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Bid this plow job

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Smitty58, Sep 4, 2004.

  1. Smitty58

    Smitty58 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    An office building consisting of : a doctor, a dentist ,and a tax preparer.
    The lot is approx 160 x 160 but the building is 40 x 120 of that with parking in the front of the building and along roadway frontage. Parking in the back is only against the building. Actual plowing is 160 x 70 in front, 160 x 50 on side and 160 x 50 in back.

    I'm getting ready to bid this but I would like some ideas first of what you would bid. Just to keep it apples to apples lets say 2"-4" inches per push.
    120 feet of sidewalk and calcium chloride on sidewalk.

    Located in sw Ohio if that makes a difference.

  2. rainair

    rainair Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    small parking lot plowing

    I go with $35.00 to show and 1.40 a min with .60 a lb salt [I use bulk] and the cc for sidewalks 35.00 per 50lb
    tell them it avg about 65.00 each visit before business hours
    not that I would bid this your too far from me but where is this?
  3. Smitty58

    Smitty58 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    Wow have I got a lot to learn about bidding. This is about the same size lot as the auto parts store I bid. I bid it at $90 plus $10 per 25lb of salt and $20 for the sidewalks. I figured it would average $140-150 per time. He told me I was by far the lowest bid and they have been paying $300. So if you are saying this example would avg $65 per push then I need to do some more homework to learn how to bid. I was thinking $80-90 per push plus the sidewalks and salt.

    Thanks Rainiair

    Oh and by the way it's in Butler county.
  4. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I don't think anybody except a direct competitor could tell you how to bid this contract, because snow removal is a very localized industry, if I was bidding this for my area I would be looking at $4000/season or about 175/storm. if it were in Texas I would bid a lot less, so SW Ohio does matter a LOT, and maybe even which township your in.

  5. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    bid it by the hour. with a 1/2 hour minimum and as much per hour as you can get.

    in area whare there is less snow I would charge more to make ends meet.

    unlike others that think they need to reduce there price to get more jobs to make more money I would reather rase my price to make more money off less jobs.
  6. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    dwan I have seen you tell pretty much everyone on this site to price it per hour but my commrcial customer wold tell me to go some where else if I told them that
  7. Smitty58

    Smitty58 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    Well I have an inside track on this. The dentist is a friend and I already cut his grass. He got me me the mowing acc. for this office and told me I could probably get the plowing. He said they have been paying 150-200. So here is what I'm planning on bidding:
    2" trigger 2-4" $75 4-8" $100
    sidewalks an additional $25
    calcium chloride $20 per 25lb bag

    This should give me an avg of $140-$165

    So what do you think? That is actually pretty much what I was thinking to bid before I posted this.
  8. rainair

    rainair Senior Member
    Messages: 153


    not bad ...I figure my prices for plowing at $125.00 per hour.. then salt.. we have too many LOW balliers in the springfield area...it snows and the 4x4's come out of the wood work with a plow
  9. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    Just the way I have been doing it for 22 years and it has proven to be the best method for me. I have never had my billing questioned. I can't see ware anyone could go wrong by getting paid for the amount of time on the job. Tell me this, how do you charge to clean up a burm? or say there is 1 inch of slush and it is going to freeze hard tonight? I just find it real easy to charge the way i do.
    32 minutes on the job no mater what the conditions are is $64

    Your way (these prices are just used for an example)
    each lot you plow will have different prices.
    Lot A gets more then lot B and less then lot C

    this would be lot A
    2" to 4" = $50
    4" to 8" = $75
    8" to 12" =$100
    over 12" = aditional $25/inch
    cleanup burm = $25
    now adjust for unuasual conditions +/- $xx

    now do it again for lot B, then again for lot C etc.
    every time you arive at the job you have to measure the snow
    I don't know how you would charge for plowing 4" to 6" of slush on a large lot that would take 4 times as long as powder.

    I am not saying my way is any better then any other just it is a lot simpler.

    anyone asking how to charge this is just an option I feel is worth looking at.

    also anyone just starting will learn how long it takes to plow a lot before he/she makes a mistake and charges to much or to little for a job.
    We have done a few by the year for a flat rate, on a light year I make out and on a heavy snow year the customer makes out. take 3 light years in line and they drop you for the new guy that has no experiance.

  10. Smitty58

    Smitty58 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    DWAN- if that works for you, great. I just think in my area people would freak if I told them my charge is $120 per hour.
    How do you get over that hurdle?
  11. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    That is just the way we all here have been doing it sense before I started. others have tried your way but have not lasted more then a year before switching. we started out at $60/hr 22 years ago and with inflation the older ones have raised there pricing. There are always new plowers that start every year @ $50 to $60 /hr. but soon learn they can't afford to stay in business at that price. In your area the per/hour price would ofcorse be less per hour. but as the cost of steel, fuel, food, housing go up so wil the prices.

