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Seasonal Contracts!?!?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by paponte, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Is there anyone that can STILL sell one of these? It just seems that its getting harder and harder to sell them these days. With costs that keep rising and rising, it doesn't help much when there are no guarantees annymore.

    My insurance company surely gets paid (and well I might add) if it doesn't snow. Why can't we? :gunsfiring:

    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    Half of my clients are on seasonal contracts.
    Basically I do it this way so I am guaranteed some money for the season.
    All of my other clients pay top dollar per visit. I believe that I have been lucky with most of my clients. I have had the same customers on seasonal contracts for like 10 years. I only signed up about 10 new ones this year.
    And one of them showed me his contract from last year - I was $125.00 higher and still got it :dizzy: I don't know. I think it has to do with how well you represent your company, and the image that you portray about your business. People like reliable service. Some are willing to pay for it and some not. All of my clients know what they are getting every year, and I have not had that many complaints thus far. Professionalism, Quality and Reliability sell.

  3. SGLC

    SGLC Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Pretty much everything up here in seasonal contract.
  4. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    SGLC do you have a consistent winter where you live? if you winters vary widely like they do here you could loose your shirt.
  5. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    JPMACO, I hear you. I can say for sure we are one of the more professional outfits around here. It used to be that every dept. store, apartment complex, or strip mall were on a seasonal contract. It just seems it's getting harder and harder to get it around here. You say seasonal to most people, and you get: "wait... you want to get paid even if it doesn't snow?".

    Thats exactly what I am getting at... paying your expenses. Without these contracts, it just seems like why spend so much on materials and insurance if there are no guarantees anymore?
  6. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    I do my pricing for 14-16 snowfalls. Last year we had 21 and a few years ago we had 9. I don't look at a one year profit but try to look at 5 years. My very first year I plowed I had only a few customers and it snowed 4 times.
  7. SGLC

    SGLC Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    CET hit it on the nose. So far we've had 2 plowable events, I'd have to check my records. I'm not plowing this year but I've been tracking the storms. I beleive we've had 4-5 times we could of salted however.
  8. midview31

    midview31 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    carry over from summer

    It appears that most of you guys do landscaping in the summer. If you do a good job for the client mowing, chances are that they will contract you to do their plowing. I do industrial roofing, but during the winter I do carpentry, remodeling or whatever for these people. If they like your character and feel your honest they want you around as opposed to hiring someone that they don't know. Im new to plowing and would never consider taking someones established business this year, but next year is a whole new ballgame. I can get some pratice in so I will be able to represent. "110 days till launch time".

    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    I agree with you, it is getting harder to sell them on seasonal contracts.
    The way that I approach it is tell them that it is like an insurance policy you pay this much per season, and I come no matter what. Also the way that I structure my snow plowing services is my 2 subs do most of the Per Visit Agreement Customers and I personally handle the Seasonals. I tell them this and that They are top priority. They don't seem to mind spending the money when they know that for 10 years I have Never let them down.
    I get a laugh every year because most of my Seasonal Contract Clients are the ones that don't want it to snow for some reason. Signing up new clients on Seasonal Contracts has proven to be a little more challenging this year.
    Especially since rates have gone up significantly. But I really don't mind because I know that every year I have the same amount of money coming to me regardless if it snows or not. I like having the other half on Per Visit because the way that winters have gone for the last couple of years I have come pretty close to not making money on the seasonals. The Per Visits more than make up for it though.

    Just my 2 cents
  10. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    I know what you mean by not making money on your seasonals but if you are the only one doing them what you really mean is you are making less per hour. I have a place that is $13,000 for the season. Lets say 50 saltings that cost me $75/ application. I should plow max 16 times but if I plow 20 there is the same amount of money left over less my fuel costs. I have just spent 10 more hours plowing. Up here they all want seasonal because they were getting burned on the salting applications. With your insurance at risk you salt when you think it needs it.
  11. stumper1620

    stumper1620 Senior Member
    Messages: 222

    ya i do about half up front contracts and some will calls at a higher rate, then
    there is the help me i'm snowed in, GET OUT THE CHECK BOOK! TYPE, they get no mercy from me, i have one will call that i lost this year because i have been trying to get them on a seasonal, they won't do it, i drive past their house 2 times on my route but, cannot plow it without a call, they always call after i remove the plow and set down to relax, this year i told them the seasonal rate, they said no so i increased the will call, they got mad over 40 bucks on a 200 foot gravel drive. oh frickin well, i had a seventy five dollar increase on all seasonals this year and no one batted an eye. :bluebounc
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2005
  12. stumper1620

    stumper1620 Senior Member
    Messages: 222

    thats pretty much the way i have mine working too, seasonals cover the required expenses for the winter & the will calls bring on the mid season funds, which compensates any loss on seasonals, i figure if insurance ect. is covered by the seasonals then everything else covers for any loss due to heavy snow season.
    and i also have my seasonals on priority 1st served
  13. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    100% agreed. Just a couple of seasonals are all you need to insure expenses are covered. Honestly this year I am without any, and as most know it just really hasn't snowed at all. got a bunch of icemelt that I am sitting on, Salt, and all the prep time.

    I know alot of local guys that I network with, in the same boat. It just seems that paople don't care anymore around here. Almost like snow removal isn't all that important anymore. Everything revolves around price now... not safety. It's pretty sad when a potential customer has never heard of the term "black & wet", cause their current guy is working for such a low rate and can't afford to do the right job. Mosty people are just happy with a hard packed lot. No more standards. :(
  14. mole

    mole Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    I think some of it might be that most people drive 4x4 if were talking about res seasonal contracts. What I have found is all they really care about is the big ones over 5inches. Thats when they want to be cleared. But the older people will never bat an eye over a seasonal contract, at least the ones I have. All of mine thank god are seasonal or i would be loosing my shorts right know. I have only been out 3x this year. Right know in buffalo it is 60 deg out side.
  15. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    I have three seasonal,one is a small lot about ten cars, right around the corner from the house. The other one is a small driveway also close to the house. The last is a Doctors office plowing is seasonal but salting is per application.
    My seasonal more than cover my ins cost for the year. That's why I have some seasonal to cover my ins, but I will only do three or four seasonal that's it. I do not cut lawn's I get my customer's because I take care of them. Their lots are open and done when they get there,they don't have to wonder where is my plow guy. Take great CARE of your customer and you will have plenty of work. payup

    Regards Mike
  16. plowman350

    plowman350 Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    seasonal contracts

    100% of my contracts are seasonal agreements. I have only 2 lots that want salt, and they are charged monthly for the # of salt applications in the month. This way, I know I get all my money up front. Some years I may work harder for it, and some years less. It's a gamble either way you go! Someon will come out better one year on seasonal, and next year per-push may come out better. Its a complete toss-up and over a period of years no matter how you charge, you'll be compenstated fairly for the work you put in. This way, may bills are all paid before the season starts.....and if it snows a lot, I make some extra scratch on the salt.
  17. plow north

    plow north Member
    Messages: 32

    seasonal cotracts

    I have just sarted my snow removal Business and i have three that i charge by the month so i get paid regaurdless if it snows or not and two per plow it starts to snow around november in northen ont but this year it was in december. and i have plowed therteen times already but for most of the seaon it has been raining off & on . It goes from minus38 to minus4 than back 30 again. talk later Plow North
  18. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    For the people that are in it full time, seasonal will have a little security. You can also take your seasonal contracts to the bank if you are looking for a loan for new equipment. If the bank knows that you are going to make 'X' they have some sort of income to base their loan on.