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seasonal residental for $175.00

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by flykelley, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    HI Guys
    I went a bid a driveway for a lady from my church, not far from my route so I went and took a look at it. Its a straight push out the driveway about 30 ft long two wide. I Ask her if she had any other bids and she told me two, both were seasonal one was for $175.00 for the season and the other was $200.00 a season. I told her that I couldn't even come close to matching that price. After talking to her for a while we agreed that I would plow it for $20.00 a push after all of my commercial work was done. I hated to go that low but I am doing this more as a favor to the pastor of our church. How could someone make any money at $175-2000 a year. That is crazy to be bidding that low. I have talked to several of the guys who own medium size plowing companys here in Oakland Co and they all are saying the same thing. Guys are out there bidding real low pricing. I lost a job just last week that I have had for 2 years, a Dr's office that gets plowing and salting. I bid the salting at $125.00 a ton and the guy who got the job bid it at $80.00 a ton. CRAZY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ok Im done ranting.

    Regards Mike
  2. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    I can believe. Every year here in Minnesota services are getting cheaper and cheaper, and its getting harder and harder to compete.
  3. Kosty

    Kosty Member
    Messages: 91

    bc we dont plow. for 200 the season if u go out once that will be good this year. winter is over
  4. DaySpring Services

    DaySpring Services PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,065

    My residential contracts start at $275per season. So far it's worked out pretty good for both me and the customer, well except this year I'm making out like a bandit.
  5. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,866

    I saw a sign around my place on M-15 same thing. I wanted to stop get out and kick the owner of the place in the Jimmy. :realmad: :dizzy: Unbelievable how low these shmucks are going.
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,256

    Hey, that's nothing. There were flyers going around at least 1 part of GR for $125 for the season. Most are straight pushes, double wide, 50-75' long.

    And we're supposed to get twice as much snow as you guys. :dizzy: :dizzy: And I thought the guys doing them for $175-$200 a year were idiots.
  7. Kosty

    Kosty Member
    Messages: 91

    i think rates will only go down. Bc us who do this for a living cant afford to do it. and ppl who do it part time or second job sure can
  8. murray83

    murray83 Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    I'm with Kosty on this one.I have no clue why everyone complains since we all know its only getting worse year by year and mother nature isn't playing in favor of the seasonal folks in the long run.Think about this,say if we have a winter the next 2 years similar to this one how many residential customers are going to agree to a seasonal contract? most are simply going to agree with per push contracts.Thats going to hurt many on this site.

    I know of many commercial property owners say the next 2 years are going to be their decision on staying with seasonal rates or going back to per hour rates like it was years ago before my time.

    I hate to say this but everybody and their dog has a plow,so what if every state or municipal government instituted that plowers pay for a license per year? much like general contractors do in some American states that I have noticed.I know thats a dirty word on here but in some ways it possibly could weed out those just looking for an accident,the license would only be awarded to you when proof of insurance,workers comp (if you require it) and business/tax number is provided to your local officials.
  9. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    thats a great idea but who is going to enforce that license, espically when its is snowing outside in the dark??? Here in New York your truck is suspose to have your company name town phone number licesen number and now even a dot number if you don't you are suspose to get a ticket, whell it is a year later after that law is passed and nobody i know has gotten a ticket yet. i do agree get rid of all the unisured people and part timers. this is our livelyhood, it cost alot to stay in business(legally) we need to keep our prices where they are and only increase each yaer like the cost of living does. Why do we get laughed at when we tell them a price can we laugh at our doctors lawyers plumbers?? I get $350- $450 a driveway for the season usually 8-10 pushes and we get people to do that for $150. That dose not cover my labor, how do they do that? Don't know but add up truck pymts,insurance, labor,and preventive maintance then post maintance licesen fee etc...we need to get paid. I CAN GO BROKE SITTING HOME ON MY COUCH I WONT GO TO WORK TO BREAK EVEN OR LOSE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!! sorry for the rant they are too many low ballers makeing us legemite companies look bad.
  10. AClearerPath

    AClearerPath Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Truck payment w/ cost of plow built in: $300 month @4 months- $1200
    (If you don't already own the truck, and most people will use their truck all year so this is even inflated as to the real cost)

    Comm Auto and Gen Liability: Comm Auto $275 increase over residential for the year + Gen Liability $1350 for 500,000 1675 for 1 mil = roughly $1800 in the middle (in NJ)

    Business Cards and Flyers, Telephone Calls: Lets Say $200 for the average joe (but again I guarantee he isn't spending this)

    Gas for let's say 7 events: $420 an oil change and fluids: $50

    TOTAL COST FOR A WINTER OF PLOWING w/ insurance thus runs about $2500 for the small time guy if he owns his truck and plow, 3500 for the guy making payments, plus he would have made payments sitting on his couch. As you can see, these figures don't take into account major truck maintenance costs and depreciation) which of course can be expensive over time, but the average joe isn't thinking so far ahead.