    Built into my fee is reliability, equipment in excelent shape, never a vacation in the winter, on call 24/7, heated storage for sand, back up equipment, full service, sanding, removal, plowing, sweeping, & striping.
    3 loaders
    5 plows
    3 sanders
    2 10 yd dump trucks
    dump site for snow
    full service repair shop

  12. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Dwan I wasnt trying to crack on you or nothing. It sounds like you run a pretty good business. But here in ohio everyone is a lowabller. Listen to this I got outbid by 100.00 to do a realestate office I drive by while on my way to one of my accounts and there is a guy out there in a ford ranger and and small snow blower, blowing the whole parking lot. all I have to say is wow I wish I had my digital camera at the time. Good luck this winter.

    jeff Smith
    JRS Lawn & Landscape
  13. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879


    Luck is not what I need "I need snow"

    Here I would be able to show that my equipment was worth more and much faster then the ranger w/ blower and inturn worth more per hr. then he was. which would warnt the higher price . there I suspose you could show that it would take you less time to complete the job and you would also be ready for a good storm ware the smaller blower would not be able to keep up. You would have no problem having the lot cleared before opening time every morning.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2004
  14. Smitty58

    Smitty58 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    Dwan- sounds like you have a real nice operation. Like JRSLawn says, everyone here is a lowballer. Some places don't care if you are out there all night with a shovel ,they just want it cheap. That's the ones I would just as soon avoid.
    Sounds like you plowers in Alaska stick together more. Here everybody and their brother has a utility trailer, mowers and in the winter a plow on their 4x4.
    I'm not knocking that ,basically that's what I am. Whatever it takes to pay the bills right? I do run my business legit though ,and it's hard to compete against those who don't.
  15. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    We have our lo ballers also. some of us will get together when we see a new guy and invite him to lunch and explain the ropes. We do not suggest a price but a explain the cost of doing business. we also highly suggest he get insured if not already and get a business license. By the end of lunch we can usually tell if he is serious about plowing and if he is we will put him on a list for referrals. Then if anyone gets a call for say a driveway and they can't do it then they can pass this job onto the new guy. In return whoever pass on the job gets $5 for the referral and if it turns into a yearly contract then he gets $25 one time payment from the new plower. The new plower sets his own prices and no one ever quotes anyone else's prices to the customers. This helps both the established plower and the new guy also the customer always gets his job done. win win win
    now if we find a new plower that does't want to get insurance or a business license then it is easy. we just turn them over to the Dept. of Labor, City tax office, Dept of Transportation, and the owner for not having insurance or a license. I suppose we could also under bid his jobs so bad that he could not work but have never had to go that far yet.

    Now if we could just get the weather to play along everything would be great.
    3 years ago we got a total of 13". Last year it was about 37" our average temp in the winter is 33 degrees. some years we make more money sanding then plowing. When I started 22 years ago I had the only sander and no one wanted to pay for sanding. I did my good (pay on time) for free that year. the next year I waited for them to ask for sanding and when they did I said I would have to charge a small amount and they all said OK. (sand cost me $2.25 a ton that year). now there are over 30 sanders in town and sand costs $22.50 a ton. average income for sanding is about $100 a ton spread. To keep ahead of the competition I had to install heated storage for my sand so it was available 24/7, only one other contractor is also doing that. all the others have to wait for the ready mix plant to open @ 8:am Monday - Friday. You can see my advantage.Some mornings we can dump 30 to 40 tons

    enough said. by the way sand is sold by the ton and not the hour. LOL
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2004
  16. fernalddude

    fernalddude PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,105

    smitty your right about the low ballers but the pros get the job done right it sometimes take a while to get the good connections and prime contracts. i worked last year for a major company in cincy and had only 6 lots to take care of and every time he called me to go out i was on the locations or almost done with his lots. so this year he gave me all his lots in tricounty and that gave him more time to work in the east side of town so just do your best on each location. so speaking on low balling since i work for a major company iam a little on the low side but paid buy the hour gives me time to do a good job and not hurt my equipment. plowing is great but my money is in salting so look at a spreader and add that in your bids. i dont have any trigger if they think its going to snow we pre apply and apply and apply. the only prob with that is to have stock pile of salt on hand. trying liquid spray system this year have own brine plant and sprayers for 2 trucks. so just take it slow and build up every year :waving: see ya.....

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    you need to charge more for the walks....remember assuming you do it your self thats 30 min you not plowing......if you have a helper you need to at least cover the rest of the morning with him sitting in the truck
  18. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    I'm with Dwan. I have been plowing for over 20 yrs and charge by the hour. I offer quality and reliability. There is always someone who is cheaper out there. And everything about them is cheaper. Wait until they don't show up and the tenants start slipping and falling. Once in a while I get knocked out by a low bidder and that account either comes back or is replaced by another
    client who has been burned by the cheap snow removal outfit. Sell reliability.
  19. fernalddude

    fernalddude PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,105

    guys if we sit we still get paid my guy who is working side walks also feeds the spreader so we both keep making money and i run 5 trucks so thats ten guys just on plowing/salting and got other guys to just do walks and i bill for all guys guess i got the great contract (lol) :yow!:
  20. jhook

    jhook Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    I guess different areas have different ways of doing things. I personally will not work by the hour. I have some of the newest and best equipment in town. 3 years ago, I got a brand new truck. You could count the other new ones on one hand. 60,000 people in my city. I just traded to a 2004 model truck. Going to put a blizzard 810 on it. I will be the only guy within a hundred miles with a blizzard plow. Now if I were to bid by the hour, I like to get $120-$150. Ok, someone else is going to bid $50. You wyou can stand there and say what you want but the customer is going to look at that and I won't get the job - guaranteed. They don't understand what my equipment will do compared to the other guy running an old jeep with a 7' straight plow. I only bid by the job or by the season. See now, if it takes me say 10 minutes for a job and the other guy takes 40 minutes on the job, who makes his money at the end of the day? So what I do is bid market rate on the work, sell my reliability and use really efficient equipment. I made over $60,000 last winter with just myself and a part time driver in my spare pickup during heavy snows. Works for me.