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Asked to salt tomorrow: no experience, help please

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by mmwb, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. mmwb

    mmwb Senior Member
    from wyoming
    Messages: 114

    This is my first year plowing. I have one commercial account that I was called on by the out of state property owner stating that he was aware that there was some ice on the lot. Our contract was for plowing and not salting, so there is not a problem between us, but he is concerned about liability risks. I was actually planning on drawing a bid up for him for salting for next season. Understand that NOONE salts here. In the 8 years I’ve lived here, I have never seen anything beyond a residential sidewalk salted. As such I’ve a lot with up to about an 1” of ice in spots (where the city pushes up into the drives and it is driven on), though the average will be less than ½”.

    What I have available locally to deal with this now (and I want to deal with this and develop a regular salting contract with this guy) is:

    salt (plain and simple) at .20 lb
    Zero (don’t know what’s in it) at .22 lb
    Potassium/sodium chloride mix at .25 lb
    Calcium chloride at .49 lb

    I have about a 25,000 sq ft area to treat. Normally I’d think a four to one mix of salt and calcium chloride might be a good deal if regularly treating, but am thinking with this much ice that I need to go with straight calcium chloride. I figured I would bid the job at x amount per lb/ or per bag.

    Am I on the right track to go with the calcium chloride? It has been getting to -5 or so at night and into the low 20’s during the day.

    How much should I expect to need per application for 25,000 sq ft?
    Should I expect to have to push and resalt several times to get it down to asphalt?
    What is a reasonable markup to figure billing, based on size of lot and cost of deicer?

    I need to call this guy with a price sometime tomorrow. Your input will be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2006
  2. WMHLC

    WMHLC Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    are you using bagged salt or bulk salt? I charge 20cents for rock salt applied, but prices are different around the country.

    The general rule of thumb is 10-15lbs of salt per 1000sqft. I don't think anybody would ever pay to have a mix of salt and calcium, applied to a parking lot. Just use straight rock salt, it will melt down to zero if you put enough down.
     
  3. mmwb

    mmwb Senior Member
    from wyoming
    Messages: 114

    It would be bagged. I'm not set up to store or handle bulk. My cost on the salt would be .20 lb bagged. I expect I'll need to lay it on heavy to get rid of the build up. At 15 lbs per 1000 sq ft, around 375 lbs. Double the my cost on the salt, so maybe $150 per application?
     
  4. WMHLC

    WMHLC Senior Member
    Messages: 248


    If you are using bagged, charge him by the bagged used. What kind of build-up? Pack snow, or is it soild ice? You have to put alot more salt down when it's soild ice.

    10-15lbs per 1000sqft is a good starting point with a little build up. Just spread the salt and wait 20 minutes and see if you have to put more down.

    I always charge salt triple my cost.
     
  5. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    Its always better to have too much than not enough. Customers will never complain if the ice i melted. I charge my customers $5 (icemelt) a bag plus 0.30lb for spreading it. so 1 50lb bag would be 20.00 applied. Customers understand this and have always been happy with this and its easy for them to understand
     
  6. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    Heres what you have to do, first of all don't mix it with calcium. Explain to the property owner that the initial meltdown will be expensive. You are going to have to put down a great deal of salt, let it activate and plow that layer of slush off, then do it again and again until you are down to asphalt. Once you have that done, regular salting with frozen precip will keep up with it.
     
  7. mmwb

    mmwb Senior Member
    from wyoming
    Messages: 114

    That is the value of this site. I'll place the options before him and let him decide. We got down to -15 last nght. The temps are the reason for my thoughts on the calcium chloride. It is four times more expensive, but will it take substantially less on the initial melt down than it would salt? Will it melt through with less applications? Will it require less plowing or will it take as many pushes? If I will need to push more times for the salt it will start adding to the overall deicing costs.

    I'm surprised to hear the costs of deicers around the country. Even calling a couple of larger cities in Idaho, it is much higher here. The property owner is out of Salt Lake City, so I expect he is used to large city service prices. We will see.
     
  8. mmwb

    mmwb Senior Member
    from wyoming
    Messages: 114

    Well I talked to the property owner tonight. Placed the options and relative costs before him and he told me go ahead with the calcium chloride to get it done. ...then plan on keeping it clean with salt. Pretty down to earth guy and he said to do what I need to and keep him appraised as to progress and expense.
     
