Residential plowing routes

flakesmeangreen

Senior Member
Location
Lords Valley, PA
I was wondering how long your residential plowing routes take, the number of drives you do & your opinion on when to stop accepting more contracts. Yes, believe it or not I've gotten 5 more contracts in the past week. I'd hate to turn down work but I don't want to take on too many & not give good service.

I run solo & have 35 drives; it's about an 8 hour plowing route. Is this too long? I had no problem (complaints or calls) getting everyone done at a reasonable hour for the first storm since I was out plowing by 1:00 am (the storm ended around midnight). But a storm that ends at 6:00 am is going to be a totally different story. I know the guy that plowed me before I got my plow would show up in the afternoon from such a storm but that's not to say it was correct.

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated!
 

Sno

Senior Member
Location
Bryan, Ohio
5 in a week? You must have snow?

How do you advertise?

I would take all you can. Just tell the new ones what your backlog is and that you will get them when you can.

Be honest with them, maybe tell them where they are on your list.

Id put commercial first and then first come first served on the residentials.

My two cents on it anyway.
 

CT18fireman

Banned
Location
Western CT
I make mine about 6 hours for a normal snowfall (under 6") Normally over that means multiple runs and other factors come into play. If a driver finishes then he heads over to help another out. All drivers know the routes not just their own.
 
OP
flakesmeangreen

flakesmeangreen

Senior Member
Location
Lords Valley, PA
sno

Yeah, we had 7" sunday night and then another 4" monday throughout the day. They were all referals. A couple guys that previously plowed stopped this year for different reasons from what I hear.

porter

Wow! I thought mine were decently close, sounds like you're hooked up well.
 

casey

Banned
Location
Toronto Canada
solo 35 drives 8 hrs.
What's the average drive size & drive time between each?

You can offer a day after service at discounted rates once you feel your primary snow removal route has been filled. Many residential customers will bite (unless you're in a heavy snow zone, or a buyer's market) & this can keep you working a day or 2 after a storm. I have a small profitable seperate route for day after service that I do myself.
 
OP
flakesmeangreen

flakesmeangreen

Senior Member
Location
Lords Valley, PA
casey-

I'm plowing in an area that's about 8 sq miles and has approximately 72 miles of roads. All of my plowing is within a 2 mile radius of my house. My average distance between driveways is 3 - 4 minutes (1 1/2 - 2 hours total drive time-more than I anticipated) and driveways take anywhere between 3 - 20 minutes to complete. I ended up putting about 100 miles on the truck. Of course all of these numbers are from the 1st storm of the season; numbers will change.

I tried something similar to your discounted rate plan but didn't get any bites on it.
 

OBRYANMAINT

PlowSite.com Veteran
Location
ohio
my residential route is approximately 40 drives , the driver finishes it in roughly 4 hours

i will never stop taking new ones when that route gets to like 60 or so i will break it into 2 routes and add another truck(sub)

i generally dont gain a large number after the season has started
 

Daryl

Junior Member
We plow approximately 200 residential driveways per snow event with 1" of snow being the trigger. We also have a large base of commerical accounts.

Our residential is all done on monthly contracts from November - till March. Commerical is done by the hour, month, and push.

Our contracts with residential state that within 24 hours of event completion their driveways will be cleared.

We clear our commerical contracts at night and our residential during the day. We sometimes get asked by residential to have their drives cleared by 7:00am. We do not offer that service and I do not know of any other contractors that offer 7:00am service. I'm sure there is several but I would think the price would be huge. Sometimes the residents ask how they will get out of their driveways. Are reply to them if the snow is so deep they can't make it to the road then they'll probably not be able to drive on the road either. Anyways this system works well for us.
 

CT18fireman

Banned
Location
Western CT
I never gurantee anyone, even commercials of a completion time. Mainly because I never know when the snow will end. We are out when it starts to snow and start doing full plowing and cleanup as soon as it stops.

It was brought up in a previous thread months ago the idea of telling a customer they may have to wait as much as 24 hours to have their property cleared. I don't see how this works. I can't say that I do not give priority to the commercial accounts but I feel residential is just as important. I try to keep all customers happy. My routes may have both residential and commercial and are done in an order to avoid backtracking. No one around here would pay after having to wait half a day to have their drive cleared.

The way our route works means that yes some major commercials are hit first but often this is just to open the areas for business. Then the route is completed. We can always go back to push back condos and large lots. Often it is easier to do it this way IMO. Either way we have everything at least mostly plowed within about 6 hours of a snowfall ending.
 

casey

Banned
Location
Toronto Canada
Originally posted by CT18fireman

It was brought up in a previous thread months ago the idea of telling a customer they may have to wait as much as 24 hours to have their property cleared. I don't see how this works.

This is why it can work if you are doing residentials & the market is not saturated with contractors.

Originally posted by CT18fireman
What makes it (snow removal) necessity? If they have no where to go then they can stay until it melts. IF an ambulance has to get in they will often call a town truck to clear the drive. At least here in CT they do.

Some residential customers will pay a discounted rate to have their snow cleared day after. I have a "24 hr" or "day after list" which is low priority & can be completed at my convenience. This may not work in all markets.
 

CT18fireman

Banned
Location
Western CT
If you can work that then I congratulate you. I just know that here if people are going to have their drive done they want it done within a little while of the storm ending. They want to be able to get out and get to work. Otherwise they will not pay.

Now obviously if there was a 7ft snowfall this might not be possible. That is why there is a clause in the agreement to allow for extreme snowfalls.

The residential market is very open here. Lots of contractors work commercial but very few work the residentials. It is still a demanding market though. Especially when the area is mostly full of yuppie commuters. They pay big but are demading for it.
 

casey

Banned
Location
Toronto Canada
Target Seniors..

...and keep working days after a storm.
Don't you have seniors or those on disability, on a fixed budget who would rather have their walks cleared every snowfall (it's law in the city).
I'm working on building routes that could run 2-3 days after a storm instead of adding additional crews. Residentials breed referrals & competition is minimal.
Scroll down to Snow Removal Subsidy Information (Missisauga is next door to Toronto). "Day after discounts" in Toronto is basically just a selling phrase & prices reflect this.


http://www.city.mississauga.on.ca/tranwork/html/snow.htm
 

CT18fireman

Banned
Location
Western CT
I have some weekend homes here that belong to residents of NYC. I may not give them top priority but I would never wait more than a few hours to do them. After one night the snow would freeze into a block of ice and be twice as hard to remove. Get it done early and it will be easy.
 

casey

Banned
Location
Toronto Canada
The point would not be to do your primary route slower but to have a secondary route that could be done at your convenience.
Seniors on a budget, of which there are many around here, will pay for a delayed service. However, our snow does not generally freeze into a block of ice after a few hours & ease of removal is usually equivilant to earlier contracts.
 

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