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Application Rates

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Plow Babe, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    We are new to deicing/anti-icing this year. In all our research and asking questions, we pretty much keep coming up with the answer of, there is no answer because there are so many variables. However, we do need to have some kind of basic rule of thumb for bidding.

    I just spent quite a bit of time searching and reviewing this subject in previous threads, and have put together the following formula to use as an average for bidding purposes. I would appreciate input as far as if this seems reasonable, or way off.

    For solids:
    Deicing, 50# per 1000 sf
    Anti-icing, 75# per 1000 sf
    Sidewalks, 10# per 1000 sf

    For liquids: 500 sf per gallon average

    The purpose of these formulas would be to be able to come up with a "per application" price. We usually bid on a season rate, but have a customer who wants to have a per-push/per application bid.

    Thank you!
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    If am not mistaken, your "de-icing/anti-icing numbers are probably reversed. I belive it takes more product(salt, magic, etc.) to melt/breakup existing ice & compacted snow, than to pre-treat & keep from forming. I could be wrong but thats been my experience. Sidewalk number might even be low, that's where a good deal of your liability is, so we always error to the heavy side.
    Hope I helped.
  3. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    I agree with Michael's comments about the reversal of numbers on the granular. Assuming you reverse those, I will add that you probably don't need over a ton and a half of salt per acre for deicing, and over a ton per acre for anti-icing. If you search here you will find threads that reference studies that have been done that say less than 500 pounds per acre can effectively de-ice. To be safe I generally use 500 for my estimating purposes. Sometimes conditions will exist that warrant me using more, and most times less, so it has worked as a good average for me. Good luck!
  4. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Karen, when/where have you bought de-icer?

    Envirotech's website is gone?

    I am looking to purchase 6 tons of bagged or 6 supersack size of product that will go through a single stage. What kind of spreader are you running and would you want to buy together?

    What have you found out?

  5. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

  6. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    We just bought a used spreader, and actually I don't know anything about it. Steve got it from someone he used to work with. We don't even have it mounted yet.

    Also have not bought any product, but have been collecting information. I received a product/price list from a company in Denver. According to the new posting rules, I don't think I am supposed to give their name here. The sales rep is very friendly. I didn't ask about Leadville, but they deliver to Silverthorne & Vail areas, and they deal with liquids and solids. I know the company you mentioned above has a good reputation, so I will be checking with them, too. We would be happy to go in together with you on purchasing product.

    I'm still trying to figure out how much we would need. Going off of BRL's figure of 500 lbs/acre, and my dictionary definition of an acre as 43560 sf, then the site we are bidding would need about 1000 lbs per application. For the granular products rated to -25 degrees, the price is $425 for mag chloride product in 2000 lb super sack, and $490 for calcium chloride same size. So we would be looking at a cost of $212.50 to $245 per application with granular. We would need about 20 tons for the season. We don't have room to store that much, so would probably be buying three or four super sacks at a time.

    Now to compare with liquid. szorno's figure is 1 gallon per 500 sf. So for one application, we would need about 175 gallons. The price for mag chloride mix is $520 for 275 gallon tote, or $450 for same size of calcium chloride. So our cost per application would be $286 - $330. We would need about 7000 gallons for the season.

    This particular site has specified calcium chloride only for the sidewalks and loading dock areas, so it would make sense to use it for the whole area, unless we can get them to approve a different product.
  7. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    Ok, so assuming my math is correct :rolleyes: and we were going with the granular calcium chloride, the cost is $245 per application. If this was your account, what would you charge per application?
  8. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    From what I've read here, most of us are more comfortable going with *only* per application prices for salting, even if the plowing contract is seasonal. Seasonal rates for salting are avoided because there's so much variablity in how many applications might be needed from one season to the next, and you've got a bigger risk if there's a hard winter because you've got money coming out of your pocket to pay for material.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    Maybe she was thinking of per application as opposed to per ton, or per pound, which is most popular around here. It is kind of rare here to find per application pricing for deicing, although we are trying to convert more and more clients to that, so we can use liquids, pre wet systems, or other better products like Magic. Finding a seasonal salt price here is even more rare, thankfully.

