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Am I Too Low?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Mitragorz, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    I got a call a few days ago from a property management company asking me to put in a bid for next season.

    3" Trigger
    58,000 sq.ft. parking lot
    64,000 sq.ft. roads
    4,500 sq.ft. sidewalks


    They wanted pricing for:
    3-6 inches
    6+ - 10 inches
    10+ - 14 inches
    14+ inches

    I'm not a fan of those increments, but it's what they want.

    I got a phone call yesterday bc of the proposed 9" we were supposed to get here on LI. She pretty much asked me for an immediate quote. I went over the property real quick and gave her this:

    3-6" $500
    6-10" $750
    10-14" $1,000
    14"+ $100/inch
    Sand/Salt - N/A (1. I don't have any. 2. I knew we wouldn't need it. 3. I need help pricing that)

    3-6" $150
    6-10" $225
    10-14" $300
    14"+ $30/inch
    Salt $125/application
    Ice Melt $180/application

    She accepted those prices immediately and without question, except for the 14+ stuff. They don't like variables, they need firm numbers. I'd either need to write in some kind of blizzard clause or, if they really want something firm, an inflated number to CMA. Getting hit with a another 30" storm at the 14" rate would really hurt.

    Anyway... Do you think I came in too low? I specified in the email that the prices were for Sunday, March 20 ONLY.

    Also, what should I expect to put down on this site salt-wise? Only one truck has a sander, a TGS07. I figure I'll either need to store a little salt on-site to refill or simply upgrade to a bigger unit. Another truck with a real spreader would be ideal, but I just bought a house and have a kid on the way.

    Sidewalks: Doing residential stuff, I'll just throw down melt and charge accordingly. On a job like this, I need to have a pretty good idea of the cost. Based on some application rates I found on here, I should be looking at 6 bags of product. Seems a little heavy, but charging too much is better than too little.

    It's a 5-year contract. I'll discuss pricing adjustments before I submit an official bid, but I don't want to be stuck in an underpaid situation for that long.
  2. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,027

    Couldn't tell you much on pricing, as I don't know your OH and am not familiar with your area pricing.

    Something that concerns me is the trigger; are you going to salt anything less than 3" or are you only if you plow? What happened to their other contractor?

    If you're salting the roads and parking lots, you will be refilling a few times.
    I also hope you don't intend to do this lot on your own.
  3. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    I think you have left money on the table, especially as he snow increases...your costs are going to go up exponentially and your dollars are going up incrementally....
  4. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    To be honest, my overhead is pretty light. Insurance, gas, the other driver, and the repairs that tend to happen every year. I'm a run-from-home business so there's no yard or office rent to be paid. One problem is that I'm not even sure how long it will take me to to the lot. The roads aren't a big deal... A few shots up and down. But the parking lot itself... Since I've started (way back in 2013...), I've been doing roads and driveways. Any commercial interest I've had I never went through with, either because I didn't want to move away from the money I made plowing for the city, or because the commercial endeavor was simply over my head. A quick look at my post history will give you an idea. I'm giving up on the city plowing (political drama) and this is the first "big" property that looks to be doable with my little company and it's two trucks.

    Salting for less that 3" wasn't mentioned.

    From what I understand, their other contractor was kind of a flake. One thing she said to me was that he had a tendency to "go on vacation" and not tell them who would be covering the lot.

    My plan was only one truck. What would it take, two hours to do the lot section? Three passes up and down the road and it's clear. I have another truck I can use on the property if needed. That's why I turn to you guys, you've all been doing this much longer than I have. I oculd always have both trucks there for the first event, and if it's unnecessary, send the other guy away.

    That what I'm afraid of. I still need to go out at some point and do a survey of the property, so that gives me he perfect opportunity to increase prices a bit.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  5. FredG

    FredG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,643

    This whole thing sounds like some kind of mess. Not your pricing, Why the strange trigger levels and who calls them. Why in the world would they be needing plow service now. I would want to think former contractor did not get paid, Possibly trouble with contractor with on site snow wizard wanting salt when not needed at a dusting and not slick etc.

    How are you going to be paid? Invoice on the 1st and paid by 10 20 days or 120 day for you see any monies. What equipment do you plan on using? This is not a sole operation. Is this management co. local where you can handle non payment?

