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Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job
If you need help coming up with a bid for a lawn care, landscaping, tree cutting or irrigation job, post the specifics here and pictures of the job site. If you are looking to learn about bidding, review the jobs posted here.

plow estimate?


Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job

If you need help coming up with a bid for a lawn care, landscaping, tree cutting or irrigation job, post the specifics here and pictures of the job site. If you are looking to learn about bidding, review the jobs posted here.
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  #1  
Old 10-11-2009, 02:40 AM
pointdexx
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Question plow estimate?

So im going to be plowing this winter for the first time with my own truck. I don't know how much money to charge, as per size of lots and streets-paved/unpaved . People around here like to have a flat push rate, at 2inch. I don't want to over/under my time. Please help! I need to be offering free estimates, with a firm logical price.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pointdexx View Post
So im going to be plowing this winter for the first time with my own truck. I don't know how much money to charge, as per size of lots and streets-paved/unpaved . People around here like to have a flat push rate, at 2inch. I don't want to over/under my time. Please help! I need to be offering free estimates, with a firm logical price.
I only have 4 plowing accounts and they are all estate sized homes (they are my lawn care customers). Average drive way is 15' wide by 150' long. My starting rate for that size is $40.00.
If I were you I would call some contractors in your area for estimates. That is the only true way to gage what the going price is in your area.
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
My starting rate for that size is $40.00.
What does this price include? Plowing and sidewalk clearing?

How long does it take to do?
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
What does this price include? Plowing and sidewalk clearing?

How long does it take to do?
It does include side walk clearing from the drive to the front door. I have a Toro paddle type snow blower in the back of the truck. They work awesome.
That job will take about 20-25 minutes total depending on how much snow.
If they request rear walk and patio clearing it will cost them another 15 bucks.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:41 PM
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How many residential customers do you feel you could service as a solo operator?
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:06 PM
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Ok, assuming you have plowed in the past as you mention you're plowing with your own truck, you should have an idea how long it will take you to clear a lot or driveway. Find out what the going rate for plowing is in your area. For example: if going rate is $60 an hour & you think a lot will take 30 minutes for an empty lot, the base charge is $30. With people wanting to save money these days, I always break my pricing down. XX amount for plowing, XX amount for sidewalks, XX amount for ice melt. My customers like this. Some will want me to just plow & have their employee's clear walks & de-ice. Others want me to do it all. I have found it gives them the idea they can get it done & still save a little money by doing this or that on their own. Some businesses only want you to plow monday thru friday. With a heavy snowfall, weekend maintenance is a must. Be sure to include this clause in your bid. I have tried to attatch a copy of the contract I use. If it doesn't work send me an email & I'll send it to you to look at.
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Old 11-22-2009, 01:09 AM
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That is a really creative way to submit your bid.

How often do you think customers will go for the bare bones snow plow job versus want you to take care of everything?

Are you ever able to upsell them when they want to go for the cheapest? If so, what do you suggest a snow plow operator say to help increase the dollar value of the sale?
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Old 11-23-2009, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
That is a really creative way to submit your bid.

How often do you think customers will go for the bare bones snow plow job versus want you to take care of everything?

Are you ever able to upsell them when they want to go for the cheapest? If so, what do you suggest a snow plow operator say to help increase the dollar value of the sale?
Most customer have told me they like the way I break down the pricing & accept the whole package. This way they see what their money is paying for. Say you tell a Mr. B, who has an average sized lot but a big wrap around sidewalk & wants de-icer, it will cost him $50 each snowfall. Now lets say he knows that Mr. X next door to him is only paying $35 & has a bigger lot. You just lost a customer. He doesn't realize Mr. X only has a front door & no sidewalks at all. Business owners usually only think of it as "snowplowing the lot". They don't look at the big picture regardless of the services they want. Now let's say it this way: snow removal of the lot is $30 (less then MR. X, he'll like that), "you have a pretty big sidewalk" snow removal for it will be $15, you also want de-icer that will be $20. Then you tell him "I'll use a broadcast spreader that will cover your sidewalk & a little bit of the parking spaces along the sidewalk. BINGO! He thinks he just got a deal. He's paying less then Mr. X for "snowplowing" and he's getting a larger area de-iced then he had planned. When in reallity, you just got a $65 client!

Now for the ones who want barebones: if you get a customer who still wants barebones, watch them, watch them, watch them. Here's why: if it's a small business they might be doing sidewalks & de-icing themselves. You probably aren't going to change that. But for larger businesses that use the employees for this, you've got a chance. For example: I have a rehab facility who said they'd take care of de-icing. I came back by one morning after I'd plowed their lot & see 2 of the office girls out there in their nice clothes throwing ice melt by hand. After a few snowfalls I stopped in & saw the boss. I told her I saw her girls out there throwing ice melt by hand. Followed with, you know that stuff isn't the greatest thing to get on your hands! I'm sure it doesn't do their clothes any good either. Then I say, you know, if you want I'll still take care of that for the price I quoted you. Then I throw out the "spreader line". Most of the time, I got them. What they don't think you know is, these girls have been chewing their ear off about doing this. But you've been "watching them". Another one I do is this daycare who has a wheelchair ramp. It's about 50-60 feet long. The first year I provided service to them I charged $15 to shovel it. With solid 5ft walls on both sides of it, it was a real pain. The next year they said her girls would take care of that but if it got too deep they would have me do it. I explained that it would be a lot harder when the snow got too deep because of the walls on the sides & that since it was a "as needed" removal it would be $25 instead of the $15 they had paid in the past. She said that was fine. But now I have a snow blower. The first time they called for the ramp I was in & out in about 10 minutes. $25 please! Thank you. Remember, if you're NOT doing it, SOMEBODY else is. Figure out who & use that to your advantage. Good luck!

Also, after my first year of plowing on my own & seeing exactly what my expenses where, I raised my prices the 2nd year & didn't loose a single customer. Good, friendly, service.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:40 PM
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That is great advice! Thank you.

Quote:
Also, after my first year of plowing on my own & seeing exactly what my expenses where, I raised my prices the 2nd year & didn't loose a single customer
This also shows everyone the importance of knowing your overhead costs. This is very important.

Experiment with the snow plow calculators and get an idea of what your costs are.
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