Q: How do you determine pricing for a plowing contract? (see note below regarding recent price increases)
A: Several factors are considered every year when we sit down to determine contract pricing. Among the most important factors are:
How many plowing visits we anticipate. We calculate how many snow plowing visits we’ve conducted in each neighborhood (referring to a 5-year rolling average), and review long-term forecasts for the upcoming season along with the Farmer’s Almanac (though we don’t put too much stock in that!) to help us anticipate how often we will be out there in the coming season.
Competitive pressures. We are constantly scanning the competitive terrain, keeping tabs on what our competitors are charging for similar services. We’ve found that we offer a good value for the service and reliability we provide. We are also aware of smaller operations who try to undercut pricing. We won’t engage in price wars with these operations, as we tend to see the old adage, “you get what you pay for” rear its head in the end.
Business operations costs. We look back AND ahead at what our anticipated costs of doing business will be. A fair-market payroll for our employees and subcontractors, equipment costs, fuel, insurance, overhead, etc.
These, and other factors guide our decision-making on pricing your contract. We do not set prices arbitrarily – it is a careful, thoughtful, statistics-based approach. We want to make sure we are making enough to keep the lights on, and that you are getting a fair value for our services.
PLEASE NOTE: We are acutely aware of – and sensitive to – the fact that many of you are clicking in because of an increase in the price of your contract. This was the first across-the-board price increase we’ve enacted in 7 years, and was not a decision we took lightly. As many of you have experienced recently, the cost of doing business has increased quite a bit since our last price increase 7 years ago. Some examples for us include: gas prices up more than 60%, truck prices up more than 70%, plow blade prices up 45%, hourly driver pay up 67%, grass seed up 114%, topsoil up 43%, etc. We did our best to hold prices through the pandemic, but in order to continue to provide the level of service we hope, this was a move we couldn’t hold off on any longer. We hope you understand.
Q: Do you offer per time pricing?
A: No. We’ve eliminated per time pricing due to the administrative burden it causes, along with billing disputes. We tend to err on the side of caution when deciding when to plow. Taking per time billing out of the equation allows us to feel free to plow as frequently as is necessary without having to worry about disputes on charges.
ALSO, we do not do on-call plowing. In order to best service our full-season customers we need to prioritize plowing for them.