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  #11  
Old 11-21-2010, 12:02 PM
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The only time I take the gear out is for the city or one commercial client when they need a loader as I charge by the hour $75.00 plus travel time. Other than that I work in the shop and enjoy the scenery

People in Florida charge between 65 - 85$ /hr for basic labor charges. I have a gain on the competition and charge $30 for non equipment labor and $35 with equipment motorized. Cheap as could be! I run at a lower rate and make more money than most do .

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  #12  
Old 11-21-2010, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
With all this information, it makes you wonder if lawn care business owners would be better off experimenting with other revenue sources over the winter months.
I think we have to to survive and who knows you might stumble upon a small gold mine.
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  #13  
Old 11-21-2010, 07:48 PM
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It is very interesting indeed how snow removal can vary so much from place to place. Living in Alberta, Canada, we on average get about 50-52 days of snow fall in a season. I consider myself fortunate listening to some of the comments as to how inconsistent some areas are with snowfall.

I go year round with many clients, in fact if next year things expand like they did this year, I will no longer be taking on seasonal clients (ie. summer or winter clients) year round clients only.

Scott, I am shocked at how little the charge was that you were considering. Course, your area could be considerably different than here, I charge anywhere from 125 to 225 per month for service. I also don't change my price for different seasons. My clients pay per month whether their yard needs anything or not. For example, I was lucky that for November we did not have any snow until the until the 17th. Course, that was not really a blessing cause it has snowed everyday since then and looks like there will be at least two more days before it gives me a break.


Lloyd
Blue's YardFX
Camrose, Alberta
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2010, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by fieroboi View Post
Scott, I am shocked at how little the charge was that you were considering. Course, your area could be considerably different than here, I charge anywhere from 125 to 225 per month for service. I also don't change my price for different seasons. My clients pay per month whether their yard needs anything or not. For example, I was lucky that for November we did not have any snow until the until the 17th. Course, that was not really a blessing cause it has snowed everyday since then and looks like there will be at least two more days before it gives me a break.


Lloyd
Blue's YardFX
Camrose, Alberta
I was thinking the same thing when this post first came out, regardless of how short the walkways are, how little travel time, how long it takes, I have no idea how one can offer this service for so little.

Scott is in an area that would receive at least three times the snowfall of Camrose (based on living in Calgary for 7 years and spending a lot of time in your area horse back riding) and travelling to the Montreal area one week a month.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:15 AM
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I go year round with many clients, in fact if next year things expand like they did this year, I will no longer be taking on seasonal clients (ie. summer or winter clients) year round clients only.
Lloyd, how do you market the year round services? Do you put a flyer out that says you will cover all the customers property needs all year long for $X per month? Or is there a better way to go about this?

I wonder if this marketing method could be used in other geographic areas as well. But with snow, it's seems like it is hard to know for sure how many days of snowfall you will get and you could potentially lose your shirt on a fixed monthly price, it seems.
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  #16  
Old 11-22-2010, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picframer View Post
I was thinking the same thing when this post first came out, regardless of how short the walkways are, how little travel time, how long it takes, I have no idea how one can offer this service for so little.

Scott is in an area that would receive at least three times the snowfall of Camrose (based on living in Calgary for 7 years and spending a lot of time in your area horse back riding) and travelling to the Montreal area one week a month.

Montreal is a warzone lol.

I have met just about every competitor and when your alone with them, all they do is trash talk about eachother...

Unfortunately, our market is low here - not sure how it happened but I've gotten used to it starting out. I can't imagine what it'd be like for our prices to go up like you guys.


People bid as low as $160 a season for snow removal, $100 for walkway shoveling...

I guess that explains why we're considered reckless drivers here :P... Our profit only exists if we are speedy and manage tons of clients.

It sucks to know that on just about every block we have a lawn guy, lol. At 5pm, you can sometimes see us all heading home the same path. It's ridiculous.


And yeah, when we get snow it's like an avalanche covers the city. It's a whole new world lol. I think everyone should come and experience a Montreal snow storm - bring dog sleds and a few huskies.

