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Residential pricing

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by gtmustang00, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. gtmustang00

    gtmustang00 Senior Member
    from Berlin
    Messages: 752

    I usually charge per push and plow with the storm (4-5 inches for residential), but what do you do about the customers that tell you to come at the end of the storm? What do you do when you get a big storm?
  2. flakesmeangreen

    flakesmeangreen Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    You need to educate the customers on why you cannot always wait until the end of the storm. Significant accumulation requires multiple pushes regardless of how they are charged. It’s that simple. If they do not understand the concept of why you sometimes need to plow more than once, you're probably better without them as a customer. I attempt to educate them first and when that doesn’t work they get dropped.
  3. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    As flakes stated educate them that it needs to occur other ways. But we give a per push price based on amount on the ground at the time of the push. So like 1-6" could be 35$ (just an example price) 6-12" could be $50/push over 12 could be hourly at $65/hour with a 1 hour minimum, or you could say for every 1 inch over 12" is $6 or 8$ or what ever.
  4. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I really need to change mine accumulation numbers, I have mine set 1-12" on resi drives and 1-6 6-+ on commercial.
    We never get more then 3 inches at a time, and that is if we are lucky enough to get more then 1 inch...
    So I just never have dealt with it, it may come bite me in the end, but so far I have not see that kind of snow in the last 10-15 years (not been pushing that long, just that much snow in general)
  5. overtime

    overtime Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    I do most my resi drives at the end of the snow fall. I charge then by the inches. 1-4 and 4-7. If for some reason they want me to come in the middle of the snow i do. but i charge a service fee and the inch fee. then again when snow stops. The service charge doesnt stop anyone yet this year.
  6. Sorry guys but this talk about "educating" a customer just wont fly around here. Most residentials around here are once n done after the snow has stopped and preferably after the municpal plow has been through so the apron can be done at the same time. Most if not all customers will not pay for multiple pushes(unless they have a special need like have to be at work no matter what etc). To the poster that said significant accumulations require multiple pushes, I understand to a point and in a perfect world that would be how it was done but if you cant adequately clear a residential drive with a plow and snowblower at even 16" thats a problem. The resis I still do are priced incrementaly based on total accumulation and those who request earlier service etc pay a service charge. With the amount of competition around here if you try to "educate" the customer they will simply call someone else who will do it the way they want.
  7. mikelawtown

    mikelawtown Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 429

    So if it's snowing at 8pm and stops at 2pm (big storm) how do people get out of their drive to go to work? Thats part of what they are paying for. i ask before the season if the snow is still flying i come in the am to get them out then 1/2 charge after it's done. Never lost a cust this way.
  8. Brock

    Brock Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I know everyone has different ways of pricing, but I was wondering if using a flat rate per 3 inches, no matter how much snowfall, is a common practice?
    Example: $35 per 3 inches
    9 in = $105
    15 in = $175

    CT-TILEMAN Member
    Messages: 61

    I ask them what they want to do, if they have to be out of the driveway by 7:00 am I just open the drive up quickly, not a full push, just a path, they pay 1/2 price for that service and then they pay full price for the full push next time I come by after the storm stops and they are happy with that.

    Some don't need any plowing up to 4" regardless because they have a short, rather level driveway and own an SUV or AWD car and can wait to be plowed.

    Each customer/driveway is a unique situation and should be handled in a way that benefits you financially as well as the clients need, weekends are a whole 'nother ballgame as many people would rather sit home and not leave the house.

