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One Set Price????

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by AlwaysGreener, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. AlwaysGreener

    AlwaysGreener Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    I would like to know how many of you plow residential driveways for one set contract price. Let’s say $20.00 for a 2" storm and the same price for a 12" storm?? I’m finding more and more company’s are doing this and I would love to know why??? Oh and by the way Merry Christmas..
  2. Mowerpan

    Mowerpan Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    My guess is people like to know exactly how much they will pay each time. I think the best way would be take what the average snowfall is per event, say it usually snows 3 inches. And then charge what you'd like to get for say 5 inches. Then it's more likely that you'll have more snows UNDER the amount then it is it will be over. But yes it's taking a chance.
  3. SnoFarmer

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

    I charge more than $20 bucks for any drive no matter how small, $35 minn.
    I charge the same price per push. Any thing over 12 inches will cost more price depends on the drive. I have a 2 inch trigger on some and on others if a flake falls they want it removed..( small broom and a dust pan)lol
    If i showed up at the trigger of 2 niches and then again latter in the day
    (every 2 to 3 inches) to plow any additional snow, Theoretically there would never be a foot of snow to plow.
  4. AlwaysGreener

    AlwaysGreener Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    Will that set price cover going out multiple times such as clean-ups, drifting, sidewalks,porches??
  5. SnoFarmer

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

    no, if I show up to plow three times a day I charge for three times. As I can not control how much it is going to snow.
    some people only want to be plowed out once a storm is over for them you need to charge more,( buy the inch) every drive and situation is different charge accordingly, more snow more payup ...

    So if i show up to plow 2 times it's $70 if I show up to push 12+ inches of snow (1 time) then it could cost $75 to $100 or more depending on the drive and Snow depth.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2005
  6. AlwaysGreener

    AlwaysGreener Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    Ok so your saying you plow per push not per inch?? so I you show up three times you charge them 3 times?
  7. SnoFarmer

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

    Yes, any thing over a foot falls in to the storm clause, which will cost more.
  8. AlwaysGreener

    AlwaysGreener Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    You are doing it the rightway..what i'm saying though is some guys are plowing for a flat fee no mater how much snow or how many times they show up. I lost 5 residential clients today due to this. $20.00 that is it..how the heck can I compete with that?? I did the whole sales pitch to keep them but they see that the price is lower and that is all they see..
  9. SnoFarmer

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

    You can't you were low-balled!!!:realmad:
    They will be calling you back after the new guy is a no show.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2005
  10. AlwaysGreener

    AlwaysGreener Senior Member
    Messages: 192

  11. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    That's one of the options I offer people. I'll push anything that falls up to 12" for one set price. That price would be equal to what I'd charge for a 6"-9" snowfall. So sometimes I get more than normal and sometimes less. It evens out, like seasonal pricing. But the customer likes knowing what they'll owe for the month, based on how many times I've plowed. Usually, they are the smaller areas - like driveways that only take a couple minutes, anyway.
  12. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    The only 'set price' I really have is what I get per hour to sub for someone.

    As far as charging residential customers goes, unless they are on an annual contract, I sort of play it by ear. Let me explain.

    Let's say I have one guy who's driveway is pretty much $40.00 for an average push removing up to say 6 inches of powder. Now, if that 6 inches was all heavy and wet, I might hit him for 50 bucks and explain to him the reason why, heavy wet snow takes longer and doesn't backdrag worth a damn. Now, let's say I do his driveway, clearing say 5 inches, but it continues to snow and now at the end he has 2 or 3 more sitting there and I have to come back and clean it up. Then, I'd probably just charge him $50 for the whole thing, because he lives 5 minutes from me. If he was farther away and it took me say 20 minutes to get there, I'd probably charge him $75.

    There's alot of things to factor in, and I'll be the first to admit it was sort of overwhelming at first, but the more I've done the work, the easier it gets to figure jobs. Anyone can just set a flat price, but if you don't take the other factors into consideration you could be screwing yourself out of money and I've decided that if I can't get what I honestly feel I should get for a job, then I don't want it.

    What if the customer has a very steep hilly driveway? Obstacles? Gravel or dirt instead of hot top? Maybe it's a rooming house and the guy has tenants who are jerks and leave their cars all over the place making it harder for you to find a place to stack? The list goes on and on.

    I had an old timer I used to do for $50 bucks a push and it should have been $75. Why did I take the fifty? Because besides being a nice guy, he was a retired regular Navy captain who did alot for this country in his day and now he's old and half crippled and I thought he deserved a break. In fact, if I could have afforded to, I'd have done it for nothing. The only reason I gave him up was because I moved and he's too far away now.

