Some Quebecers fell off their chairs when they saw snow bill hikes that could go as high as 40% this winter due to staff shortages and fuel increases.
“This year has been crazy steep. Everything costs more and there is a lack of snow plowing. It’s really not easy,” says Andre Hinz, owner of Pro-Neige.
His company in Rimouski will have to raise fees by at least 20% next season. Newspaper Also Mr. He consulted dozens of letters from snow removal companies like Hines warning their customers of rising bills.
A basic entry that asked $400 in winter for example, may now stretch to $500 to $600.
“People are not too surprised because all the prices in our industry are rising. Customers are more afraid of the lack of snow this winter than the increase in costs,” Andre Hinz observes.
In the middle of the storm
The Association of Residential and Commercial Snow Plows of Quebec (ADRCQ) confirms that all companies in their industry must increase their prices by 20% to 40% to survive.
“The salary for a snowplow has risen from $19/h three years ago to $30/h in 2022. Fuel has also increased. If customers can’t understand the increase in their bill, there’s a problem,” says Annie Roy, director general of ADRCQ.
According to him, four main factors explain the rising prices: shortage of equipment, cost of insurance and increase in cost of fuel like diesel.
“Look at the cost of a snow removal service that comes to your home 70 times a year and compare it to your other services. You will see that it is not that high,” said Justice Mme Roy.
Many de-icers in Quebec have closed their businesses in the past year because they faced many challenges.
“But what I’m most concerned about with the price hike is above all those who rely on snow plows and have to find money,” says Annie Roy, referring here to people who are elderly or living with disabilities.
Jean-François Lauzon, owner of a snow removal company in Laval, says it’s the first time in 50 years that his prices have exploded.
“Earlier we got there with inflation. This year, we don’t have the option of a sudden 15% to 25% increase. […] “Customers are shopping more than ever after seeing the price hike,” says Mr. Lawson, he now observes stiff competition with his rivals.
He calls on Quebecers to be gentle with the new prices submitted.
“We do not aspire to the world,” assures Jean-Francois Lawson.
Tighten your belt to drive the snowblower
Quebecers who rely on snow to get out of their homes in the winter say they will have to tighten their belts from now on to pay for the service, which has become a luxury.
“The costs have become too high! We ask you to pay double the price. You’d be surprised if some de-icers didn’t exaggerate this year,” worries Denis Dubey.
This retiree lives on a small private road in Quebec, where there are 15 apartments, most of which are of advanced age. The problem is that they have to cover the cost of snow removal themselves because the city refuses to shovel snow on their Lac-Côté road, which is made of gravel.
“Last year, we paid $635 for a residence. This year, we made two submissions. It’s between $1300 and $1500. I’m sure some people will need to tighten their belts. It’s surplus and we’re looking for someone,” says M.me Dube.
Annie Roy of Quebec’s Association of Residential and Commercial Snow Plows recalls that the government could help snow plows lower their costs and lower customer bills.
“We want to attract retired workers to our businesses, but most of them don’t want to work because they are taxed too much. They should be zero-rated,” suggests Annie Roy.
It also proposes that Quebec not financially penalize unemployed workers who spend 10 or 15 hours a week clearing snow during the winter.
Why does it cost more?
- Fuel increases by 87% (By June 2022)
- New parts and equipment increased by approx 30 %
- Shortage of mechanics and significant increase in their salary
- Tire prices have soared 41%
- Insurance costs go up 35% For 2-3 years
Source: Association of Residential and Commercial Snow Plows of Quebec
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