View Full Version : Snow contracts

06-30-2007, 10:51 PM
This kind of surprised me. I recently participated in a survey for snow magazine and the question was "Are you already getting your snow contracts signed for the 2007-08 winter season?" And I was very surprised to find that 60% of respondents answered "yes".

Kind of interesting. Any thoughts on why so early?

06-30-2007, 11:37 PM
Well, I think it is smart. If you have been in business for a few seasons why not take care of these situations as soon as you can in the year and lock the customers in. That would give you ahead start over your competition.

In the past when would you deal with these issues?

07-01-2007, 01:00 PM
I personally don't send out snow removal contracts until September

camigda lawn service
10-06-2007, 03:31 PM
Hey, I'm getting into the residential snow removal this year. I just bought a snowblower today. I am asking how much to bid on these jobs. I am in Denver Co so anyone here that can give me some answers could ya? I have several of my lawn service clients interested and am eager to give them the bid asap.

10-06-2007, 06:09 PM
Hi camigda,

Prices may differ based on areas. Have you thought about calling a few local lawn care operators in your area and ask them how much it would be to do this to your property? Or to a friends? That way you could get a local idea. Maybe get 3 bids for a friends property?

Would that help you?

Unless someone else wants to jump in and offer some prices?

camigda lawn service
10-06-2007, 06:50 PM
great ideas, thanks. was hoping some local denver snow removal folks could throw me a bone by telling me how they determine their pricing in this area. I'm not lazy but instead will waste their time and gas by bringing them out to give me a quote, for their service I will not use, but I figured I'd just ask in this forum instead. I hate when people do this to me!
Asking is so much more productive for all.

10-06-2007, 06:53 PM
I totally agree, I just thought my response would be the fastest.

Hey, you know you can always give them $10 or $20 bucks for the estimate to make it worth their time.

The information they give you will be worth way more than that. Someone else here from Colorado may still jump in here to help answer you.

Any thoughts on what you will be doing to market this service?

camigda lawn service
10-07-2007, 06:21 PM
I never thought of that, thanks! That way I won't be screwing them over and I'll feel a whole lot better about it.
As far as marketing right now I'll be calling my current lawn service clients, I'll put out flyers along with my aeration flyers, plus I am associated with a non-profit organization that will allow me to place the flyers there. I also placed an ad on Craigslist targeting my specific area. Since this is just beginning and I have only the blower and shovels, I've got to keep it small.

10-07-2007, 06:56 PM
Will you be offering any outdoor decorations this fall/winter?

10-07-2007, 11:43 PM
I always send my snow bids to my customers with their bills on Oct. 1...This year some of my customers are actually signing with other plow companies...I am not sure what I will do about it in the spring. These same 2 customers praise me every time I see them, and admit their lawn has never looked so good...but have no loyalty toward my if they sign with the cheapos...I will probably just raise their lawncare next year $100, and look every time I plow to see if they are done. Last year I had a customer sign with another company...they plowed 6 times, where I plowed 25 times to the same area. He complained all spring to me about being snowed in all winter, and then just announced to me he was taking bids again this year, and I would have to compete with that company if I wanted to plow him this year. I hate snow already so told him if he wants to sign with anyone else for plowing to be sure they mowed! http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

camigda lawn service
10-08-2007, 08:47 AM
To the 2 posts, thanks! I will not be doing decorating for Halloween. That is a pretty new concept for me and a bit late in the game, so not this year.
I may however drive around and see what's out there for ideas.
To Billz, I'm curious why the customers would go with another business if they are so happy with your lawn service? Could it be cost only? If that's the case you must be pretty cheap with your mowing rates so they expect that with your snow removal too. They must not see the value in the snow removal and figure anyone can do it. Also, last year was a freakish snow year and we can't be everywhere at once, so they would complain regardless.
So back to the question(s) I'm asking about: how do you charge? I get the bid part, but is it a monthly fee regardless of the amount/times of snow or a fee everytime it snows? I would figure a combination depending on the clientele. Also, how much? Say for a normal sidewalk no steps monthly rate? Then normal plus steps monthly, etc... Do you measure or just guesstimate, and based on what?

10-08-2007, 04:09 PM
I charge for the season $250 for most 2 car drives(225 for lawn customers)...2 inch trigger, last year I plowed my residentials 25 times and my commercials 31 times. I charge about 25 per week to mow most of these 10,000 sq ft lawns...that is about the going rate here, although most say my work is far superior to their former lawn companies.

10-08-2007, 04:48 PM
Hi Bill,

Can you explain that a little more to me?

$250 for the season for unlimited plows?

Can you explain the 2 inch trigger more?

What about sidewalks, sanding/salting?

10-08-2007, 08:03 PM
250 for unlimited plows. I plow only when we get 2 inches of snow, so if we get a 1 inch storm I do not go, but as soon as it hits 2 I start to plow. I don't do salting really, and most of the cities here plow the sidewalks. I do add shoveling the walk to front door, and in front of the garage for 100... so with that they pay 350.

10-08-2007, 08:10 PM
Very interesting! Thank you for your insight!

Can you share with us some of your thoughts on how best to bid on commercial jobs?

10-08-2007, 11:08 PM
best way I found is to only attempt to get the ones already on your route. I took an enterprise job one year with 4 different locations, and I took so long getting those done with all the driving, that my other customers suffered.

camigda lawn service
10-09-2007, 04:20 AM
Thanks Billz for the info. Can anyone else add some info about bidding for sidewalks and driveways only? Denver (at least my part of town) does not remove snow from the sidewalks. I am also assuming I'll be salting the walkways. Lots of kids catching the buses!

10-09-2007, 07:51 PM
how does everyone else bid? I am higher than some here, and most people want a full season price...winter can get too unpredictable here.

camigda lawn service
10-10-2007, 08:53 AM
Yah, how does everyone else bid? I am thinking monthly billing like my lawn service but the seasonal bid sounds more effective to lock people in for the year. Plus, if there is no snow say in November and they get a bill anyway, well.... Better out of sight, out of mind in that case. Perhaps a monthly billing would be a higher charge, so upon presenting the seasonal option they are getting a better value (win-win) and we are not possibly chasing money, etc...
So maybe I need to figure out costs myself. Based on Billz info and my lawn contracts info with mainly front sidewalks and porch steps, I'm thinking around $125 monthly or $500 season (Nov thru Mar).
Anyone care to jump in and give their opinion of this?