Pricing '21-'22 Season

Freshwater

PlowSite Veteran
This likely not popular but in some res neigborhoods I reduce price to get volume. Have a few streets with many multiples. Almost like doing a complex
This is poor practice, IMO. if your service is good, you likely would have gotten most of those people anyway. And you wouldn't have had to get all of them to make the same $$.

I had a neighboring business try to flag me down last year to plow their lot. I declined as I dont plow anything out of contract. I was on my 2nd service at 830am. Their guy didnt make it there till 3pm. I turned a bid in for this year and found out there under new managment. I dont expect to get the lot, as my number is very high, and this new manager didnt go through last years experience. I say oh well, I would have been dropping another lot farther out to take a new one anyway. Been a long time since I've had to beg for customers, winter or summer.
 

jato

Senior Member
Location
SE Michigan
What's everyone doing for pricing this year?

Up? Down? Stay the same?

Do you do job costing to determine if you need to raise prices across the board?

We went up quite a bit on our residential prices and have been getting some pushback already. Not sure if they've missed the news about inflation. We're telling them the cost per service at the price quoted and explaining the manpower shortage as well as fuel just about doubling. Seems like we never have a problem filling routes so if I even wanted to think about dropping prices, I certainly wouldn't be doing it this early.
I have aimed high with residential so far and have not had trouble closing.
I think the same thing that happened with grass is going to happen with snow this year. A lot of small operations are going to close up shop. So I am raising rates until I start getting at least 1/3 saying "no".
 

jato

Senior Member
Location
SE Michigan
We had what I believe was our first applicant that's been living off unemployment interview. Used to work for an excavator...wasn't called back due to Covid (allegedly). Interviewed for equipment operator at another snow jockey outfit last year...wasn't called back after his first interview.

Anyone else see a pattern? Both those industries are killing for skilled, reliable employees.
Not all the skilled summer workers can get winter work, so I have been stopping guys in tractors from big contracting companies that I know do snow for the cities around me. I ask if they work in the winter, and if they want to. I give them our card and pitch them the job.

In general I think a sign on bonus is like asking to be betrayed and I would never use one for a job that is either boring or hard. But I'm thinking about a guaranteed minimum pay if they show up for the full season, and don't miss a shift. And an end of season bonus if they made every shift.
That is what farmers in central Illinois do when young kids help with detassling corn. A big end of season bonus for making it.

I'd do half the minimum guaranteed pay at the end of each month (if they made every shift when called but didn't make the minimum with hourly), and the other half at the end of the full season if hours were light and they never made it to the mimimim total. So if it's $1000/mo guaranteed minimum, for example, for a sidewalk crew leader, I'd get them to $500 each month. Paid on week 2 of the following month of course. Then at end of season if they didn't make the $3500 total minimum (or whatever it is), I'd get them there. Plus the end of season bonus if there is one. This is just generally what makes sense to me. If the goal is dependability.
 

fireside

PlowSite.com Addict
Location
Bethany CT
Well I’m going up! Inflation is off the charts I got prices on simple cutting edges triple the cost plus shipping surcharge. I was warned at the dealer parts are up over 50% abs hope you don’t break something and want it in a hurry.
Things are just way to crazy right now
 

fireside

PlowSite.com Addict
Location
Bethany CT
Well I’m going up! Inflation is off the charts I got prices on simple cutting edges triple the cost plus shipping surcharge. I was warned at the dealer parts are up over 50% abs hope you don’t break something and want it in a hurry.
Things are just way to crazy right now plus fuel is up $1.32 a gallon simple math says it going up
 

cjames808

Senior Member
Location
SE WI
I’ve managed to price myself out of a few already and a few stayed on with increases without any haggling.

One customer told me they’d let me keep 4 small apts with the increase only if we did one more out of our area. Sorry I don’t have unlimited workers to be driving around. They did keep us on a larger complex with 25% increase.

It’s plows down pedal to the medal around here.
 

EWSplow

PlowSite Fanatic
Location
Milwaukee
I had a client call about something else today. Since I have been doing a lot of work for her for more than a decade, I thought I'd mention I'm thinking about getting out of the snow business.
Her response caught me of guard.
"Would it be worth it for you to raise prices significantly and keep doing it?"
I told her that help is impossible to find and I'd at the very least be dropping all sidewalks.
 

abbe

Senior Member
Location
RI
Screw the sign on bonus. Take that number, figure out how many hours they will most likely average during the season with you, and divide. Add it to the hourly wage. Lure them in with the big hourly dollar value.

This has been our approach and its been halfway decent. I have some steady sidewalk help that has been with me a few years. Sure there is attrition as their employment situations change, but I think the appreciate being paid well. At the end of the day they aren't full time employees for me and many work before during and after a shift. I view it that we are asking them to do **** work at **** hours based upon inconsistent weather. Pay well.

If these guys were hourly employees year round, absolutely not. But for 100-200hrs a season, $3-5 extra per hour is money well spent.

