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Another salt price question

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by bison1973, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. bison1973

    bison1973 Member
    Messages: 69

    Just getting into salting with a tailgate spreader. Andb uying salt by the bag. I've heard you guys say you should charge 2X cost of material- but is that it? Do you charge anything additional for spreading it? Just wondering and looking for ideas. Thanks in advance.
  2. Mick

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

    I'm one of those who've said they charge 2x for salting/sanding. However, I use an 8' V-box and buy sand/salt mix by the yard.

    No, I don't have another charge for spreading material. Someone who uses a tailgate salter might be able to give more pertinent advise, but I think this shows why most get a V-box as soon as possible. I passed on a tailgate model mainly cause it looked to me like a lot of work.
  3. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Last year was our first year de-icing. I only had several accounts that took the service. This year all of my accounts have signed on to one degree or another (some are salt only after plowing and some want anti-icing with de-icing).

    We applied 80# bags of salt at $20.00 per bag. I was buying salt at about $3.75 to $4.25 per bag last winter. An 80# bag of salt will cover between 8,000 and 12,000 square feet. So some smaller accounts would only need one or two bags. I had a lot of drive time for $20.00. Granted it took three minutes to service the property, but 15 minutes round trip with travel.

    Last year I got a more comfortable with how much salt would need to be applied to a lot based on weather conditions, lot conditions and the forecast. But I charged per bag - so I didn't loose from my in experience by underbidding.

    I know measure the property and figure the product I'll need and price it similarly as I did last year but I give a per application price now. That way if I don't need to use as much product (one bag in a small lot) I'll get the $35 or $40 per application price. If I need to put down two or three bags so be it. Based on 80#/8,000 square feet, I estimate I'm applying around 350 to 400 lbs per acre. This is on the high side for estimating/applying. This gives me a worst case scenario - and then I apply less than this when I can.

    The margins are not as good with bagged product, but you've got to start somewhere. I don't want to go bulk until I can stock pile my own since I don't want to be subject to the whims of availability based on the winter. I can stock pile pallets of material. I guess it depends on your equipment and what you can do as to how you approach it.

    From a profitability stand point - best thing I ever did by offering de-icing. I also found I picked up more commercial this year because I offered it. It put me into the same game with everyone else plowing commercial and de-icing - now I just have to differentiate myself from them with my service.
  4. I charge $100.00 for spreading, plus 10 to 20 cents per pound for salt. That has worked okay for me.
  5. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    I agree with the .20 cents per pound. Also charge an application charge, usually $50-$100. This is for good size commercial lots. We started out with bagged salt and a tailgate spreader. Now use a large Monroe spreader. It holds about 3 yards wich is enough for several of our lots. Sure beats loading 80lb bags when its 10 degrees out!