Many landscaping companies offer seasonal services like snow plowing and salting to maintain consistent income throughout the year. When structuring payments, however, it can get interesting to establish salting service pricing.
At Arborgold, we help field-based businesses like landscapers and snow removal companies stay organized, minimize time waste, and streamline operations with top-tier landscaping software. Working with so many companies in this niche, we have come to learn a lot about payment structure and price models.
Interested in learning about how to price your snow plow and salting services? Here are some things to consider.
Resident vs. Commercial Pricing
The first factor to figure into your price plan is whether the service is residential or commercial. Why? Because most commercial lots are going to use far more product, time, and gas to distribute salt across the surface area of your client’s property. Residential properties, on the other hand, can be quite large but are generally more grass than they are driveway.
Knowing residential properties are smaller, you may want to charge less instinctively, but remember that each residential job still requires an employee, a vehicle, and a product, you are simply getting less in return for the effort. Therefore, most snow removal companies offer a discounted rate to commercial accounts. You may also choose to charge by the square foot, rather than by job type.
Plowing + Salting vs Salting Only?
Another thing to consider when choosing a price plan is whether your client is being charged for plowing alone, salting alone, or a plowing and salting combination. Consider offering a package deal when customers choose both to keep product moving and encourage your clients to branch out and try other services.
Remember as you charge for these two service types that salting requires the use of a product, as well as the gas to drive the truck, while plowing does not require a new plow attachment for each property, and therefore, is less costly on overhead to run.
Salting service pricing isn’t as easy to calculate as some people might expect. This is primarily due to the variety of salt products available on the market. There are some landowners who choose only animal-friendly products like sand, while others hate the look of sand on-site when the snow melts, and choose salt. Primary products for salting include:
- Calcium magnesium acetate
- Potassium acetate
The cost per use for each of these products will also feature heavily in the decision you make on snow plowing and salting service pricing.
Do you Offer Prepay Discounts or Contract Discounts?
Discounts and promotional offers are an enticing way to promote your business to new customers. A few ways you can increase demand for your salting services is by suggesting a prepay discount to customers who pay upfront a flat rate fee for their service. You can also offer contract discounts to clients who build seasonal packages including future landscaping services in the spring and summer months.
Discounts will impact your ROI in different ways. It decreases the initial value of your service but could increase word of mouth sales, reviews, and in turn, increase your overall client base and return.
How to Estimate When Off-site Using Google Maps
Google maps is a great way to give a client a fair estimate on salting service pricing if you’re off-site and unsure of the exact measurements of a lot. To use the Google Maps tool, simply bring up the location on Google, or in your Google Maps phone app. From your starting point click, “measure distance”, and select your destination point. This will give you a measurement in either miles or kilometers.
Some landscaping software also includes GPS or estimating software with additional tools for measuring distances in a pinch. This gives your clients quote accuracy, which is an appealing feature for those pricing salting and plowing services in the winter.
Flat Rate Options
Salting and snow plowing services are not a “one size fits all” product. Some businesses don’t want to worry about charging by the square foot of land, by the pound of salt, or by the number of hours your plow operators spend on their property. Some clients, especially those with large, or multiple lots of property, may request flat rate options.
Flat rate service structures still require some number work to get the figures right. You want to be sure your client is getting a deal but that you are also making income on your product, time, and equipment costs.
As you create salting plans and price guides for the winter season, don’t forget to include information on cancellations. Weather unpredictable, and your seasonal clients may get more or less snow than they’ve bargained for. It is in your best interest to have a clear set of rules for days when snow was supposed to arrive but didn’t, or days where snow arrived in a greater abundance than your client expected.
Again, like setting up your flat-rate services, you want to ensure you aren’t losing money when a snow day turns out to be a bit of frozen rain.
Upsell with Addons
As in all sales-based businesses, you can earn more by adding services to existing services your customers are already receiving. This goes hand in hand with the concept of packages but is also a separate idea. Sometimes a customer may request a seasonal bundle but only ask for snow removal. If weather is particularly icy one month, you might contact these customers to upsell salting services or add on de-icing of stairs and walkways.
Try Arborgold Today
Arborgold is constantly updating our software to better serve our field-based customers. Sending your team out into the field makes communication, scheduling, and job management tough. Add snow and ice to the situation and things become even messier. Using high-quality field business software, you can keep tabs on your staff, manage mileage, communicate with customers, send and receive bids, organize email automation, monitor inventory, and much more.
Manage your snow plowing scheduling, workforce, invoicing, and contract billing all in one system with Arborgold. Learn more.