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wow help me out here

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by MikeRi24, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    I am starting to estimate jobs for people, and apparently I am WAY off on my estimates. before I started estimating, I talked to 2 of my neighbors who have been getting their driveways plowed for years, and asked them what they pay. the first has a driveway thats 1 car wide, 2.5 long MAYBE 3 if they were all tiny cars. they pay $300 a year. the second is 2 wide by 3 long and they pay $350 a year (each done by 2 different companies). So I decided to use that as my starting point. I get to my first estimate, and its a 3 long by 2 wide, so I'm thinking $350, but its my best friend's grandparents so I said $300 just because, and apparently they got a flyer from some guy who is willing to do it for $225!!!

    I'm really scared to do any more estimates because I'm afraid I wont get ANY jobs at all because my price will be way too much. Keep in mind, I live in Buffalo, NY where we get a fair amount of snow November - March and gas is ~$3.60 a gallon. I can't be plowing for free! Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. 06HD BOSS

    06HD BOSS 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,611

    dont get all flustered over one denial. go out and give more prices. if you find 5-10 people are telling you the same thing then you have a right to get disappointed. whats the average amount of storms you have a year? some guys can get less money per driveway if they have a decent number of accounts in a tight area. try targeting different areas.
  3. Indy

    Indy Senior Member
    Messages: 704

    sometimes the guys that lowball prices, suck on service and then those people that passed on you will come back and be your most loyal customers.

    do you best, forget the rest.

    Quiters quit and successfull people, press on, so press on.
  4. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    i know theres ppl htat charge less than me.... sometimes the cutomer knows it as well, sometimes they dont

    generally, if your small , you must meet there price... yeah it sucks, but business is a LONG term .... get customers, then raise the price.... you have to build a reputation , and a customer bases sometime , that can mean a really cheap price... might be little profit the first year... but raise the price the following , even if your 25 or 50 more, if thye liked your work , they will keep you. Its all about getting your foot in the door

    i do the same with commercial bidding, i start with really cheap bids every year... i know the BARE MIN that i must make to pay my bills, then after that , the price goes up, till im full on work
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    In Amherst every landscraper plows. If you get the 350 your doing good there. Prices range from 200 to 400 for the season with unlimited plowing.
  6. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    So .... For a seasonal plow price and unlimited at that .. How many plows are you calculating for on average? What does the client expect for service levels?
  7. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    well im figuring between 20-30 plows, minimum 2" of snow, and it will be done before 8 a.m. or before 5 p.m. the wintes have been really strange the past few years here, unlike anything from the past and its been really hard to predict how much its actually going to snow.
  8. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    If YOU believe your prices are fair stick with them, they are similar to mine up here. Ramp up your estimates delivered to potential customers. A famous scammer up here, now out of business, steadily drove pricing DOWN for years until he self destructed. Close to 3000 customers hung out to dry by mid dec 07. Pricing is on its way up again. Pick an area, advertise efficiently and over service your customers. My first yr in snow I only had 7 driveways to do, was way easy in hindsite but that was 20 yrs ago. GL
  9. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    I dunno. Let's take $300 for a season and you plow 20 times that's only $15 buck a plow and at 30 times it's only $10 a plow. That seems very, very low unless your working a hundred homes on the same block using a bobcat - ie. volume.

    EPPSLLC Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    This is an awful business model. Once you are known for low prices thats all the customers you will ever get is price shoppers. It is VERY hard to raise your prices. Keep your prices high . . . sell on quality, professionalisms, on time service, customer service, security, and oh btw after all that you get your drive way cleared off as well. Select your customers . . . just like i wouldn't sell a house wash to a guy living in a trailer covered in mold, look for yards that are taken care off, nice vehicles, and houses of decent size. Sell people on thier time. . .whether it be mowing, landscaping, house washing, or roof cleaning I make sure to sell the customer their time! After 40+ hrs of work a week the last thing you want to do is worry about ..... .

    My flier im working on now goes like this (feel free to use it )

    Why wake up earlier in the morning and add another hour to your already BUSY (tell them they are busy) day just to have TIME (there it is) to clear the drive before work. Make life EASY and call a PRO. We will have you off to work on time and with out a slip and fall on the way out the door. Call EasyPro Property Services today for your free Snow Removal Quote

    EPPSLLC Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    a side note. . . .in all business there is two models . . . .

    high prices and low volume (Porsche)
    low prices and high volume (Wal-Mart)

    I dunno about you but im all about working less for more money lol
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    This is the going price in his and my area. You can try and find some to pay more but you'll be working a part-time job to supplement your plowing money.For driveways 20 is on the high side ave. amount of plows for the season here.
  13. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Right on with pricing GV. I sub for a guy who gets $400 per drive. No exceptions. and He's busy. I heard there is a flyer going around the Amherst area with a guy doing driveways for $195 :dizzy: I'm in Hamburg I get $250-$300 per driveway and I'll give a $25 discount if my customer can get the neighbors on both sides to sign with me. That works well for me in keeping a tight route.

    EPPSLLC Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    do you all make the customers pay as you go or is it up front or is it at the end of the season?
  15. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    I used to break it up into 2 payments. the problem I had with that is that in Janary customers would feel that it did not snow enough to warrant paying the final installment. So i would take the hit. Taking them to small claims in New York is a joke there is almost no way to enforce a judgement and get my money. So everyone except commercial customers are 100% upfront or I'm not their guy. People I know personally I may be willing to work with.
  16. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Smart man.....
  17. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    Yeah I've gotten the $195/year flyer at my house. After thinking about it for a while, I have come up with a few points to explain to potential customers why my services are worth what I am asking. Its also hard to explain to people that "driveways starting at $225" does NOT mean that some1 is gonna plow your 2 car wide by 12 car long driveway for $225 a year.....
  18. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    That's a good way to approach it and should be true. I tell all of my customers that everyone in our area has a plow and when we get big storms in our area some guys tend to neglect their accounts and go after people who they can price gouge. Maybe it's just me but i can't do that to someone, especially when they have already payed me in full for the service. Someone who owes me money on the other hand would go to the end of the list when I have paying customers with their check books out.
    My understanding is that this flier guy is plowing every 'standard' drive at that rate. What I mean by standard is 1 to 4 car drive. If he can do that let him. I wouldn't put my shoes on for that kind of money. I suspect his customers will be flagging down plow drivers at some point during the winter because their guy is a no show.