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Pricing Residential

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by BOSS Adam, Jul 18, 2001.

  1. BOSS Adam

    BOSS Adam Guest
    Messages: 0

    How do you guys price residential I plow a lot of residential and can't seem to get the price down and i'm starting to get into commercial plowing last year and i'm hoping to get more into it this year. But how would you guys go upon pricing residental?


    BOSS Adam
  2. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    The best way I've found, since I'm still a little new to the pricing game, is to find out what they were paying before, and what services were being done. Then, figure out if you can do a good job for that amount, + or - for any other services being performed or not being performed. If your price does come out a little higher, make your customer feel like they will be getting better service (and make sure you follow through.)

  3. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    As with anything, it is time you are selling, and what you need to be compenstated for that time. If it is going to take you a 1/2 hr round trip to do a driveway, then you need to factor all that into pricing not just time alloted at the driveway.
    Dont sell yourself short either. Dont get hung up on what others before you have charged, find out what the customer wants, but do not gauge your pricing by what others before have done, everyones overhead, and situation is different, so pricing will vary a great deal.
  4. BOSS Adam

    BOSS Adam Guest
    Messages: 0

    alright thanks for ur replys guys


    MATTHEW Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 47

    you want numbers?

    This will be my first year, so I am in no position to give you an opinion. But, being the curious type that I am, I always get around to asking people who plow how much they charge, and it really can vary. Let's say a 50 foot single drive. One guy will do it for $10.00 and the larger nursury will charge $25.00. Guess a lot depends on your overhead.
  6. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    With regard to "overhead" and the wide range of $ figures for the 50' single drive example, things like insurance, business licence and commercial registration for the truck all cost money.

    I think it's a pretty safe bet that the $10.00 bidder doesn't worry about many (any?) of those things.
  7. Mick

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

    When I started last year, I used what I paid the guy who had been doing my driveway. I figured he was really too low, so I bumped that up a little. Then when I bid a drive, I would compare driveways for backdragging, obstacles etc. In the end, it came down to what they were willing to pay and if I was willing to accept that. I think you'll find that for any area, people just charge a flat rate for a typical driveway. Just ask several people what they pay, whether you're going to be doing their drive or not. Most will be straight with you. Compare answers and you'll have average rate. Start out by charging high, you can always come down. More difficult to go up when you realize you're too cheap. Like Dino said, though, don't worry too much about what the other guy is charging. He knows what he's worth. You'll find plenty of people value service over price and are willing to pay for it.
  8. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    I suppose I should've clarified this a little more. When I ask what the customer was paying before, I also ask: were they happy with the service, what all was being done, were they insured, etc. The more information you get from your customers about the service they had, and the service they want... the better off you'll be when it comes to providing it to them.

    There. That sounds a little better.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2001
  9. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    A little advice....
    I have been plowing residentials for many years now. I have driveways that run anywhere from $35.00 to $100.00 per push.

    Of course the rates in my area may not be viable in your area, so be warned.

    If you are just starting out in plowing, work at trying to get two or three driveways (or more) in the same neighborhood or on the same street. This has always worked to my advantage. There is less travel time involved between customers, and inveritably you always pick up a couple more from the neighbors who have seen you doing the other houses on their street.

    You need to know what your cost of business is... what do you need to make per hour with your truck to make a decent profit. Once you know this figure, you should be able to estimate how long it takes to do a given driveway. I recommend that you use site plans, even if they are hand drawn mapsto document obstacles to watch out for and to identify the specific areas to pile snow. Keep these site plans in your truck ( if you have more than one truck duplicate them and have a book in each truck. This way if one truck breaks down another driver can fill in and will be current on the site specific details.

    Once you know your cost and your estimated time (plus a fudge factor to cya) price out the job. REMEMBER, ASK THE CUSTOMER QUESTIONS... for example where do they park cars? How many cars are in the driveways and at what times? Do they need the driveway done by a special time? All of this will aid you in planning your route, bidding and winning the jobs, and keeping the jobs. There is nothing worse than bidding a job and finding out in the first storm that the drive is full of cars and you can't clear it on your first site visit and you have to keep going back to see when the cars are moved. Kills your profit margin really quick if you have to keep revisiting the site time after time after time.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2001
  10. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    If there is one thing I have learned about pricing plowing services, it's how much pricing varies from area to area, as others have said. What a customer pays $50 for in my area, they might pay $20 for in yours.

    What worked for me, was figuring out a flat rate per car. Some people price parking lots by the # of parking spaces, and I did driveways that way. I did what JCurtis recommends, I had all my driveways within a 2 mile radius. Typically 5 or more (sometimes 10) on any given street. For me, a minimum charge was $25. That was for a 1 or 2 car driveway. It basically came down to $10 per "parking space", and the $5 covered shoveling the 10' long walk up to the front door. Driveways that you could park 4 cars in, would be $40 - $50, and included that same 10' walk up to the door. If the customer wanted to shovel their own walk (and some did) then it was still $40 - $50 for that same 4 car driveway. Sometimes I'd go a little lower for senior citizens.

    Another thing I did, and it was my choice, the same as it is yours, is that I dropped all the driveways I had that involved backdragging. I don't mean ones that had a little in front of the garage doors, I mean ones that the entire driveway had to be backdragged. I found that my time could be better spent (more profitably) doing "easier" driveways. So in a way, I chose my customers, instead of taking on any job that came along. I also dropped all customers that left cars parked in their driveways overnight. Some actually expected me to clean off their cars, move them into the street, plow the driveway, and then put the cars back!!! I plow snow, I'm not a valet!

    Not sure if the "per parking space" method of pricing will work for you, but it worked for me, and made pricing somewhat "standard". Remember, customers often talk to each other, and when they find out they are basically on the same "rate schedule", they feel that they aren't being overcharged.