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Ammo to defend pricing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by AA961JESTER, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. AA961JESTER

    AA961JESTER Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    This past storm I sent a worker to plow a commercial lot of a oil change place (national chain). When the rep called my office he didn't inquire about a price, just asked for the lot to be plowed. I sent over a truck, had the lot plowed and salted (700 lbs of salt). I sent a bill to the rep, who sent the bill to corporate. The rep called back stating the higher ups thought the bill was to high. They claim they had a guy do a bigger lot for them in south jersey for $75.00. I charged $150.00 for plowing and $75.00 for salting. The rep said he understands I have to cover my costs. Looking for additional arguments to support my position. I am not lowering the price.
  2. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    You shouldnt need anything,you dont need to defend anything,they didnt ask,although i would have given him a price before the work was started,stating the agreed upon price,work to be done,level of service,trigger depths,and the standard contract,to be signed.
  3. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    I never ever do ANY work without giving at least a roundabout ballpark beforehand, at the least to gage any reaction pos or neg.

    FWIW must be a really big jiffy lube to use 700 lbs of salt...
  4. RCIPlow

    RCIPlow Member
    Messages: 86

    2 Things, not knowing how big the lot is, IMO any lot getting done for $75 is a good price. 2nd thing, how many times does a customer goto their fastlube and say"change the oil", then when they get the price they say"Oh, thats a bit more then last time or thats too high"? What does the fast lube day"Sorry buddy thats the price" Coveat Emptor(spelling)-Let The Buyer Beware. It is their fault for not asking ahead of time. And yours too if you give in. Tell them"Hey you got a guy who does bigger lots for less?, Tell him to come down here, because thats the price." I know that sounds harsh, but given the circumstances, they are probalbly trying to get you to back down.
    Just my 2 cents worth.
    FYI, the fast lube joint I take care of in Westampton goes for $125.00, 3 bays about 100' wide x 40' deep
  5. Rider1340

    Rider1340 Member
    Messages: 47

    SOUNDS like corporate charity to me.Should have made lil ol manager sign off on his word, then we'll see who gets the repremand.
  6. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    700lbs !!! :eek:

    Are you sure you weren't plowing away all that salt!

    I have a pretty sizeable Church lot that I plow. Two lots, 3 entrances, anyway, they only get on average 700-900 lbs/application. Less if its not icy. I also get $0.22 per lb applied, so I would have charged $154.00 not just $75. ;)

    I agree with holding your price on the plowing though. That price sounds about right for those type of lots. They are often like mazes, with poles in front of the bays and such. :mad:
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I agree with others on here - no need to defend your pricing. It is what it is - they were free to accept that price or get someone else. I don't know of anywhere else you can go, purchase something, then dictate what you'll pay afterwards. Besides, comparing what you charge to another area is ridiculous. Maybe I should get the same rate here in rural Maine as they do in New Jersey or NYC (I wish). The only thing, I set a price in advance - $xx for plowing and $xx dollars per yard of material used for sand/salt. Still, since he didn't ask for a price he is obligated to pay whatever is charged. Not a good business practice for a manager, but that was his mistake - not yours. I suspect his boss told him the company was only going to pay so much and to take care of this or it's coming out of his pocket.
  8. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    We plow the local Jiffylube in my area. We charge 125.00 for a 3-6" snowfall, plus salt for 75.00 and sidewalk salt for 50.00. We used about 150# total between both the lot and walks.
    I can tell for a fact right now, its the rep making a stink. Corporate doesnt give a rats behind what snow removal costs. Do yourself a favor, send the bills direct to corporate, and you will never have this problem again. I have their address if you need it.
    Last year the invoices would sit on the managers desk for weeks, I finally got fed up with the slow payment, and contacted the corporate AP, they gave me their address, and end of problems.
    I kust say tho, that 700# of salt is a bit excessive.
  9. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Dino is right about dealing with businesses like that. Send them on to corporate. I have dealt with the same thing (not with Jiffy Lube but other businesses) Sending them to the main office should result in a quick payment if everything is in order on your side.

    I also agree that it seems like you are spreading too much salt. Did you used to spread a mix? I know that when I first did some lots salt only I put too much down thinking it was the same as sand. Wrong! A lot less salt will work in most cases.

    On another note for you Dino. I was able to convert a couple of customers who specified sand this year after they saw how well a lot right next to them came out when I used salt on it. That was a contract I was happy to change mid-season. That is how people are here. They need to see something work before they will try it. Expecially cheap business owners.
  10. Rider1340

    Rider1340 Member
    Messages: 47

    1 tailgate hopper full holds 680lbs. and i do a lube , that sounds good to me . Unless your pouring expensive corn syrup in it.
  11. AA961JESTER

