Plowing car/rental lots??

Andrews Lawn

Junior Member
Shawnee, Kansas
How many people plow either car rental lots or car dealerships? Are they profitable enough to risk the accidents that could occur when plowing next to expensive cars?

How about piling the snow? If any body does these, how do you plow snow next to the cars without getting it piled up behind the cars that are parked in spaces? I guess this could pertain to any lot that has cars in it. I plowed some apartment complexs last year and they were hard to do because they were long narrow strips with one row of cars on each side and at the end that you don't enter was a dumpster where we couldn't block with a pile. the only place to pile the snow was on the sides of the dumpster which was not very big of space? So how do you veterans keep that snow away from the cars in a situation like that or a car lot?

We have a chance to maybe put a bid in on a lot of car rental lots, and i was just wondering what you thought. Any info is appreciated.


Chuck Smith

2000 Club Member
:waving: Welcome to PlowSite.

A V plow is the best in a situation where you want to control where ALL the snow goes. As far as dealers or rental places, do them hourly. It takes them forever to move cars, and you end up losing unless you charge hourly. Charging hourly is a fair way IMO. Charge hourly when they call you back to clear snow where cars were parked too.

I had a friend that managed a 2 million sq. ft. lot at Port Newark, where all the Lexus and Toyotas came in. When it snowed, he had a crew of 34 men to move cars so plowing could commence. It took them several days to clear the lot.....

I know others on this board that do no hourly plowing, EXCEPT car dealerships. Dealers are the exception. While you wait for cars to get moved, you get paid for your time.

Since they typically need every square inch of space, often hauling snow off site is an easy upsell, or requirement.

That's my 2 cents..........



Senior Member
I learned something new today. I learned hourly pricing can be as profitable in the end as per push pricing. Inefficiencies inherent to certain bid specifications do lend themself to be quite profitable in the end.

The one factor that you need on your side to make hourly pricing profitable is inefficiency. I would say there is nothing that makes plowing less efficient than a lot full of vehicles. I'd take that account in a heartbeat if everything else meshed with this customer and I.

On the other hand, how would you like to do that car lot per push and have the clock ticking and nobody in too big a hurry to coordinate moving cars, etc.?

You will likely need to make arrangements for hauling and/or stacking or relocating of snow on the premises. Ask how they have handled the excessive snow in the past.

Really long story short:
Have green account that needs hourly snow pricing.
Almost didn't bid it because I was "too good" for hourly pricing.
Decided when in Rome..., priced account hourly, setup meeting.
Met with manager today and found out they need snow relocated every event (xtra $$$) and were expecting to spend 2-3X what I would normally charge per push for service.

Western Michigan
I hadn't really thought that scenario through before, but it really makes sense. I learn something new from these boards all the time !

Keep in mind though, that it will mean you cannot be somewhere else if you are spending all that time at the car lot, so make sure it pays equivilent to your per push lots in the end.

If it is extra work, and you are not giving up anything, simply adding more guys to your crew, and you can make decent money off from them, then by all means go for it.


Senior Member
I think of it like I have two pies of equal size. One is cut into eight pieces, the other in four. Which pie is bigger?

The guys in heavier snow markets have already proven that they can get away with charging less per hour and remain profitable. Therefore, it stands to reason that if you have accounts that require a high level of service and many hours of service, you can afford to charge less.

Again, I think you would run the risk of going broke if you were to charge your average 50,000 ft2 lots hourly rates since hourly is generally less profitable than what most would try to generate hourly when they charge per plow.

Maybe give them an hourly price with a set minimum. Decide how much you would want to make with the truck. Let's say you would normally assign 5 hours of plowing generating $100 per hour on per-plow accounts in a 2" snowfall. You might tell them (dealership) you will provide a truck and operator for $75 per hour with a $500 minimum. That way you know you will earn the same in the end, and your truck won't be worked hard and heavy like it would if you were trying to get through a plow route.

I'll bet my fellow SIMA members love me advocating hourly pricing. Although, I am just trying to illustrate that it can be profitable, not that it always is. If someone is shopping hourly rates and you are at the top of those hourly rates, you will get the customers that want good service.

My guess for average snowfall in your market is under 20" judging by what I saw when I looked up snowfall averages in Kansas, so I definitely would charge as much hourly as the market would bear.

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