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Think I need a new pricing format

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by BALLOONBURSTOFF, Sep 2, 2008.


    from Mass
    Messages: 7

    Hi, new to the forum but have been plowing residential driveways for 2 years. Kind of wish I stumbled on to this site BEFORE I implemented my price structure.

    My bidding as follows:

    Trigger is about 4 inches

    Flat rate fee determined on driveway size. (size determined by eye or amount of cars that can be parked) Flat rate fee is the same no matter how much snow.

    If I have to do a second return during the same storm, I charge half of flat rate.

    Problem I see here, is if we get 5 inches the first part of the storm and I plow, and then if we get another 5 inches within the same storm I am only getting half the amount for going out the second time but doing the same exact thing.

    This is probably the STUPIDEST way to do it. I guess I'm screwing myself huh?

    Some better ideas would be great! Thanks!
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    A 4" trigger is too high. I charge per-push and if we get 3" and it is still snowing and we get another 3" then the customer gets billed 2 times at full price. Only time I charge half is if I come back to open the end of the drive or to clean where a car was parked.
  3. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    agreed, what happens under 4", you salt? We had accounts with a 2" trigger, in crappy jersey last year we got literally 1" or 1.5" and not 2" but it was too much slushy crap to not plow, it was like taking an F750 to your high school prom because you have 4 people to tote, but still needed it, no way to just salt. We only do higher triggers for residential accounts when anything under that # theyll shovel themselves.
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    What about a seasonal contract? I'm a big fan of them. I bid mine based on 25 plows.
  5. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    2" trigger. I don't let the customer shovel their own driveway unless it was below the trigger for liabity reasons. Charge every time you show up full price OR do a Seasonal contract. Mine is also 25 for this season.

    How many times did is snow betwen 2" & 4" and you didn't go out and plow and lost money?

    Good Luck

    from Mass
    Messages: 7

    Ok, lower trigger and charge full price each time. So if my trigger was 3" I would go out every 3" of snow right?

    I have some customers that would want me to wait till the end of the storm and plow once. What would I do at that point? In some cases that would be too much snow to plow all at once.

    Would anyone recommend charging per inch? Or should I keep the same system I have now?
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    No. If you have a route and it snowing start at point A and keep plowing and charging till it stops snowing. And keep records of when you plowed them.
  8. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Like grandview said, you have a route. You have to start plowing when it reaches your trigger. If they don't want you to keep their driveway clear, then you have a liability issue. If they get stuck or get hurt, it could come back on you. Plus you are loosing money that way. If you can handle the liabilty and they insist on only doing it at the end of the storm, put them on a seasonal contract that specifies when you are to plow. That way you get your money and they get it plowed when they want. Make sure you still put in enough events to cover the costs.

    I charge a per inch rate for cold callers that want their driveway plowed during a storm. You could also do that with that customer. But make sure it states in your contract when you are to plow.
  9. mack

    mack Member
    from il
    Messages: 30

    Per Push Price Help Plz

    This is how I modeled my bid for apartments approximately 800,000 sq ft all together..
    The owner wants this format..
    2"-6" with a 2" trigger
    I figure every 2 inches I will need to plow 2-6 means 3 pushes, is this right??
    Then 6 to lets say 10" would be 2 more pushes..
    This way if it only snows 2" and stops you push 1 and get paid for 3...
    Does this look right????
    If it snows 6-10" in less than 24 hours same event, and you get 8" all together you push once more and get paid for 2..
    But after 24 is new event and you start over 2-6" ect....
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  10. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609


    in a perfect world.


    i hear....

    my mustang is stuck can you plow earlier

    i dont have to work today so dont plow until the end of the storm.

    the kids have a school activity i need you to plow early and come back later

    i have to get my hair done can you plow before three?

    dont plow my drive if i dont have to be somewhere. just wait until its over.

    my drive is icy now because you ddnt plow the inch we had last time. will still charge me to sand it?
    how come you havent plowed yet i told you i had a appointment?

    why are you plowiing so early when i can drive through that much snow?

    our cars are stuck so we cant move them. can you help us get them out?

    i work swing shifts. here is my schedule. just make sure i can get out.

    we didnt need you to plow the driveway three times we stayed in for the whole weekend

    why did you plow so much ,i was out of town anyway

    im closing the house for the season. can you still plow? just not every storm

    I have a doctors app. at eleven
  11. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    i try to limit myself to charging by the push. full price . each time. Every time they want me to drop the blade i want to be paid.
    if its more than one storm worth of snow i charge more than the normal push price .
  12. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    There is always confusion about "storm". What if it snows 3 times during a storm?, kind of questions.

    I base my stuff on 24 hours. Say it starts snowing at night. I get up the next morning and plow. If it snows again during the day, and my contracts require it, I go back and plow them again if the trigger was met. If they only want it once during the day, I wait and go back the next morning.

    Getting paid the same for 2-6 inches is the way some do it. As mentioned above if it snows 2 then you get paid for 6, but on the other hand, if it snows 6 then you get paid for 2"
    I don't like the scaled system, except for commerical, because any plow truck can push 12" of snow from most driveways in close to the same amount of time it takes to push 2".

    from Mass
    Messages: 7

    Ok. Thanks everybody. I'll take everything into consideration and decide what to do.
  14. curty85

    curty85 Junior Member
    Messages: 16

  15. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617


    In a perfect world

    I plow 1 inch of snow at 1 driveway and charge $1,000,000 payup

    Would have me sit at his driveway and wait for 1/2" of snow and plow. Repeat till the storm is over and pay $1.:cry:

    So we compromise

    I start at 2" (I dont want the customer to get in the habit of shoveling)

    I charge per storm (low-pressure area that comes through)

    If the storm goes over 8" I charge by the inch. (storm charge)/8 X inches plowed

    Knowing the customer will want to get to work. (after all he needs to earn money to pay me). I provide a PATH from the garage to the street by 7:00AM. (less than 2 minutes)

    I go back later to do the cleanup (Plow the drive, turn arounds...)
    Before you jump all over me about not charging for each time I plow, I figure that all in on the price.

    my customers love me :) they can get out to work, and they know I will be back to finish the plowing. I usually spend less than 2 minutes each giving them a PATH to the street and I can get more people out in the AM by not plowing the whole thing. I can keep 70 people very happy that way. 100 with a helper.

    I do it this way to avoid all the calls that bribrius gets. Last year I plowed 96 customer’s 15 times and got ~ 6 calls Or 1 call for every 150 houses. 4 of the calls from one new customer on 4 different storms. If I cant figure out how to please that customer we will go our separate ways.

    I NEVER want to argue with a customer (I don’t like to argue with people who give me money). So I have a policy "If you have a complaint about my service on a storm I wont charge you for that storm"

    In 22 years of plowing Ive had to use that policy less than 10 times.

    Thats how I do it!