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per push question

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by mcwlandscaping, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,557

    Sorry this is kind of a newbie question but, ive never completely understood the "per push" concept. So, how exactly does it work? Is it one set price per time you come there in a given storm? I know this changes depending on the type of storm, but, what do you look for that will tell you how many times to come and then charge the same price for each of those times? Any explanation of this would be great, ive just never completely grasped the details of this concept and would really like to......sorry for the newb question!

    Usually i can get a good idea after looking at the storm as to how many times i would have to be there.

    Thanks guys,
  2. 06HD BOSS

    06HD BOSS 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,611

    Our 'per push' means basically per storm and we'll plow everything only once. If we go twice its only if theres over 12", which they get billed almost double for anyways.
  3. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    per push is.... the customer sits and waits for the storm to end. Then he waits for his turn in the rout before he gets plowed out. the plower sleeps till the storm is over then goes out and plows the snow.... I got that correct?
  4. lilweeds

    lilweeds PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,178

    One of my customers we do per push and are allowed 3 in a 24 hour period!
  5. SnoFarmer

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

    All we do is per push.
    We do not wait until the storm is over to plow.:nono:

    Our per push is set up like this.
    2 inch trigger.
    We plow the lot every time it has 2 inches on it.
    2in=1 push

    If we get 4 inches it has been plowed twice 4=2 push.

    The lot will never have 4,5,7,or12 inches of snow to plow
    and a storm clause is worthless because of the 2inch trigger.
    If we let 12 inches of snow to build up in these lots we will be fired.

    If we push it 4 times a day it is billed for 4 pushes.

    I have a hard time with the other method "increments" 1-3, 3-5- etc etc if there is a trigger depth the lot should never have anymore than the trigger depth.
    If it does your service is not living up to what you promised.

    To be plowed when the trigger depth is reached.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  6. Mick

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

    Ok, let's start by looking at the distinct types of billing (or pricing): Per push, per inch, per season (seasonal). There is also hourly, which is self explanatory.

    First, let's look at Seasonal and Per Inch:

    Seasonal - "I will charge you $xxx which will be payment in full for the whole season." There are many variations of this; including -Up to so much snow or so many trips and then additional charges will accrue.

    Per Inch - "I will charge you $xxx for the total number of inches of snow that falls in a particular amount of time." Not many will use this method; mostly places that have a "zero tolerance" for snow accumulation.

    Per Push - I will charge you $xxx for each time I plow your (driveway, parking lot etc). Again, there are many variations of this. There seem to be two that are the most common:

    1. Charge the same amount each time you are there and plow every so many inches - whatever you and the customer agree on.

    2. Plow as many or as few times as you choose during a storm and charge based on the total amount of snow that fell. This is where the incremental pricing comes in, such as:

    3" to 6" - $50
    over 6" to 9" - $75
    over 9" to 12" - $100
    over 12" - $100 plus $5 an inch over 12"

    So, if 10" of snow falls during a storm, you would bill the customer $100, regardless of how many times you plowed it (all at once or twice - 5" each time). To me, this method allows you to be more efficient and decide when you need to plow and how often. I've seen times I'd want to push every five inches (wet and heavy snow) and times I'd plow 14" all at once (light and fluffy). I'd feel pretty foolish plowing 5" of light, fluffy stuff while it was still snowing, but I'd feel dumber than a rock trying to push 14" of "concrete".

    Of all the methods - Per Push is really the best method for the beginner. It avoids the guesswork and risk of the seasonal. But, at the same time, seasonals can be good money makers, besides providing a positive cash flow (I just got a check yesterday for a seasonal "paid in full". Now I've can get the tires I've been kind of waiting to buy,) Seasonals also provide a hedge for those "light' years - like we've had the past couple years. I have a feeling he'll "win" this year, though.
  7. SnoFarmer

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

    lol for beginers, no it is a better and simpler way .

    In your example Mick,
    The second increment is for $75 and the first is $50 if you plowed the lot twice you lost $25, is it easer to plow it the second time so you discount it $25.
    Am I right?