    See if you can find out who was servicing them, Maybe you can get some info. We all get these calls from vendors time to time. I would use caution, You only have less than 30 days till end of season. We been advised to figure 800lb of salt per acre spread. Maybe I'm just ranting I don't go for this 3rd party stuff. maybe subbing for another contractor I know. Good Luck
  6. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    They called looking for me to bid next year. They called me before we heard about the supposed 9" we were getting this weekend. That was just a coincidence.

    They send out payment the 3rd week of the following month. The office is in Minnesota, and they manage 135 sites just like this all around the country.

    I'm not concerned about this season. The initial call was for pricing for the '16-'17 season. The fact that the weatherman was calling for snow today was just a coincidence, they contacted me for next year's pricing before anyone even heard about this weekend.

    Two trucks. 8' Western and 7.5' Fisher with wings. TGS07 sander. Since hearing from them I've been on the lookout for a dump or something with a V-box. Plenty out there in my price range, just need to start setting the money aside.
  7. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,337

    24 hour all inclusive price...$2000....50%due before midnight!...sounds like they are putiing you on a limb
  8. FredG

    FredG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,643

    Some kind of flake? I like to vacation as well as everybody else, I work hard and play hard. I left a Guy in charge to go to tiby Island years ago. Did not workout good even with people I trusted. If this was the case he deserved dismissal. Plenty of time between storms to take a little vacation.

    I would not dare to send another contractor in with out communication with client and all liability's submitted to client of other contractor.
  9. FredG

    FredG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,643

    Go over your #'s again, You can take a shot with the NSP, See if your happy with the way they pay and if no one bothers you on site. If your not happy you can get dismissed like Former contractor. Good Luck
  10. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,027

    If you don't mind me asking, what's the property management company?
  11. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,389

    They'll argee to anything cause they ain't going to pay you.

    I would be very suspicious of the whole thing
  12. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    PM'd you.

    If they give me the run around, I'll have no problem saying that you were right. They're name doesn't even appear on Plowsite, so that might actually be a good sign!
  13. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,398

    If your on long Island, you should be getting some snow tonight. Now if it sticks is another story. I'd tell them since it's a last minute call. There is a standby rate they have to pay if you don't get called out. Then see how they pay. I think your s little low on the higher snow totals.
  14. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Yeah, they changed the forecast in the last few hours. Back up to 3-5" by me. But it won't stick much. Maybe on the grass, but the pavement... Maybe 1/2-1" of stickage when it's all said and done.
  15. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,129

    Who is the management company from MN? There are a couple you should avoid.
  16. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    You've got a PM. I don't want to start throwing their name around publicly.

    So, how much salt would I be looking to throw down on this site? Looking around the site, I've seen number from 1,000#/acre all the way to 1 ton/acre. That's a pretty vast range. Would a loaded 2-yard spreader get the job done without a refill?

    On average, of course. I know temps and whatnot really dictate how much to use.

    It turns out that this company was just awarded this particular site, so they couldn't give me info on the contractor who had it before me. Though the local facebook plowing page, I was able to find the name of a guy that used to service this place, but haven't been able to dig up any contact info. I'll be setting up an initial walkthrough in the coming weeks, so I'll grill the guys there for info.

    I'm really interested in what his price points were at this site.

    Thanks for the help so far. My gut says I'm too low overall, but I really don't know how much to up the numbers.
  17. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    I'm still looking for advice on the salt. Despite having the spreader, I've never had to use it. Getting a rough idea of how much I'd expect to throw down would help me quote this.
  18. FredG

    FredG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,643

    Just figure 800lbs per acre.
  19. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Thanks. I've searched and found numbers from 1,000# to 1 ton per acre.

    So the whole lot is about 3 acres, so 2400lb... A yard of salt is about a ton, right? I know it depends on grain size and wetness... But a 2.5-yard or a heaped 2-yard spreader should do the job without a refill, right?
  20. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 546

    I can appreciate your asking a lot of questions, many if not all are elementary in their relationship to what you are attempting to propose. I am making a friendly comment and suggestion which is as follows; It appears you are not knowledgeable enough to pursue this opportunity. You may well end up over your head. Better to start small, learn your numbers and grow from experience and by the quality of work you hope to and will provide.