Tips for pricing and performing residential snow removal.

The thought of making money over the winter is a very pleasant thought for most lawn care business owners, especially when they live in an area that has snow storms. However the way you go about performing the service and the way you price it can make or break your entire winter season. Consider these tips from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum before you jump the gun on pricing snow removal.

One lawn care business owner wrote “so for this winter I am thinking of offering my new customers, snow removal services. However, I am limited in the amount of snow I can remove because I can only afford to buy a snow blower. So I have been doing some brain storming on how to charge for this when I am able to get a snow plow.

I talked to my buddy who offers snow plowing and he said that he charges a snow plow customer with an average size driveway in the city $25 for snow up to 4 inches in depth and for each additional inch it would be $10 more. That sounded like a good system to me so I was thinking of going with it.”

A second lawn care business owner said “first off, you shouldn’t have any issues getting snow plowing clients at $25. But the thing is it costs more money to run everything during the winter. After your first season, you’ll see what I mean. I am getting $40 for an average sized driveway and when I give that price, nobody blinks an eye at it. You are going to find you’ll use more gas in the winter. Your going to break more equipment, like shear pins, so be prepared to pay for that. Whether your snow blower is electric start or has a pull start, you are going to run into problems. Eventually the pull start will break so you need to make sure you have another ready before hand.

Then after you spend hours clearing driveways, you are going to have your snow removal customers wanting you to come back after the city comes by and blocks their driveway in with snow again. Then you have steps to deal with and paths from the back yard to the front. Perhaps the customers will also want their decks cleared off as well for safety reasons. Then de-iceing is another service you are going to want to consider offering. You’ll need to use a bucket of salt at each job which at my last price is around $18.00 for 100 pounds.

Don’t forget to have your liability insurance up to date too so when the customer or their visitors slip and fall. After you were their last contractor to remove their snow, you know who will get the blame and the liability for that.

So your thinking maybe charging $20-$25 a customer no problem? Now when that snow blower breaks down, what do you have for back up? Because something will go wrong and quit working every time, guaranteed. What happens when you have 5 people that leave for work at 7 am? You will have to manage that part out. With all this in mind, you can see how at $25 per driveway, you will go broke.

Good luck. I’m not saying you can’t do it, because there are others out there doing it. I just wanted to give you a lot more options to think about. If it were me, I’d buy 2 used blowers because one will always quit mid-service. When you buy a snow blower remember repair service is everything so make sure before you buy a blower the dealer stocks parts for in house. You can’t afford to be down a week during a snow storm. By the way for those snow blower repairs, you are going to be charged $65 an hour for mechanic service time. Think about that now. $25 a blow x 3 driveways will just about pay for one hour of time to fix your machine. This year I will be raising my prices to $45 which includes salt.

I use natural salt as a de-icer so it doesn’t eat away at the customer’s concrete. Wait until spring too, when your customers call you and tell you how your ice melt killed their grass. LOL. $25 my *** you will be broke before you start. And using a snow plow can easily destroy the customer’s grass when you are plowing it across the driveway. Snow plows are good for commercial snow removal, not so good with tiny residential customers. All your going to do is scrape their lawn and tear it up and put ruts in it. Then everybody is pissed off. With smaller jobs, you are better off using a snow blower.

For me if I have 15 snow falls at $40 x 18 customer’s = $10,800. If I have 25 customer’s it’s $15,000. But when you charge $25 per driveway, it comes out to be $5,625. At that price, I’ll just as soon hire you and I won’t do anything the entire season and still make $10,000. When you are spending $1,800 for a best in the market toro snow blower, after everything is said and done you just might make $2500 for the season, maybe. So really think about your pricing.”

Order the book How To Get Commercial Lawn Care And Snow Plow Customers today.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success