    The bottom line is to set your price according to the customer. Take the first example I gave, that guy pays me whatever I ask for and doesn't argue about why the price fluctuates with the conditions. Now, say he wasn't so easygoing, I'd just charge the higher rate all the time to compensate for his inflexibility. There's your set price buddy....a higher one!

    In the end, however you figure it, if you didn't cover your costs and make a little profit, you figured it wrong.
  13. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    My properties are all bid at different rates, but it is flat rate regardless of depth. I'd rather not have the arguement of "Its six inches" "No its two inches" and people whipping out rulers etc.

    And yes, guys, I'm talking about depth of snow... :jester:
  14. plowman350

    plowman350 Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    seasonal prices

    I do all of my residentials on 1 seasonal price for several reasons:

    1. Collecting Payment is never an issue....they pay in full before the first snow.
    2. People like to write 1 check, and know that they won't have to pay another bill, or touch a shovel all winter.
    3. Nobody can ever say "it was only 1.75 inches....I'm not paying"
    4. Nobody ever sees two inches on their driveway and runs out to shovel it before you can get there and bill them.
    5. I have never argued with a customer about how much snow actually fell. If they feel they got skipped and I should have been there, I just show up with a ruler.
    6. My mortgage company doesn't care if it snows or not... they want their money....so I set my income up regardless of what the weather will do.

    This of course works best for me since I'm solo. I plow/salt a couple of small parking lots (small enough to use push spreader). Eveything is seasonal, except salt, which is billed monthly based on # of apps. This system ensures that every time I plow, my gas is paid for. Being solo, the only overhead I have is my time, and wear and tear on the truck. It costs me nothing else if we get more snow than I planned on.

    People say that if you charge per push or per inch, it all averages out. Same thing goes for per season, but the $ is guaranteed and you know what you'll make before the start of the season.

    If it snows a lot on a seasonal contract - the customer wins
    If it snows a little on seasonal contract - I do better

    If it snow a lot on per-push or per inch - some seasons I win.
    If it snows a little on a per-push or per inch - some seasons customer wins.

    Point being: No matter how you charge, if you're charge a fair average price, some years will be better than others, and will average out over time. I just like knowing how much is in the bank before the season begins. Sometimes I have to work harder for the money I'm holding, and sometimes easier. But, I know that the money is mine no matter what the weather does.
  15. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Delaware has a civic association reimbursement program for snow removal costs, so DELDOT tracks snowfall rates around the state (we be litttle.) I bill my drives based on the rate the state is paying. no arguments. I only plow on contract and require a credit card number on file. we bill the card, then send them the receipt. I make it clear in the beginning ,we have a contract. If they want to give the neighbor kid 20 bucks to shovel the walk I still bill the card, go to Florida for February, if it snows we plow and bill the card. If you don't want the service don't sign the contract. My customers like the system, those who don't I pass along to a sub-contractor I use to do "will call" driveways. He uses the same price schedule but only comes when they call. In return he cleans up the street when he does the drive so I don't have to clean up after him. He has to chase the money, he cann't do it a 2 in the morning and I don't have some plowboy rodeoing all over my nice clear streets. Don't that just p^%$ you off?
  16. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    I don't see how you can have different prices for different amounts of snow. What if for some reason you didn't show up to Mr.Smith's house until it was over 6" and he is contracted for every 2". I wouldn't expect him to pay more just because I was late for whatever reason. As far as the seasonal thing I am on the fence about that, I have 1 account which is a Doctor's office and it's $3500.00 which includes salting and so far since Thanksgiving I've used about $990.00 worth of salt, so far I am loosing this season. But if I went to them and said well its going to be an additional $1500.00 for salting next year I'm sure they would be looking else where. Ya can't win, thats why I plan on winning the lottery next week.:dizzy:
  17. Ian

    Ian Member
    Messages: 96

    Great thread!

    Everybody has brought up good points to consider.

    I actually like seasonal pricing. One price for the season paid by the month, in advance. I think some businesses and other clients like to rely on one fixed price and know it will be handled no matter what. One price for the month, 4 inches or 4 feet. Some months you break even and others you win.

  18. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I'am with plowman all seasonal if you keep them for at least 3 yrs its like 1yr for me 1 yr for you and 1 yr were even. Also my commercials like knowing their going to pay the same each month.I bill 5monthly payments, and that carriers me right into lawn cutting.