My 2 cents
 

Landgreen

Senior Member
Pricing went up for commercial accounts but for seasonal residential it's a different story due to last year's pathetic snowfall. There were some drives we cleared only 6-7 times where normally it's around 25 times. Before I even sent contracts out I was getting requests for reduction in seasonal pricing. Definitely not reducing our pricing but raising it will send many of them looking for another contractor. Many of these customers were new to our service last year and new to seasonal pricing. They were not excited to write that last check after not needing their drive done for several weeks and no snow on the ground.
 

LapeerLandscape

PlowSite Fanatic
Location
lapeer, mi
Pricing went up for commercial accounts but for seasonal residential it's a different story due to last year's pathetic snowfall. There were some drives we cleared only 6-7 times where normally it's around 25 times. Before I even sent contracts out I was getting requests for reduction in seasonal pricing. Definitely not reducing our pricing but raising it will send many of them looking for another contractor. Many of these customers were new to our service last year and new to seasonal pricing. They were not excited to write that last check after not needing their drive done for several weeks and no snow on the ground.
I can feel their pain and completely sympathize with them but on the other hand you don't make the weather.
 

cwren2472

PlowSite Fanatic
Location
north east
Pricing went up for commercial accounts but for seasonal residential it's a different story due to last year's pathetic snowfall. There were some drives we cleared only 6-7 times where normally it's around 25 times. Before I even sent contracts out I was getting requests for reduction in seasonal pricing. Definitely not reducing our pricing but raising it will send many of them looking for another contractor. Many of these customers were new to our service last year and new to seasonal pricing. They were not excited to write that last check after not needing their drive done for several weeks and no snow on the ground.
Do you offer residential on a per-push basis or seasonal only?
 
OP
Mark Oomkes

Mark Oomkes

PlowSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Pricing went up for commercial accounts but for seasonal residential it's a different story due to last year's pathetic snowfall. There were some drives we cleared only 6-7 times where normally it's around 25 times. Before I even sent contracts out I was getting requests for reduction in seasonal pricing. Definitely not reducing our pricing but raising it will send many of them looking for another contractor. Many of these customers were new to our service last year and new to seasonal pricing. They were not excited to write that last check after not needing their drive done for several weeks and no snow on the ground.

Lower their seasonal price but add a cap?

And I know it might fall on deaf (or stupid ears) but have you explained your costs involved whether it snows 6 times or 25 times?
 

cwren2472

PlowSite Fanatic
Location
north east
I always found residential per push invoicing, a paperwork nightmare. Trying to find time to bill all the different clients separately, all while still plowing snow, trying to find time to sleep.....:wall:
I was only asking because if he offers it already, then the clients already have another option. You can't whine about getting unlimited pushes for a fee because you were afraid of paying for 25 storms at a single push rate, and then also whine when it doesn't snow enough to "get your money's worth."

Well, you can whine but....
 

BUFF

PlowSite Fanatic
Location
FR NoCo
I always found residential per push invoicing, a paperwork nightmare. Trying to find time to bill all the different clients separately, all while still plowing snow, trying to find time to sleep.....:wall:
All my accounts were per push and would invoice monthly. As long as you logged your service throughoot the month it wasn't a PITA.
 

jonniesmooth

PlowSite Veteran
Location
Minnesota
Lower their seasonal price but add a cap?
I mentioned earlier in this thread, that I am going to offer this as an option this year.
And I do offer per push,monthly option too.
One lady asked me last year, " how would you prefer I pay?"
I told her I wanted her to chose whatever option she felt comfortable with.
That I am ok with all the options I offer, or I wouldn't offer them.
 

Landgreen

Senior Member
I can feel their pain and completely sympathize with them but on the other hand you don't make the weather.
It will be interesting to see if some bail even without a price increase.
But they 100% think you do… at least some of them. They also fail to realize what you need to maintain in order to be ready to perform services. It’s not like all your expenses disappear when it doesn’t snow. Some do, but not all.
Customers that own a business tend to be far more understanding of price increases. They get the shaft too with increase costs for labor, equipment etc
Do you offer residential on a per-push basis or seasonal only?
If a resi customer requests it I will throw out a price but it's usually fairly high. We have about 20% of the resi's on a per push. Good balance for the heavy winters. For the most part we only offer seasonal. Been there done that with customers requesting to switch back and forth between the two from year to year.
I always found residential per push invoicing, a paperwork nightmare. Trying to find time to bill all the different clients separately, all while still plowing snow, trying to find time to sleep.....:wall:
Usually takes me about a day at the end of each month. Considering switching to a two payment invoicing for resi's. I think the only blow back would be the handful that are on a tight budget and are used to four monthly payments. Many pay two invoices at a time already.
Lower their seasonal price but add a cap?

And I know it might fall on deaf (or stupid ears) but have you explained your costs involved whether it snows 6 times or 25 times?
Seems like a cap would be a pita for billing.

The resi service agreements are going out in a couple weeks so still have time to consider price increase or not.
 

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