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Anyone deal with hotels?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DirtyJerzey, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. DirtyJerzey

    DirtyJerzey Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    I have an opportunity thanks to a good buddy of mine to pick up 3 Marriot hotels. Parking lots are all decent sized with a good amount of walkways. We have done many high traffic accounts, however normally most accounts close at some point and are for the most park free of cars. I know when we have to service our banks/shopping plazas during they day they are a nightmare because of the cars coming and going. When I was sitting down writing some numbers for the hotels down I realized that all the accounts are super easy to plow, but there is pretty much always going to be a large amount of cars there. These hotels arent Joe And Sallys No tell motel type place, they are all very close to major highways and right off the state parkway, so I see that these get a lot of business use considering their location. People will be coming and going at all hours, which is a good things as I would assume the hotels would have a very low tolerance for any ice/snow, but at the same time because of the customers they will have, having any snow blocking any car would be a big no no. Therefore I know we will be coming back numerous times after the cars leave and numerous spot saltings. The worst things I see happening is the snow that was left around cars ends up turning into a block of ice and next thing you know we are there with axes trying to break up the snow so someone can get there car out. I have some rough numbers in my head, I need to talk to the manager more to see their take on things of what they expect.

    How have you guys dealt with these types of situations? Do you normally up charge a decent amount the normal price you would do it for because you know it is going to be a headache or is it normally smooth sailing? The guy seems pretty anxious to get a number in ASAP and says he will be willing to do seasonal or by the storm
     
  2. jbutch83

    jbutch83 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    I did one a for a couple of years as a sub. We would backdrag around some of the cars in the evening/when there was accumulating snow. We would then go back in the early afternoon, as we found that most of the cars were gone at that time, or maybe only had 5 or 6 left in the lot. The employees were good about parking in a certain spot or moving their cars once we showed up.

    As for charging, I billed the contractor every time I showed up, whether it was just for doing the aisles or for a complete clean up in the afternoon when the lot was mostly empty.
     
  3. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    I have done some higher end hotels. My experience was they want it done cheap and they will want you around all the time to plow where the cars leave but cant understand that you are not staying in a room there and you need travel time to get there. As far as salting they will tell you they want it done right but after a couple of bills thaey will change their tunes. At least that was the way my experience was. It is getting harder and harder to find customers willing to pay fairly for a good job. The nationals are coming in with pathetic prices.
     
  4. DirtyJerzey

    DirtyJerzey Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    Personally I would like to stay away from a seasonal on these as I know it will be tough to figure out because I will be coming back at multiple times. I would say that during the night we would only be keeping a main lane open and keeping the walks spot free, then checkout time which is normally between 10-12 in the morning call the guys back out and then do a clean up after hopefully a good majority of the cars leave. I think have power plows could be an advantage here as we can leave the plows in scoop mode and minimize the runoff to the cars, but there is always going to be some run off. Which is my major concern. I know NJ wont be getting big storms like last year, but a 6" storm is normal and runoff from 6" of snow can easily form to ice and block cars in the AM. I really dont like any of my guys getting within 2-3 parkin spots of cars either. And after all that snow freezes, it is going to be a ton of work
     
  5. Advantage

    Advantage Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    We do exactly what you just mentioned. Plow open the driving lanes in the early am and come back to plow as much as we can around 11am and salt. I tell the manager we won't plow in between any closely parked cars and they have to snow blow between them. Good luck.
     
  6. DirtyJerzey

    DirtyJerzey Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    how are you doing pricing for this? Are you upcharging another hour or 2 worth of work for just keeping the lanes open? You have the hotel themselves snow blow the cars or you bill out a seperate rate for this yourself?
     
  7. ForestEdgeSnow

    ForestEdgeSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    I also agree with the posts above. I travel a lot in the summer time and will stay at a hotel for a month at a time. The Cars empty out between 11 am and 2 pm you will have some time to open it up. Like plowing any 24 hour access (gas stations big box stores) you will always have cars there.

    Justin
     
  8. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    I do a couple hotels. I agree with the previous posts regarding when to plow. I do my final cleanups around 1 p.m. Another factor is that during a storm, people who are traveling will stop and stay. This means high volume of cars incoming to the lot, mid storm. If the lot is not clear, they will park anywhere they want. Forget the lines, or parking spaces, cars all over the place. It can become a nightmare for everybody.
    To avoid this, you not only need to clear traffic lanes during the storm, but also any open parking spaces you can get to, to allow for incoming guests. This takes a little extra time, but you will save it later when you do not have to deal with cars parked all over the place.
    Watch your height if your plowing with a dump, under the carport.
    I bill per storm, charging more for deeper accumulation, taking into consideration that I may need to do several visits if its a big storm.
     
  9. heather lawn spray

    heather lawn spray PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,206

    We have 2 Holiday Inn's and 3 Comfort Inn's in the county. As the man says above^^^. We add something else to the mix, riding snowblowers. The trucks are equipped to carry either a baby Bobcat skidsteer, an out-front John Deere mower converted to snowblower, or an out-front Kubota mower converted to snowblower.The 'Little Brothers' dive in amongst the cars and either throw the snow off to the side or throw it into the path of the V-blade equipped truck depending on the layout of the parking lot. We go in as close as we can as fast as we can overnight and return between noon and 5:00 pm for clean-up runs. The trucks pretty well stick to the aisles, and pump the snow to the end. Salt twice a day or as requested. The operators get very good at establishing a protocol for the plowing. It's a delight to watch such a co-ordinated effort. After they are done a site they call for the salt truck. We charge a flat yearly price for the snow and lawn work split into monthly payments. This keeps the 'Little Brothers' and the trucks busy year round.
     
