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bidding sidewalk job, need advice

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Lawnman883, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Lawnman883

    Lawnman883 Member
    Messages: 85

    Hello,
    I am making a proposal for an apartment complex to take care of the sidewalks. they have a truck and do the parking lots, but they want me to do all the sidewalks and entries to each unit. There are approximently 250 units in the complex, each with a entry sidewalk thats a couple feet wide and several feet long leading to each front door. I am in west michigan and from the sites i read should expect an average of 90 inches of snow. i have a 42" tractor mounted snowblower, and a 24" walk behind unit. What would some ballpark estimates be. he also wants me to spread salt he provides. Thanks
     
  2. Duracutter

    Duracutter Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 200

    Are you bidding this by the hour?? by the month? per visit?

    Too many questions to give you an answer...

    :)
     
  3. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    $.06-$.10 per running foot per occurrence
     
  4. Duracutter

    Duracutter Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 200

    wow, your crystal ball must be pretty sharp. And that price is for 2" or 2'...:dizzy:

    ?
     
  5. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    yep 2" or 2' the blower dont care how much material its moving
     
  6. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    You're kidding ...right?


    2" of powder or 24" of wet stuff is the same to you????
     
  7. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    actually 2" of powder has to be shoveled (my blower wont pick it up) so i guess it realy ain't the same to me

    KRAMER instead of argueing with me what is your input to help the origonal poster?
     
  8. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386



    Why do you say I'm arguing with you?????


    I just wrote a long reply but got timed out, so here is the cropped version...




    I was pointing out the difference between a minor and major storm/effort.....they need to be costed to take the effort into account. Wet deep snow does not blow as easy as powder. How many times will he blow out a 14" wet storm vs a 3" powder event??????

    Theres not enough info in the the original post to consider....


    In short, no idea on actual area to cover, no idea on if he's doing all 250 units himself, only very limited equipment listed for the expected effort, some ambiguous reference to salting, and no idea at all what his costs are (ins, payroll).

    Heres the main question.......

    How you going to open up 250 units when its snowing 1" /hr with a snowblower that runs at 2 mph?? Oh, and add salting too. Hope you have some help.
    Maybe the guy last year thought he could keep up with his 24" blower?


    Thats a good start---

    for reference, I bid by the inch breakdown (1-6"....) and define salt application separately per application. Using a small 2 cycle snowblower for the majority of storms will cut your time down dramatically.


    So per application of salt, I'd charge by expected time at labor rate, and for condos add a PITA percentage because I guarantee there will be complaints. I'd also check hard with the ins agent to make sure my buddy was covered when Mary slips and breaks an ankle.
     
  9. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    KRAMER now that was a good post it actually made a point instead of just "you kidding right" :dizzy:

    i see your point about the depth of snow etc. but i just keep my bidding simple, there is a alot of guys here that has a 1-2"2-3"3-4"4-5" it seems :D but not me, mostly because we do not get a snow over 1"hour and most of my accounts are 24hr watch, so if i let 4" accumulate before i start i am not doing my job as well as i could.

    the original poster hasn't replied since so we may as well be arguing nobody's reading it LOL he hasn't even logged on for 3days (maybe thanksgiving)

    LAWNMAN: do you think you could give more information for these guys, (my bid is staying the same) ;)
     
  10. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    PowerJoke, I wish I could get .10 a foot. That would add $1,700 per push to a bid I'm doing right now compaird to what it will go for. I'm glad that you are able to get that amount.

    42" tractor mounted blower. Must mean 2wd garden tractor.

    2" would be plowed, but 8" - 24" would be blown and the 8" would go slightly faster than the 24" Blowers love snow, but go the same speed (almost) for 8" - 24" The only thing mine doesn't like is melting snow. That is just too wet and slushey to blow.
     
