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How to charge for snow plowing

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  • How to charge for snow plowing

    In Illinois. Clients ask to have a winter season, one payment for snow plowing their driveways. Is there anywhere that one can get some sort of idea as to the expected snow for the season this year? I have searched everywhere, but found nothing. Realizing that predicting snowfall for any given year is about impossible, I am just wondering if anyone here has come up with an idea to supply this type of service. I did some last year, but lost each of them this year because we only had enough snow to plow 2 times, but they felt they paid a lot for just the 2 snow plows. I realize it is a gamble on both parties' side. I have real estate agents that are requesting a price for a seasons plow so it can be given as an incentive for a buyer, "Buy the house, get a years snow plowing and mow/trim". Easy to calculate a years mow/trim. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    i know a guy who charges for 2 storms a month snow or not, he says that that is the cost for him to stay home all winter, not go on vacation, and to be there 24/7 all winter long. His customers pay him, me i would be scarred to lose them


    • #3
      I am guessing that each snowfall he charges as well or is this a flat contract rate regardless of the amount of snow?
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      • #4
        I charge by the hour sometimes
        My min for small driveways is $35 under 6inches.
        Over 6inches I will charge 40% more.

        My hourly rate is $125/hr per truck.
        Salting or sanding the driveway or lot is 40% more.

        Is hard when you first get into snow removal. Well pricing a job. The actual removal is easy.

        If you have the right equipment you could make good money.


        • #5
          I will NEVER need to do this since I live in Georgia... not to that extent, anyway... but I had to poke my nose into this conversation... lol

          Pete - when you do a job, do you estimate it, then bill them when you're done, or they pay you when you get there or what?


          • #6
            I leave a invoice if they not home, but I knock when im done with the job to see if they have cash or a check for me. If not then they have 10 days to send me the money or they will get charge a late fee.


            • #7
              We charge;
              $50 min for resi every 2" of snow fall so if there is 6" before we can get to them it would be $50 x 3 salt is $2.75 per pound spread.

              $$$ per push on commericial every 2" of snow fall $3.00 per pound of salt spread.

              For ex. we have commerical customer that has 4 miles of street and 4 mail station

              We charge them $175 per push every 2" of snow fall this includes 2 passes (1 down & 1 back) clearing cul-de-sac's and clearing mail stations, $3.00 per pound of salt used. approx 1000 lbs per application if we do all. We also stated in the contract we are not responsible to clear in front of or behind any cars/trucks street parked. Basicly stating if the cars/truck get barried we are not responsible to digging them out.


              • #8
                I know I'm kind of late on this one but thats awesome that you have people willing to pay $50 min for resi. I get people almost in tears if I tell them anything over $20 . I had one commercial (builder) contract I bid for $10,000 for the year to plow 50+ resi. drives (in different areas = lots of drive time), 1 subs roads and 2 commercial buildings but the guy said it was to much and wasn't going to have any of it plowed, sucks for us both especially him tho... we have had 2 good 10"+ storms already this year and its starting to fall again now


                • #9

                  I'm in Eastpointe, MI (just north of Detroit) and am interested in what you will be charging this year for snow removal? What equipment do you have? We have 2 regular snowblowers and we're looking for 1 BIG snowthrower.

                  How did your snow removal go for last year? I know we were real busy!! Thanks! Amy


                  • #10
                    My Two Cents

                    Hi guys
                    Here's how we charge up hee-yah in Maine. The worst winter I've had is 9 storms, the best, 27. We average 12-15. So here's what I offer:

                    1. Per push - each time we come, we charge full time. I do my best to NOT allow any "inch-age" limits (i.e. 2" then we come out, or push every two inches, etc.) because truthfully, everyone has a different idea of what 2" is and it's just one more place for conflict. If I have a commercial acct, and they INSIST on that verbiage, I accept and hope for the best, but I would NOT accept any "cut in pay" if I missed the 2" mark. We charge full price each push, $15 minimum - most of mine are $20-$25 per push. I charge $5-$10 to cleanup the end of the driveway if needed after the storm.
                    (NOTE: I do not offer "per storm". If someone insisted on it, I'd just charge 2-2.5 times my per push rate and hope for the best)

                    2. "Per season" with insurance. I don't offer a blanket "per season" charge because there is WAY too much variance in the amount of snow we get. It would be like saying "I'll build you a house for $125,000 - and then hoping you decide on a 900 sf ranch and not a 2,000 sf *****ial. What I do is figure 15 storms, 2 visits per storm. Let's say it's $25 per push, their contract would be $25 x 2 x 15 or $750. This amount would cover them from a minimum of 11 storms to a maximum of 18 storms. If we had less than 11, they'd get some refund, if more than 18, they'd get a bill. THIS gives them a 90% probability, give or take, of meeting their "budgeted" amount, but also covers us from extremes.

                    A final word, ALL my plowing is per push, every single one. BUT I think it's nice to have a variety. You get more from the contracts during times of little snow, but you get some big money from the "per push" people during heavy winters. It's sort of like diversifying your stock portfolio.
                    Kenneth LaVoie III
                    LaVoie's Landscape Mgmt. Inc.- Winslow, Maine


                    • #11
                      gona add to this

                      I only do residential snow plowing. I charge per visit/per hour. If the visit takes 1.75 hrs i charge 2 hrs. If the customer wants me to salt or sand the driveway they tell me and this adds to the cost. I don't have any comercial acounts for snow so. Hope thats helps.



                      • #12
                        What kind of blower do you use? Is it your own personal blower? do you make good profit by doing this? and how do you advertise it?


                        • #13
                          plow rate......

                          I charged my apartment complex 10,000 for two years of lawn and snow. I did this rate as I know the owners and apartment manager. I have been all over the net I am looking into multiple push rates I have yet to find one that suits small business start up owners. I would recommend that anyone who has never plowed before to spend at least year of research before attempting this. I have plow for a landscaping company and running a front end loader with a 36 foot push broom for on a 35 acre holding yard. I have even worked on a golf course which is perfect for learning how to take lawn care to another level. It is nice to see a site like this dedicated to people wanting learn this trade.


                          • #14
                            Welcome to our forum!

                            I would recommend that anyone who has never plowed before to spend at least year of research before attempting this.
                            What major lessons do you feel you learned and others should look into learning during that research period?
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                            • #15
                              I will NEVER need to do this since I live in Georgia... not to that extent, anyway...

                              pmblair it all depends on the person or business your doing that for. Some prefer that you bill them and some wish to pay up front.


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