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OK you hourly guys.....

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by grandview, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I've always charged seasonal for plowing .So my question is , if you are charging an hourly rate and you plow a smaller parking lot and it takes 15-20 minutes and your charging 60.00hr are you only billing them $15-20.00 to plow?

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    I bill it for the full hour, it may take only 15 to 20 min to plow, but how long did it take you to get there? Add that factor in there too.
  3. A Man

    A Man Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    No way, we charge some places hourly, but it's always a min 45 dollar charge, even it is just cleaning out the entrance cause the plow just went by. just my .02 worth,
  4. EJK2352

    EJK2352 Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    So you tell a prospective customer that you bill per hour with a 1 hour minimum ????
  5. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    Have your 1 hour minimum charge every time you drop your blade. To try to pro rate your charge for only plowing for 15 min wouldn't be the best way to make the bread. I like doing smaller the smaller lots by the push, I think bigger lots favor the hourly system-JMO
  6. J. Patrick Inc

    J. Patrick Inc Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I base the rate at 65.00/hr, so when I estimate how much time off that base, but there my min is 45.00 even if Im there for 5 mins, Thats the cost of convience for any home owner not to have to get off thier but and shovel, and the fact that it is clear in 5 mins versus them shoveling for an hour or so. I charge for convience and service.... I won't even start the truck for less than that.
  7. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Before we were plowing our own lots, we had a plow guy who would have a one hour minimum for our lot. He would show up during the work day, spend 10-15 minutes keeping it open then charge for an hour. He would do this a few times a day. Then when everyone was gone he would come back and clean up and spend more than an hour and charge for those multiple hours he was there. By time we were done with a 8 inch storm we'd have a 1200 dollar bill for just one 15,000 square foot lot with a 3-4 inch trigger I believe it was. (if i'm remembering correctly) Add that up a couple times and thats the season we bought our first plow truck lol.
  8. exmark1

    exmark1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,321

    The small lots are all per push just for that reason, but if someone wants hourly we have a minimum of $45.00 just to come out! There is no other way to make it pay to drive over to a lot
  9. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    Charge them for a full hour.

  10. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    You have to have a minimum. (whatever that may be). Personally I think the 1 hour minimum thing is a scam. I can appreciate 1/2 hour as a minimum But if you are charging me an hour for 15 minutes of work, you aren't really billing me hourly are you?

    most of my properties in that small range are billed per push for exactly that reason.

    however, I have an account that has 7 different itty bitty little walks/drives/lots but they are all real close together. I bill them by the minute for each property, no minimum and put together one bill.
    Sometimes it might be 3 or 4 minutes for a property. But since I'm just going around in a 3 block area, it all works out. They get a very fair deal, and I make good money and nobody gets ripped off.

    If I do cleanup or wind cleanup, where I'm not pushing the whole lot, I'll just bill that hourly too, since it's not fair to bill them for the whole thing, but I should get paid for my time.
  11. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    All I can say is that travel time is no longer my problem, it is the accounts.
  12. NBI Lawn

    NBI Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,797

    X2, have to include drive time, I do this with mowing as well. Also, for mowing and plowing we have a 1 hour minimum charge.

    For mowing, a normal residential will take me 8-10 minutes to mow, blow and wip. But I cant charge $5, I often charge by the 1/2 hour if I get done that quick or I will do weeds etc..
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  13. NBI Lawn

    NBI Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,797

    So what do you charge for small commercial property. Lets say it takes 20 minutes? My guess is it is very close to a 1 hour minimum. If it isnt you are probably missing out on a bunch of money.

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    The way I do it is, when I am leaving 1 job to go to the next thats when I start the clock, If it takes me 20 min to plow, it may be a 15 min drive because of the roads or where it is at too. So yes My big lots are hourly and the smaller ones are all per time. I do the same with salt. 1 hour minimun for the truck, plus salt.

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    Yes I do, same with salting, 1 hour min, plus materials. My smaller lots are per time.
  16. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I have an hourly rate. But it is only used after I have gotten the per push price. The hourly rate is Above and Beyond the per push rate. Say they want me to come back and clean up the front of the drive or move piles of snow further back, etc.

    If you are charging someone for more time than you are actually there, like rounding up or having a minimum time or travel time, then you are not plowing by the hour, you are plowing by the push.

    There is equipment and jobs that just can’t be billed at a per push rate. i.e. Loader with 16’ box blade on a commercial lot. That machine needs to be billed hourly for the fact that it can move huge amounts of snow. The rate needs to be high enough to reflect that.

    When you are charging by the hour, you can only make so much money in a day. Hourly rate x 24 hours. That’s it unless you are charging for more time then you are actually there. There is no incentive to plow faster or become more efficient.
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    The reasons you stated are just why you should (bid) and charge by the job/push
    (you pay employees by the hr)

    Your loader is very efficient and can make quick work of a lot so why would you bill it out by the hr and not the job? Just like your last sentence states.
    "There is no incentive to plow faster or become more efficient."

    If you charge by the hr you are taking money out of your own pockets when you use a more effect method to move snow.

    There are only so many hrs in a day so why limit your income because of this?

    Remove the clock from the equations. Bid the job. what is it worth. IS it worth more because it took you an hr to plow a lot with a 7ft plow and less because it only took you 15 minutes with a 16ft pusher?
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  18. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Charging for travel time is another thread, but it was brought up here. Why should a customer pay for your time to drive to their lot? Weather conditions, traffic, red lights, stopping for gas, you drinking coffee and listening to the radio instead of putting your foot down and getting there all play into it.

    My route is designed so that it is as efficient as possible to get the jobs done in a timely manner so I can get back home and go to Plowsite.com. lol.

    I live 8 miles from my first push. Should I charge my first customer that cost on a per hour bases? 15 minutes drive time X my hourly rate would cause some of my customers to find a closer plow guy. Better yet, should I start the clock when I start my truck and let it warm up? What about driving back home after the last one? Who gets charged for that?

    I’m not saying drive time is not factored into my per push price. But the customer knows every time exactly how much the bill is going to be. Doesn’t matter if it takes me more or less time to get there and do the job and move on.
  19. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    SnoFarmer, you are right about the loader and my statement.

    In my mind I'm just not sure how effecient a 16' box blade would be on a wide open parking lot so if I was bidding a job it would be a guess on the time it would take. The cost I would charge per hour would probably be higher than it should be. If it took me less time and I was charging the customer less money, atleast I would be getting paid good money for the hours the loader was running. It also has to do with moving piles of snow back not just pushing with the blade.
  20. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    About $50 to $60. (which is about a 1/2 hour of my hourly rate)
    Which is fair to both them and me.
    I make money for my time and equipment and it's going to be damn hard to undercut me.

    Some of you guys need to remember the story about the 2 bulls

    The young bull says to the older bull "hey, let's run down there and have our way with a cow". The older bull says "let's walk and have our way with the whole herd".