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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First let me say I was glad to find you all! I have been over on the other site and wonder where Wlydman and some of the other regulars disappeared too. I posted this same question on that other site and gained some information but I still am confused. Let me see what I can learn here! I have done searches and I still don't know how to price the increments and what exactly happens on a larger snow. What type of % should I use for the next bracket? If 2" - 4" is $275.00 what is 4"-6"? What if the continues snow comes during the morning - so I have to go hit the lot for the morning business and then come back to complete after the snow ends? I am VERY new to the business and I want to be fair and cover myself.

Thanks for the help!


2,249 Posts
There are some differences in your strategy from mine but basically I charge so much per snowfall in per storm or snowfall in a 24 hour period, in case one storm lasts more than 24 hours. Personally, I would suggest a wider range than 2" but that's up to you. I go with 3" range. Now mine breaks down like this with a 3" trigger:

3" to 6" - xxx (ie: $30)
over 6" to 9" - xxx times 1 1/2 ($45)
over 9" to 12" - xxx times 2 ($60)
over 12" - xxx times 2 plus yyy (ie: $1) per inch over 12"

Twenty four hours after the start of a snowfall will start a new billing cycle. So, using the figures above, if you got 15" of snow the first day, you would charge $63 for that first day. Now, it keeps snowing the next day and snows another 20" and finally stops - charge: $68 + $63 for the first day = $131 for the storm.

Depending on your customer's needs you might also consider charging based on the amount pushed, especially if they need plowed at a certain time (before opening).

Using my figures above and saying they needed plowed by 7:30:

At 7:30 you plow 8" and charge $45. At the end of the snow, you come back and plow another 4" and charge $30 for a total of $75.

A lot will depend on your customer's needs. A business in NYC will require a higher level of service than a retired person's driveway in my area. I was getting calls from people who had not been plowed out for three days after this past storm. We do not "plow with the storm" because the contractor who has the town doesn't plow out roads until after the snow stops. Even if I did plow, they couldn't get past their own driveway. I have one customer I simply can't get to until they go by her road - sometimes several hours after daybreak.

Bottom line - talk to your customer so you're sure you meet their expectations and don't be afraid to charge. If they're expecting a high level of service, generally they expect to pay for it.

Hope this helps a little.

1,279 Posts
Sounds like a commercial job so try to push seasonal rates. If not just ask how they were billed in the past for during business hours plowing. If they do not want seasonal rates you have to be prepared to plow that lot during business hours if there is a day time snow fall.

I have done it two ways.

1) If the client is set in stone about per push rates, mostly likely they think they will save money this way, than I flat out give a rate with price breaks for amounts of snowfall and stick to it reguardless if I plow half the lot in the afternoon or the entire lot at 3AM and I call it a 'PER VISIT" rate. Meaning every time I VISIT the property you get billed $XX.XX.

2) If the client seems like they understand that it cost money to keep their lot clean and safe I give them two rate plans. They are both set on amount of snow fall but are in two classes. A) lot empty after hours, weekend, and/or holidays. B) during business hours to provided engress and egress as weather permits. Both of these rate plans differ based on the size of the lot and amount of traffic lanes in and out of the property. I do the same rate plan for salt spreading, traffic lane, or empty lot.

I have learnd that most of the time client #1 is just looking for the low bidder and the quality of service is no factor just the quanity. I do not want this client anyway so I bid it high and do not get the job. This is a complainer and you will be getting calls all the time saying you did not do the job right the first time and I want you to come back and not charge.

Client #2 will be the more understanding client. You will be able to do a good job at the rates you have given and this will become a long term client. This is the type of client I give aggressive rates and put extra time behind to make sure the job looks right, because the rates and billing is never questioned. These clients will become a source of referal business.

There are several threads about clients that want it all and do not expect to pay, or just want to pay as little as possible and have you on the hook for the silp and fall claims.

Beware, be smart, be profitable. If you are just starting out keep in mind you do not have to get every job, only take the jobs that would help grow your company in the direction you want to go. If you are writing contracts for the 1st time looking into a SIMA membership. It is less than a lawyers fee and very helpful. The contract verbage is key when the legal paper come flying.

Good luck.
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