Report: Private Plowers Charging Exorbitant Rates

How much did it cost you to get plowed out after the blizzard?


As the piles of snow got higher from Friday night into Saturday, the cost of having your driveway plowed may have been going up as well.

In New Haven, there was at least one private snowplower who was charging $200 per hour to clear snow away from residences, according to a story in the New Haven Independent.

Connecticut has laws in place that prohibit so-called price gouging in the wake of natural disasters, a law that was enacted in 2012. Under this law, "the Department of Consumer Protection can level an unfair trade practices charge against any business charging an "unconscionably excessive price" for vital goods or services during a weather emergency as declared by the governor," the Connecticut Mirror reported last year.

There have been many stories since Friday of Good Samaritans and good neighbors helping out where needed.

How much did you pay to get the snow cleared? Tell us in the comments.

Husky February 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Capitalism at its best !
lisa February 12, 2013 at 11:41 AM
One snow plow driver wanted $150.00 to plow my driveway! Can't afford that! Took me 3 days to shovel!
Hammer McPhee February 12, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Be happy the government has not mandated that you are required to purchase driveway snow removal insurance, and you can simply decline to purchase, and not be fined for doing so. But maybe the government should mandate driveway snowplow insurance - think of all the lives that would be saved from heart attacks if the government mandated that you pay someone with a truck to clear your driveway instead of having to risk you health on such bourgeois activity.
citizen February 12, 2013 at 12:22 PM
I heard of one person asking $500 for plowing only half of a circular driveway, saying he would get to it "sometime this week" - that's just totally crazy! Obviously, this person was not hired. Instead, people who lived in the area did it for much less.
Hammer McPhee February 12, 2013 at 12:40 PM
While I do not condone price gouging, we should keep in mind that this much snow really requires earth moving equipment. If you try and plow 3' of wet snow with a pickup truck, your going break something, quick. Many towns are having the same problem with dump trucks plows, things are breaking down fast, you really need earth moving equipment for this much wet snow.
Fran M. February 12, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Lisa-- do you earn more than $150 for 3 days worth of your time? $150 doesn't sound that bad, for a once/twice in a lifetime storm. Sometimes its simple economics-- I don't mean "capitalism" on the plowers' part, I mean deciding for yourself what is worth it. Depends on how long your driveway is, as well. I suppose as long as you didn't mind shoveling, had some help, stayed safe, it's all good. $300-$500 for a typical driveway, on the other hand, is gouging.
Phil Sengle February 12, 2013 at 04:13 PM
My regular guy was able to get to me on Sunday. He also plowed once late Friday. His total bill for two plowings was $95, very reasonable. I'll refer anyone who would like to contact him.
MrsSmithWatchingWashington February 12, 2013 at 06:11 PM
The "drive by" plower who plowed out my neighbor charges $300 for the first HALF HOUR! You can listen to his price on his answering machine. Here's his info: Jeff @ 860 669 0555. Maybe someone knows who this gouger is?
Hammer McPhee February 12, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Ai caramba! I understand the town of Clinton will assist the elderly and physically disabled with snow removal, I believe the Patch has an article about that. For the rest of us, paying someone to remove snow is a luxury to which we can always say "No, Thank You", and nurse our aching backs till spring.
Yankee in the south February 12, 2013 at 08:45 PM
yup you dont have to hire someone if you dont want to people over price all the time just look at how ripped off the american people are from our tyrannical leader Mr obama I think there is a little price gouging going on there. OH are you allowed to use the name Husky is that not a copyrighted title
Stephen King February 12, 2013 at 09:09 PM
I have a Cat skid steer and plowed out several neighbors and freed two stuck commercial plows for free. Why? Because it's the right thing to do.
Barry Dicker February 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM
My regular snow removal person who regularly charges $50 per plow called me and told me it was $250 per hour and essentially said take it or leave it. I had no choice because of oil and propane deliveries. He also couldn't give me an estimate. A long time loyal customer.
lisa February 13, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Stephen King February 13, 2013 at 01:10 AM
@Barry. I'd say your loyalty just ended.
Art Kuever February 13, 2013 at 01:50 AM
My driveway costs, let's say $40 everytime the plow hits it. Now, usually it comes every 4 inches or so, this is so it can be managed better. We had say, 20 inches of snow, maybe a little more, maybe a little less so my math would be $200. Now, my plow guy was stuck in and only hit me twice on Friday, I cleared the snow on Sunday out of boredom with my little blower, he came and cleaned it up. I am expecting a bill for $120. This, of course, is a old friend but I would expect no less than this from anybody. But, I know this is about money and I would not begrudge the person from taking contractor work from the town/state and hitting me last Make the money while you can, these people have to pay for the gas, equipment and actually risk their vehicles and lives doing this so we can all can move. I also helped out a couple of neighbors just because and that should also not be forgotten - we should all help our neighbors if needed. When I had a plow on my truck, I did many driveways for free just because but I was not depending on this for my family or my business.
