Do you plow snow?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Landscraper1, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 703

    I have had a couple of crazy storms plowing, every problem seems to get crammed together and drives you nuts, the phone calls got to me the most. If I could of just tuned them out and worked it wouldn't have been as bad. But after it's all done and you get your sleep, you look back on it and it doesn't seem that bad, maybe some good laughs.
     
  2. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    Glad to hear you made it through the storm. It's tough to price an event like that with driveways. I got a text from a buddy of mine yesterday "just got the bill from the plow guy $80 and he showed up once!!!"

    I laughed and thought if it was me the price would have been double. I know I'd pay $80 to save mysef from shoveling 3 feet or snow :clapping:
     
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    It doesn't sound like you had much fun but like you said you learned some things. I think you waited way to long to roll out.

    I rolled out at noon Friday with about 2 inches on the ground and started hitting my accounts near me, mostly just to mark them with snow berms. By 5:00 pm I had 6 inches and was on my second push of a factory parking lot I do. By 7:30 the roads were almost impassable but I did venture out on my route anyway coming back to my factory lot each time, once with 6 inches of new snow on it around 2 am. Around 4:00 am I tried to get gas but everything was closed, even the Mobil that swore they'd be open all night so I had to skip my planned run up into the woods. Instead I worked my way home and helped a friend of mine upon up a large church lot about 1/2 mile up the road from me...he couldn't get a lane in...and then went home for a little break. I got stuck trying to plow a neighbors driveway that I hadn't plowed at all yet and said screw this and put my chains on with some help from my son. I ran around with my chains on all day Saturday and parked it around midnight, so a 36 hour shift with just one long break Saturday morning. All I do with my chains on is blast things open...it's difficult to maneuver with them on. I rolled back out around 10:00 am Sunday without my chains on and did a few accounts and then went back and got my son to help with detail work until about midnight when I dropped him off an ran back out solo until 3:30 am Monday, at which point I had finished all of my regulars. Monday I started on the list of one-time customers that my wife had compiled for me but it started raining so I spent most of my time doing slush runs on my regulars and hitting aprons now that the town and state had gotten to the roads. Some of the one-timers were downright nasty with my wife even though she was pretty clear with them that they would have to wait. Thankfully she has pretty good phone skills because she works on a temporary basis for a FTD call center during their busy periods. My pricing is way below what yours is...mostly in the $125 to $150 range. I've yet to finalize my invoicing on my regular customers though. I only ended up doing about a half dozen one-timers.
     
  4. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,387

    Darryl ...So what is your $125-150 for? Per storm? Per hr? No such thing as average driveway around here lol.

    Chester - that's the name of the game buddy. I feel like that every storm ....more of a mental game in the middle of long sleepless nights. It does get better in time. Break downs will happen in the worse times....lol. Always a challenge to conquer .....
     
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    My $125 to $150 will be for the storm. Most of my accounts have a base rate in the range of $40 to $50 and I was planning on billing them at 3 times that. That's probably on the low side since I would charge twice my base rate at 8 inches plus. I have a couple of difficult driveways that I may charge more for. I base my billing on a rate of at least $150/hr...that's my personal target number. The factory lot I do is a little different because to preserve parking spaces most of the snow has to get stacked in one spot. I did 6 pushes on it so I'm billing them each at the normal $200/push. I also figured it out at my hourly rate...I spent 7.5 hours there total so at would be $1,125...gave myself the benefit of the doubt and went with the $1,200. Because all of my accounts are close and I like to please as many of them as possible I end up making multiple visits to most of them...swing by during the storm to try to keep them open, swing by after the storm to get them accessible, perhaps again to do detail work and get whatever the town/state deposited in the apron and maybe another visit to get any hardpack and to push back the piles. The ones that are more convenient to me get more visits.
     
  6. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,280

    Saw my accountant last Thursday he has a girl in his office that spent 1400 to have her driveway plowed in that blizzard. I guess I got off light :)
     
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Some accounts were indeed heavy equipment only and those can get pricey. That or a 2 stage snowblower.

    I had a number of people want me to do driveways that were down in holes that I refused to go down in my truck. I have a few of my own accounts that are down in holes but I know the accounts...big difference when you're in extreme conditions. It's all about getting in a lane that you can work from...work your way in, establish a lane and work off of it. If you can't get a lane you're screwed.

    Honestly I was the guy to be, V plow with brand new snow tires and chains on for a while. My buddy couldn't believe how easily I opened up his church lot lanes and sliced the big lot for him. I didn't get stuck once with chains on, not that I haven't managed to in the past. All in all I got stuck at an unplowed intersection trying to get to one of my accounts around 10:00 pm Friday, once a little at my neighbor's that didn't require getting out and once while stacking...raised the blade too quick and stuffed it. My son and I were digging out when a landscaper/plower I know was passing by and gave me a quick yank out. So I only had to get out to dig twice.

    As far as the chains go, they're great during the beginning part of cleanup but once the roads start getting cleared I can't wait to get them off. They're best for straight hard pushing, opening up, and blasting through as well as getting around on unplowed roads. Maneuvering in them is difficult and can mark up pavement. I drove past a couple of accounts that require tight maneuvering while I was chained up and then come back to them later. The 235 snow tires were the real trick though. I'm never plowing in all terrain tires again. I've never been able to run around and plow in 2wd before during a storm. I'd be plowing and my tires would spin and I'd be like, WTF, I'm not pushing that hard. Then I'd remember I was in 2WD!
     
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Let me ask you guys something. Below is language from my terms. This pretty much gives me the right to charge whatever I feel is fair, right?

    Snow Removal Fees are calculated based upon your base plowing rate multiplied by a difficulty factor that is dependent on the storm
    event. We have a 2 inch "trigger." In general, snowfall of less than 4 inches is billed at 100% of the base rate, 4 to 6 inches at 150% the
    base rate, 6 to 8 inches at 200% the base rate, and 8 inches plus at 250 to 350% the base rate. However, we reserve the right to apply a
    different multiplier or an hourly rate in certain cases, i.e. wet heavy snowfall or blizzard, in order to reflect the effort required to service
    the property. Snowfall totals are based on CTDOT supplied data for the immediate area and direct observations.​
     
  9. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    To an extent yes.
     
  10. dstifel

    dstifel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 915

    I would say so. What i do is a base charge up to 4 inches. After that is is an additional 10$ per 2 inches. So 50$ driveway with 4-6" is 60 etc. But I have a clause that says anything over ten inches will be pushed 2-3 times with a minimum 50$ charge each time. Most of my drives are single stall with little to no sidewalks.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     

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