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Residential Queries: Can This Be Real?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Dougman, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. Dougman

    Dougman Member
    from MA
    Messages: 83

    I am just starting out this year and put into place a residential price structure for priority customers recommended by a friend who is, admittedly, more into commercial plowing than residential. The price structure is this: Per-push basis only, 3 inch trigger, 3 to 4 inches per push, all pushes at agreed "per push" price, price cap at three pushes per single storm, after storm clean-ups free if needed. Client can opt out of any storm with advance notice. Non-contract, per storm services offered as an alternative.

    As potential clients are calling me, I am being told that others in my town (in Southeastern Massachusetts) are offering significantly reduced price or free pushes after the first full-priced push within a 24-hour period. Not sure if this is true or just clients trying to negotiate a better price from me.

    I don't mind negotiating over the basic "per push" price, and even rejecting those I can't justify economically, but discounted or free second, third and fourth pushes within 24-hours could land me in the poor house. In some instances, the single full-priced push fee for a large storm wouldn't even cover my fuel plus time at minimum wage... let alone truck and equipment depreciation/wear and tear.

    Is this common practice? Or just client haggling technique? Or have I just run across some plowing folks in my town who like to give away their services?

    Your thoughts?

  2. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Yes I have seen guys that will do clean-ups or even multiple return trips within the same event for free. They either charge enough up front that they can afford to do this (because you usually only have 2-3 long storms a year) or they used it as a tool to get new customers and don't have a clear idea of their true costs, AND some customers will play the game (you just need to be aware of what you up against so you can throw there smack back at'em: IE, ..but the other guy will return for free... YES, but he charges twice what I charge for your size driveway!)
  3. Mick

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

    My response is something like - "Then why are you calling me?" or "You need to get him back, there's no way I can compete with that." Amazing how their story changes or gets added to and you find out the rest of the story - credit to Paul Harvey.