Sea Lady February 13, 2013 at 04:06 AM
My husband called "Jeff Bergmann" at 3D's General Services and also got the message about the $300 for the first half hour! Of course we did not use him but I called the next day just to see if he dropped his prices and had a good laugh because he message said his plow truck broke down... there is justice in the world after all...:)
Huskyfan February 13, 2013 at 07:51 PM
for $300-$500 you can buy a snow blower that will last you years that you can use over and over again and not ever have to pay anyone to do your driveway. they are easy to use as well, I have a 24" 5hp snow blower and i did my 80 ft driveway in an hr after there was about 18 inches of snow
Darryl G. February 20, 2013 at 03:21 AM
$150 to $200 per hour for snow plowing is a normal rate, not price gouging. My normal rate for a one-time plowing customer is a minimum of $75. I did double that to $150 for the blizzard and I feel entirely justified in having done so. For those who call in advance and are on my list before the storm it's a minimum of $40. As soon as the storm warnings are up I close my list. Any calls after that are at my one-time rates. Travel was very difficult as was plowing. Keep in mind that the trip to your property at 10 to 15 mph needs to be included in the price and plowing all of the snow at once is not ideal. As far as Jeff goes, his plowing rates are always high in my opinion. His normal rate for residential driveways is a minimum of $50 for the first 6 minutes and then $7/minute thereafter ($420/hr). His normal minimum for commercial accounts is $150 for the first half hour. So I don't think it's fair to be calling Jeff a gouger in this instance. He's an honest guy, is fully licensed and insured and does good work. I billed my residential customers between $50 and $200 for the storm which I think is fair. Most were billed $140 plus tax. I made as many as 4 visits during and after the storm. I also plowed many friends, neighbors and apron areas for people who were struggling for free. I made multiple trips to many of my accounts during the storm...how much would you want per hour to pull an all-nighter to drive around in a blizzard?
Darryl G. February 20, 2013 at 04:39 AM
That's about right. Yes, it's rough on equipment and driving/plowing in conditions like that burns a lot of fuel...I burned over $300 of fuel in my truck for the storm, spent about $1,000 in preparation and did at least $500 of damage to my truck. I can't even count the scratches I got in my truck from overhanging limbs, my brand new tires are visibly worn, I pushed in the corner of my rear bumper on a crusty snow bank and I'm lucky I didn't blow my transmission or one of my differentials like many did. It was an extreme event that causes extreme wear and tear on plow trucks (and drivers). As of this moment, a week and a half after the storm, I have not recovered even half of my expenses.
Jeff Cashman February 20, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Today as I read many of the posts entered, I still reflect a lot of pressure from a bad economy. This storm not only drew issues with every one involved, but the reflecton of every one needing a reasonable fee for plowing to repairs. To the customer, this was the worst storm I have ever in 25 years seen. All the components that gave the contractor record break downs. To the good man who was the contractor, providing good equipment, good hard working personnel, expensive fuel, Each of the both just need to talk it out. WE ALL went from snow plowing to snow removal in a matter of hours. Because the worst storm did hit, many did not want the bill and were afraid to ask. PAY in payments if you have to is a gesture that is and was offered, but can be offensive to. No matter what you do you can be wrong. Its your parking area, your responsibility to as, what if 36 inches hits. ITS a record breaker from the start. I still have the loader down along with the truck. Maybe today almost 10 days later..Good luck to you all.
Darryl G. February 20, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Some more thoughts.....From the perspective of a private plower, there are things people can do to make it easier for the private plow guy. Mark the edges of your driveway with stakes or reflectors as well as any rocks, walls, shrubs and other obstacles/hazards that may not be visible after it snows. Note: those stupid large rocks at the corners of your driveway need to go!!!!! Call BEFORE the storm to let them inspect the property and to determine the best way to service it. Leave your exterior lights on at night. Also usually it's best to park your vehicles in one area and if you have a turn-out to leave that open as a place for the snow to be pushed to. The worst thing you can do is to not mark your driveway, have your vehicles scattered around (limiting push zones) and wait until there are 3 feet of snow on the ground before calling someone...plan ahead. And for motorists: If you see a plow truck at the entrance to a driveway trying to work their way in, stop and sit back for a minute and let them do what they need to do.


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