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Snow Plowing $25 an hour. Minimum one hour, residential and commercial!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by OffRoadPlow, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. OffRoadPlow

    OffRoadPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    So the town I live in is decent size, only 15 minute drive from a large city, reasonable size business district ( good number of commercial sites), with one major grocery store and in the store they have about a 50ft entrance with cork board for posting whatever you want, and that is where it was posted...
    Snow Plowing $25 an hour. Minimum one hour, residential and commercial!
    What would you do??? I was a bit "put off" :realmad: , which I think is the nice way to say it. Do they think that $25 an hour is going to pay for equipment, insurance, gas, etc..??? Insurance alone (truck and liability) for myself is around $1700 per year which I get a feeling who ever this is, does not have, that would be around 68 hours just to pay the insurance. Tell me what you think, I may be going over a bit on this, but that is why I am posting... I may call tomorrow and post what I find. Oh, and on most residential go for around $40 give or take, without argument in the same area.
    :realmad: Thanks for listening at least, feels good to vent sometimes... :drinkup:
  2. phillyplowking1

    phillyplowking1 Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    Thats just a disgrace to all of us.
  3. SDlawndawg

    SDlawndawg Senior Member
    Messages: 139

    He won't last long. Especially the way this winter is going. Don't worry about it.
  4. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Get one of those "plows" from another ebay find and get to work. Thats about all $25/hr should get.

  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    That goes beyond a joke an ambitous reliable shoveler makes 15 an hr here.This clown obvoiusly cant add or he'd know his price is below his cost to do the job,even if he isnt paying commercial liabilty insurance,and isnt paying himself.Even subbing work out,i would expect a lot more than that,
  6. fastjohnny

    fastjohnny Senior Member
    Messages: 654

    He is definitely low, but if it is posted at a grocery store, it will be scene mostly by residential customers. I would think not too many commercial accounts would go shopping for plow services at a grocery store.

    Now, how many residential accounts take an hour, or half hour, or even 15 minutes?

    In my area, drives won't bring much over $25. So... if you can get some close together, you could do OK.

    BUT, likely, this guy isn't thinking this way, prolly a kid with a junk truck, thinkin $25 an hour is great money.

    The other scenerio I would think of is getting a phone number out for the occasional callers, only when it's bad..., course then he should be getting more like $75 to drop the plow.
  7. fastjohnny

    fastjohnny Senior Member
    Messages: 654

    minimum one hour

    If he is billing minimum one hour charges, this is the only way he could even possibly make it,

    First time he gets a request for a big commercial lot, he's screwed:rolleyes:

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    Can I have his number ?
  9. Grshppr

    Grshppr Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    I hope I see the ad in the classifieds under "used equipment for sale" in the spring. Might be some good deals from him when he goes out of business this winter. $25/hr is a joke. Even my snow shovelers are charged out at $50/hr. Trucks $90/hr minimum! Some people never learn.:rolleyes:
  10. smh

    smh Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    What a joker! I see guys like this all the time! Had a guy beat me out of a Lowes Home Improvement contract. His price was $450.00 flat rate for the whole lot and behind the store! No loader figured for the job and no raise in price to allow for snow depth! His salt price is even better at $10.00 a bag! I think we should watch these idiots go broke,work their ass off, and wait for the unsatisfied customers to call! When they do double it!!
  11. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    The problem is that people like that don't have the insurances that we carry. They don't claim it on their taxes and they don't care. They just keep lowering the prices so that when we go to bid on the job the following season we look like the jerk.
    The line we get from the customer is always "Joe Shmo did it for half that..." So I tell them to call Joe Shmo back.
    It's the same way in the landscape business. Everyone with a pick up and a lawnmower calls themself a landscaper. Ticks me off to say the least.
  12. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    chris K is a GOD!!!

    dude you said it all right there.i thought i was losing my mind this season when i lost all but one commercial account.i also lost all my res because of a joe shmo.i had to lower my rates for drives.it was in the 30 to 40 mark now its in the 15 to 25 area.nobody wanted the per push this year.you know every 3 every 4 inches man it sucks.but i've seen this guys work.took out a mailbox at one old account and smashed into a new retaining wall i put up for a lawn customer.i guess times are tuff.i did manage to get back all but 2 commercial accounts.they didn't like the work the guy was doing plus no insurance.i hope these guys go out of biz soon.i looked in the new yellow pages and theres at least 60 new companies.more than i have ever seen in past yellow pages.my town alone went from 12 scapers to 26
  13. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    It may not be that big of a deal, but you boys up in Michigan need Permits to plow in many towns. I would imagine these lowballers do not have permits. It might be a selling point when it comes down to you and a lowballer, if you have a permit and the lowballer does not. Do the towns check plow operators for permits during snowfalls up there?