    AA961JESTER Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Just to clarify about the salt. It started snowing here at around 3:00 pm on saturday evening. Rep called the office and spoke to the secretary. Rep said he wanted to have lot plowed and could not find anyone else to do it. Seems as if the pick-up guys are not responsible. Rep said he wanted the lot salted before 11pm, did not say why. Lot was plowed and salted Sat night around 10:30. Bulk of snow came between 12:00 pm and 2:00am. By 6:00 am lot was again cleaned and salted. Total cost two cleanings, two saltings $225.00. Rep could not be reached after 4:00 pm to give a price quote to, our office secretary is forbidden from giving prices.
  12. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Ok So now your salt amounts almost sound like the right amount (maybe still too heavy?). But now your prices seem low ;). Make sure whoever is complaining about that bill knows that there were 2 plowings & 2 saltings due to the extended nature of the storm. They were open when it started and it accumulated after they closed, so it needed to be done again. Most of the Jiffy Lubes I've seen around here can be plowed in about 15 - 20 minutes so they'd fall into my minimum $100.00 charge. I can think of 1 that might take a half hour because it is a little larger. That one might need about 150 - 200 pounds of salt for a good application and I'd probably charge them $50.00 - $60.00. So there's some pricing from somewhere near your region. FWIW there have been plenty of times where I was in the situation of plowing a location without having confirmed a price with the customer beforehand for various reasons. Only rarely were the charges questioned but I always got the money eventually.
  13. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    I have been salting in the Chicagoland area for 3 years now. After reading all the comments regarding salting prices, I have a couple of comments.

    The consensus for salt pricing is in the range of .20 cents to .30 cents a pound. This means that a ton of salt applied whould run approx. $400.00. Is this correct, it sounds way high, for my region.

    The largest snowplowing firm in my area is charging $240.00 a ton applied. And he is way higher than my price per ton. Menards had a heart attach when I tried to sell them on salt for $180.00 a ton.

    Am I way off base with my pricing or do other regions get more bang for the pounds.
  14. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    I get 22 cents per pound applied. I only have a tailgate (Buyers cheapie special) spreader, so I cannot buy bulk salt. I must buy bagged. I buy anywhere from $4 to $5.50 per 80 lb bag. That comes out to a worst case price of 7 cents per pound. That gives me 15 cents a pound profit, applied.

    Anyone out there putting down bulk, please list your cost and profit. Lets see where we are all at.

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    my salt pricing is just about the same as snoworks......maybe because we are close to shipping docks our cost is cheaper? or maybe the areas that we operate in has more competition driving the price down?

    some places i couls say that i get 350 per ton but i dont apply a whole ton there at one time. Thats where the price difference is i think, if you applying multiple tons at on time at one location ,i think, that the price per ton wil be much lower

    region still has a great affect on all of it
  16. SCL

    SCL Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    I'm not too far west of you We charge an average of $.25 a pound. Obryan hit it on the head, if you spread in bulk your costs go way down. My cost on a ton of salt is $140 because its bagged and I use a tailgate spreader. Bulk salt is less than a third of that cost, I believe, and loading takes less time. $180 a ton for spreading sounds cheap, maybe Menards just needs to cut the throats of a few more locals to justify their opinions. Sorry, off on another rant.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2002

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    I think that bulk salt pricing and spreading is the most common method around here, and two companies that sub for me charge me from 150-200 per ton applied.

    On my smaller lots, it makes more sense for me to hit them with the tailgate unit after pushing the lot. The rates for that I charge are from .25-.40 per pound. We usually figure $20 a bag, which is .40, but on some of the bigger lots I do I only charge .20, which is $10 a bag, and my cost is under $3.This works out to $400 a ton, and I have not had anybody question those prices.

    This is for regular rock salt, not magic.
  18. Big Todd

    Big Todd Senior Member
    Messages: 126

    Yup, .20 to .25 /lb. applied is what I know a lot of guys are charging in this area. We offered it for .18 /lb as an initial offer to our current customers to see if we could get enough of them to bite so we could justify the cost of a decent spreader. So far no one is interested in it on a regular basis. We've been buying it for about .05 /lb. in bags (49 - 50# bags on a pallett).

    Which begs the question: I know a lot of companies are just including salting as a part of their routine, is this a good value to the customer and how do you "sell" them on the added cost? Like I said none of our customers have shown any real interest.
  19. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Interesting question. Its part of the service, not really an upsell. Not having salting as part of a snow & ice managemnet program would be like hiring a lawn maintenance company that mows the lawn but doesn't trim around the obstacles & edges; or a janitorial service company that cleans without vacuuming; or pavement maintenance company that fixes pot holes, but doesn't fix cracks; etc. For a property owner or manager to have their lots & walks safe for access by tenants, employees, customers, or etc., salting is part of obtaining that safe access.

    My pricing is about like what Pineisland posted, except our lowest priced big lots run from .25\# up, and if we pay subs that are charging by the ton, they are usually charging us
    $200.00 - $275.00\ton applied. I use about 30% bagged 70% bulk.
  20. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    Thanks for the comments!

    It looks like there is a cut off point for the .20 cents to .30 cents rule. It just gets me wondering, that when I am bidding a medium size project, say 20,000 square feet. What types of prices have I been bidding against. The $400.00 per ton or the $180.00 pricing. Most of the snowplowing contractors in my area have designated salt trucks, so I am assuming that I am bidding against the Lower of the two.

    Thanks again. CGB