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Anyone spread salt or sand by hand?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Maleko, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Maleko

    Maleko Senior Member
    from Ct
    Messages: 777

    No, I'm not looking for advice I have a spreader..

    But one of my buddies got underbid on a commercial lot this year that he had for some time.
    No he didn't not do a good enough job the owner told him that he needed to cut cost on the landscaping and snow removal. he understood and just couldn't drop his price anymore. he hasn't raised his prices in 5 years....:eek:

    So the other storm we were driving by this lot , and low and behold there is an ole beat up truck with a brand-new plow on the front and two guys in the back shoveling out sand by hand.
    Ok. well that has to suk. But we have also noticed this same guy doing multiple lots in the area doing this on all their lots... And all the lots we noticed they did are just a plain mess.
    I just don't think people care anymore if their lot is clean. Just looking for that final low number. We have had a crappy winter here so far and the long range outlook doesn't look so great. Im hoping it will weed all these guys out...

    How do you compete with this type of a service?
  2. nick4634

    nick4634 Member
    Messages: 35

    Sell your fancy new equipment, buy old rusty epuipment, go down to a Texas Home depot, and hire 2 sand spreaders
  3. SharpBlades

    SharpBlades Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    I had to spread by hand last week. The v blad broke down so I was stuck with the backup truck and a hand spreader then the spreader broke lol.

    How to compete? Don't. Go after the accounts that they can't handle. Sell why you are better, not snow plowing
  4. LB1234

    LB1234 Member
    Messages: 91

    best part is the sander is considered disposable. Once used up you just get a replacement at little to no cost!!
  5. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Brings back memories of my first year plowing/salting eons ago.Stuck my 2 young brothers -in-law in the back of my 1970 GMC 6500 dump truck with shovels and about 3 yards of salted sand for the entire route,mostly apartment complexes.After the usual sibling rivalry BS,them ''accidentally'' hitting each other with said shovels,they were like a well oiled machine in getting the knack of a proper spread pattern down. Funny now that I think about it.
  6. Chillerq

    Chillerq Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    I am not a lowballer. However, I do have a 84 k20 that looks like it went to hell and back, a 97 ford and a jd 4500 backhoe. I do Not own a salt spreader for my trucks. We salt using lesco bulk spreaders. I use this set up on small commercials and my condo that I take care of. When we first took over these accounts we were complimented on our job, "terrific". Now Im not saying I wwouldnt like to have a salt spreader but I have my guys doing the sidewalks anyway why not have them hand salt the lots. Im paying them to work. I maintain a high level of quality, having the right tools does help but I think some of us just dont like investing all our money in a season that is based on chance. Now the guys you describe sound like fly by nighters but dont judge all of us by our equipment.
  7. Chillerq

    Chillerq Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    How do we compete. stick to your guns. Ive been around my area for 20 years people know us to take pride in our work. When they leave us they come back. I lost a job this season to a guy in a ford explorer.... he didnt show to the property until a hour after the storm. Im sure she wishes she stayed with me. How long have you been in business?
  8. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,968

    Spread by hand for the first 6 years or so.Remember putting truck in granny low and jumping in the back and spreading by hand.:eek: I was always convincing myself that the lots were fine, sun would melt it.Once you get a sander your salt usage goes way up!
    Spreading by hand is a lost art.(thankfully)
  9. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    So your buddy lost a lot. Why does it matter how old or rusty the other guys plow truck is? Why does it matter if they throw the salt down by hand or if they sit inside the truck and flip a switch to get it done? In the end, they got the job done just as your buddy would have. Times are tough and maybe they only have a couple lots that need salt and purchasing a spreader isn't needed yet. Put yourself in the customers shoes. If you owned a property and found someone cheaper to do the same job, would you care if they were there a little longer? Would you really care if they had a shiny new truck or an old beat up truck? As long as they show up and get the job done, all is well. Now if they can charge less? It's a no brainer. It's just snow.
  10. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    I do sidewalks at a building my family owns, I salt those by hands, and the plow company does the parking lot sand by hand, they are a well oiled machine and do a great job.
  11. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    A guy who plows a lot next to one that I do salts it by hand. He has a half yard or so of bulk dumped in the box of his truck. Once he's done plowing, he jumps in the back with a scoop shovel and starts fliging salt. He'll then get back in and move the truck, then do the next area. Repeat untill the lot is done. It's not a real small lot either, I would say it has to be every bit of 25,000 squre feet.

    Laugh if you must, but when I've driven back by a few hours later, (after the open of business) his lot is usually just wet pavement. I don't really see any excess piles of salt or anything laying there either. I always wonder what goes through his mind when he looks next door and sees me with my snowex salting away from the heated cab and he's out in the cold and wind flinging salt with a shovel; but a few hours later, the two lots look basically the same, maybe he's the smart one.
  12. terrain1

    terrain1 Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    there is no real way to compete if they are low balling. cant lower prices to match because then you loss money anyway. Best bet is let them have it and wait for the call back if the job sucks. i have lost jobs to low bids and had customers call in the middle of a storm and ask for help because the new guy isn't there or cant keep up and I am always willing to help but only if they come back for the rest of the season and most do.
  13. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,126

    How big of an area are you covering? I spread 4 ton of salt on one lot. Spreading that by hand????? NO. That would be dumb.
  14. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,557

    I only have two small commercial lots that require ice control so i do them with my nice lesco WB push spreader. While sure it sucks and i feel kind of like an idiot, I would feel more like an idiot spending $4k on a spreader that would barely get used! Thing is, I don't lowball the applications either so i feel justified in what i'm doing.
  15. CSLC

    CSLC Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    The guy I sub for we salt his by hand....He owns a 2 yd salted that will fit in his chevy3500 dump truck and insists by hand is better.....I think he is full of s&^%
  16. Chillerq

    Chillerq Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    I go through about a ton of salt a event. Give or take ice conditions. I never said to salt a huge parking lot with a walk behind spreader. But for me in my situation it is cost effective to salt by hand. I was just providing a reason to why some dont by expensive salt machines to have them sit 9 months out of the year. Because while a machine sits its costing you money not making you money.
  17. Am I naive here, but how are these pick up trucks carrying so much weight
    ("How big of an area are you covering? I spread 4 ton of salt on one lot. Spreading that by hand????? NO. That would be dumb")
    and then spread it by hand? WTF

    I'm going to check the invoices again but my Ford F350 (which is a one ton) is rated only to carry two tons over the rear axle (truck bed). My snowex spreader says it holds two tons, combined with the weight of the snowex makes me overweight. Thats why we upgraded the suspension, brakes etc. so we don't sag and become a danger on the highway/roads.
  18. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    I would guess the spreader is on a larger truck, C6500, f-650, International 4700, ect. Or a dump truck with an undertailgate spreader.
  19. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    If you have the time to salt by hand, on salt runs some of my commercial stops are 5 min, easy $200

    25 stops there's no time to get out of the truck
  20. H&HPropertyMait

    H&HPropertyMait Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    What a waste of time!