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Fresh68
01-21-2009, 07:16 AM
Great site...My name is Dave, been in the business about 18 years.I started with a broken down 48 inch walk behind lol.It is a great business but it takes hard work and persistence.

I started out with a partner but we split after about a year.I then had a couple part timers but I got tired of trying to get them to come to work lol.

So I just kept sinking my profits into the best equipment and I do everything myself.

I live in the northeast so right now I'm doing snow removal making some big bucks.It has been great.I use to plow,but i got tired of the wear and tear on trucks,transmissions, digging up peoples lawns, cops stopping me for pushing snow in the street,, etc....

I now use snowblowers only.I picked up a brand new Ariens 13 horse, 36 inch cut this summer (off season, the knocked off 1000$ off the 3000$ retail)Always buy your equipment off season!
I use that for the big storms and I have 2 small 1 stage blowers.A 5 Hp Ariens, and a 3 horse Lawnboy.Both paddle types.

I have 10 residential accounts, my pricing is as follows.

0-6 inches 65.00$
6-9 inches 75.00$
9-12inches 85.00$

etc.... so for the last 2 storms we had I made 1300.00$ for about 5 hours work.(not too shabby)

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Oh yea, I also do dump runs for people in the winter months to supplement my snow removal business.I usually charge between 125- 150$ a load.And I tell the people to have everything packed neatly.

Dave

ritchiem
01-21-2009, 07:22 AM
Welcome to the forums Dave.

How are your summer months? Do you focus on lawn care or is there some garden maintenance as well?

Steve
01-21-2009, 08:23 AM
Hi Dave,

Welcome to our forum!

I have 10 residential accounts, my pricing is as follows.

0-6 inches 65.00$
6-9 inches 75.00$
9-12inches 85.00$

etc.... so for the last 2 storms we had I made 1300.00$ for about 5 hours work.(not too shabby)

Do you have your customers on any kind of contract? Or how does that work?

Also how long does it take you to service an average driveway?

Fresh68
01-21-2009, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the welcome guys....

I can knock out an average driveway 6-8 inches in maybe 20 minutes.I'll throw a small sideawalk in for free.A public sidewalk I may whack them for another 5 or 10 bucks.The small 1 stage 2 stroke blowers move alot of snow quickly.If it is a huge snowfall,i'll break out my Ariens 2 stage Snow King.

I always keep an ad running in my local pennysaver and outside of my 10 regulars, i always pick up a few more after a storm, when people are thumbing through the paper.

As far as contracts, I don't like to use them.I tell all my customers exactly what I will do, when I will get there (within24 hours of storm), and I expect a check to be in the mailbox.

yea..... rates are 65 for the first 6 inches, every 3 inches the price goes up 10 dollars.

Don't be shy on your prices, you may not get every customer that calls but just keep in mind when people call a plumber its 125.00$ just to come to the house, then the meter starts.

Fresh68
01-21-2009, 10:22 AM
Oh yea, as far as lawn care..last year in the midst of a recession I had my best year ever.That is why I love this business.

My lawn care months includes the following services:

Lawn Mowing
Hedge Trimming
Edging
Dethaching
Aerating
Spring & Fall Cleanups
Fertilizer
Lime
Stump Grinding

I may add Gravesite Care this year.

Fresh68
01-21-2009, 10:43 AM
Last year was the best year I ever had in terms of Lawn care, in the midst of a recession.

My Lawn Business includes the following services:

Lawn Mowing
Hedge Trimming
Edging
Fertilizer
Lime
Spring and Fall Cleanups
Stump Grinding ( rent the unit. dont buy one!)
Aerating
Dethatching

I may add Gravesite care this year.

If you have questions on pricing let me know.

mruiz
01-21-2009, 11:08 AM
Hi Dave, Welcome!

(Oh yea, I also do dump runs for people in the winter months to supplement my snow removal business.I usually charge between 125- 150$ a load.And I tell the people to have everything packed neatly.)

Is this snow runs for other snow serivce biz or fire wood?

And also, What is Gravesite care? How is this handle and how do you advertise this market?

Mike

Fresh68
01-21-2009, 11:48 AM
Hi Mike,

I keep my ads running year round, in the local penny saver.

For Example my current ad is running right now: Here it is:

Snow Removal - Dump Runs

Snow removal- (done with snowblowers)

Dump Runs- attic, basement and garage cleanouts

Liscenced & Insured Free estimates, Reasonable rates call Dave @ xxx-xxxx

I never put my rates in the paper (prevents other guys from stealing your rates).Try to give the prospective customer an estimate over the phone instead of running all over town burning up gas.

Gravesite Maintenance includes weeding a grave, polishing up a headstone and adding new flowers on a weekly, bi monthly or monthly basis.

60.00 / month (2 visits)- flowers extra

mruiz
01-21-2009, 02:14 PM
Hey Dave,

(Gravesite Maintenance includes weeding a grave, polishing up a headstone and adding new flowers on a weekly, bi monthly or monthly basis.

60.00 / month (2 visits)- flowers extra)


Very very interesting idea here.....
Do you also advertise this in the "pennysaver" or is this more with your exisiting customers?

Fresh68
01-21-2009, 03:02 PM
Im starting this service this spring , so I will include it in my ad

Steve
01-21-2009, 09:00 PM
Great stuff.

Try to give the prospective customer an estimate over the phone instead of running all over town burning up gas.

Do you have any advice as to the best way to give an estimate over the phone? What kind of information do you need from the potential customer?


A public sidewalk I may whack them for another 5 or 10 bucks.

Do you have customers that just want their public sidewalk cleared? Do you advertise this service as well?

Fresh68
01-22-2009, 07:17 AM
2 great questions.

1.In my ad I always include FREE ESTIMATES.As most of you know the word FREE is the biggest word in advertising.So right there this potential customer thinks he is gettiung something for nothing.

I think after a few years in the business everyone has a pretty good idea about what they are going to charge for a particular service.

Let's say they are calling about lawn cutting....I ask them a few basic questions.

1.How many square feet is your yard?
2.Do You Fertilize?
3.Have you ever had a lawn service?
4.Do you have a sprinkler system?

I then explain to them that my minimum charge for an average 5000 square foot lawn starts at 28.00$/ cut.And, that it may be a couple dollars more if there is alot of trim.So now they can make a decision right over the phone, instead of burning up a quarter tank of gas.


In the case of snow removal, I explain that I have a 65$ minimum 0-6 inches.Everyone knows snow is a tough way to make money.I'm not getting out of a warm bed,and loading my truck up for less than that.I'm not interested in just a sidewalk unless I can make my minimum of 65$.

One other thing about snow is the charge of 65$ is if a customer calls before a storm and I can fit them in my rotation the day of the storm.If someone calls me the day after a storm they pay a premium rate starting at 75$.If they become a regular customer I will drop them down to 65 for 0-6 inches.

Steve
01-22-2009, 08:10 AM
Oh very fascinating!

What is next on your equipment wish list?

Fresh68
01-22-2009, 11:20 AM
Id like to buy a stump grinder.

Steve
01-22-2009, 11:23 AM
Is that another service you don't see too many others offering?