Minimum snow charge for residential drives

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.plowsite.com target=_blank ?>Sn' started by lawn and stump, Jan 24, 2001.

  1. lawn and stump

    lawn and stump LawnSite Member
    Posts: 191

    I plow about 80 driveways and next year I was going to send a bill in october for the cost of 2 plowings. when I recieve payment they will be put on my plow list this will weed out people that move or no longer want plowing.
    my drives are mostly $30-35. this would be a non-refundable
    retainer to be on call for them 24-7. In southern conn. we
    get 3-6 plowings per year and it's expensive to keep geared up and tied down if we only get 3 storms. Does any one do something similar ? thanks
     
  2. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    Good idea. Would this go in your pocket, or be applied towards future plowing?

    With my commercials, they are billed one, 0-4 storm per month dec-Mar if we dont get any snow.
     
  3. wyldman

    wyldman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    We get lots of snow here,so it's not a problem.With any account that do not want a seasonal contract,we get a minimum retainer equal to the cost of plowing one 4" snowfall and one application of salt.This is held until April when it is either returned,or put towards any outstanding balance.At least you are covered to plow once,and will never get stiffed.If they don't choose to pay afterwards,we just suspend service and keep the retainer.It works well.We also charge the customer a min stop fee,plus the cost of any loaded materials (salt),if they change their mind when you get there.
     
  4. lawn and stump

    lawn and stump LawnSite Member
    Posts: 191

    My charge would credit their acct for their first 2 plows.
    Now I send out letters in the fall asking customers if they want to remain on my plow list and some don't reply then when we get our first storm I spend too much time on the phone and back tracking.
    So if they don't pay for the 2 plows up front by nov 15 they would not be on my list and I would replace them if at the end of the season I didn't plow at least 2x I would keep the money to cover my expences. We aways plow at least 2 times so the chances of customers loosing is very slim.
     
  5. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 549

    Wyldman,

    I think you should keep that retainer as well. The whole purpose is to compensate you for being on call. If it does'nt snow you wasted the entire winter waiting when you could have done something more enjoyable.

    If there's anyone in North Jersey interested in plowing drives I have about 30 to get rid and a 1 yr old western plow.
     
  6. wyldman

    wyldman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    We plow here on anywhere from a 1-2" trigger on a per push basis.We usually are out 15-20 (at least) times during a normal winter,so we don't really need to keep the retainer,we would probably lose some of our contracts if we did.We are compensated more than enough with the revenue we generate at the property.It's just to protect us if they decide not to pay,or change their mind when the first flakes start to fall.These people don't want a seasonal contract,but don't mind paying the retainer to have us on standby.We also bill for a least one storm a month,regardless if we plow or not.Another clause for us to cover our costs just in case,but we have yet to use it.

    As far as smaller drives,in areas with little snow,then you may want to hold on to the retainer,if your customers will go for it,depends on what your market dictates.If you are only plowing 3-6 times per year you should be able to come up with a contract price for the whole year,even just billed once,as it wouldn't be that high.That way you have your money up front,and don't have to send out 80 + bills every snowfall.Give them a discount if they pay up front.
     
  7. bcngtr

    bcngtr LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 15

    I have a season contract price for a threshold limit. I get the contract price up front. If we get over the limit, then my customers get billed per event. If we get less than the threshold, they don't pay any more. If anyone else does this, do you send out updates during the season?
     
  8. plowking35

    plowking35 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S.E. CT
    Posts: 1,687

    That is exactly what we do. We keep record at each site and they get a monthly update as to where we are at for the season. Its similar to a monthly statement.
    Dino
     
  9. mowing king

    mowing king LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Posts: 85

    i used to live in madison. on Bradley rd. people in madison are loaded. I would offer a service of snow control with a $35 per month fee. 4 months. you keep the 35 each month. if it does not snow you keep it. if it does snow you apply it to the bill for that month. This makes it worth it to keep the 4 wheel drive trucks. other wise you might be losing moeny offering plowing. it takes at least 2 storms to breakeven maybe three. i would offer it as a snow management program. If they say no one else does it that way, you tell them thats right and thats why we are the best because no one else can offer the service we can.
     

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