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Old 11-22-2010, 04:26 PM
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We have had a few year round contracts where they pay the same each month no matter what! There are some advantages to this such as in march when you give a spring clean up you dont really need to mow all that much in march you get the same amount, but when fall clean ups start? watch out because if you get some bigger apartment complex managers where instead of having you schedule the clean up when the leaves have fallen they will be calling you all the time to come out and clean up and at times your only there for an hour or so it takes more drive time gas etc instead of making it worth the time! or if it does snow a ton again they will call more times for little stuff versus the other customers that pay per push or hourly on clean ups, But there are times where we didnt do anything for a couple of months and got paid but worked our butts off for little things in the other months. So just depends on how you set it and setting good ground rules is a huge plus.. I started adding on the clean ups that there has to be a minimum of 3 hours before we will come out or there would be a gas ser charge-
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  #18  
Old 11-24-2010, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Lloyd, how do you market the year round services? Do you put a flyer out that says you will cover all the customers property needs all year long for $X per month? Or is there a better way to go about this?

I wonder if this marketing method could be used in other geographic areas as well. But with snow, it's seems like it is hard to know for sure how many days of snowfall you will get and you could potentially lose your shirt on a fixed monthly price, it seems.
I wish I had a simple reply to this. I don't do much for marketing my services anymore. I have an ad in a local phone book and the rest for the past year has been completely by word of mouth. I am lucky in that the area i service is a small city of about 16000 people, with approximately 40% of the population being seniors. The city here has marketed itself as a wonderful community to retire in. I guess my biggest form of marketing are my clients that get together with their friends over coffee at Timmy's ... sounds strange, but they do more for my business than they realize. Got to love clients that are constantly referring new clients. The level of trust new clients have for my business/services still surprises me today. For example, a new client two months ago, referred from another client, gave me 6 months of checks after the first month.

I do have to agree about potentially losing your shirt if your area is unpredictable in your snowfall amounts. Here it is generally quite consistant in the number of days. When i quote a yard I calculate that i will visit the yard about 60 times for snow removal for the season. If it turns out less, then my profit margin goes up. The average here is about 50 days of snow per season.

I am very clear with clients that I anticipate to visit approximately 50 days during the snow season, they get a spring clean, mowing as needed to a max of once a week and one major fall clean included in my monthly charge. Any other work is additional charge, so if a client wants the yard cleaned up more than once, they pay extra for it. It has worked well for me, but I have realized that things are very different everywhere and what works for one may not work for another.

Lloyd
Blue's YardFX
Camrose, Alberta
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  #19  
Old 11-24-2010, 08:42 AM
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Lloyd,

Do you keep an eye and ear open how competitors in your area handle the lawn care and snow plow billing? Have you yet to see anyone else in your area handle it in another way that you thought would be better but you haven't been able to transition your customers to that billing method yet?
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  #20  
Old 11-24-2010, 05:02 PM
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Lloyd,

Do you keep an eye and ear open how competitors in your area handle the lawn care and snow plow billing? Have you yet to see anyone else in your area handle it in another way that you thought would be better but you haven't been able to transition your customers to that billing method yet?
I do keep an eye on the competion, but I can't say as I worry to much about it. There are a couple of other guys that bill monthly just as I do, some of them are cheaper in pricing than me. I maintain my price, and many times I find it is just a matter of finding out what is offered. Most of my competitors charge extra for spring and fall cleaning. They are not as consisitant in the quality of workmanship than I am. An example was one client told me a year ago last fall that he was going to try do his snow removal himself, so when I went to chat about grass again in the spring, he informed me he had someone for snowfall and he only showed up about 10 times in the whole season but had got paid in advance for the whole season. I found out that he tried him because he was $20 less per month than me. I made a comment about being reliable and asked if it was worth $20 per month .... well he is year round since!

I really like the monthly payment, it is really simple for people to understand and for the seniors, they can budget and don't have to worry about getting a huge bill. For me, I like it because I can budget and plan accordingly as I know what is coming in every month.

Lloyd
Blue's YardFX
Camrose, Alberta
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