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How to charge for snow plowing - GopherHaul Podcast

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Uploaded on Nov 30, 2008

http://www.gopherforum.com With winter on its way, many new lawn care business owners are looking to add snow plowing to their list of winter services. Trying to come up with an idea on how to charge can be challenging, especially for new businesses.

A Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum member asked such a question regarding snow plow services. I have clients asking to have one payment for snow plowing their driveways for the winter season. 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.

Pete: I charge by the hour sometimes. My minimum for snow plowing small driveways is $35 under 6 inches of snow. Over 6 inches of snow I will charge 40% more. My hourly rate is $125/hr per truck. Salting or sanding the driveway or lot is 40% more. It is hard to price a job when you first get into snow removal. The actual removal is easy. If you have the right equipment you could make good money. I leave a invoice in their mailbox if they are 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.

Tim: Here is how we charge for snow plowing:
$50 min for residential driveways every 2inches of snow fall. So if there is before we can get to them it would be $50 x 3 salt is $2.75 per pound spread.

$$$ per push on commercial every 2 in. of snow fall $3.00 per pound of salt spread.

For ex. we have a commercial customer that has 4 miles of street and 4 mail stations.

We charge them $175 per push every 2inches of snow fall this includes 2 passes (1 down & 1 back) clearing cul-de-sacs and clearing mail stations, $3.00 per pound of salt used. Approx 1,000 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. Basically the contract states if the cars/truck get plowed in, we are not responsible to digging them

Ken: Heres how we charge up here in the north east. The worst winter Ive had is 9 storms, the best, 27. We average 12-15 winter storms. So heres what I offer:

* Per push - each time we come, we charge full time. I do my best to NOT allow any inch-limits (i.e. then we come out, or push every two inches, etc.) because truthfully, everyone has a different idea of what 2inches is and its 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 2inches 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, Id just charge 2-2.5 times my per push rate and hope for the best)
* Per season - with insurance. I dont 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 Ill build you a house for $125,000 and then hoping you decide on a 900 sf ranch and not a 2,000 sf colonial. What I do is figure 15 storms, 2 visits per storm. Lets say its $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 get some refund, if more than 18, they get a bill. THIS gives them a 90% probability, give or take, of meeting their budgeted amount, but also covers us from extremes.

Join in on the discussion at the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum here. If you would like to join in on this discussion further, visit this post at the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
If you are in need of free lawn care marketing material for your lawn care business, please visit our site at http://www.gophersoftware.com. We have hundreds of free lawn care logo, flyer, door hanger and web templates you can download and use for your lawn care business. We also have free lawn care business contracts. Also download our trial version of Gopher Lawn Care Business Software. Gopher will help your lawn care business schedule and invoice more customers in less time, allowing you more time to grow or enjoy your life. Try Gopher Lawn Care Business Software http://www.gophersoftware.com Visit the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum http://www.gopherforum.com and my lawn care business blog at http://www.lawnchat.com

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