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Bidding & Estimating

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Sean Adams, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams Member
    Messages: 40

    Once again, like the other forums, this forum has been created to keep the site running smoothly and it gives the members a place to post information about potential jobs they are trying to land. Here people will come to this forum with the idea of helping you come up with how to charge, what to include and not include, etc... when going after that job you really want.
     
  2. plow master

    plow master Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    plow master

    Hi i am new in the line in other words i want to be in the line but i dont know how to price by the hour or per push or seasonal contract and how do i give a price by the square footage or how :confused:
     
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Very rarely are you going to bid by area, until you start bidding lots by the acre. There are three basic methods to bidding - Hourly, per push and seasonal. Most common is per push which I would recommend for you until you've got some experience. All methods are based on "hourly" or "how long will this take and how much do I want to make for the time spent?". Very generally, $125 an hour is common for plowing with a 7 1/2' plow with some expierence. Since most driveways, etc, take much less than an hour, you simply prorate. Don't forget "drive time" to and from the job. I bid each job as if it were the only one in the area. It's common to lose/gain jobs throughout the year, so you want to make it worthwhile if this were the only job in the neighborhood. Getting anything close to accurate estimating takes time and experience, so don't get discouraged if that "15 minute" job turns into 25 or 30. Just chaulk it up to experience. Make sure you charge more for larger amounts. A common range is 3" - 6", 6" - 9", 9" -12" and "over 12".

    Hourly is common in some places, but you would want to keep a low rate at first. Efficient plowing is an art coupled with experience. Customers would get rather upset at a beginner charging $125/hr. Seasonal contracts are best left alone until you get some customers willing to commit to three-year contracts and you get good at estimating.

    This might get you started thinking, then do a "Search" using "bidding" as a keyword.
     
  4. quietguy703

    quietguy703 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    need help

    I need help in getting some idea as how to tell a customer how much i will charge him for his drive way .. is there a per foot. rer inch rule ,I could go by?? FOR INSTANCE a 40 foot drive with 4 inches of snow verses 150 drive way same snow both drives same width. thanks for any help
     
  5. RJ snow

    RJ snow Member
    Messages: 41

    The great pricing & bidding search

    I've been reading the posts for quite a few weeks now looking to see if any real price quotes were being thrown out here on the board. Most of what i've read has been " Do a search" and after doing a search most of the threads read the same "do a search". Not for nothing plowing friends but how much would it hurt any of you to throw a price out for a 20x100 driveway for per push and per season. A general idea of what we are charging should be to our advantage. If this site was used to govern what a standard rate would be we could all make good money throughout the season. There will always be lowballers in any market. My main concern for this season is the coming fuel spikes that has been rumored for the near future. We are already seeing 2.80- 3.25 per gallon at the pumps and the folks from Wallstreet are predicting even higher as winter sets in. Now with that said I'll say this I'm going to be charging on average 20-30 a push and contracts will be averaged by those numbers figuring about 15-20 snow falls 2-3 inches or more. Lake effect snows are a problem in my area and its always a gamble to predict snowfall. What I'm hoping is that after setting up contracts for the season that my fuel costs don't double and I end up screwing myself out of profits.
    But my main point of this thread is why not use this site to our mutual benifit a set up a internet based snowplowers union kinda thing where we can govern the prices of plowing to our advantage. There's plenty of work for all out there and anyone who thinks that giving up there pricing will lose work is crazy for every one lost there are many more prospects. Unless you live in a town that is over saturated with plow trucks and business's then even still you would all profit by co-operating on a standard price so evebody makes about the same. Then it becomes a matter of your work and reliability rather than the lowballer getting alot and giving poor service. Look at what the cost of car repairs are from city to city and i'll bet they are within $5 per hour of one another coast to coast. Think about it, why play hide and seek lets unite and prosper instead. :cool:
     
  6. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Because it's illegal.

    Because costs vary widely by states and countries (US & Canada. There also have been people on here from countries like Norway, Sweden, Germany etc) and from areas within states. Costs also vary by individual circumstances. One person's insurance rate may by three times as high as another. Therefore he has to set his rate slightly higher.

    Your example of car repairs doesn't hold, either. The shop up the road from me is a lot lower per hour than the nearest GM dealer.

    I know I have made some rather lengthy posts about different methods of pricing. For me to make the same post every time someone asks about pricing (several times a week at this time of year) would be ridiculous and a waste of space. But I did make it a Word document and post it periodically so it would turn up on a search. But I avoid hard numbers except in PMs where I have more information and make it personal and specific. I see some people charging $15 or $20. For me in my circumstances, I wouldn't have an account that low.

    It just goes along with that saying about giving a guy a fish and he'll eat one day - teach him how to fish and he'll eat the rest of his life.
     
  7. Chris-R

    Chris-R Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    Listen to Mick. He knows what he's talking about. Also, it is illegal under Federal Law for contractors, vendors, etc. to engage in price fixing. When someone talks about a bunch of people getting together and setting a price for a specific service, they are violating the law. You must be very careful about things like that as this is a public forum. Although your intentions are good, the government wants to encourage free market pricing which is supposed to translate into the best price/service for the consumer. I'm not sure it always works that way but it surely does quite often. On the other hand, there is no violation if multiple posters tell others what they charge for a specific service. For example, you may ask how much I would charge for a 10,000 sq. ft. parking lot and I might be inclined to give you my rate and the reasons why I do it the way I do. This is ok but I surely cannot suggest that we all get together and set a specific price or rate for a 10,000 sq. ft. parking lot. I just don't want anyone to get into trouble, thus the reason for my post.
     
