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Starting Out On My Own

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by rakeman, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. rakeman

    rakeman Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    HI Everyone-
    I am really happy to have stumbled upon this site. What a great resource. I started my landscaping company in '99 and have been plowing for my buddy in the winters. We have had a great run, but this winter I decided to stay closer to home and pick up plowing from some of my regular "warm season" clients.
    I have worked out the details of my contract (thanks to you guys) and now I am finalizing my pricing.
    Question 1: does anyone have any ideas on how to charge for a bank lot (with 2 driveup lanes) with 80' of sidewalk.
    Question 2:when dealing with condos:my client has 4 different condo locations with various size lots and sidewalks. Should I charge by the hour or set a price that is unique for each condo depending on the specific details of each property (sidewalk length, etc.)
    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. 2moresleeps

    2moresleeps Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 131

    Heres the thing. Everyone wants to start out asking what they should charge. I know its difficult but the honest answer is: You need to charge a rate that you will make money at and, at the same time, cover all of your expenses and pay you a decent wage.

    ****** NEWSFLASH ******* If you really want to make money, make sure you salt em.

    It is easy to see a dollar figure of lets say $4000 for the season and think WOW, I am rich. Lets say you plow it 24 times and it takes you 5 hours to do 3 places with sidewalks and you've hired someone to help, well now you're working for $33 per hour minus the worker and minus gas.

    The easiest way to make it in this business is to google the past weather patterns for your area, then find out from other guys in your area that you made friends with how many times they plowed last year. This should give you a general idea of what to expect and how to price accordingly.

    ******* NEWSFLASH ****** If you really want to make money, make sure you salt em.

    If these places dont want salt, drop em. You can always lower your monthly fee or even lower your hourly rate (which ever route you take) but make sure you salt em.payup
  3. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    ****** NEWSFLASH *******
    There is always more salting events then plowing and salting events.
    Salt shakers work any time it's below freezing and water falls in one form or another from the sky.
    Impress on them this fact. Ice happens a lot, in the winter months!
    Falls happen,how's their insurance for this?
    Price it or write it so your not out working for nothing in mid March when Winter decides it's not done yet !
  4. rakeman

    rakeman Junior Member
    Messages: 4


    :waving: Thank guys for your input, much appreciated.
  5. fms

    fms Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    I wouldn't price hourly different for one condo than another.
    Price so that you KNOW THAT YOU'RE COVERED. If you loose the majority of your bids, but get enough to keep busy you're probably pricing well. Don't get upset about rejection. Thank them for the opportunity and ask for a ball park % that you were off by and if anyone was higher than you. It may give you a good read on the competition.
  6. rakeman

    rakeman Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thank you for your input. It's great to have you guys as a resource
  7. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    We had one seasonal account and now we have two but when we only had the one it was nice for some starting capital. But the second one we have is a condo devel. and I had to just figure how long it might take us with a 2"-4" and 4" and above to plow and make an educated guess :eek: . Its risky for sure, but I made it worth my while without raking them over the coals with a price payup . I just average the past 3-4 years of snowfalls with that amount and then another for salting w/o plowing and add them and there is our total x's whatever your rate is.
  8. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    diversification is key, we have about 50 % per push per salt and 50% on month contracts that way if snows a lot your covered by the per pushes and if it doesnt snow much then the monthlys will make you rich!. (my 50cents)xysport
  9. traviswalker007

    traviswalker007 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    salt VS Plowing

    If you plow a small commercial lot and they say salt on demand, what the hell do you charge them to just return and salt. Lets say you bid it at so much per push with salt, and then they want just a price for salting...how do u figure that in so it dont look like your over charging??
  10. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    You charge the normal salting rate and a delivery fee.