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snow plow contracts

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by srvtech, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. srvtech

    srvtech Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    this will be my first year plowing just doing driveways and small parking lots
    one customer asked me to bring a contract over this a small condo
    lot is there a standard snow plow contract i can download ? any thing i
    i need to watch out for? i havent done any plowing yet other than my own driveway and side walk and want to make sure i do things the right way
    just found this site today thanks for any input i know i have a lot to learn bill
  2. GSE

    GSE Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    The first question I would ask myself is "why is it mid-January and this condo development isn't already under contract?"

    Not to bash or belittle, but with what sounds like no experience in this business, I'd be a little reluctant to take on any commercial plowing. Go do subcontract work for a reputable contractor..... There is too much to this business to be able to walk in off the street and take on a commerical account. Insurance, ice control, contracts, taxes, redundant truck/driver, etc etc etc.

    Also, you need to be dedicated and understand that this is a 24x7 business. If it snows, people expect you there at the trigger depth, expect it to remain accessible during a storm, and expect you to do a full clean up within a reasonable time from the completion of the storm.

    I don't want to seem like I'm pushing you away from the winter management business, but too many guys go out there thinking this is a way to make a quick buck. You have to realize the costs involved, and know if and when you're getting in over your head.....
  3. Manfre

    Manfre Junior Member
    from pa
    Messages: 24

    do you have insurace incase you rip anything up or you also have to wonder why this place dont have contract in the middle of january and they want one now
  4. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Those are very good points. I subbed my first two years, it gives you invaluable experience that you need to start out on your own. You won't be able to draw up a good contract on your own, until you understand all the little things that happen in this business. Also if you do a search for contracts, you'll find most responses won't help you. A contract is a right-of-passage and must be earned.

    Someone once said that when you pass another plow driver first you wave and smile, once passed you finish by flipping them the bird and swear knowing that he could be the one who just took your contract from you.:D

    Seriously, don't do the commercial until you have some experience. Spend some time on the site and people will be more willing to help you out if you have more than one post.
  5. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    I have been doing this for 30+ years. I do not have contracts with my customers I have agreements. Maybe not quite as much legal mombo jumbo but id does state.

    Lists my

    business license number
    Insurance coverage
    Contact phone number
    List of equipment I have to do the job

    How much snow is needed to start
    How much I charge
    When customer is required to pay
    Discount available for early payment.
    Penalty for late payment.
    Signature line

    This is your first year in business you will find anyone can plow snow but 90% of all business failures are due to bad business management. If you do not know how write to or ware to look for information on writing contracts/agreements/estimate then I would suggest you take a course in Business management. it will be the best money you ever spend toward your business and the sooner you do it the higher the payoff.
    once you know how to run a business then you will find out that you can run any business. Paperwork will make you or brake you.

    Good luck in your new venture
  6. DESTEFANO3782

    DESTEFANO3782 Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    become a sima member, alot of good contract info there. watch your self with condos, alot of liability slip and falls can be common. do you have a sander? if not who is responsable for treating the parking lots. a basic contract will have in your case probably a per push plow charge, say x number of dollars per so many inches. it will also have a loader/bobcat fee for snow removal and also a hauling fee usually done per hour plus the cost to dispose. you will also need to list your terms of payment and clearly state what you are and arent responsable for.
  7. lindalou

    lindalou Junior Member
    Messages: 5


    sometimes for the little guy (or girl in this case) contracts don't mean squat. I plowed a reputable restaurant and they refused to pay. They are a corporation and for the $235 i was charging them i cannot even take them to court. it sucks that people are like that. their lot was the size of a football stadium for the price i was charging they still burned me.
  8. Tri-County INC.

    Tri-County INC. Member
    Messages: 57


    Many have said it, contracts are either the worst thing or the best thing. we use contracts just to protect our investments, Example: Subcontractors must turn over all lots that they may have on there own we pay them 30 dollars per hour this way we get our work done first, then if they want they can do some driveways. they must also agree not to bid on anything that we do for 5 years. they must also except our insuance policy and are responsible for their own gas or diesel, they must also carry their own cell phone and except any work that we give them, regardless of time they have, they are on call 12 hours at a time. they have 3 days rest a month the rest of time they are on call.

    in this way contracts can help.

    but condos are the biggest headache on this earth to plow. cars always there, little grandmas complaining about the snow it front of car, salt, salt, salt, thats all i will say the more you salt the better it will be for you, no compaliants, lawsuites, or court dates for Sister Mary Ellen falling and breaking a hip. We have right in there not responsible for damage of any kind.

    I would say draw up a contract have a very well known lawyer read it, then pay him to handle all contracts.
  9. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    If you have a signed contract they will pay eventually and it will not cost you anything. You can put a contractors lien on their business for one, one of many options. Believe me they will pay.
    You should not do any kind of winter services work without a contract or as DWAN called it an agreement. Doing so is very careless and could completely ruin you.
  10. SCSIndust

    SCSIndust Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    Experience really pays off when you are dealing with contracts. Every year I add a new clause or reword something, because it seems every year I get burned in the slightest way by something in my contract. My first contract I had, I thought was great, looking back to those days, I can't beleive I let myself into those contracts. I had the opportunity to be an 'apprentice' to someone who had 40 + years experience. It was someone watching over my shoulder, you could say. Anyway, if you can find someone like this, you are good to go, otherwise the people on this board are such a wealth of information. Let them pick apart something that you post, and take that info and run with it.