    Per push is per push.
    You can dress it up anyway you want but it should be the same rate every time you plow the lot..
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,239

    How can per push mean you charge only 1 time for plowing something twice in 1 storm?

    Maybe I'm too literal, but per push means to me they get charged each time I push the lot, partially or completely. I might prorate it if I only push part of it, might not. I have that option spelled out in my contracts.

    My per push usually goes to 6", then extra might kick in. I can't make it through my entire route(s) in less than 5-6 hours, so there is a chance--especially with lake effect--that there can be more than the 2" trigger at my accounts.

    It also gives me the option of (flame suit on) waiting out the storm and plowing it once when the storm stops. Go ahead, fire away. I plowed over 20" off my church lot one time. Day and a half after the storm stopped. It did have a fire lane open, but 90% of the lot had that much snow on it. Loader with a 14' Daniels wing plow, had a heck of a lot of fun with that one.
  9. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Mick's explanation is probably gonna be the closest to what our area is most used to. Residentials around here generally won't want to pay more than $35 per regular storm (my range is 2 to 9, 9+ to 18, 18+, which I know is a fairly broad range, but it's not bad). My average driveway, no shoveling, is $30, $45, & $60 for the respective ranges, adding another 5 for walkways/shoveling.

    Call or email sometime, and we can kick some ideas around.

    How's the plow restoration progress? And get back to class!!!!

  10. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I guess for me the issue is frequency. How many times is the place going to be plowed in 24 hours or a storm. I plow 1 time per day with a 2” trigger. If it snows after I plow, then I come back the next morning and you get charged again.

    I understand that there is a zero tolerance for some places. Then like SnoFarmer said, in those cases there should never be more than 2 - 4 inches on the ground and it is the same price for the lot/driveway every time you show up to push. Even if it is 5 times a day.

    If a customer want their lot/driveway plowed at a 2” trigger and done by 7:00 a.m. Then every time it accumulates 2” after that. You should plow and charge a flat rate every time you show up and push 2”.

    If the customer wants their lot/driveway plowed at a 2” trigger and done by 7:00a.m. and only one time per day. You plow it in the a.m. for a flat per push rate. The next a.m. you show up because between when you finished plowing and the next a.m. more snow fell. Now you have to move more than 2” of snow. Might be 10” on the ground. This is where the per inch or a per hour rate might come in. Driveway, I can handle that. Commercial parking lot, probably not. So I would charge the flat rate plus hourly OR the flat rate plus $XX.xx per inch over the normal amount.
  11. SnoFarmer

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

    It is not your customers fault you can not get there and plow their lot at the trigger depth is it.:nono:
    So why charge them for your short comings?

    If there is a trigger depth and it is reached then it snows over that and you have not plowed the lot yet you are lacking in your service you promised to your customer.
    Now you are going to charge more for this?
    I know this happens to everyone but I can not see charging more for what is the fault or short comings of the contractor..

    Hey, as for not plowing with the storm, if you have the right equipment you can plow it whenever..

    "a push is a push" full price even if the lot is full of cars or emptey.
  12. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,239

    Few years back, we had a little storm blow through. 22" in 24 hours. Big lots that take 4 hours to plow--with a loader\push box combo--are impossible to service at the trigger. We plowed a couple of our larger lots 5-6 times in about 30 hours. The first night of the storm (started in the afternoon) we plowed back to back, and cleared at least 6" each time. Same thing happened the next night. Fortunately, it was over a weekend and pretty much everything shut down for a few days.

    SF, notice I said "might" get charged.

    I know, different strokes for different folks. We are fortunate in that people still understand that it snows in the winter and that some snow is acceptable, to a point.

