It’s All White

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So, you’ve decided to get into the snow and ice management industry. Congratulations, welcome to a 24/7 job that never stops during the season and doesn’t take a break for Christmas, New Year’s, birthdays, or anniversaries.

One of the first things you need to be aware of is pricing. According to at least one industry expert, there are at least 25 or more ways to set-up pricing for snow and ice contracts

The best thing to do is kind of really look at how the scope of work and level of service on properties. To get into the detail, you need to have a good understanding of the costs involved to be able to accurately submit proposals.

In the end, that's really kind of it because with different ways to structure a pricing for your customers it really comes down to those best practices.

Seasonal or per event pricing are the most popular today. However, it is recommended to do a 30/70 or 60/40 split between those two to ensure revenue regardless of whether it snows. Going 100% either way could be catastrophic according to some industry leaders. Most times you still see more season pricing in high snowfall areas, and per event pricing in low snowfall areas.

To determine pricing, you really need to consider the different factors involved at each property you’re working at. For example, what type of equipment do you need to utilize? Wheel loaders? Skid steers? Is your pick-up with it’s plow sufficient? How many people is it going to take to clear a site and operate the required equipment? It is a site that needs 24-hour/7 days a week care such as a hospital or more of an office complex that is closed on weekends and evenings? All those things come into play and must be considered when determining a final estimate for a site.

Fortunately, the industry recognizes the challenges of this endeavor and there are plenty of technological advancements to assist in creating estimates. Software exists that allows input of equipment, personnel, and size of property to develop an estimate. In addition, there are site measuring tools utilizing aerial photography to obtain measurements in a matter of minutes.

However, in my travels through the industry, I’ve found the number one resource for questions are your fellow contractors. Let’s face it, whether it’s here in Wisconsin, along the coast of Maine or in the mountains of Colorado, the snow is all white. Chances are someone else had or is having the same challenges you are facing and can help you work through it.

As one industry leader notes in this very issue of SnowPRO, said “That’s one of the things I’ve noticed about this industry. People are very willing to help each other and help each other be better.”