  8. Lawn Care Pro's

    Lawn Care Pro's Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    imagine this: the low baller who would normally underbid a job by 30% all of a sudden has a fixed rate. so now that smae low baller who gives out "poor" service is now making more money for the poor serve they offer. that now leaves you out of a job. on top of that how is a company going to know which company may be right for the job. you have too remember the low low baller is almost never given the job and usually the more expencive contractor isnt either. it usually lies somewhere in the middle!
     
  9. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546


    That's very true. I've been in situations where we would automatically throw out the highest and lowest bids.
     
  10. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    I know companys to this day still get 5 bids take lowest and highest bid in the trash they go now they have 3 bids they look them over and start meeting the 3 people.Not a bad idea.



    RCGM
    Brad
     
  11. rgrimes945

    rgrimes945 Senior Member
    Messages: 134

    The Inclement Weather Contractor

    I am also new to plowsite.com and trying to learn how to use it.also I am new to the plowing and salting in North Carolina. (Raleigh to be exact) our busines is growing a lil each year and curious to see if anyone else is in the southern part of the country. I'm open to some Ideas for pricing myself.

    Thanks Ray
     
  12. TheLawnShark

    TheLawnShark Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 11

    Here's my question. What is the industry standards for pricing with plow vs blow.
    Several of my lawn clients want snow removal and instead of buying a plow, I will use a blower instead. Would I charge more for blowing since it takes longer and usually less damage to turf areas along driveway.(Yes some guys are very good with the plow and that won't occur). My thought is No plow or blow are same pricing.

    When you charge for plowing do you include walkways and sidewalks? With blowing that would be standard? When the snow gets deeper how do you figure the additional costs?

    Example client driveway is 1000 sq ft. What to charge for 3-6,6-9,9-12,12+? I understand people are hesitant to give actual numbers but a low to high doesn't fall under the gov't watchful eye.

    Last question. I use contract for lawn however are there any provisions I should place in snow contracts. Having a hard time finding an example of one.

    If uncomfortable posting, please PM or email me at TheLawnShark@rcn.com

    Thanks
    Don
     
  13. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    It snows in North Carolina?How much a year 3 inches?Call me stupid but I didn't know it snowed there.


    RCGM
    Brad
     
  14. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I'm obviously not uncomfortable posting; however, there are some subjects I will not post about. Specific pricing is one. That's because how much for any given area in any specific circumstance varies so much by region, it's really pointless to even post any dollar amount. It would vary even with small regions, dependent upon factors such as number of plows relative to the work available. What I get $20 for, someone else may get $100.You really would be better off finding someone in your area who can help you get started. There are no industry standards that you asked about.

    There are guys here who might also send you a copy of a contract.

    As to the question about whether you would charge more for a blower, I'd say "No" since removing the snow from any area should be worth the same, regardless of how it's done. However, yes, if you are blowing the sidewalks, then you should charge for that. Now, you might also be able to charge more for some areas that cannot be done with a truck mounted plow due to tight turns or no place to push the snow. Some guys include the sidewalks in their pricing, but it's not the usual because you might figure plowing at the equivalent of, say, $125/hrs, but can you figure the 1/2 hour or so you're shoveling at the same rate? So, if you charge less, you're losing what you could have been doing instead of the truck just sitting there while you're making $10/hr shoveling.
     
  15. plowinginma

    plowinginma Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 326

    LIABILITY LIABILITY LIABILITY

    Sidewalks expose you to another level of exposure.. you actually cant charge what a sidewalk is really worth if you factor in the cost of a law suit..
     
  16. TheLawnShark

    TheLawnShark Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 11

    How are sidewalks a liability? To the homeowner. In PA it is the homewner that has ultimate responsiblity. Now they can turn around and try to sue you. This area lawsuits are hard to win. Also if you have insurance it makes it that much tougher.

    How can you plow a drive but not do the sidewalks? Homeowner needs to clear them in 24hrs once snowfall stops or otherwise fined by the township.
     
  17. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    Not 1 law in Indiana about having to do snow removal at your home not 1.I think what he means if you do the sidewalk that is where people walk and if they fall the want to sue you for a slip and fall that is Liability.

    RCGM
    Brad
     
  18. TheLawnShark

    TheLawnShark Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 11

    How could the liability fall upon the contracter. You clear them, snow melts, ice forms, someone falls, how could you be sued a week after. People fall on others property all the time. It is the property owner who has the liability.

    Funny thing. I guy on a bike was running from the cops, turns into a stone driveway, falls, breaks leg, gets arrested, sues homeowner, wins about 50k for injuring himself in the commission of a crime.

    My problem is if the cops weren't chasing him he would have not made the turn to which he gotten his injury. This also leads me to why did the contracter who put the stone there not get sued, because it falls back on the property owner.

    Is there anyone out there that would give their price for a 1000 sq ft drive, no walks at the different snow depths. Your price does not reflect what I will charge but it will give me what I'm looking for a basis on how to charge when the snow gets deeper. Also do you charge more for wet snow?
     
  19. stumpslawncare

    stumpslawncare Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 60

     
  20. stumpslawncare

    stumpslawncare Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 60