    At $175 a season if you got 50 accounts make $8750 for lets say 7 storms @10 hours a storm (70 hours total work)

    So the guy that owns his truck makes over 6000 / 70 hrs = $85 an hour
    and the guy paying off his truck makes 5000 / 70 hrs $70 an hour

    both figures are profit, plus the guy gets some tax write-offs. Not enough to live high on the hog, but as a side gig not too bad.

    That may be how these $175 a season guys look at it. I may be wrong though...

    Maybe this is how $175 for the season. You would think that these guys are uninsured, but maybe an extra 5-6 grand is all they need and it could be for only 5-10 days work.
  11. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,256

    Who in the world has a truck payment of $300 per month, with a plow?

    Murray, see the thread about standardizing pricing, basically same arguments. And you were in on the discussions with LLM\idiot about licensing. IT just won't work.
  12. NCass31

    NCass31 Member
    Messages: 90

    I was that guy..

    New to plowing this year one of my major concerns was estimating. Having no real prior experience besides neighborhood snowblowing, I was having trouble figuring out how much i would charge for driveway, and if I was going to charge per push or contract. After reading through threads on Plowsite, and talking to some friends about how much they are charged I got a fairly clear idea... or so i thought.
    I'm in college, working at Tractor Supply Co. until the snow comes. My College tutition is free, Combat Vet, and i get $1000 a month from the GI Bill i put into while in the Marines. The GI Bill money pays my bills: $311 Truck, $107 Plow, $100 insurance, $70 phone, then my Gas, Coffee/Red Bull etc just about fill sout the rest.. I bought mag signs for my truck, a new snowblower, strobe for the roof, trying to start on the right foot.
    Back to bidding.. word of mouth, i managed to get 15 accounts. I had been reading some of the estimates on here, but failed to take in to consideration that prices differ around the country. . After estimating the driveways at $15-20 per push, i quickly won the account. Asking the homeowner to tell me the other bids, I saw that i was way low. That didn't feel good. I called back a few days later and explained that my costs had been estimated wrong and that i would need to raise the price per push. I went a couple buck over the other bids. They went with the other guy, i got piece of mind. Stupid of me to give up 3 accounts? Maybe, but I can go to sleep the good kind of tired knowing that i'm not taking food off someones table.:sleeping:

    I have a couple reasons for plowing; I wan tto ge tinto the landscaping business, this is my step in to getting accounts. I need to start saving for a ring for a certain little lady, and I can't work inside anymore... Mother Nature please help
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  13. AClearerPath

    AClearerPath Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    RE: Truck Payment of $300

    I have a payment just under $300 on 2000 GMC sierra w/ a 7.5 ft fisher mm and a western 500 lopro salter that I bought this year.

    Figure if you get a truck for 10000 with a plow on it for another 3000 you will pay about 300I'll bet these guys charging 175 a season are not driving new vehicles, just got a deal on a truck w/ plow or had the truck found a used plow.
  14. RJ lindblom

    RJ lindblom Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Would it be wise to charge more? I am thinking you would want to plan for replacement of equipment. To think longer down the road?
  15. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    Depends on area I guess...Maybe Florida...

    I guess if you only get five storms a season $175 isn't bad.....If they are one push storms and you don't have to go back in the spring and repair grass damage etc.....
    I would be screwed,we average over 90" a season ,say 6" is the average for a number, that would be like $11 per storm per driveway divided by number of pushes...That doesn't even begin to cover the overhead much less put food on the table...Much less put money in the bank...Those guys must have trust funds! Or live in Florida.
  16. greenjack

    greenjack Junior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 26

    I have seen many/multiple companies do seasonals for $100 on a driveway thats regular push back straight that is about 30-40ft long. They charge 100 seasonal for the driveway then they charge extra for sidewalks. This year has gotten real bad for the $100 seasonal bidders because they are everywhere here in SE MI.