  9. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    Your are right, that is GOOD customer. They understand what it will take to manage the site, and it sounds like you did a good job of educating him what it will take. In all honesty, this is a great job to have. It is very easy and will bring good revenue. No travel time to different sites is great. Good job and good luck. Melt it down brother!
     
  10. mmwb

    mmwb Senior Member
    from wyoming
    Messages: 114

    Are any of you familiar with Sno-Plow? It’s supposed to be rated to at least -6 with a maximum of -27 (according to the marketing propaganda). I can apply this stuff for $22.00 a bag, vs. Zero at $35.00 a bag, vs. calcium chloride at $42.00 a bag. I actually did three sections of the lot with each and after a couple of hours they all look pretty much the same. Another application and I expect I will be able to clear a substantial amount off of this lot, then another heavy application to finish the lion's share, except at the drives in from the street. They will take more.

    Unless I see some difference when it gets really cold, I can't imagine any reason to go with anything but the Sno Plow. At .14 a lb it doesn't seem much higher than what some are paying for bagged salt. The local guy said he will give me a bit off when I order by the pallet.

    Keep the input coming. Better I learn from your hard earned experience than unnecessarily from the school of hard knocks.
     
  11. CTerrySGD

    CTerrySGD Member
    Messages: 64

    I buy calcium chloride by the skid and get it down to about $11/bag. I spread it for $25/bag. I used to only spread calcium on my parking lots when it got below 20 degrees but it got too costly and time consuming to break open bags. This year I got a bigger spreader and made a switch to magic salt in bulk. The magic salt seems to work at a lower temp than regular bulk salt, but I'm not sure it would touch -15 degrees. If it were that cold I would use the calcium to get the ice off at first and retreat with bulk salt. It sounds like you're on the right track.

    Good Luck!

    Chris
     
  12. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    So how did it go? What did you use and how did you apply it?

    I would guess you used around 14 bags?
    I Salt Every time I plow, you end up using less salt and keeps liability to a min. I charge about 25% more + the marked-up cost (of what they could buy it at retail) for the bags, so if the lot costs $100 to just plow, I charge $125 + however much salt I use (which can vary) lets say an average of 10 50lbs bags @$5.71 per bag. Thats another $57.10 in salt so a total of $182.10 every time I plow and salt. Now I buy the salt at about $3.50 per bag so that means I'm charging $47.10 extra each trip to cover salting.

    Speaking of which I have to go and do a salt only run tonight- thats been our season so far, lots of 1" snow falls, thank god for salt.
     
  13. Kosty

    Kosty Member
    Messages: 91

    grn mtn u can get the salt cheaper at Home cheapo i got a skid for $3 per bag and heard from a few ppl u can get a 80lb bag from furgeson and hall for 4.50
     
  14. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Hey Kosty, nice to see another Rochester plower on board....
    I just had to buy some at HD in a pinch the otherday and it was more like $4 something, and have you ever thrown around 80lbs'erswesport They'll kill you at 4am and 18* outside.
     
  15. fernalddude

    fernalddude PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,105

    80# sucks

    I gave up on 80's after 4-6 tons each run they suck i will pay the few cents for saving my back...xysport
     
  16. Kosty

    Kosty Member
    Messages: 91

    Yea they sure are heavy. I know i bought some salt in dec/27 from the one in henrietta and it was 148.96for 49 bags if u need some salt let me know i think ill have some left over this year
     
  17. Tri-County INC.

    Tri-County INC. Member
    Messages: 57

    Selling off BUlk Salt

    we are selling off the remainer of our unused bulk salt this year, building new salt dome, no need to save older stuff, we are planing on selling it for 45 dollars a ton, about 10 tons left in old building.
     
  18. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Last year I bought 3 pallets at the end of the year because we were supposed to get some big ones...never did so I sat on them all summer. I moved them to the back of my garage-I had a wall of salt. On the bright side it was purchased at a cheaper rate so when I used it this year I was charging for this years ratepayup

    Thanks for the offer, I'm good at the moment.