Junior Member
You guys ever consider retainer fees on commercial sites? We do four of them Dec.1 - Mar.1. They can be as high as $1000 per month, and it is all credited against storms. If it doesn't snow most companies understand. You invest in equipment for them, salt and sand for their site, and don't lose your shirt if you have a dry winter.

The other thing that we focus on is that you have to have a commercial grounds care package signed with us for the upcoming season before we will even entertain the possibilities of snow removal with you.


2000 Club Member
Anyone doing the same thing on residential accounts? I had posted a thread about this after last season's dreadful results, found it applies to mostly commercial accounts.

I'm trying to incorperate a 2 push per month retainer in new accounts to cover my expenses as you've listed.


Senior Member
Elgin, IL
I just started my onw company last season, after working at an hourly rate for the other guy, sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring all winter. I started with just the intention of lawn fertilizing and sub-snow work in the winter. I took a chance and bid on a job as full season snow removal at a local gas station. Ended up with three station last year and was told I was crazy for billing monthly, and even more crazy for including salt in the monthly bill rate.

Well that was last year. This year I have been given several refferals and will be serviceing over 15 locations using a monthly bill rate covering Nov.1 - Mar 31. Yes, five months, and I have again included salt.(that is Rock salt only, any blended product is billed per application) If it snow like hell than maybe, just maybe, the worst that will happen is I break even and write it off. As far as the profit possibility, how about enough to maybe pay cash for a new 1 ton truck, after paying off the loan on the 3/4 ton i bought new last season.

I would say that for the smaller lots if they can lock into a rate allowing a manger to set a budget for next year and the manager gets a bonus off that, than they will sign up. That is what has worked for me, and my next move is to lock into a three year deal on all of these. Maybe you should call me "Crazy" but if it works the bank would be very happy too.


Senior Member
Glenview, Ill.
Plowing Prepayments

Pelican I charge my residential customers for each plowing that I do, with an increasing rate as the snow depth increases as do most. About eight years ago I started to require a non-refundable prepayment for six plowings, which at least helps to off set the costs of the preseason maintinance and insurance costs. I think that I have lost five or six customers over the years since I started the prepay. This system works really well for us and sometimes eleminates any other billings too. John

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