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Seems like it just keeps going down!

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by H&HPropertyMait, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. H&HPropertyMait

    H&HPropertyMait Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    Here in MI it seems like every joe blow with a truck wants to plow... im fine with that. but dont charge $40 an hour, are you kidding? People look at me funny when i say $100 per hour, and thats still cheap in my mind. sorry, i have expenses to pay for, low ballers are going to ruin it for all of us. I know there is nothing we can do though.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  2. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I have expenses too, but if I can cover them for $40 an hour, how does that make me a bad person?? I don't get it, people go way into debt for their business and then cant figure out why it failed because the need to charge 10X more than their competitors.
    Now, I don't charge $100 per hour, and I don't charge $40 per hour either. I also chose to not have any debt, granted, my vehicles aren't new, but they haven't let me down, and if they did, I also have a back up plan.
    NO hard feelings, its just a different perspective. Hope you have a good season!!
  3. H&HPropertyMait

    H&HPropertyMait Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    i just feel my time is quite valuable, and my trucks, plows, salters, mowers you name it, i dont want to break even. I want profits. 5 years down the road, i want to be able to say "get in the truck honey, we're going to eat at olive garden and after im buying a new truck." haha. if im not seeing black every month i need to change something fast. I guess it does come down to bottom line, as you are saying. it's just frustrating sometimes, we all go through it, just seeing what kind of shananigans we can stir up pre season haha

    Good luck to you as well fellow michigander.

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    Insurance, Fuel, Plow, Salter, Truck, Salt ,Time and taxs are all expenses.
    Some also have a shop, Employees, Subs, Storage.

    Cost of Plow, Truck, Salter should be depreciated over 3 years and figured into what you charge.
    Insurance floats in cost but pretty much stays the same, figure into cost.

    Fuel can be an unknown but # of gallons should be figured over the 5/6 month spread as well.

    A guy working out of his garage probably wont get the super commercial sized lots but will get or could get a bunch of smaller lots.

    Some guys do not think they need proper insurance coverage and are lucky enough to get by with no accidents or damage while plowing. Though most will never admit to not having the proper insurance or none at all.

    The best thing one could do is petition your state to start licensing snow plow operators and enforce it. Some may disagree with me saying it is another branch of government but think how many that would weed out if each year they had to show proper documentation in order to get a snow plow operators license. Once the company owners started to request proof of your snow license or cops ask for it if they pulled over a truck with a plow on, again it would greatly reduce the number of uninsured unequipped guys out there.

    I am all for anyone making a living or working in the business as long as they play by the same rules we all have to, or should be. I would gladly pay $50 bucks or less for a sticker on the windshield with say a snowflake or something to openly show I have been approved to plow.

    Commercial trucks or any truck here in Illinois that runs a D plate or higher already has to have a safety sticker on the windshield showing the truck passed a state approved/certified safety check.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Never thought I would ever be supportive of another gov't regulation, but I really like this one. ussmileyflag
  6. lilpusher

    lilpusher Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 140

    Not to harp on you or anything. But that's how all government regulations come about, it benefits
    a specific group. Now I'm all for playing the game fair and I hate getting lowballed myself but government regulation has never solved a
    problem. Example, every car on the road is required to have insurance. And I still pay uninsured motorist coverage
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    The part on being pulled over. Do you really want to be pulled over all the time? you'll never get any thing done. Also what about people who just take care of their own personal property?
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    From Snow magazine.

    Buffalo licensing

    Buffalo licensing

    By Cheryl Higley
    Editor, Snow Business Magazine

    Winter is fast approaching, so snow contractors should be in preseason prep mode. If you’re a contractor that operates within the city of Buffalo, NY, that means making sure your license is up to date.

    Hammered by tremendous snowfalls last year, Buffalo officials were bombarded by citizen complaints regarding snow plow contractors who failed to abide by their contracts—especially after a December storm dumped 40 inches on parts of south Buffalo.

    “Each year my office would receive complaints from residents about unscrupulous contractors that have been paid large up-front fees to provide services for the winter season, only to fail to complete the promised work and not be heard from again,” explains South Councilman Michael Kearns, who co-sponsored the licensing legislation with Majority Leader Richard Fontana.

    While a licensing requirement was already on the books, city officials (and Buffalo contractors) admit it didn’t carry much weight and was difficult to enforce. The city says it will be taking a harder stance this winter.

    According to Patrick Sole Jr., director of permit and inspection services for the city of Buffalo, to get licensed, companies must:

    * Complete an application and pay a $50 fee
    * Submit photo ID
    * Submit proof of registration and insurance for all vehicles used in the business
    * Submit worker’s compensation or a worker’s compensation exemption certificate
    * Submit a criminal background record check.

    Once approved, contractors must affix a windshield decal to all insured vehicles, which will help police and the license inspectors more easily identify licensed contractors. Contractors operating without a license are subject to a $75 fine and Housing Court action can be taken.

    In addition to requiring companies to purchase licenses, the legislation required creation of a snow registry that citizens can check online to confirm whether the snow contractor they are considering hiring is licensed. The list will be forwarded to the city council to help residents who may call with questions.

    “We are hopeful that this will help better educate the public to only hire licensed contractors,” Kearns says.

    Jim Hornung Jr., CSP, president of Elbers Landscape in Buffalo, says all good intentions aside, he is skeptical that the tighter regulation will have much of an impact—simply because it’s targeting the wrong people.

