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Accurately Determining Yearly Snow Events

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by 715Plower, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. 715Plower

    715Plower Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 10

    As I have begun looking at how to structure next year's seasonal bid on this large retail parking lot I have not found a resource to show the average times it snows/freezing rains. The contract length is for Nov. 15 - April 15 of each year. I am able to find information on the monthly levels of precipitation monthly but not anything for the number of events that lead to those levels.

    How do YOU determine the average number of events for a seasonal bid? How do you average in call backs for drifting? The NWS site was mentioned in another thread, is the NWS site the only one containing the needed information? It seems like a convoluted site, difficult to naviagate!

    A friend of mine previously did the bidding for this lot and said they always had used 26 events a season as the baseline but has no idea how that was developed. I no longer have access to my time sheets from the 3 previous years I plowed this site so can not use that as a measure. Does 26 events seem like a reasonable number to those of your familiar with Northern Wisconsin winters?

    As a point of clarification, an event to me is defined as a call from the store that requires me to do 1 or more hours of snow removal or salting.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
  2. EWSplow

    EWSplow Senior Member
    Messages: 531

    I can't help on the number of events, but if you wait for a call from your client to plow their lot, you're already in trouble for being late.
     
  3. 715Plower

    715Plower Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 10

    Actually it's the way we've done it for several years and seems to work for both parties. The lines of communication in the past between us have been very good and they value the service provided to them. While in town today I checked into see how things were progressing with their new service provider. Apparently the lines of communication aren't as 'open' this year and the service is suffering.
     
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Gotta keep good records for one. You start to average out how many events per season you do services.

    When starting out, I would talk to other seasoned veterans in the business to get a gauge on average events per season, for our area......

    4 for residentials
    10 for commercial
    and approximately 3 good icing events.

    As time has gone by, I've been able to look at my records and pretty much have confirmed these numbers above for our area with our averages.

    The problem is the basics of statistics though, you got to throw out the extreme high and extreme low in order to come to a good average.

    .....
     
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    This doesn't help for bidding seasonal contracts though.



    .....
     
  6. On a Call

    On a Call Senior Member
    Messages: 760

    I use NOAA weather events and go into the history. It will show you averages and totals. Problem is you are asking about drifting. That would take on more investigation. You would need to look at wind speeds following events. I would think you could develop a good guess. But if you have a bumper year like we had last year...all bets are off. I lost my rear end last season on my contract customers. Some of them I had caps on...that saved me on a few. All have caps this year.
     
  7. EWSplow

    EWSplow Senior Member
    Messages: 531

    If you have that type of relationship with them, it may not hurt to ask if they would consider a per push, rather than seasonal.
    This year, we're at about half the events of last year to date.
    Also, I used to be able to find climatology reports, by date for free. I think that now you have to pay for them. Maybe someone else can chime in as to where to find them? There must be some local guys you can talk to who have records of what they did on other commercial properties in your area.
     
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Some would say that a cap really isn't helping the customer in a seasonal, or is at least wrong to have in a seasonal contract.

    I say otherwise, as it's a buffer against those years (once in ten years) that are extreme.

    I'm even seeing some seasonal contracts now where it's requested to withhold the last payment to the contractor if it snows under X amount of snow in a season, or less than X amount of salt is used.

    Personally, if you have both in a contract, it's a win-win for both parties involved. And like I said about statistics, you generally throw out the high and low when figuring averages.



    ......
     
  9. 715Plower

    715Plower Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 10

    White Gardens...You hinted towards something I have been considering. I am a fair and reasonable person in all aspects of my life. That led me to thinking that I would be willing to refund/or forfeit payment of a certain percentage of the total if in a year I attended to less then "X" number of events below the average. Like wise I would seek compensation beyond the set contract if I attended to a "X" number of events over the average.

    Is this type of contract language common? It seems like a fair way for both parties, lowers my risk and gives a little back to the store. In the end I am not in this to get rich quickly, I also don't have extremely deep pockets and can't absorb multiple seasons of loss or break even plowing.
     
  10. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    When you watch the local weather on the news days out for impending storms, what channel/meteorologist do you watch? Is he/she any good, meaning after the storm can you go back and see what their forecasts were and how well they lined up with (hit the nail on the head) what actually happened? We have a very good local meteorologist here who has actually developed his own meteorological forecasting tool. His name is Gary Lezak and he developed the LRC (Lezak's Recurring Cycle) and is very good at forecasts days out. Every spring/fall he releases his Summer/Winter forecast based on his LRC. I won't bore you with all the details, but he and the rest of his team give their predictions as to how many snow events, ice events and total season long accumulation amounts, all based on his LRC. He even goes so far as to tell you "every 29 days or 37" or whatever is when a storm is going to roll through. When he does his winter forecast, he always pulls up last years data along with his predictions, so you can see how accurate he was OR WASN'T. He is usually pretty damn close. Unfortunately, he is only calling for 17" this winter for KC, and so far, given we've only had 4.5" thus far (almost 11 by this time last year) he seems to be on track.

    My point to all this is that you should be able to go onto your local news channels website and go to their weather section. From there, you should be able to get a email or Facebook (if you do that crap) link and should be able to get ALL the info you desire from him/her. But that only works if you are fortunate enough to have someone who is pretty accurate. The benefit of using someone local to you is that they should be able to understand/interpret the data for your area BETTER THAN ANYONE, because that is where they are and know how storms develop as they approach your area. The only thing is, they sometimes don't have as accurate (up to date) equipment as the nationals (NOAA, NWS) because obviously, they are operating on a MUCH smaller budget.
     
  11. 715Plower

    715Plower Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 10

    EWSplow...

    I have thought about the per push approach but haven't brought it to them as an option. The store is part of a very large national chain and I think they deal in seasonal contracts ordinarily, although I can't be 100% sure of that. I was talking to their contracting department last fall, when I was originally approached about doing their snow removal, and it wasn't clear to me then if every bid packet needed to be written to a specification or not. I know from past experiences in the construction business that sometimes bids need to be standardized to be considered. Just another tidbit I hope to iron out prior to moving forward.
     
  12. 715Plower

    715Plower Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 10

    Derek...

    Thanks for that thought! There is a meteorologist that has a service designed for the construction and farm service industry. That is a great thought that I simply over looked. I don't know him directly but my mother taught his kids and he hunts with a neighbor of mine! I get a little 'tunnel vision' sometimes, thanks for opening my eyes to that possibility.
     
  13. EWSplow

    EWSplow Senior Member
    Messages: 531

    This is a very good idea. It is very simple and covers both parties.
    I had one of my per push clients ask to go to seasonal this year. I told her it would't be fair to her, because it would be based on last year. If I would have had time to think more about it, I would have done it the way you suggest.
     
  14. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Glad I could help. Hope that works out for you.