight Senior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 305


    Bingo Y'all, This is precisely why I went straight hourly with my residential assoc. work. No more when did it start, or stop how much fell, was it more than 2 or less than 5 was it windy AAAAAHHHH! ! ! It's this easy. When it snows I keep the lanes passable until it quits then I clean up and do the walks last because they can get out of the garage. They pay more for more and less for less, and that way they always feel like they are getting exactly what they pay for and not taking a chance on getting the short end of the stick. My average numbers over 3 yrs are not practically different from when I was pro-rated by inches. This has removed 99% of the stress from winter work, the only concern I have these days is to make sure the machinery is up and runnin'. Just my 2 cents
  7. banonea

    banonea PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    plowatnight, can you tell me ware you are located and how much you charge. I am looking at a townhome community in rochester, mn right now and the guy they used last year charged them by the hour for a plow truck, skid loader and a snow blower and the man to run them. just trying to get a idea on how to price him out and I think hourly is the way to go
  8. plowatnight

    plowatnight Senior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 305


    I charge $100 hr for the machine and operator (me) I keep track of the time, they trust me. I charge my summer hourly labor rate for short work. Not sure if thats enuf to keep you in business, but in this market I have mouths to feed.BTW, I'm in Rochester