    “The people who are fleecing these customers were not licensed contractors. They were carpet baggers trying to capitalize on the storm,” Hornung says. “About 120 contractors have a snow permit—I’ve bid against 400. The people this is targeting are not going to get licensed.”

    That said, if the city is going to enforce the law, Hornung is all for it: “I would welcome the enforcement. We bid against these people. I’m all for competition as long as it’s fair competition.”

    What do you think? Will the new law have an impact? Does your city have a licensing/certification requirement?
  9. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    Doesn't Buffalo have some of the lowest truck rates around....Something like $35 an Hour....This License will help No one....Just another fee to pay....:rolleyes:
  10. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    That's why I said "if" they got pulled over. Speeding, recklessness or some other traffic violation. It is also why I am for the sticker/decal. Same as we have the safety sticker here. D-plate or above and no sticker? You can count on getting pulled over.

    Those doing their own drive or what not are very unlikely to be 30 miles or so away from home driving with the blade on. Also those guys always say, well I am only doing my own drive and maybe a couple of neighbors. Soon after it is a small lot, then an apartment building or gas station. All the while not having the proper insurance or overhead others have. Then you have college towns where guys are plowing for beer money.

    This industry is getting so out of control for lack of regulation someone needs to step up to weed out those that have no business in snow removal. Not sure about your part of town/state but here it is now a growing problem with illegals as well. You think they run with insurance? Most will leave the country if they get in a major accident especially if it causes an injury to someone. The state will not crack down on those and in fact most times wave em off as it being to much paper work and go after the regular Joe.
  11. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Plumbers need licenses, so do electricians, welders need certification, etc.... As a labor issue and not a bureaucracy issue, I feel with all the legalities and liabilities put on snow contractors these days, it might be useful to regulate the industry to help protect customers.

    And even think about pesticide/herbicide applicators. You need to be certified and insured to get your license. With snow and ice management, there are certain chemicals out there now that people don't have a clue how to use correctly and could hurt the environment if used improperly.

    Just like welders, plumbers and such, a client still has the right to hire a non-licensed person to do work, it just means they are taking more risk.

    With licensing for snow contractors, it would create a better environment where customers can easily see if someone is certified for the job.

    REAPER, you don't know how many trucks with plows I see every year that are just using the standard B plate, no inspection, for commercial work.
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I suppose to have a decal but I never buy them.

    Yes ,we do have very low rates for plowing,between 20.00 and up.
  13. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    Yes I know. If they have only the plow they probably fall under the 8,000lb limit the B plate provides for. If they run any type of salter tho, even a tailgate model and load up with bags, they will be cracking down on that B plate weight restriction. Talked to a state cop about it and they have been told to notice trucks over the B plate classification and was also at the Sec.Of State and their enforcement team is making local towns aware of the weight restrictions per plate designation.

    In Prairie Grove for most of the summer I have noticed them pulling over landscaping trucks with leaf boxes or trailers. Depending on trailer weight combined with truck weight they are also enforcing the CDL requirement and some have been towed away.

    With the B plate plow only combo the certification for snow removal sticker would help.
  14. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    That's good to know. I'm a stickler about staying within my weight range for my truck, but I bet that 70% of the snow removal trucks around here are B plates and over-weight.

    Even as I've always understood it, you need to have commercial plates on any truck used for commercial purposes. Only Ag equipment is exempt.

  15. Ground Cover

    Ground Cover Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    H&H..i hear ya the numbers you are throwing out there are the kinda numbers i work with. before i take the liability, own the truck and support equipment for $40 an hr i would be way money ahead to sell my stuff and go work for someone else any day of the week. i am all for a certification or what ever it may be to weed out or sort the hobby plowers from us guys trying to be fair and still make a profit at the end of the year
  16. jkiser96

    jkiser96 Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    We have a guy from our area that is plowing the schools. He is charging $45/hour for a truck. He also does excavating like me & is always mouthing off about me bidding jobs to low. I started plowing snow 21 years ago & I was making $45/hour back then. I am pretty sure that my insurance, maintenance, & fuel have went way up so I have to compensate to cover all of these.
  17. pooleo8

    pooleo8 Senior Member
    Messages: 271

    just like in the construction field. You get joe blow who goes and does roofing for instance, cuts everyones throat because hes doing it wrong. No comp, no insurance, **** equip. etc, etc, etc.
  18. H&HPropertyMait

    H&HPropertyMait Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    Just seems like it's always somethin. I think insurance needs to be mandatory if you have a plow on your truck, for any reason. And bid meetings should be held every couple of years, just something to keep everyone in check. That's just me though.
  19. ajman21

    ajman21 Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    i am not from the buffalo area... i am a start up with no employee and verry little over head compared to many buisnesses. rather than slash prices to get jobs i have taken a different aproch i run with the pack for the area (some even say i am high) and depend upon my sales techniques to land the jobs. for the last two seasons since i started this strategy i have been able to improve my equipment.

    This is my reason for not liking the idea of a license for snow plowing ect. I started right got insurance in the proper quanteties. i regulated myself because i intend to stick around for a long time. the fools that work for pennies are; as seen in the buffalo example; gone on the first bad storm and the fools that hired them get burnt. from then on those that learned the hard way act as the regulatory commity. the government regulates too much as it is.
    why not, as an alternative, the snow service contractors of the area help by making a local version of sima. possibly a online registy of profesional contractors that requires your example $50 to be part of and then use that to advertise localy and educate the natives?
    sorry for the spelling, not one of my gifts.
  20. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    That my friend might be considered Racketeering.