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Ok, What's your 2cents on Subing per hour?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Dr Who, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I just got off the phone with the owner of a larger lawn service here in town. Said they have 80-90 commercial lots they service and looking for more subs as we are supposed to get hammered this week with snow.

    He said he has 8/9 trucks (forgot which) and was looking for subs to piggyback and double up on the lots to get them done faster.

    I told him I was interested, but I have between 20 and 30 lots that I do, 8-10 are call me if they want it deal, I told him my customers come first no matter what.

    Ok, so we get to the pay, he offered me 50 per hour, I do not have to get out of the truck, all I have to do is sit in the truck and plow. Now this is me paying for gas, using my truck, my plow, ect.

    50.00 hr sounds good until I get thinking about all the stuff, like my gas, my truck, my plow.

    He never said anything about insurance, but I told him that I do have my own insurance as I am not just some smuck in a rusty truck...

    The first of the winter, there was an ad for 75.00 hr, using own truck and having insurance, I contacted them several times, but no reply.

    I think 75 is a good price for me to supply my own equipment, I think 50 is to low as last year I was working for 65 hr with my own equipment, but I did not have insurance last year.

    my buddy said that anything between 75-100 was a good price, he charged 100hr 10 years ago and got all the work he wanted..

    So what is your 2 cents on this? I am up in the air about it, I would like to have the extra work/money, but I have my stuff and if we get hammered like they say, I will have my hands full already along with others that may call in from the number on the truck and my ads on lovely craigslist...
  2. smoothbore2004

    smoothbore2004 Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 42

    I think $50 is too low. When I pay subs I pay $65 an hour and we live in a snow belt. However closer to the bigger city (chicago) I have heard that the rate is more like $100 hr. As for insurance you must have commercial liability whenever your plowing for profit. Yeah we can scam a little bit but the one time you hit something your insurance is first on the chopping block then the company your working for. I am not sure what the fair rate is in your area but dont forget to pay yourself an hourly wage as if you were paying someone else then your overhead (fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.) Then profit for your business.
    Don't take my numbers to heart. figure out what your overhead cost is then up it a little for your business profit and that will be your hourly price. Sounds like the guy is trying to find a few guys that are new to the business and are just looking to make money with there truck. $50 an hour sounds like he is trying to take advantage of somebody. good luck Sonny
  3. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,440

    $50 is a little low, but better than 0
  4. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    I think that is a tad low, but not terrible. Around here subs get anywhere from usually 55-60/hour for a truck. You just need to remember, that they need to be able to make money on you as well. So if there only getting $65/hour for the lot, $50/hour for you still allows them to make some money for all the administrative stuff

    Your buddy was charging 100 10 years ago. Two things, a he was probably only giving his subs 75-85/hr then, same concept as that mentioned above. And second thats 10 years ago. Market has changed significantly in 10 years.
  5. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I talked with by good Friend that used to plow, he brought up a good point, how long does a tank of fuel last? 8hrs? I have 2 tanks and I just filled up yesterday at 70 bucks and I was not empty, gas is 310 gal for regular, I usually run plus,but 320 gal, no I will go with reg. this time.

    "Think of it as a regular job/8hr day, So if I can run 8 hrs on a fill up at say 80 bucks, well you are working for 40.00per hour
    Got mantiance on the truck, say 5 bucks per hour, now were at 35.00 hr.
    then you have insurance both for the truck and commercial liability, say at 5.00 hr, now were at 30.00....
    and what if you break down? then what? you lost everything including your properties"....

    See this is why I ask my friend questions, he has been in business for himself over 30 years and made a great living.

    I agree with smothbore, think they are looking for new guys to take advantage of. People that think "50.00 hr! that's 500 for 10hrs work!" but do not think of the costs involved.

    Now if I had another truck, say some beater that i could plop a guy (that i knows what he is doing) in at 15 bucks an hour just to drive/plow, sure I would take the work. But with the way it works out, I would be working for nothing.

    I think I am going to tell him that I would work for 50 an hour, but my truck demands an extra 25.00hr cause he is the one doing all the work! :)
  6. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,559

    When I did private in the late 90's early 00's I was getting $65/hour with a 3/4 ton truck 8' blade and ALL my drive time to the 1st job and between was being paid.
    Fuel was my responsibility. I piggybacked on his insurance as a sub.
    I verified this with a copy of his insurance to my agent to make sure I was covered.

    However, if you're already paying XX for ins., you are already paying.
    Maybe $50/hr isn't too bad in this economy. How much do you need the money?
    Like already said, better than nothing.
  7. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    He was the sub, he pushed for some other people, never sub-ed anything out..

    well I figger that if 100 per hr was a good rate 10 years ago, then its should be now, there is this thing called inflation. 10 years ago a truck was 20-25k, now there 50k, so if you look at it that way, then 100.00 10 years ago is 50.00 now. So I think that 75-100 is a good rate for me, truck, plow, insurance (both), experience. Heck I think that I am worth more then that just because I take pride in what I do, I have experience and just because I am worth it. If I had my way I would be charging people 150-175 per hour for my services, but I know that the market will not allow it, so I charge what is fair market and worth my time....

    Yes, I could use the money, but I have know what the costs are to do repairs, and it ain't' cheap. I would rather sit home and not make money then to break my truck working for someone else on the cheap side.

    I agree they need to make money, I am all for letting the contractor make money, but not with me working for nothing. Besides, I have seen how some of the "other companies" do snow removal, I would not do that bad of a job if I did the work for free, I am sure I would not last long, I would be doing "to good of a job"....
  8. Green Feet

    Green Feet Member
    Messages: 44

    $60/hr here. If you don't "need" the work then call him and say that you are interested but have looked at your costs and figure that you need $XX. If he says no, tell him that you are willing to help him out if he runs into a jam. He will most likely respect that and might give you a shot down the road.

