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the pricing game in snow removal...

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by trqjnky, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. trqjnky

    trqjnky Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    I have never in my life seen such a wide variety of pricing as in snow removal. Everything from per hour to per push to seasonal, I've seen guys charge 70 per hour but the 1.5 or double the hours so they are really charging 125-140 per hour, same with salt, doubling the amount actually applied so they make 120/ton instead of the billed 60/ton. It looks good on paper to the property manager I guess.

    Of course there's the lowballers driving prices down working for free. And then there's guys overcharging clients like crazy, they don't last long before someone gets smart.

    Its amazing the price difference in different ares. Western Iowa tends to be 70-80 per hour. Central Iowa tends to be 65-70 per hour. Just 2 hours difference.
  2. trqjnky

    trqjnky Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    Also, I've noticed when bidding, clients that don't pay much attention to snow removal want hourly bids. Whereas educated clients like per push or seasonal bids.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Sounds like a rant starting,what else you got?:)
  4. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,747

    How about property managers using your bid to get lower bids out of other people? Usually the slimey guys with no commercial INS and guys that don't do all the proper paperwork to be legal and pay taxes, pay guys cash, etc... Gotta love that.
  5. trqjnky

    trqjnky Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    I see guys on this forum tell people to figure out what your operating costs are and see what you have to charge.

    Now, how in the everliving he'll are you going to convince a property manager to pay you 50-100 dollars an hour more than another guy "because you have more payments and bills"????? Shouldn't the proper way be "find out the rates in your area and build your business accordingly" ??? Don't add 100k worth of equipment if you can't pay for it and the employees to operate it on the current rates.

    I made 15k last year with 2 trucks and below average snowfall. That's not bad cash. How did I make that? Because I keep costs low and can bid competitively! This year im adding a skid loader and 1 more truck. Since my other trucks are now paid for. I can still remain competitive when pricing, and make more money this year because I have more equipment,
  6. trqjnky

    trqjnky Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    YES! Motherfukers! Some turd shows up in a torched 90s chevy half ton with a beat up plow hoping to make enough cash to keep his pay as you go cell phone turned on.....

    Now, I have a 74 Chevy I plow with, but its been restored, painted, and in good shape. The age of the vehicle has nothing to do with it, the condition does
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    This is a good start,anything else?

  8. trqjnky

    trqjnky Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    Lol... there's not enough bandwidth
  9. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,584

    My biggest pet peeve is those pricing strictly per sq ft, with no consideration to differences in lot types, islands, snow piling areas, etc, etc, etc.
  10. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    I go by my gut feeling. I give out 3 prices for the same property. Up to 8". Over 8". Blizzard Conditions as determined by The National Weather Service. You could say that I am adding more confusion to what you have to say and I would agree. There are so many variables that go into the price.
    I am not a low baller. My pricing is up the middle.
  11. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    welcome to the world of snow.... unfortunatly it is what it is.....if a property manager wants to hire a moron he is going to ......it really is in every business, lawn, concrete, etc..... if you want a pro you hire a pro .....
  12. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,598

    A lot of "senior" plow people quote just by looking at a property and come up with a price for plowing and salt that way. I have been trained that way too but rather take the calculated approach.

    Typically I estimate a property at a site visit and come up with a cost based on what I see. Take the information abck to the office, meassure the property to get a calculated price based on hourly rates, etc.
  13. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I have a built in calculator in my thumb!Thumbs Up
  14. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    Most the clients that want it by the Hour are PM's an they don't care, it all gets passed back on to their occupants leasing their spaces. Where property owners want a budgeted idea what it will take to get there lots cleared, because they are the one paying the bill!

    My feeling an it's just my feeling an I will be getting bashed on this, Is The per hr an the per bag or ton pricing is a joke. it's too easy for some clown that has no experience in snow removal to give someone a price on their property. Where a per push, monthly or seasonal with caps takes a more precise idea an a more experienced person to figure out just what the heck its going to take to get the job done right.
    I have a friend at one of the larger parking lot maintenance company here in town an and they are a 90% per hr, per bag, ton price kind of company. I really don’t think they know how long some of their properties take. I have sent extra help his way from time to time an have seen a 2” storm take 2hrs to push an than the next time take 3.5hrs now you tell me how that PM looks at that those bills an don’t ask why in the hell did it take longer the next time you pushed this? They don’t most of the time. An he tries to push this per push price down my throat an I just laugh at him an get no answer from him when I ask him how long it takes to push a curtain lot he pushs (LOL)

    Now let the bashing begin!! :popcorn:
  15. NickT

    NickT Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    We had one no good mf'ing PM that asked us to bail them out when this apt complex had 6" of driven over snow in a huge cut up lot. The original plow guys truck broke down so we gave them an hourly price did the work, didn't pad any hours on top of what we did, and had to listen to this pinhead tell us we took to long then paid us less then what we billed for. Never again will I do a job like that without a written contract. Wouldn't mind pushing a giant pile of snow to block those entrances .....ooops did I say that out loud!!!!
  16. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    it usually takes me a couple times to read your posts, but I think you are on the $
  17. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    I finally got my customers to go away from hourly pricing. A few of them fought me on it by saying "cheaper is cheaper". They couldn't seem to get it through their heads that hourly doesn't help anyone, in fact it HURTS everyone.

    When I first started, hourly pricing was my saving grace. I had no clue how to push snow or how long it would take. Now that I kind of have a handle on things, hourly is just stupid.
  18. 07PSDCREW

    07PSDCREW Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    When I first started, hourly pricing was my saving grace. I had no clue how to push snow or how long it would take. Now that I kind of have a handle on things, hourly is just stupid.

    Would you mind explaing how hourly is "stupid"? just want to see your point....new here.
    trying to come up with a way to bill for various drives.....
  19. BlackKnight07

    BlackKnight07 Member
    Messages: 56

    There is a lot of Pricing differences. I've looked at different Threads and Forums and Costs are all over. This is my First year so if i'm way off let me know. Currently only planning on Residential Drives.
    Standard Drive
    3"+-6" 1 Car Drive= $15
    2 Car Drive=$25
    3 Car Drive=$30
    8"+12" 1 Car Drive= $25
    2 Car Drive=$35
    3 Car Drive=$40
    12"+Blizzard 1 Car Drive= $40
    2 Car Drive=$60
    3 Car Drive=$80

    I do live a rual area, Home's with long drive's I'll Check out First. I have talked to a few Guys and there Charging $30 for Normal Drive and the Longer Drive's 1000ft-etc up to $150
  20. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,747

    :dizzy: Don't make it so hard.