    No matter if the plowing is per time, or seasonal here, the most common pricing of salt is per ton.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2003
  10. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I did a seasonal bid on salting, but I put an upper limit to the amount used for the season.

    I also found that I needed to use MUCH less on certain lots versus others. The hospital has asphalt that is at least 20 years old. The attached doctors office has VERY black 5 you asphalt. With sun's intensity at this altitude I need far less material on the medical center lot.

    I also don't salt edge to edge in the lots (per agreement), just in the trouble spots and the helipad.

  11. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    Thanks so much everyone for all the input. This has to be one of the more challenging aspects of snow management. I am going to see if they will accept a T&M price for the deicing. :)
  12. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    Maybe you can explain to them that if they don't go T & M on the salt that you will be more likely to price it higher to hedge your bets. If you further explain the variables involved and approach it from the perspective that you want to provide the most economical solution for them, they may accept.

    If not, price it based upon a high (read slightly above average) number of salted events to assure that if you get the job the salting portion will be profitable.

    Bottom line, if a customer wants to know what their budget is going to be ahead of time (monthly, seasonal pricing) it is going to cost them some money. Insurance companies do not set themselves up to take "all the risk" and neither should snow removal professionals. Good luck!
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    I just wanted to point out that with salting per ton, your assuming every other contractor is being honest also(kind ogf an open P.O.) We are trying now to convert our clients to a per app price for just this reason. I was told once by a purchasing director that he had quotes per ton from $ 60.00 applied to 175.00 applied.
    Furthermore I subbed out some salting last season, when our salt truck was down, claimed two ton applied. Funny thing was next time they(client called), on call for salting, we did app ourselves, put down 1500 lbs & place was like a beach. They had just had someone slip, so we made sure we broke up ice. No way the sub put down 2 ton, so watch yourselve with per ton pricing & bids.
  14. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384


    Good point! We quote per ton accounts higher than the numbers you have quoted. Your experience last year is precisely why we pay subs with salt trucks hourly....Yes, I did say hourly. We provide the material. Therefore, we can keep a closer eye on consumption, application rates, etc.

    Only a lot of 4 acres or more qualifies for our per ton pricing since we find that there are so many factors that affect how much deicer is needed on these high traffic accounts.

    To keep things so they are a little more logical to the customer, we do what I would compare to "level payment plans" some utilities provide. We don't want the hassle of explaining under every different variable how/why we applied so little/so much deicer to the lot. Therefore, we might make a partial application of 3 tons of material and charge for 4 tons. Also, we may apply 7 tons and charge for 6. Those numbers are just theoretical examples, but you get the jist of what I am saying. I have a per application price that I need to make (on average) and having the flexibility to bill as I see fit rather than actual usage works well for both me and the customer.

    I know of a prominent, respected company that does millions of dollars a year in business. I won't mention names. However, I do know for a fact that they charge less per ton than I do, apply less per acre than I do, yet their final bills are higher than ours.

    There are many ways to arrive at final pricing, and pricing games DO come into play, at times. In my case, I have to monitor whether I think the overall results and pricing are fair market value if I do have to play pricing games. I let my conscience be my guide, which seems to have worked for me and the customer so far.

    The way I figure, if you are charging much below $150 per ton for salt, you must either be stealing it or not have any idea what the service is worth. :gunsfiring:
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2003
  15. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    "I know of a prominent, respected company that does millions of dollars a year in business. I won't mention names. However, I do know for a fact that they charge less per ton than I do, apply less per acre than I do, yet their final bills are higher than ours."

    I have seen this as well. I'd prefer to stay under a million in sales if that's what it takes.

    Here in NJ (and perhaps other locations?) it is illegal to charge by the ton unless you can provide the tare sheets from certified scales showing the weight you used. Unless it's a very large site, I can't imagine that a contractor would take the time to get weighed before & after each account they are servicing on a route. So per application or per yard is the way to go here. They don't have any certified locations to measure the yardage, so even though it's an arbitrary way to go, it would be OK. But I wouldn't do that because I can't accurately estimate the yardage we are applying either, so I wouldn't consider it fair to my clients, or me. Creating a per app. price averages out that sometimes we are using more salt than we wanted to, and sometimes less, but either way the client knows what their costs are for that service.