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Snow Plowing Losing it's Glory

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by littlebass, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. littlebass

    littlebass Member
    from 60072
    Messages: 55

    Used to be a good way to make a living. Now, with the economy the way it is, It is getting harder and harder to keep the doors open. I'm sure many here have lost accounts to lowballers that have recently become a snow contractor. I don't blame them for drumming up work for themselves when they have been out of work for so long. But It seems that it is driving the prices to the bottom...
  2. APLC

    APLC Senior Member
    Messages: 206

    Yep lost a few red lobsters to em thus year hope they will move on
  3. littlebass

    littlebass Member
    from 60072
    Messages: 55

    Although I think this trend will hang around for a couple more years.

    FISHERBOY Senior Member
    Messages: 542

    Yes lower prices are here to stay for the near future, its just the way things are
  5. chs1993

    chs1993 Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    Yeah I had someone call me the other day about a residential with a long loop on a hillside and wanted to know if id do it for $20! Because thats what the last guy did it for I started laughing and said lady your crazy go get someone plowing for beer money with no insurance!
  6. JCPM

    JCPM Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 323

    Idk, every couple of years or so lose a big account to a low baller. I always say, "well they'll be back". But it seems like when they aren't happy they never seem to think that it has anything to do with the price and they just move on to another low baller. Once they establish that they can have something done for cheap they use that price as a benchmark moving forward.
  7. APLC

    APLC Senior Member
    Messages: 206

    Absolutely correct sir thats what there doing
  8. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Plowing used to be fun too. It's becoming less and less enjoyable every year.
  9. deicepro

    deicepro PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,124

    I feel the pain. I plow mainly as a hobby, because you really can't guaranty a certain income. Don't get me wrong, we plow a ton of accounts and even as a hobby, its kinda losing its appeal....
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    It's not so much as the guy plowing. It's the company hiring them,little by little they keep driving down customer service in their business because it costs less to do it right. So they're just moving that feeling to themselves they don't care about the customer service to themselves so they don't want to pay for good service.Get what I'm saying?
  11. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I hear ya Grandview. My biggest account cut their snow budget by 25% this year. It went from a seasonal to a by the push. and we haven't had a plowable event yet this year. Anything under 2" they have to call for service. they have yet to call. For a week straight their lot was glare ice. Only thing I can hope for... is a slip and fall. A lot of the retailers just don't seem to care this year. One slip and fall and they will care next year..I hope!
  12. KBTConst

    KBTConst Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    Plowing is still fun to me it's dealing with the customers that has made it so bad.
  13. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,085

    Unfortunately, the cash cow days of snow work are long gone. Overhead and fuel costs are hard enough, but the lowballers and nationals are hammering the good independent contractors!
  14. deicepro

    deicepro PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,124

    Boom!! Reality..
  15. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I've always had a love hate relationship with plowing. I like plowing driveways better, but here in NC it's all commercial work.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  16. sectlandscaping

    sectlandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    This is true with residential customers but not with the commercials I dealt with. I raised my prices by 10% this year and hung on to every account from last. The majority of new work is from property management companies that I worked with. They like what I do and give me the plow contract at my price. The only commercial account I had issues with is a new owner at a hotel. He is looking for the cheapest of cheap on everything. Told me at bidding not to do sidewalks, parking spaces, just the lanes. I said sorry I cant do that. Now that I got that job he doesnt want to pay. I shouldve seen that.
  17. JCPM

    JCPM Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 323

    I've always loved plowing. Still do. But I've been getting burnt out over the last few seasons because I just can't afford the help that I used to have. I didn't raise any prices this year and I still lost 3 commercial accounts. Because of how hard we were hit last season everybody thinks they paid too much.
  18. lndscpe

    lndscpe Member
    Messages: 55

    Boy do I feel the pain in this, I lost contracts this year to people willing to plow for basically free. One of my larger clients, for the last 9 years, just let us go because some other plow guy was willing to salt the acre and half lot for $55. :eek: and plow for not much more. Other accounts I have been dealing with a guy willing to plow with his "new to him" loader for next to free!!! His thinking is " it wont take me long now, so I can reduce my costs" :dizzy:
    I am still shocked when I hear of some of the prices people willing to plow for around here. Just this year we took reduction on a few of our major accounts just because other bids came in at less than half of my bids!! I did come down a little but now were near others, because of our service reputation with these companies they kept us without matching (which I wasn't about to do). No doubt its really getting tighter on the plow bids and I imagine it will last this way for some time to come. Part of the game I guess, going to have to adapt and become leaner.
  19. littlebass

    littlebass Member
    from 60072
    Messages: 55

    We are down from 42 accounts to 12. I refuse to plow for wages only
  20. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    No matter how bad economy gets we the PLOW GUYS don't get a break in expenses Gas,insurance, auto repairs, plows..etc
    I'm growing at a slow pace walk of the elderly, but atleast I'm getting the price I seek.
    The day I allow lowballers to set the bar in pricing, is the day I find new career !
    A reverse aution hasen't helped anyone achieve their goals.