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Snowblowing only? how to charge?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    I have 1yr/ 2 snowfall experience doing snowblowing. I bought last fall a new -Simplicity 1280e- Snowblower. It has a 12hp B&S Intek Snow engine and 32" width. I like it, seems very commercial with hand warmers :)

    I had just charged based on what i thought was fair at the time to do a driveway which many people NOW, have told me that i undercharged severely. It snowed about 18-22" in most spots and so there were drifts over 24" and 30" in front of driveways that the ROAD PLOWs pushed into their entrances. I charged avg. of $35-40 for a 2 car wide by 25-30' long The most i charged was $65 for two driveways, both were about 60-100ft long and one had 3 car garage width so more time taken. I only got the larger ones done in about 45ish minutes. Still $60+ an hour but when you only have say 12hrs tops to do all your customers driveways after a heavy snowfall, you dont want to spend more than 15 minutes per driveway/house.

    People have said to charge by the square foot... inch, height, how long it takes, say 15 minute driveway/sidewalks are $60-80 and ones that take say upto 40 minutes are $100-110.. Any of my customers driveways have the garages directly in front of the driveway so a truck cant plow the snow into them. Im planning on having help this winter and also getting a 1380e Simplicity 13hp 32" version of what i bought last year, hopefully i can get 2x the driveways done then. Any advice would be appreciated, i live in NJ area if that helps at all.
  2. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    I started out with 2 Troybilt Snow Blowers. I think they're 28" width. Me and another guy would go out and we could get a small drive done as fast as a plow truck could! We charged nothing lower than $30 and had 40 regular clients.
  3. Bad Luck

    Bad Luck Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Sounds like your on the right track. One thing you might want to try is charge by the inch. Say you have 2-8 inches you charge X. If it goes above 8/9 inches, you charge Y.
  4. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    bad luck, i planned to do that but my FIRST real snow with this service was nearing 2 feet! so it was hard for me to tell people $100 or something which i should have, my rates were acceptable even if it was only 8-10" and i was charging the same even though it was 18"... I know for this year though. You know your too low when the "nice" people are tipping you $20 for doing their driveway for $45 and another woman just for "finishing" the sidewalks her husband had yet gotten to hand shoveling for 2 1/2 hrs. lol
  5. Clay Carson

    Clay Carson Junior Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 3

    We do snow blowing. I was surprised how much was acceptable to charge.

    Some people wanted to pay $40 for a driveway and some sidewalk. Others are willing to pay $90.....

    When there is that kind of price discrepancy and genuine confusion on the value of what you do...where do you head? I feel better at the $90 range.

    On the flip side, we SHOWED UP for the job, and even for heavy snows which made us and everyone else late, we got it done. Some of the $40 guys stopped answering their phones and disappeared.

    Snowblowing is not always the same with inches. 4 inches with a couple of hours of rain afterwards is harder to do than 6 inches of dry, light powdery snow. So even at a high price, you don't always make the money you wanna.
  6. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Clay, i understand, heavy 5" snow is as hard as 10" of snow, but im just more worried about making sure i dont run into what happened last year with 9 million people calling and then only making a $400 profit for the day with the snowblower being out there 12hrs almost strait because i was only averaging $40ish an hour.
  7. Clay Carson

    Clay Carson Junior Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 3

    Ram -

    I understand how you feel. Adding extra by inch can make the price go up in a hurry, sometimes so much that you feel embarrassed.

    But after her husband worked for a solid 2.5 hours, do you think he would agree with you that it is worth good $?

    Had one client saw us show up for a blizzard with 8 people and work 45 minutes. That night, it kept snowing another solid 12 hours and it added another 12 inches. He got upset it was taking us a while to arrive at his house next morning and decided to 'do it myself'. I explained that he had the right to do that, but it would not be easy. He was not 'getting it'. I said, Mr. Customer, you have a large property to clear, and you saw 8 men working for 45 minutes, so you may assume it is a 45 minute job. Actually, that is 6 solid man hours of work. I'm not sure it's medically advisable to go and do that degree of physical work without training (he's in his later 50's maybe)..

    As he considered the consequences, he seemed to calm down a bit and decide he maybe could wait for the crew to arrive after all.

    What you are doing has value. If it comes to $300 or more, bill it, collect it and don't be embarrassed. Maybe you are preventing someone from a heart attack, at the extreme way of looking at it. At a minimum, don't underestimate how much people just plain hate to do the job and would prefer to pay than to do it.