    I don't like dealing with guys that jump at whatever you offer them. Tells me that they don't have any idea what their operating costs really are.
  9. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    In all reality This is what I am going to do tomorrow, if he calls me back, I told him to call me first thing in the morning.

    I have already passed the info on to another person that is interested, so he may get some help after all, which may in turn help me out in the future as I am looking at getting at least 1 if not 2 more trucks for next year. I may just have to send out a beater for low end sub work, cause like what snowmatt said, 50 is better then 0. But for now, I need the money, but not that bad if you know what I mean.
  10. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,143

    I'd run my atv for $50 an hour.
  11. jhenderson9196

    jhenderson9196 Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    I'm getting tired of hearing ,they have to make a profit on you. If they want to be in the snow business they can buy all the equipment, and keep all of the money. I refuse to put money in the pockets of my competition.
  12. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    It's figure not figger.
  13. ColvinsPS

    ColvinsPS Member
    Messages: 73

    Don't forget that hopefully you are claiming this and paying taxes on all this too. At least i am. I am currently subbing for $60hr but think that is still a tad low. But i am taking it as that's all i got right now.
  14. bechbru2

    bechbru2 Junior Member
    from pa
    Messages: 15

    you run both tanks of gas out of your truck in 8 hours of plowing? i run two gas fords and neither of them are that bad. 50 per hour isn't terrible money. you can run your own truck for that.
  15. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    My 351 likes gas, its low geared so Yeah, if I am doing alot of running, hauling a ton or so of deicer have the hubs locked in, I will run out 2 tanks, which are I think 13-15 gal each.

    But this is just an example to get a idea of my costs of doing business....

    Yeah, you can run a truck on 50 pre hr, but am I making any profit? that is the quesiton and I think the answer is no, not realy....
  16. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Figure is what a woman has.

    Figger is what someone that can't spell figure has :)

    LOL...I always have a couple words that I get way wrong thanks Kentucky Public Education system
  17. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    You want my 2 cents? I have been doing this for a few years, subbing and on my own.... After I ran the numbers this year we came out to being right between 45 and 55 dollars an hour to cover paying the bills. Now I would never work mine for that... I actually sat back and let guys take accounts this year because of the pricing. I took a few good customers over some low price sub jobs. Even with running one of my trucks, I can afford the rest of my overhead (which includes another brand new F250, insurance, consumables, ect.). I made a profit working only a couple hours on my route this year and I am much happier.

    I found that subbing can lead to bad work conditions. You need to draw the line between sub-contractor and employee. You should be told where and when to do a job, but should not be directly controlled by a contractor. It is sort of the tomato, tomato issue. You have rights to choose how you perform a job as a contractor or subcontractor. The way at which you get the result shouldn't matter that much...

    Once you know what to expect from a good contractor, you can go looking for one. Use good judgement and stick to your guns.

    ALWAYS, Always, alllllllwwwwwayyyyyyysss make sure that they can pay you. Check public records on your own, get permission for a background check if need be, and make d@mn sure that they don't have a big debt load. Just because you should get paid, and work very hard to do so, does not mean that you ever will.

    Ask for a portfolio, references, right to screen, tax debt, bank statements, and payment plans. If the contractor can not substantiate that they have cash reserves to pay you, do not work for them. Some clients are deadbeats... and they won't pay their bills... or at least they tend to pay us 'scapers last. That could mean that you will never get paid, or will not get paid in the first ninety days. After the first ninety days the value of money drops off by 50%. Every 15-30 days after that, it declines steadily. So to sum it up, liens are ineffective for sub contractors.... and subs are put in a position that has a need for claims and liens on property.

    That is called a risk. In business you should get paid for taking risks with your property or service. So getting paid "enough to cover the bills" may not be worth risking your equipment or livelihood. Find a reliable contractor and become a regular or do the footwork yourself. As a "small guy" in the industry they both pay similar rates. As a small operation, you will not be able to demand what the "big" operation in area does. People will see the big guys as less of a risk and will pay out for it. So you make a smaller margin and outbid the big guys. OR, you work for the big guys and make less because they take a risk their name and do the footwork.

    It all works out the same until you can build your business up. Although I do not support the idea of subbing, I encourage it. It is how I learned a lot of this trade, and I continue to learn things that way. Subbing is a good way to learn everything you need to know before stepping out on your own. It will also build a portfolio. (who wants to hire joe schmoe with 0 experience to service their 1/2 million dollar property at professional pay rates?.... Didn't think so...)

    I get $75-85 for a truck with plow. and $100-$120 for the same vehicle with a bulk spreader.

    Hope this helped :)
  18. vamootsman

    vamootsman Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    I'm confused? You don't want anyone to make a profit on your labor when you're subbing? Are you sub or just making a statement as to why not to be a sub?
  19. pvtben121

    pvtben121 Senior Member
    Messages: 226

    we pay $65 hr thats for salting drives walks and shoveling so 50 for not getting out of the truck should be fine
  20. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Now that is alot of great advice!

    I have already ran into the issue of getting paid by one company I sub for, got to wait 30 days now, was 2 weeks but that was another thread..

    I never thought about checking out there portfolio,bank records, ect. that is a good idea and I think that I will have to use that advice on my next sub work, to late on the deal I have now, and I have already passed on the 50.00 one.

    You are so right on sub-contractor vs. employee, if your an employee, then your under there control, if your subing, then do they should not tell you what,when, how (with in reason) as you are your own boss..

    See, I should had joined this site before I got into plowing, I may have just not bought the plow :) Oh well, hind sight is 20/20, so now I have to get out there and make up for it!