Bidding on a plowing contract

The following information has been provided by Chuck Smith who maintains his own web site with more plowing information. Be sure to visit his site at Chucks Chevy Truck Pages

I have contracts outlining prices for different snowfall depths.

A 1-8" storm sometimes requires clearing parking lots twice. I still bill for the total amount of snowfall, in a 24 hr period. This has been working for me for the past 5 years. Of course, the bigger the storm, the more passes you'll have to make. You should include it in your price. Often, road plows block driveway aprons after I plow. I put it in writing that I will keep business parking lots open during storms. Also, where I live (NJ) it's against the law to push snow into the street or even across it. First offense is a $500 ticket. (Webmaster's Note: Pushing snow across or into the street is also illegal in WI, is it legal anywhere?)

After many snowfalls, with little melting in between, snow needs to be stacked in lots using a Back Hoe/Front End Loader, I put the price on all my commercial contracts, so they know in advance how much it will be. The last time I had to stack, EVERYONE (other contractors too) that was doing it was charging about $150 per hour.

Good Luck, contracts are hard to get. Price scalping is a common way to get your foot in the door. Remeber not to take on too many accts.. I used to do 20 Residential, and 4 Commercial when I started out. I learned fast which houses are a waste of time. Now I only take houses with no cars in the driveways,and ones that are "push backs". Back dragging driveways sucks, and does a poor job most of the time. Now I do only 8 Residential and 3 Commercial, and make more than I did when I started out and in less time. On a 1-8" storm, I make over $1,000.00. I plow about 4hrs. I used to plow 10hrs on a 1-8" storm and make a little over $900.00. Planning is the key. Houses that are close to one another helps, as does concentrating commercial accounts in one area. Don't spread yourself thin or you WILL be sorry. The phone will never stop ringing. "When are you coming?" You'll never want to hear those words again!!!!

Start trying to get accounts now. I already got all my contracts signed back in August and September. These are the months to start delivering proposals/Contracts.

Be sure to note on your contracts that all work is contigent upon accidents, strikes or delays beyond your control. (Like when you snap an axle) Also, find a friend that plows who can cover your butt if this happens. It will help you keep those hard to get contracts.

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