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Calculating Salt?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Mitragorz, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    First year on my own, just trying to get my costs in line.

    What's the general rule-of-thumb that you guys use for salt, per sq foot? I'm looking at doing just residential driveways for now. I'm trying to get my hands on a tailgate spreader, but will likely be using a walk-behind for a while.

    For a typical 2 car x 3 car driveway, how much salt should I be looking at throwing down? I know guys charge per pound, but I just can't see myself trying to calculate how much salt is going through... Unless I keep all my salt in cups, measured one pound, and keep track of how many I go through, lol. Do you just go by the sq footage of the driveway? Again, what's the general usage of salt per sq foot?

    There's got to be an easier system than measuring individial cups :D

    EDIT: I've also never run a salter before, so I'm not sure what too little vs just right vs too much looks like. I'm sure that's going to be a whole 'nother debacle when I get a spreader, trying to gauge what I'm putting out...
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  2. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    2 Things

    1) you will get better results in the ice management area

    2) use the search function

    Not being an a$$ but this topic has been beat to death. You will learn alot if you just take the time to look
     
  3. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    1) I'll repost it in the ice management section.

    2) I did search. I found a lot of threads about bulk salt, pricing big commercial lots with big trucks and spreaders, pricing per job with no real explanation of how they got to a price to charge, and lots of people talking specifically about non-tailgate spreaders.

    For example:

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=149839&highlight=charge+salt
    Lots of numbers being thrown around, with no explanation to how they were reached.

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=149968&highlight=charge+salt
    People talking about what they charge for a bag. Again, I don't know how far a bag of salt goes, so this doesn't help me.

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=149628&highlight=charge+salt
    Again, people saying what they charge per salt app. How do they reach those numbers?

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=149620&highlight=charge+salt
    This guy's asking what to charge for using somebody else's salt in his spreader.

    And that's after I sort through the dozens of "Show your truck!", "*STATE* Ice Thread", and "What do you think about this truck?" threads, and any other thread that passively has the word "ice", "salt", "spreader", "cost", "driveway", or "price" in it.

    That's just for the most recent search terms. I can keep giving examples of threads that don't answer my question.

    I hope that you understand why I started this thread. It's not because I'm lazy, it's because I couldn't find what I was looking for. Yes, even after searching half-a-dozen different terms. I learn a lot when I can find what I' m looking for. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to determine salt pricing. I don't care about the old Chevy dump body that someone thought about picking up last month, or what the weather's like in Minnesota.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  4. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    It is actually a tough thing to talk about because of the different types of deicing material. Are you talking just about halite (Rock salt) or are you talking about a deicing compound of calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, ect.? Depending on what material you are using is going to give you different spread ratios. Keep in mind that halite is super damaging to both the concrete and to landscaping. Let me know what you are planning on using and I will try and help you out on figuring out spread ratio.
     
  5. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    I was just planning on picking of bags of regular rock salt from Home Depot. This stuff specifically:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-50-lb-Rock-Salt-Bag-4664/202523041

    Lots of concrete drives around here, so do you think this would be a better option?

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-40-lb-Granular-Ice-Melt-Blend-40B-RR/202353199


    I knew that salt was bad for landscaping, didn't know about the concrete though.

    Also, I went and started a thread over in Ice Management, if you feel like answering over there instead.

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=150322

    Thanks!
     
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    HD salt is over priced. What you could do is base you price on full bags per drive per season and bill it that way. So say your going to use 2,3,4,5,6,7 bags just bill a minimum amount of bags for the season.
     
  7. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    Ill answer on here because other wise you will get the same thing that you are trying to avoid which is all the BS.

    I would think about more or less the ice melt. there are 49 bags in a pallet. As far as spreading... it is really a trial and error thing. For a single stall driveway that is up to 20' long I use approx 15-20 lbs. (Give the customer a rough estimate. or another thing i did when I was getting started was to weigh the individual amounts of salt by 10 lbs and pour them in the spreader you plan to use and then make a mark every 10 lbs so you know how much salt you are using. as far as pricing goes... the rule of thumb is that you double to tripple the cost of the product.... thus covering your cost for application and making you some money on markup...

    EXAMPLE: Cost of material
    $8.48/ 50lbs.... add tax.. (guestimating here) Final cost $9/ 50lbs.

    If I were puting this melter down I would charge $27/ 50lbs ... so if a pallet costs you $441.... you would sell it for $1323
    Pocketing Aprox. $882/ pallet.

    Overall general rule for pricing is Deicer price x 2 or 3

    To answer your spreading amount be safe and assume that a 50lb bag will do 1 driveway.

    Anything i missed?:rolleyes:
     
  8. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    It seems like that'd be easy if I have some seasonal contracts. I don't know if I'll pick many of those up, seasonals just don't seem to be that popular around here. But as far as that goes, I actually had two seasonal prices in mind that I'd offer... One for just plowing, and another for plowing, snowblowing, and salt. So I had that covered already.

    I'm more concerned about charging the per-event customers. I mean, I guess it would be easy to to say "Salting is $3 extra" or whatever. But I'd still like to know what my average cost would be for a typical driveway, instead of just throwing arbitrary numbers at people.
     
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    honestly,your costs would be more then what people will be willing to pay.
     
  10. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Not a resi guy here. Curious, how many resi's require salting?
     
  11. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    that was figured at 3 times the cost of the deicer... if you take it down to 2 times it doesnt look so bad. Im not sure where he is from and what the average is around there.

    Living here in central WI i get my deicer for $8/50lb bag and I charge $20 to cover my costs and I have 16 customers that I put it down for at that price and around here that is actually pretty cheap.
     
  12. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    That's awesome info, thanks! I guess I severely overestimated the stuff, it doesn't go nearly as far as I thought it would. I'm glad I asked before diving in headfirst with prices that turned out to be FAR too low!

    Again, I've never de-iced, so this is all new to me.
     
  13. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    I'm not really sure, but it's an option I'd give them. Anything I can use to make money!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  14. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 203


    What kind of spreader are you using? I guess my 1 bag per drive is a goal for how much to put down so figure out how to adjust your spreader accordingly
     
  15. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    I'm going to be picking up a tailgate spreader... Just trying to find a decent used one locally, but I'll buy new if I have to.
     
  16. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    Here is what I charge.
    One bag driveway = $25
    2 bag driveway = $35
    3 bag driveway =$45
    Rock salt $3.70 per 50 lb bag.
    I put it down by hand, so it goes where it is needed. 5 gal bucket works great. I know I will hear about that. Big expensive salters are a waste of money and not needed for driveways.
     
    Nursemylawn likes this.
  17. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    just keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true it is....

    And I would look into a cheap saltdogg.... if someone is getting rid of one online.... they are getting rid of it for a reason because it is more than likely all beat to hell and junk.... save yourself the headache and buy new. I would just try the walkbehind for a year... i takecare of 16 and i still use a walk behind because i am saving up for my Boss VBX.

    Food for thought...
     
  18. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    Putting it down by hand makes you look like an amateur... using a salter gets you better results ... by hand is okay if you have thick ice built up but to just salt after plowing ....spreader is the way to go. And i most certainly dont have the time to march around the lot hand spreading salt.
     
  19. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    "Putting it down by hand makes you look like an amateur."

    If you say so, ..

    But I don't bang salt on the grass, off the side of your house, off the side of your car and everything else. Plus it goes where it is needed. To each his own. And I said "not needed for driveways."
    I was also just offering another way to get it done without large investments.
    And I have been snow plowing sinse 1987 so I think I have outgrown the amateur part. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  20. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    16 out of 16? 16 out of 1439? Can you throw a guesstimated percentage out?