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Ice storm cleanup prices

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by brentsawyer, Feb 20, 2003.

  1. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I live in Lexington, KY and over the weekend we got hit with an ice storm real hard. I do mostly maintenance so I had to rent a chipper and pole saw from Knoxville since everyone around here was out and anyone who had chippers only had 3-4" ones. The one I got is a 9" Diesel. I am using my 8'x12' flatbed for loading and one other guy. So far everyone that has called dosen't ask for a price, they just want it done. So what I've set is a $100/hr price on 5+ hours or $125/hr for up to four. This leaves me with around $65 hour for myself including rentals, fuel, anyother variable expenses.

    This is fair as far as I'm concerned, however, the local media is all over guys for charging too much or price gouging. Basically guys trying to get rich on the storm, kind of making it sound like we should be out here doing it as a good citizen deed, not as a profitable business. Also, I fell asleep before the report ran on the 10'oclock news last night and didn't get to hear what they consider that to be but I was wondering what some of your thoughts might be as far as gouging. Also, for what we've got now, am I in line. Seems that are one of the few to have this much going right now, except tree companies, most are local country boys with a couple chain saws that are leaving everything by the curb for the city to pick up in about a month. We are also getting done 2-3 times faster than them with the chipper.

    PS My rental on the chipper is $615/wk and $133/wk pole saw including tax and ins.
  2. Garth Sweet

    Garth Sweet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Looks in line to me. We had an Ice storm in Dec and people were all over charging all types of rates. Have fun now because it gets real old after a few weeks.
  3. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403


    Great to see that you have found a chipper. I have one on the way. Give me a call and maybe we can work together.

  4. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 538

    We had a severe ice storm here in Missouri last year and I did the same work you are doing now. I would not quote the customer a price per hour, it sounds very high to a customer. Instead, price it per job so you make the same without the customer knowing your hourly rate.

  5. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    F'um! It's called supply and demand. Just like when the fricken' gas prices went up a few years ago to try and stop people from driving as much because fuel storage amounts were running low. So they raised the prices.

    When the worthless POS news stations go out, secure an expensive piece of equipment, manpower, extra insurance, and the know how to do work that is dangerous, then they can decide who's price gouging and who isn't!! Set your rates to make good money because it won't last too long. I call it seizing the moment. I don't recommend ripping people off, but higher demand and an urgency to complete work demands higher money. Is your plumber, or furnace repairman going to come out in the middle of the night or the weekend for the same money as an 8-5 call? NO. You will obviously not take advantage of people because you need continued work in the community. It's only good business sense. Do charge accordingly though. I think your prices seem fair. For whatever that's worth.
  6. E-man

    E-man LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 136

    You are offering a very fair price in my opinion . If these people are hiring you than apparently they believe they are being treated fairly too. I would not concern myself with what the media is saying.
  7. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    Just wanted to place an update. An ice storm like this really brings all the people out of the sticks if you know what I mean. Basically anyone with a pickup and chainsaw thinks they are ready to tackle any job. On Thursday, we went to the city dump to get rid of our load and the line was at least 3/4 of a mile long. Nothing but pickups and loose brush. This was very frusterating since my truck was probably holding 20 loads of theirs. So we found a guy who let us dump at his place and saved a better part of the afternoon.

    As far as prices. Whew, they're all over the place. Largest tree company in town was quoting $500/hr. Average going rate was $175, don't know what that included, not any chippers around that I saw, they all just cut and leave at the curb which takes longer since all debris has to be in 4' sections. So I settled in the $125-150 range and that has been fair for me and allowed me to pick up a new customer and HOA in the works. These were done before I gave final price so it was not a price issue, it was service and professionalism.
  8. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    brent, you might want to ask the news station how much they charge for a commercial during the super bowl?
    It's suppy and demand plain and simple.

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