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We cant get a freaking storm. I am so far into debt. that im in trouble. our seasonal average, 37 inches. We curently have a total of 6.5 inches total in about 6 diffrent snowfalls (1 plowable, 4 inch event.) To tell you the truth, im looking forward to landscaping already. I cant stand it anymore. The storms that develope either go south or north. It really sucks guys!
 

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I feel your pain. Last winter we only had 3 plowable storms. It all averages out in the long run. This year is a lot better 6 storms so far I think. Snow removal is definately a feast or famine job. Maybe next year try get some season contracts in your mix of jobs, so you at least still get a cheque when there is no snow. What I also do is put some extra cash in an account starting in August, so we can pay the bills in a no snow winter. I hope you get snow soon.
 

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Wait till next month ,mother nature will be playing catch up .....I hope LOL
 

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I am a landscaper too, I set money aside for the winter to pay my bills, snow plowing is just a bonus. Don't rely on mother nature to pay your bills. Good Luck
 

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This is our 3rd down year in a row. We average 16-20 events per year in theory. We have been at 12-14 the last few years. We have 5 so far. I hear about you guys with none or 1 and learn quickly to shut up and be grateful. 50* + today. Cooling over the weekend. No moisture in sight.
Oh well... Like the Broncos, there's always next year...:p
 

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roblandscape said:
none or 1 ??
i think he means he hears about you guys with no snow or 1 plowable event and he shuts up because even though hes not getting asmuch as he used to he is still getting more than that.
 

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Hey chevy guy, I feel for ya. We have all been there. I am a landscaper too. I do the same as Roblandscape I set a goal for how much coin I need too make it threw the winter and if I have a real good summer, I will just keep adding to the winter funds.
So far this yr it's not a real bad yr but it's not a good yr ether. We have only two plowable storms and six saltings witch is a bonus.
 

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ChevyGuy37- Sorry to hear about your situation, I have been there. The first two years that I owned my own plow, I think I plowed 2 times.
Everybody above made a good point about putting money aside during the landscape season to get you through the winter. I got a great piece of advice from a very successful landscaper when I was starting out. My landscaping season is roughly 40 weeks here, so I add up all of my costs (my paycheck too) and divide that by 40 weeks.
This tells me that I have to make $XX per week for 40 weeks to cover my costs for the year. I can then break it down to figure my costs per day, and per hour. You have to have this info if you want to bid correctly, anyway.
This way, I look at snow as gravy. I will still be able to pay my bills even if we get nothing.
Hope this helps, Mike
 

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I was just discussing the same thing the other day. I started pushing snow in 2000-1. That winter was above average, but I didn't have many accounts. Since then, I've had the accounts but we've had below average winters.

I just keep telling myself (and the wife) that the odds will catch up. I just need to hang in there. Which is hard to do as the expenses keep coming whether the checks do or not.
 

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While this may not be a popular point to bring up , I will put myself in jeopardy and bring it up.

Some of the larger companies that do strictly snow, have a mixed bag of payment plans/ contracts.

Some do strictly seasonal pricing, some do a mix of per push, seasonal and hourly.

Some say don't do hourly

Do any of you here that are experiencing a mild winter have any seasonal accounts?

Have you tried selling them? Is it a hard sell?

Have you tried a retainer fee?

Lots of successful companies seem to use the mixed bag of seasonal, retainer, per push in order to survive!!!

Most commercial business/ office buildings/ hospitals pay service contracts for things like landscape maintenance, elevator maintenance, fire alarm maintenance etc., so why not snow removal.

Just a suggestion !
 

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I am a small snow only contractor with a majority of residential customers.

90% of my residentials pay me a seasonal rate on or before Oct. 15th each year. The other 10% pay by retainer, of a set # of per pushes. When their set # is up, I bill for anouther 4 plows, etc.

All my commercial accounts are on a per push basis. Mainly because I feel the salting will cover me more durring the year, vs. snow (Basically no risk-at least so far).

I was talking with John(AKA - Garagekeeper), the other day and he suggested I even take retainers from my commercial accounts as well. The retainer is nice, lets say one pure push a month min, would work really well. At least it keeps cash comming in, in case of no snow months.

Chuck B.
 

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A couple other guys have brought it up, and it's been discussed many times before to mix your account types. Where I'm at we don't get too much snow, maybe 10 plow events per season on average, and a dozen salt events. Some customers (or contractor) may have lower trigger thresholds as to when to perform services, so they may get more billable events than I do.

Anyhow, I've got a mix of the following:

- Annual flat monthly fee customers (plow and salt included)
- Seasonal contracted winter-only customers (flat fee per month for plowing and per application fee for salting)
- Per push & per salt app. customers
- Flat seasonal residential plow customers

I juggle the list slightly each year to try to get a balance so that I'm making money whether it snows a lot, or a little. I don't "set aside" landscaping money to get me through the winter. Instead, I contract enough winter work (and vary the payment types) to pay the bills. As I increase my summertime profits, I strive to reduce my dependence on plowing to cover winter costs. Last year I ran 3 trucks + sub. This year I'm at 2 trucks + sub. Next year hopefullly I can go 2 trucks and no sub.

On the bright side for this year look at it this way...it's only mid-January. Last year's winter went well into April and we had two big storms that month, so there's plenty of potential winter left out there.
:cash
 

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Well I do a mix of seasonal and per push/per salt App. I give an agressive rate for my seasonal customers along with rates for grass and spreader it out over 12 months. That gives me a steady cash flow no matter what.

My operating direct cost get covered no matter what. The mix is about 75%seasonal 25% per push. I only book a sub for my per push work so I only have to pay when we get the other work. Salt makes me enough to cover my cost and labor for the salting at all my seasonal account and leave alittle extra to pay my regular driver a bonus.
 
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