  10. GMCHD plower

    GMCHD plower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,831

    I know a couple people around were I live charge per amount meaning:
    1-8"= $35 (for figures)
    8.1-16"=usually double the 1-8" figure and with these prices they will "build in" showing up lets say twice for 1-8" (depending on timing of the storm) and lets say 3-4 times for the 8-16" figure
  11. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    yup i agree. You need to talk with your clients to determine what there exact needs are for it. some will ask for more pushes and others will want you to wait until the end. Thats the problem with a lot of plowers/landscapers these days. They dont listen to their customers and do what they ask. I do try to push them in a direction favoring me, but sometimes it just doesnt happen.
  12. jandjcarpentry

    jandjcarpentry Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 318

    This is how I charge: Example 3" to 6" = $40 7" to 13" = $80 14" to 18" = $120

    Anyone else charge like this?
  13. Carpenter98

    Carpenter98 Member
    Messages: 41

    I charge by hour only. I get $75 for the truck (commercial) $65 (residential), $60 for the tractor. My partner has his own hourly rates but similar to mine. I don't shovel or snow blow, everything is done from behind a steering wheel. My partner's crew handles the jobs involving shoveling & blowing. Minimum charge is 1 hour, 15 min increments after 1 hour. Time starts when we leave the previous job & ends when we leave their site. The increase of snowfall automatically increases our time, so we don't see a need to charge based on amount. When we talk with a new client, we give them an idea as to how much time we will have depending on snowfall range so they have an idea as to price.

    For commercial we normally plow in 6" intervals. 3" is the trigger. If they are predicting 8" we will wait til the storm is over unless they call us. Over 8" prediction means we plow at least twice. We don't like to let more than 8" fall without plowing. Takes so much more time to stack & push and is harder on equipment. Several of the places we do are loading docks and lumberyards where there are several long pushes & snow has to be pushed to the end of a row of buildings.

    We do commercial first, residential second unless the homeowner wants to pay the commercial rate (most don't). Residential will normally wait until after the storm, unless the prediction is for greater than 12", then it gets done twice.

    We stay away from incremental pricing because of the gray areas. (blowing snow, drifts, 6" of wet snow that gets squashed to 4" by rain, ect) Some businesses will just have us do certain areas in real deep snows to save some money.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  14. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I disuade end of storm plowing- and charge accordingly to the hassle it is for me to do them after the storm. I agree you need to discuss your customer's needs and suit them, however waiting until there is 14 inches on the drive and 36 at the curb is not suitable for ME and MY truck. Can I push 16 inches- probably, most of them time. Depends on the snow. Will I push 14 inches regularly- no way. Not worth the extra stress on the truck or the extra work on the driver. I explain to those customers the extra work and stress, and make sure they understand and agree I cannot and will not guarantee I can clear their drive if they wait that long. I have had cases where I get 10 feet in with a full blade and that's all she'd push due to failing traction. No I don't have a V blade, and I have no intention of getting one just to break out these customers.
    I only had one customer like that, regularly calling while I'm 3/4 done with the route asking me to come by and plow their long driveway. I charged extra for the stress, and hassle of having to go back to that point of my route just to do them. Usually, I will add 25-75% for that kind of plow depending on the individual situation (snow, amount, customer, history with said customer)- I charge by the push. I say had because last year they called while I had a breakdown and my route was being subbed. The sub was on out at the far end of the route- 3-4 ours away from being able to come back into town to service this customer. I told the customer the situation and said I'd have him cleared out as soon as possible but was told that wouldn't be fast enough- they needed to be out in 1 hour. All along (4 years) I was telling this customer they should be on my route regularly and serviced while I am there, trying to show them how much they would save over time per push, and ensuring they can get in/out when they need to... well there was no way I could, or would get the sub to come waste 2 hours driving to service this customer then back to finish the route so I apologized to the customer and told them I would do the best I could, but it would be at least 3 hours, and reminded them if they had been on my route instead of calling post storm like they do they would have been plowed 2 hours ago. They called me back 15 minutes later and said it was alright, they got someone to get them out and they'd talk to me next storm- never heard from them again and I've saved about 1 hour of my time each storm since.

    I have one customer who is last on my route and is almost always done when the storm is wrapping up. I often plow him with 8-12 inches down, but it's my choice to do him last (location off my route) so I don't surcharge him for that.