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newbie don't want to be a lowballer

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by bcf, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. bcf

    bcf Senior Member
    Messages: 206

    Hi, this is my first post here. I just started my fence installation business recently, and decided to plow in the winter when I couldn't fence. I have an older truck, so I'm figureing $200/ month for repairs. I'm geting a 7.5 Western put on it(1990 F250). I've done a little plwoing before, but my biggest problem is with pricing. Yes I do have genereal liabilty as well as plwing insurance. I am going to stick to resi, though if a commercial job came to me(like that'll happen) I'd do it. I don't want to be a lowballer, so what all do you guys consider for your pricing? I figured $30 a resi drive was fair, but it seems that that may be low. I dona't have amy customers now, just with some advertising hoping they start calling. Should I up the price after 4", or 6"? Would it be cost effective to get a cheap blower, or just shovel by hand? If someone calls me in the middle of a storm, once I give a price at their ok, should I always make a contract, or fly by the seat of my pants? Any help appreciated.
  2. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496

    starting up

    If you are starting up a business . Then it would be hard to call you a lowballer . If you were looking for beer money then you may fit the definition . It's not against the law to start a business even if you cause it to fail because you started out charging to little. It could be a positive learning experience . Most learn quickly or they are gone . Good Luck
  3. cnypropertysvcs

    cnypropertysvcs Member
    Messages: 54

    bcf- First let me say welcome to Plowsite! Glad to see you aboard! I would reccomend reading through the FAQ section, and try doing a search on rates, per push, seasonal, etc... You will have so much info to sort through, but IMO- it is WELL worth the extra time. The search function will bring up so much info that you might feel overwhelmed, but it is worth your while to try it out. I just went back to work full time for myself this year, and have found a tremendous amount of information just perusing through the daily posts, and using the FAQ and search function that has helped me get ready for the upcoming plow season, and the years beyond.

    On that note, I will say welcome again, and if there is anything that I can help you out with, fell free to PM me, or post a reply back here, I am usually on the site everyday reading the posts, and I am just now getting caught up enough with the reading to start putting my two cents in. Hope this helps, ad good luck this year!!

  4. David Smith

    David Smith Member
    Messages: 48


    Funny, as I started a fence installation/repair company (sole proprietor) this season also, and will plow snow in the off season as well \ beginning this season.
    I am in the same situation as you are.
    I have alot of learning to do, and a ton more research to do as well!

    Good luck with your "business" and don't give-up if times get hard, as they surely will!

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2003
  5. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    As you will see the prices vary with the regions. I'm in NY, north of Albany, and $30 for a residential driveway is a good price. Some customers will say you are too high, many will pay that. It's a good figure to start out with.

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,312

    where in s.e. pa are you

    i get $30 a drive per push

    in the big storm last yr

    i did most drives atleast 3 times

  7. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Welcome to Plowsite bcf :waving:

    Is your F250 a light duty or heavy duty ? If it's a light duty,I'd think twice about putting a plow on it.Even with the HD it's not much better,but will work if you go with a lighter plow,and take care of it.

    Those trucks use a TTB,or Twin traction beam front end.They don not hold up well to the weight of a plow,and the rigors of plowing snow.Do a search on TTB,and do some reading.
  8. bcf

    bcf Senior Member
    Messages: 206


    thanx to all who replied so quicly. I am in the Montgomeryville/warrington area, about eqidistant between Phillly and Allentown. It is a HD, and I have heard about the TTB being lousy. I was thinking about getting airbags for all wheels, if/when my budget alows it. Good luck to you too, David Shmith, as I know how tuff this businness can be. I have all the right experience, but My mname, BLeu CHeese Fencing, IMO, is a doubole edged sword. Beer monye is not in my budget, but some occasional cahs for it would be nice.:drinkup: I don't really want my business to fail, because of me or anything else, but you do have a point, as quick learning is what I've come to rely on from ym time on earth. I've been giving the search option quite a work out lately, and it will continue. Thanx again.
  9. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    Welcome to the Snow Plowing community BCF :waving:

    Here are some things to keep in mind when bidding residential jobs......
    1> Travel time
    2> Length of driveway to be plowed & terrain ( slope etc. )
    3> Where do you place the plowed snow
    4> When does it need to plowed & how often
    5> Is it really worth it ??? Example...slide into garage door or something else at a residence accidently !!! could cost you BIG $$$$ compared to the $30 you get for removing the snow.

    Commercial accounts pay better and are less hassle :D
  10. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    Quote by Kipcom

    "Commercial accounts pay better and are less hassle"

    I beg to differ, it all depends on how you run your business!
    I have made double the hourly rate, or more, doing residential work over commercial work in the last 10 years.

    Are there higher profit margins to be made in commercial? I would answer by saying; only if you are salting.

    Chuck B.
  11. NHSnow

    NHSnow Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Quote by Snoworks

    "I beg to differ, it all depends on how you run your business!
    I have made double the hourly rate, or more, doing residential work over commercial work in the last 10 years."

    I agree. I plan for between 10 and 20 residential driveways. I plow for extra income and can plow either before or after work in the afternoons. My customers are fine with this. I could not do commercial and guarantee the timeliness that would be required. With all of my accounts within a few miles of each other I can do quite well for a few hours work.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2003
  12. 4evergreenlawns

    4evergreenlawns Senior Member
    Messages: 552


    If you just want to do a few drives for extra money have at it. But is you are a business minded person and Snow plowing is a source of income, and not just nice to have but not needed money, looking into the right equpiment and seek out commercial jobs. The only people I see making any real money are Lawn Care Operators with a large account list that also want/needs snow plowing. Although I am a LCO, I ONLY cut and/or plow commercial account. You might be able to whip out those drives in a 2-4 fall, but ask that guy that plowed drive three times in a storm this 1st where do you put all the snow, 2nd how many times does the phone ring asking where are you, or you have to come back the city plow covered my drive and I am not paying.

    I plowed drives for awhile it was fun as a side job. Look around, the guys plowing the large commercial lots with end loaders, do you think they got the equipment for free. Commercial jobs will make you money if you can learn how to bid them. I started three years ago on my own with four gas stations and one pick up truck, this year I have 30 accounts a pick up, a dump truck, and a sub with a pick up. Also salting is a must. Check into the bill rate for salting it has been well worth the nearly $100,000.00 I have had to invest in myself to get this business going. If you price right and do the work right you can and will make money. I hope to some day my my company name on one of those 20' pusher chained to an end loader.
  13. imasnowpro

    imasnowpro Member
    Messages: 43

    Charge as much as you can get. Some guys are afraid of high prices because they might get rejected. They will either agree to your price or say that you're too high. At that point you can decide if you can still make $ at a lower price. The idea is to maximize your income with a minimum amount of effort.
  14. BCF

    Welcome to Plowsite! Great place you have found! Lots of useful info from very knowledgeable folks.

    Everyone has their own unique opinions.

    Myself, the $30 per drive is probably OK in your area. My area it is about $25 average drive.

    Hope someone in your area chimes in.

    Good Luck!