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Plowing was per occurence and was triggered by how many inches that particular contract called for. Some started at 2" and went to 6". It was daing near impossible to keep up in a big storm. 24 hours in a machine ain't exactly fun...
 

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A lot of snow removal places here operate like bookies. Half the jobs are seasonal contracts, and half are by the push. That covers you for any type of weather.
 

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Just like anything/contract..... figure out what the customer needs/wants..... firm or T&M......

If you are accepting the risk (season firm price I guess).... charge for the risk you are bearing.... (unless you're Wally Kenan, the weatherman and know something the rest of the world doesn't)
 

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A lot of snow removal places here operate like bookies. Half the jobs are seasonal contracts, and half are by the push. That covers you for any type of weather.
Warren has an excellent point... diversification on your part, reduces your risk and can make you more competitive in re to pricing.
 

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Sidewalk plowing is different from street plowing. Usually, sidewalks get done once a storm around here.

Retail locations are different - around here a lot of them will have continuous snow removal / salted sand during store hours if there is a storm. If someone slips and falls and breaks their butt, it's a storm of record and the sore did everything right, so they have no culpability.

If you don't know how it's being bid, ask. From your end, you should already know how much per push and how much for salted sand. You should also already know how deep of snow you can move (even wet snow), so that gives you a max depth before you make a round.
 

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A buddy of mine sets up contracts for a monthly fee whether it snows or not. This way it protects him the owner and not needing to scramble to find work just incase it doesn't snow. And the customer can have a piece of mind that when it snows it will be gone in a timely manner.

Not sure what weather is like where you're from but here it's pretty unpredictable. There have been years where there's hardly any snow. Maybe 2 big dumps and years where there is a big dump of snow for several weeks in a row.
 

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We always took at least 5 months a yr off due to weather, we'd do some side jobs here and there, but I used winter as a decompression time as far as construction went, but had commercial plowing, sand/salt, and salt apps to keep us busy and make money for the vacation time.

Sidewalks, never bid them...if they went with a commercial property job they got bid by the running foot, but I tried to stay away from any places that had them because
1. I don't like getting out of a warm truck to freeze my butt off outside and get covered in snow
2. I don't like getting out of a warm truck to freeze my butt off outside and get covered in snow

LOL.

Around here the grass guy contracts were able to do contracts for the winter season, and they bid based on annual snow fall divided by average events per winter, so if it didn't snow much they madeout like a bandit, it it snowed a ton, they lost their butt..but that's the chance you take doing contracts on an average.

All my accounts were based on a trigger amount that we would show up, and regardless of what the business thought they wanted, I told them we have a 2" trigger, no compromises for the simple fact starting with a higher trigger amount takes longer to remove the snow, and it also is much harder on equipment due to the added weight those extra inches carried. Emergency calls, that you/we always get from unprepared businesses were charged dearly for the simple fact they'd have deep snow, hidden obstacles, and the added time that was required to be safe and move the mass.

Do yourself a huge favor and require salt application, on nasty storms we pre-treated and that would buy us a larger window before we had to roll out, and it also helped prevent snow from binding to the surface so when it was time to remove snow, it chiseled up/pushed off like a champ and left a residue effect to help continue the thawing after we left.

Also, if you can DONT do sand/salt mix applications, it leaves a god awful mess come spring time, depending on EPA/DNR rules in the area you may also have to bid going back in with a skidder/broom attachment to clean and haul it away come spring time, it tears up floors inside the businesses due the grit stuck to shoes/boots, and it's slow acting. Everything we bid was 100% salt app, and we kept our lots looking like winter never happened, in the fall businesses baulk at the pricing, during the winter they are happy because customers are happy and comment on how nice and clean the lot/walks are. You may get some flack initially because after salt app you cant see it, because it's white and blends in whereas sand/salt mix folks can see what you did...but straight salt works FAST, so give it 30 minutes and it'll look like the parking lot was rained on due to being cleared and wet vs patches on hard pack.

I found it easier to charge for salt apps using our tailgate spreaders since I could charge PER bag used, bulk salt is tough since your loaded with 34-3600lbs of salt and have a hard time tracking how much was applied at each lot, so you kind of wung it price wise....The money is in salt apps, charge as much/more than plowing, no beating on your truck like a plow does, and fast...a typical lot that took an hour to plow, took maybe 15 minutes to salt.

But going back to original question, I myself liked billing a per push, that way I knew I was getting paid anytime the trucks were out, the seasonal stuff can work in your favor, but can also work against you...give a customer enough yrs under a seasonal average contract that you come out smelling like a rose, they will and do eventually start looking elsewhere to even the playing field so they're not just throwing money away.

THE #1 thing to remember, don't take on more than you can handle, take enough to make good money, but give them exceptional service so they are more inclined to keep you on board. 17yrs of plowing I only lost 1 account and that was due to new management taking over and they were concerned about losing $60 a winter because another guy bid it less LMAO, and that winter, they weren't cleaned out until long after they opened, and it was a pizz poor job at that, but they saved an average of $60 LOL.
 

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Plowing my own parking is enough for me
 

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I charge by the hour. I feel that's the fairest way.
You know I agree with you entirely..... but do not your customers flinch at an hourly rate..... considering you have to have your capital/maintence/availability priced into your quote.

Seems that you would have customers see you clear a lot/drive etc in 15- 20 minutes, and think that is $25....????

In general, is that what your customer base wants.... or have you had to explain your cost/pricin to them????
 

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Up here in the great white north alotta guys have a base contract price to plow that covers up to 80-100 cms of snow throughout the contract season, then a per cm charge over that, works well on both ends, no snow you cover equipment and stand by, but if you get hammered with big dumps for weeks straight you dont loose your shirt. I 2nd the pure salt theory, and bill accordingly. Bag salt is expensive, and to be productive youe paying a lacky to ride around in the bed loading the hopper. My buds that do it run large hoppers and bill by time it runs, 2yards takes an hour or so to dump depending how the gate is set/how heavy you lay it out. Figure out how long your hopper takes to empty vs cost to load/run and devide by minutes and literaly run a stop watch at each lot, hope thats of some use other than post count!
 

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You know I agree with you entirely..... but do not your customers flinch at an hourly rate..... considering you have to have your capital/maintence/availability priced into your quote.

Seems that you would have customers see you clear a lot/drive etc in 15- 20 minutes, and think that is $25....????

In general, is that what your customer base wants.... or have you had to explain your cost/pricin to them????
Most people around here are hourly. I just had a conversation with a potential customer. He told me what he was paying, then said "if its not too deep they would give us a discount".

I replied "if we adjust it down for less snow, shouldn't we adjust it up for deeper snow?"

Why not just charge by the hour and be fair to everyone.
 
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