    Just a thought....

  14. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Well, I see that it seems to not really matter what business you're in, everyone has to deal with the scrubs. I run into this all the time with my lawncare business. I've learned that one of the best strategies is to prepare and hone my arguments well ahead of time. Then when the customer says "so and so" is doing it for some ridiculously insanely low price, I have a well thought out answer waiting on the end of my tounge. That's not to say that it will turn things around and win the customer over, but if it's well thought out, it will definately do 2 things. It will plant a seed of doubt in the cusomter's mind and will make me not look like a rip-off, but rather a respectable business man. Here's the way I would answer to this:

    Customer: "Well, Dave, I'm not going to go with your service this year, XYZ is promising to do it for less than half your price."

    At this point, I drop the level of my voice a couple of notches, look at the ground and noodle a little rock with my foot or something. Then I say:

    Me: "I know it. One of the saddest problems we face in this business, is that it attracts so many people looking to avoid having to take a random drug test. I sure try not to hire these guys because of the incredible liabilities invovled. Anyway, I'm grateful for the chance to meet you and if things don't work out with this man, give me a call." Then I leave a business card, a smile and a good warm handshake.

    And, unless the customer continues to probe, I don't say another word about it. But I've already spoken volumes. I've pointed out that only a stoner would work that cheap, and I've given back to myself all of the credibility that the scrub's price has attempted to take away.

    Also, I've been pretty vocal on other forums about this, but this is when having nice looking trucks, nice looking uniforms and putting on a very nice appearance while acting very polite and professional pays HUGE dividends.

    Food for thought.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2003
  15. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I like that.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664


    Most of the time they only check on permits if there is a problem. Word is out on the street that Grand Rapids is currently randomly checking permits, but I cant say for sure.
  17. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Don't worry about this, it will always happen. the first they hurt is themself..

    Got a call yesterday from a new customer, she ask me if i can come clean her drive (last snow was jan 7), and she also want a quote for the rest of the winter.

    She had contracted a lowballer, paid him half season in november but the guy only came once in november.

    The driveway was really bad, close to 6" of packed snow.

    The lowballer price was half way to a fair market price.

    another neighbor came to me and ask for a 6"trigger per push service, and their is 2 other neighbor (down to florida for the winter) with driveway full of snow( all 4 with the same BS). To make it worse, they have garage in their basement, so the drive is going downhill from the street, If the snow melt too fast, the garage may be flooded, they only have small cath basin in front of the garage door.

    I heard from the per push guy, that the lowballer is depress and going for a burn out.

    he probably put himself under big financial problem working for so cheap.

    Apparently he didn't answer the phone anymoore and didn't send a notice to his customer about is cancellation.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2003
  18. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,257

    Mowerdude, I second John's reply. I'm going to have to remember that one.
  19. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    It's the same thing every year - Lowballers

    I tell my customers in this case is :

    Not to forget you get what you pay for ;) you know someone that shows-up everytime on time & does a professional job with Insurance.

    And then tell them when Joe Shmo screws up to give you a call & leave them your card. :waving:

    1 of my large accounts a few years back went this way (Lowballer) and now all they do is thank me each & every time they see me for doing such a great job :) & for them not having to call to find out if I was planing to show-up, like they did with the lowballer .

    This is were: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR comes from.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2003
  20. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    I agree. You have to make sure that the realize that "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR" I actually had a new landscape customer last year that I got because she wasn't happy at all with the previous company (grass clippings in the beds, no edging done, etc.) Well when I gave her the prices for the work guess what she said..you guessed it, "My last guy was only charging me half that..."
    Well I told her that she obviously was not happy with their service and that you get what you pay for. It didn't take her long to figure out that I was right. All season long she would either call the office of go out and tell the guys how HAPPY she was with the service..."the yard has never looked this good" she would say.