  10. DirtyJerzey

    DirtyJerzey Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    The way I see it, all the lots are 2hrs plow work someone who has never plowed before (if the lots were empty) an experienced driver easily done in an hour and change. another solid hour and change for walkways. Do you guys find yourself bidding in an extra hour or more then you normally would if this was an empty lot? The lots are super easy to plow, but being such high traffic I see that I might be leaving a sidewalk crew that just all storm long floats through the hotels. This is really my first true 24/7we handle one shopping plaza that has a 24hr convience store and a dominos that is open til 2-3am. Granted these are 24hr basically, but the cars are always leaving, hotels for the most part they are stuck there. I just dont want to put a bid in at say 1-3" 2hrs plow, 1hr shovel, 2 tons salt and it ends up im going back the following day 2-3times and numerous spot saltings because cars are leaving all throughout the day. I know a few guys that handle hotels upstate of me and they saw they are a PITA and slow payers. They call days after the storm because one car finally moved and a guy is stuck
     
  11. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    In my experience, this is true. Bid accordingly.
     
  12. heather lawn spray

    heather lawn spray PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,206

    If you are doing hotels, give up your life. They are seriously 7/24. Our family actually went to one of our hotels one Christmas dinner for their Christmas dinner banquet. I didn't like the way the lot looked when we came for Christmas dinner there, It had melted out and iced over that night. I was back Dec 26 with the salter and did the lot over. Throw the concept of empty lot plowing out the window.

    PROTOCOL

    Minimum 2 visits per snow fall. 1 open up 2 clean up. Blast the aisles open so they can 'escape', come back after check-out to clean it wall to wall. There will still be cars in the lot then. Deal with them. Check now at various times of the day to find the traffic load at the particular hotel, ask the staff. One hotel is busiest in the winter, another 8 miles away of the same chain is busiest in the summer. Price it for the night-time alley sweep and come back in the day after a check-out and price it for the clean-up. Check week-end traffic. Some places could be closed on a Sunday and it wouldn't make a difference, others are packed on Sunday's. Be prepared for call out clean-up's days later "We are not very busy today could you come out and clean-up the entire lot for us?". Hotels are nice people to deal with, If you are not a 'nice' person they don't hire them to work at the hotel. Another plow operator company driver used to yell at the young desk clerks when he came in. We took his project mid season and still have 2 years later. Polite and civil are at the top of their list. Hotels are having hard times. They are fairly easy to put in the ground, they are hard to keep full of guests. If it's a nice place to visit they come back. You can help make their stay a nice one. Keep it plowed, keep it salted.
     
  13. nor'easter1

    nor'easter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    I did a Marriott the first year they opened. The owners I found out were a group in Florida that never factored snow into there budget. Needless to say the manager was real good to us but we did not get the contract the following year they went cheap. I was billing them per inch, and per salting. they were allowed to call once after storms and when people relocated there cars so we could finish the lot which had a charge. These can be okay the key is massaging the head maintenance man or woman so they don't waste your time with multiple call backs because one car moves every five minutes. My perk was free coffee and Continental breakfast when time permitted. Doing a seasonal will drive you insane and burn you out at a hotel.
     
  14. Advantage

    Advantage Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    We charge an hourly with one hr minimum to clear lanes early or any other call back for small cleanups, etc. The full plow/cleanup in the late morning/afternoon is a flat rate. Yes the hotel is in charge of the snow blowing which is not always a great thing but I would rather not deal with it.
     
  15. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    I have my side walk guys get in between the cars. And shovel it out then I plow it all!
     
  16. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    I do a PITA hotel like the OP was talking about. It's one of the first hotels to fill up once O'hare starts canceling flights. Cars are every where, non stop traffic and no place to stack the snow when the lot fills up. It's not uncommon for cars to park in the center of the roads blocking off the entire lot ! It's ridiculous to say the least.

    The best way i have found to approach a lot like this is to make multiple trips to the lot and just run threw the main drives. Just make it so people can get in and out and not get stuck. Don't worry about the parking spaces and DON'T spend to much time there. Just wait for the morning and have some one sit there and do parking spaces as they open up. Lot's like these can be a real PITA and you could have trucks sitting there for hours trying to get the lot cleared.
     
  17. badabing1512

    badabing1512 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    seriously? :dizzy:
     
  18. heather lawn spray

    heather lawn spray PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,206

    ^^^ now this is a man who has plowed a hotel
     
  19. DirtyJerzey

    DirtyJerzey Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    Thanks for all the responses everyone. I drove through all the lots multiple times today with a buddy LCO of mine. Seems that even though the lots are actually easy plowing, getting snow stacked in the right areas could be the issue and a hell of a lot of sidewalks, all 48+" wide. After reevaluating everything I think 2 of the lots will be 3hrs plow work and 3hrs for sidewalks, all dealing with the cars in them, the other lot is the slightly larger but again stacking snow would be the issue unless they want to give up parking spaces. Loads of calcium and a hefty 2tons of salt. This is what I was thinking about doing for a bid, put in a bit for 1-3", 3.1-6' etc... This will be for the bulk of the storm, then qoute an hourly rate for truck and or machine work for clean up the following day. Personally I would really like to have a bobcat in there with a push pull box. Salt will only be per application. I will go on google earth and try and post pictures of the locations. My incremental billing would be based on that 3hrs/3hrs or 4hr/4hrs time that I think it would take to plow these. There is many parking lots that arent really used so I would like to do as much work as possible during the storm and then minimize the clean up the following day
     
  20. DirtyJerzey

    DirtyJerzey Senior Member
    Messages: 358