    Let me use an example. I have a customer that shuts down at 5 PM or 6 PM. There's an inch on the lot at closing, trigger will be met by 8 PM and it isn't going to stop for 4 more hours. Would you go plow it at closing or wait the 4 hours and plow it once? You know my answer.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  13. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    we do it per push also..something like 1-3' 4-8' , 8+ like someone said the lot should never have the 4,6, 8 10 + inches of snow BUT if it's snowing hard during the day we go through and path the lots open every 2 or so inches ( and do the walks). your not able to come close to fully plowing the lot until the business closes and cars leave. you can probably imagine what a mess 8" of snow piled along isles is to clean up at the end of the snow. so however many iches fell during the snowstorm is what the plow bill will be for. they are also charged for the pathings that we did throughout the day and any partial saltings we did on the isles...i don't know any one in this area that does it differently.
    Ground Effects LLC
  14. Mick

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

    I hope nobody took my explanation as "this is the right way ....". What I tried to do was give the general descriptions for each type and the idea that for each type, there are several variations. My intention was to show how "per push" differentiated from "per inch" and "seasonal". As everyone pointed out, specific method will depend more on local custom and your circumstances than anything.
  15. SnoFarmer

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

    You know my answer too.....
    If it was a heavy wet snow with falling temps or a big dump....
    I would plow it just after closing time.
    This would be to lighten my work load for the next morning.
    Make sense?
    I would not charge for this push as it is for my benefit only.
    Time is money and time is at a premium in the early am hrs.
    If it was light powder I would wait until morning also.

    Then I would push it again just before opening at the per push rate.
  16. SnoFarmer

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

    lol,, no problem.
    There are as many ways to charge as there are accounts..
    It's all good info to consider for how to charge for your services.

    I'm just asking questions too.
  17. 06HD BOSS

    06HD BOSS 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,611

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  18. Just a note for you plowsite veterans on this thread: this is great information! I am new to plowing and new to this site and I ~thought~ that I knew what "per-push" meant. I'm sure glad I read this thread though. As I said on another thread as an introduction, I'm set up to plow hourly with a municipality, so I hope I don't have to make any of these decisions. Though I've just been asked to quote a small post office. Not sure what to tell them.
  19. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    im just concentrating on drives this year. might do a little small commercial (not my contracts more up to the friend who has them and what hes got going. im not locking into commercials and just passing them on.)..

    im trying to keep it real simple and i've already gotten flak from this from someone i know who says im crazy.

    im not using any contracts. any agreements. just verbal.
    if a drive is fourty and i go back twice i bill fourty for the first and the second im just telling people it wont be full price. the price im basically not stating at all. depends on how heavy the snow is, how much, how long the storm. but for each time back im not billing full price. reason being if i if i go back four times they would get a bill for a hundred sixty dollars and i see the customers perspective and why they wouldnt like it. i also see why even if i go back three extra times its my choice it could have been done in two times. im not playing around with trigger depth on the drives. if i dont think they can get out then i plow it and i leave it clean after the storm. but i dont want to bill out repeatedly full price per push, especially if its only a one day storm. other thing im telling people is if the storms over and the town plow goes by and there is too much for them to shovel or get the vehicle out ill go back again just to clean up the edge of the road and i wont charge them full price. im not really telling them what ill charge im doing it completley on a case by case basis with the goal of just being "fair" and keep them happy while still getting paid. i realize i could be making more and im putting in more efforts than may be required. im also leaving room for argument with customers but i see this also as avoiding tying myself into certain situations and allowing me to use my own discretion..
    suppose i just have it in my mind that it is my job to make sure the driveway is clean. it is my job to make sure they can get out during the storm. and if i try to bill out for every penny possible from the customers perspective i dont think im being fair and i wrap myself up into justifying why i plowed that push instead of just waiting a extra hour. like i said i have already been given flak for this from someone i know. im just thinking if they are happy with the service and i happy with the way im doing business then i guess its working. biggest thing is im doing the job which is making sure they can get out and its left clean while not locking myself so i cant think for myself.
  20. mike33087

    mike33087 Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    the way i do all my "per pushes" are "

    depending on the time of the storm

    but lot is quoted said price and everytime i go throught the lot that is what they are charged
    -full day storm
    hit it before they open (full charge)
    hit it right before they close (full charge)
    clean it up if needed (1/2 charge)

    usually aim to just have to be there twice, open it up then clean it up later but we all know how the weather works

    we go out when theres 2" down and more comming