Old to the industry, new to starting a company.

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Jake's Lawn and Snow, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. Hello, I'm Jake.
    I am in the planning stage of getting a company up and running. Depending on cost and business loan, I may start this season with mowing, or I may start next winter with plowing. I'm from Wisconsin and could use any advice you want to give me about starting my business.

    I have a price guide made out. I plan to service only residentials in 3 small villages 5 miles apart. My price guide is built on square footage going up in increments of 1,000. Is that the right way to go? I'd measure driveways and sidewalks separately because some people may not want sidewalks done. I also have an additional fee for salting the driveway and salting the sidewalks.

    0-1,000 sq ft is $15 to plow, $10 to salt driveway, $5 to shovel and $5 to salt sidewalk on a middle lot because it's shorter. $10 to shovel and $10 to salt sidewalks on a corner lot because it's longer.

    Prices go up $1 per 1000 sq ft.
    Are the prices to low?
    Is the increase in the price of $1 a good increase?

    Thank you.
  2. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,347

    You're gonna plow an acre for $58
    And salt it for $430? Regardless of depth?
  3. OP
    Jake's Lawn and Snow

    Jake's Lawn and Snow Member
    Messages: 57

    $57 to plow, $52 to salt. To low, or way to low? I have no idea what the companies I have worked for charge. Thats why I'm asking.
  4. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,347

    Part of your market research should be the going rate, what are people paying in your area? What costs do you have to recoup and how many properties based on your cost model will you have to service to break even? How many more for a comfortable profit. What does this profit add to your costs fuel, wear and tear, labor. How many can you handle (time wise) for great service?
  5. Kinport

    Kinport Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    Hey Jake. I’m in a different part of the country so my opinion may not mean very much, but 15 dollars for a 1000sqft driveway seems low to me. If I understood your original post, you plan on charging $1.00 per 1000sqft over the original 1000sqft.
    If I got this right, you would do a 1000sqft driveway for $15.00 and a 2000 sqft driveway for $16.00?
    Those prices are low for my area. I would probably charge somewhere between $20-$30 for a 1000sqft driveway. The cost for a 2000 sqft driveway would be somewhere between $35-$50. But that’s just me, your numbers may be right on for your area, but they seem low.

    And I think you are wise to choose a small service area rather than trying to serve the whole town/city/county you live in. Route density, or having the houses you service as close as possible to each other, will help your route be profitable.
    What will you be using to clear snow with? A truck and plow? A snowblower?
    BUFF likes this.
  6. NBRam1500

    NBRam1500 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    Insurance insurance insurance
  7. OP
    Jake's Lawn and Snow

    Jake's Lawn and Snow Member
    Messages: 57

    Good morning,
    Thank you for the input.
    I plan on starting off with a a truck, plow, snowblowers, and shovels to plow snow. However is I can't save up enough money for the plow, I can always do residential with a snowblower.
  8. EWSplow

    EWSplow PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,769

    I'm in Wisconsin. Your prices are too low.
    You have to cover ALL of your expenses. It looks like you're only covering your time.
    The 1st thing you need is insurance. Even if you only shovel, you have liability.
    Assume your snowblower is only going to last 1 season and you should be covering that expense + replacement.
    If you have a good, reliable truck, a used plow should be paid for in a good month.
    You have to be reliable, or you'll lose all of your clients the 1st season, so you have to be able to repair, or replace equipment at all times.
    Do a good job servicing your clients and you'll get referrals.
    I'm somewhat familiar with black earth and I know there are some pretty nice houses with long driveways in that area.
    Good luck with your new endeavors.
    Philbilly2 and Avalanche 2500 like this.
  9. jonniesmooth

    jonniesmooth PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,880

    You need to have a minimum starting price.
    And increases based on time or accumulation.
    To get to what you need to make an hour to be profitable.
    BUFF and Mr.Markus like this.