    The only way I can win over the customer after seeing my bid for 225 for the same driveway is that I offer other services and they want to give the work to someone they know instead.

    I have even heard customers say that $100 for their drive for the whole season sounds a little fishy. I have no idea how they can do it. I have gone over all the possibilities I can think of (I think).
  17. Stone Mountain

    Stone Mountain Member
    Messages: 45

    In 1981, when a brand new truck and plow was $14,000 Canadian, the going rate for a season for a 2 car drive was $200.
    today, 26 years alter, the going rate for a 2 car drive is $250.00
    Here in Canada, a plow capable truck brand new is at least $30,000, and a blade is $6000.00

    Why on earth would I want to plow for $250/drive?
    I won't touch residential drive any more.
  18. diehrd

    diehrd Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 199

    My costs ,, are ..Truck 2002 Tahoe LT 80k on it ,,,paid cash 11350 :)
    New Artic Quick link 2 system installed 3200.00 pd cash.

    No payments on anything ever !

    Insurance about 800 a year

    filers and phone 200 for season.

    I own a roofing company,,truck takes a mileage deduction per year

    I have to have auto insurance plow or no plow I have a cell phone plowing or no plowing

    I charge 190.00 per season,,I do up to 2 trips a day every 3 inches of accumulation ( Not unlimited,you call cause street plow went by you pay) Single wide 60 foot long driveways 99% of them or an occasional 30 foot double wide ,.

    I add per storm as defined by national weather service 15 per client per storm

    I last year and this year average 25 contracts. or about 4750.00 a year.

    If I plow 20 trips it takes 5 tanks of fuel at 58 per tank roughly..or 300 a season for plowing

    To my knowledge have had zero repairs that any one can say are plow related.I drop plow after each plow and never drive with it on unless I am plowing.

    My net after insurance which adds about 300 to what i would pay for basic insurance and gas and fliers is about 4 grand.

    I as I said own a roofing company,,I budget income to accommodate a 9 month work season with 3 months off..So plowing is as much recreation as it is income for me :)

    And My City,,Rochester NY is loaded with plow people,,However many are now dropping out as a result of the last 3 light seasons,,last year i plowed 5 times , year before maybe 10 times this year no times lol (so far) . . . . In 3 years I MADE APPROX 15K which funny enough paid for truck and plow 100% ....
  19. tkahike

    tkahike Member
    Messages: 51

    Not in it as a business, but the business does come.

    Little background: I have a 1994 F-250 with a Fisher 8ft. I just picked this up after my 1990 Ford died with 200,000 miles on it (blown rear engine seal). Paid cash (5000) for the new truck, that only has 62,000 on it. Plowed commercially in the late 80's to help pay for college.

    The main reason I have a plow truck is for my driveway which is 1 mile long with a 20% grade on one section. For what I was paying, it was cheaper 5 years ago to buy a truck, and do it myself. Along with that came my mom's house (no charge-hey you got plow mom out) and my in-laws (no-charge). Now they live in the same town, next to the town I live, so it's not that much of a hardship. I picked up the neighbor since I was at my mom's anyway. She was being charged $75 per storm plus a $10 per every 3 inches over 3 inches base. It is a straight shot drive, with a slight incline. I charge her $40 a storm, period. Over the past few years I have picked up a few accounts in the general area of my mothers house. The most I charge is $60 for one drive, 1/4 mile with a steep incline (25%) and a turn with a drop off. She was being charged $125 per storm plus $20 per 3 inches over 3 inches base.

    I only have about 7 customers at this time, mainly I charge enough for basic wear and gas for the truck. A couple of extra bucks in the pocket doesn't hurt either. I don't advertise, and I really don't go looking for work, it seems to find me. Two years ago I was about to 15 people, but since then some of moved away or have bought blowers.

    But this is what the customer doesn't get from me. I do not take time off from work to plow, I come out when I'm off duty. No salt, no sidewalks, no thrills. And if the truck is down for breakage, I'm not coming, you will get a phone call and I will give you a name of a friend who does favors for his mom too. However he will charge you his price, whatever that is. I'm very upfront about this when I take someone on. I want a level of understanding between us.

    I've never done seasonal prices.
  20. stumpslawncare

    stumpslawncare Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 60

    These guys with the low prices are probably just doing it part time and not paying liability insurance, workmanscomp, taxes, etc. Probably a home based business with no overhead. Just my .02