  11. Lawnman883

    Lawnman883 Member
    Messages: 85

    Ok, i am sorry for the long time before i replied. I was out of town and not around plowsite. here's the story,
    i have been doing work for this apartment complex for several years, as an employee. now a new owner is buying the place out and he has no equipment. i used to use all their equipment etc. they had a quad with a blade on the front and salter on the back for the sidewalks and 2 f250's with v-plows for the parking lots. the f250s are still iin the business, and i won;t be driving those. my job will be the sidewalks. i have a 42 blower on the front of my deere graden tractor. i began using it on this property last january when the snows got too deep for the apartment's quad to be able to push it. he was just paying me hourly and i was getting the short end of the stick. he was paying me gas and also for maintenance on the equipment last year. last year i was not a business. just an employee offering to help with my equipment...but i learned my lesson. this year he wants a quote for me to cover all expenses and wants me to only use my equipment. he will provide with salt for me to spread. i have a spreader on my garden tractor as well. for a light snow it took me about 3 or 4 hours to do the complete job. for a heavy snow...like over 10 inches...it would take me 5 hours, and when we get major winds with drifting...some drifts were 3.5 feet tall over some areas last year and dealing with that pretty much took me a good 7 hours to clear.
    in my area the 30 year average for snow is about 90 inches. based off my records for the previous 2 years i spent an average of 145 hours per season out there either shoveling, plowing, salting, or snow blowing. this year i do have full insurance and just want to quote fair. as of now i am the only one who will be maintaining the sidewalks. if i get in over my head i may hire someone to run the walk behind but the last couple years i have been able to keep the place in decent shape myself.
    i still have a fulltime job in retail so this will be my only major job this season, i will offer residential snow removal as well for additional income, but i do not have enough equipment to dive in to snow removal full time yet. i am looking to purchase better snow removal equipment next summer after i can get the landscaping side of things to grow more and can quit my fulltime job.
    just throwing some numbers around i was thinking maybe 4250 for the season was fair, but i'd like feedback and advice on if i am low, high, or just crazy...
     
  12. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,741

    Thats $29 an hour at your average rate. What do you shoot for hourly at your landscaping job?
     
  13. Lawnman883

    Lawnman883 Member
    Messages: 85

    well, i try to run at around 45 or 50 an hour when i have been bidding landscaping jobs. i proposed a landscapeing job for him at a rate of 50 an hour and he told me he can;t afford that. he said he could only afford to pay me 25 an hour because thats what he pays all his contractors. i agreed just because i still live here and he allows me to store my trailer and truck here free.
    i was only being paid 12 an hour for my labor last year shoveling and using the quad, but now using my own stuff i don;t think i can afford to do it any less then about 30 an hour. i just didn;t know if i was way off the industry average...
     
  14. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    don't worry about average across the state or country etc. if you'r happy with $30, then go for it but i would say $30 for a litlle tractor and blower is fine, heck it don't burn hardely any gasoline probably?

    just curious how many feet is there if you ran it through my equasion how far off i am?

    $.06-.10per foot with melter and probably $.04-.08without that is my "by the foot rate"


    my so called formula kinda varies from job to job because of stairs width of walk or if i can even get the toolcat on it or not?. but in your case i would say to bid by the foot

    but to answer the q i would say that mach+oper sidewalk around here i would bid $40-45 for a toolcat w/blower or blade or bucket
     
  15. lodogg89

    lodogg89 Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    i dont really have too much to add to this, i have one job i do major sidewalks, took me 1 hour with my toro 2450 to do it, with 3-6 inches of snow. I charge 150 for it. Then 60 bucks for salt.
    Total- $210.00
    Salt Costs-3x$5.00=$15.00

    I make about $195 for an hours work, i also plow the lot for $160.00. I recently bought a big 2 stage unit and it saves about 10 minutes.
     
  16. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Don't lower your price just because the guy tells you "That's what I'm paying everyone else." and don't lower it because you keep some stuff there. You have experience with the property make them pay you for it.
     
  17. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,741

    I agree :drinkup:
     
  18. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341


    so both of you are telling him to jeprdize the financial stability the job can provide for him?
     
  19. Lawnman883

    Lawnman883 Member
    Messages: 85

    Well, i'm meeting with the owner tomrorow. i appriciate the feedback. the little deere did well last year but theres a lot of sidewalks and i wore thru 3 pairs of skid shoes and 2 cuttign blades, plus broke several welds on the blower last year. but i think if i can get him to agree on a number thats decent for the winter i should be able to cover my expenses for now. I want to stay on good terms here because this coming summer i plan to quit my fulltime job and expend a lot, and this guy hooked me up with a lawn contract with the apartments next door, and i hope to expend to several other complexes in the area. i guess the way i look at it is if i keep these first 2 complexes happy, maybe it will result in a few more accounts down the road. i just don;t want to be one of those guys that does it way too cheap because i know it hurts everyone to be alowballer.
     
  20. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Until the quote above where he said he wants to quite his job, he said "i still have a fulltime job in retail so this will be my only major job this season, "

    I still say don't loose money because the guy said lower your price. I don't wish it on him, but his deere blower is not going to make it and he will have to buy a bigger, stronger tractor/blower set up. Then he will be upset that he is not making what he thought he should be.