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Chicagoland Seasonal Bidding Questions

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by metallihockey88, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    Alright finally think i am ready to put on my big boy pants and go out on my own for snow plowing next season. i have a lot of good contacts for lots and think i can land some decent work to keep me busy. Im gettin a jump on everyone else and contacting these lots and working on getting the ball rolling with bids for next season. I have a good idea of how long these lots will take, how much salt ill need and what my operating costs are so where i need to be price wise to make money. my main problem is doing seasonal contracts. i want to offer it as an option to hopefully set me apart by helping them budget for the season as they havent been offered it yet and like the idea. my main question is to you local chicagoland guys, what are you using to base your seasonals off of. how many pushes and salts a year are you guys figuring? its a 1" trigger account and theyve had slip and falls so its basically salt when needed. I was going to give them a push only season price with salt being billed as used and a push and salt seasonal price with both having caps that ill figure out. Also lets say you spread out the payments over the term of the contract for lets say november 15th- april 15th, do you send out that first bill november 15th or do you start billing once that first month has past on december 15th? any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks
     
  2. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    The seasonal push numbers seem to be creeping up each year in this area. There were several later am storms this season, that required daytime pushes/salt, then cleanups and salt in the evening after closing. Its a crap shoot for sure on your numbers.
    Use this years number (how many times you pushed) of pushes/salts and call it good.
    Pretty average over the last couple seasons.

    Invoices are due on the 15th of each month. So Nov. goes out in Oct, and March goes out in Feb.
    5 months on the winter service payments. Extras are billed each month as well.
     
  3. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,439

    I bill on the start of the month. If the invoice is for Nov-Dec 15th, I send it on Nov 15th with hopes to be paid by Dec 15th. I do net 30, but many coorporate accts wait a little longer. BUT at least billing it then gets the ball rolling. It's pretty standard, so there should be no surprises. I must say though that bigger corps will typically take their time setting you up as a vendor, so that first check may take a few extra weeks.

    As for what to base it off of, as stated above, times are changing. Around here it WAS pretty industry standard to estimate roughly 20-25 pushes. An easy # for me was 20x2" for a total of 40" seasonal. But if you research, you'll see that for the last few years we have been 50-60". I capped my seasonals at 40" and had to renegotiate this year b/c of the blizzard. I assume this upcoming year many will probably end up wanting 60" caps.

    As for the trigger, that's in your hands. Many will want zero tolerance or 1/4" triggers. Meaning if it's snowing, you better get your ass over there. Time, salt, etc doesn't matter to them. They just want the lot clean.

    It all depends on what and where. If it's a 24 hour pharmacy, you need to be there to keep it open, so factor in your cost for that. If it's a business that closes at 5pm and you have all night to get it opened up by morning, then factor that as well. For accounts like that a seasonal contract really would never affect your triggered amount. 0-4", 4-6", 6-8" really doesn't matter at that point. You can plow it once or 4 times and the price is the same for the month. Only when it hit's you're capped amount does it start to matter.
     
  4. Phil1747

    Phil1747 Member
    Messages: 65

    Asking some help from the vets, i am starting plowing this year and am just doing residential drives that are all close together with possibly 1-2 commercial lots to help some friends out. People in the area want sidewalks done to walk their dogs, what do you do for a trigger amount and how are you pricing a normal 20X60 or 30x60 drive and about 80 feet of sidewalk. I am insured and fully covered, the other question is how do you handle close family friends that are like "oh can you swing by and do my drive real quick" last i checked the truck payment isn't free the plow wasn't free and the fuel and everything it takes to run isn't either. Thanks for your input
     
  5. NorthernSvc's

    NorthernSvc's Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    last year we had 12 plows, plus blizzard... and 29 saltings... year before that was roughly the same... My seasonal accounts are split up into 5 payments, first due with contract, next payment due december 1st, then jan 1st, than feb and march 1st...
    I like to have payments in the bank for seasonals thats one of the major benefits in my mind for having an account go seasonal... they get the peace of mind knowing they won't get slammed with sky high bills if its a bad year ( i don't have a snowfall cap... only extra charge on my contract is for excavation services), and i get the peace of mind knowing that i have 2 out of 5 payments in the bank before the snow even flies so i don't have to worry about getting shafted if they decide to not pay...