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Apartment Complex Cap

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by gardnerll, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. gardnerll

    gardnerll Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Hi all, I tried looking around and could not find the answer I was looking for so ill ask it directly.
    I have an apartment complex that I began plowing last season(3 lots, aprox. 200 parking spaces, and 2200ft of walkways) Last season here in upstate NY I bid for a seasonal contract that included salting, and calcium blend for walks, plowing, walkways and return trips for clearing parking spots if the snow fall is more than 4in.

    My season broke down like this 85 trips for walkways, 39 plow trips 12 return trips for parking spots.

    This season I want to put a reasonable cap on the amount of trips I make
    I lost big on the walkways, broke even on plowing and did ok on return trips.

    I was just wondering if I could get some advice on how to cap the contract this season. I know last year was a abnormal year however, I cant loose again on this I also cant adjust the price it is a very competitive area and people are always offering there services to the manager.
    Do I leave the contract alone and hope for a better season or do I cap the work I was thinking 40 walkways 35 plows 15 returns before I start charging per trip or at least the ice melting materials.

    Any advice would be great. Thanks
  2. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Have a frank discussion with the pm. Tell him the truth, and explore the idea of a cap.
  3. Turf Z

    Turf Z Senior Member
    Messages: 215

    Caps would not fly around here.
  4. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Yeah, they wouldn't be easy to sell here either. We might get 5 storms all year, we might get 35 with 5 of them over 2 feet. So almost all plowing is done per push. I know one guy who sends out mailers to every homeowner in 4 towns, and says he will do them at $25 each, or seasonal for $300 each.
    Talk about a lowballer. I still have more plow accounts than he does, and I make more on each..
  5. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 638

    How are your walkway trips more than double your plowing trips?

    Are your numbers events or pushes?

    Blizzard clause, over x amount of snowfall clause, stacking clause, call back clause. You could add any number of clauses to the contract.

    On a side note, if you broke even or lost money, you need to increase your rates, clauses or not IMHO.
  6. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Indeed. After 10" clause, and after x amount of visits clause?
  7. exclusive

    exclusive Member
    Messages: 87

    Do the seasonal contract but put a inch clause in there like after 36 or 42 inches then it becomes time and material
  8. gardnerll

    gardnerll Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Many of the snow events last season here in NY were only an inch or two at a time, the walks I would clear any accumulation amount and I would plow the drives with 3in. or more. It was a odd year we didn't have any really big events but it would snow every day it seemed at least an inch.
  9. gardnerll

    gardnerll Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    I think this is probably what I will do, I only hesitated to change anything because it is such a competitive market everyone with a pickup seems to have a plow and they all think that $10 a push is good enough. I doubt any of them pay insurance or run/store salt.
    The cap is the only solution. Does anyone recommend a cap on inches or trips? as I said here we had mostly 1-2 in snowfalls all winter maybe 5 memorable events however it was a odd year.
  10. truckitup

    truckitup Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    I have one contract that is a seasonal, that price is good up to 80 inches, or less, then another price that covers up to 110" or less, the finial price is anything over 110 " of snow.

    The only thing is they measure from the Airport, and you know how lake effect works. They are close to the airport so it works ok.
  11. gardnerll

    gardnerll Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Just an update, I did work everything out with the complex I dealt directly with the owner he was terrific to work with. They are supplying all the Ice melt materials as well as a tractor with a plow for the walks. I show up, plow, clear walks, salt and I am done, In a snow storm I am expected to go back at least once to clean up parking spots (2 open spots or more) and so far I am not loosing money this season.... I did get a lot of complaints from the manager the first storm, on everything, she wanted the place too look like it does in August she didnt know it was winter. I called the owner and said I cant meet her expectations and he said don't worry about her the place looked great, So I am happy with how everything turned out. Thanks for all the advice:waving:
  12. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,838

    Good to hear a guy using his head & benefiting from it. Good luck this year!
  13. gardnerll

    gardnerll Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Just an update ......I'm done, of course we have a second extra special snowy year in a row here in Upstate NY and wow I was at the apartment complex every single day. I have 4 other commercial accounts and one of them I sent a bill out for almost 3/4 of what I charged for the season at the apartments. Did I mention that was for just one month of snowplowing and salting. So needless to say I messed up again I wished I had done a per trip and I am done. Good news, I did great with all my other accounts thanks for all the advice I think everything would have been fine if we had a normal year but when we set a record of 46" in just February that's when I decided no more apartment seasonal contracts for me.
  14. EGLC

    EGLC PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,731

    This is why you should simply put a cap on the snowfall amount and possibly number visits. Or just bill per visit.

    Also you can up-sell the cap to clients and offer a certain % refunded at end of season if you do not meet the # of visits or snowfall cap...just a thought.
  15. ponyboy

    ponyboy Senior Member
    Messages: 934

    We have used you get x number of events
    X amount of salt
    After they have gone over that amount we give them a discounted price on work we still make money just not as much
  16. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,338

    sidewalks can be tricky...method of doing is very important, ie, a snow plow shovel for light accumulation, will cut salt need and costs over a reg shovel
  17. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Best money for sidewalks I've spent.
  18. gardnerll

    gardnerll Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    I agree getting walkways completed quickly and with as little snow left on them as possible before applying ice melt is the most cost effective way. Also the air temperature plays a big factor in how much shoveling is needed. I just went to my properties its 35 degree here today but its snowing I was able to throw some ice melt down on my two apartment complexes with no shoveling... I enjoy days like this.