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Commercial bidding.

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Glessing.J.W, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Glessing.J.W

    Glessing.J.W Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi there, I'm new to Plow Site. I've been a member for a short while, and have spent numerous hours reading, though doing a general search for something specific provides many pages of different threads, most of which don't answer the questions I have.

    I've been doing snow removal for eight years now, for two different companies in the Madison, Wisconsin area. Now I'm researching, and getting ready to put my thoughts into actions. I fully intend on having my own company, and starting with snow removal come snow season of 2014-2015, and either sub-contracting to a larger, more highly established company, or getting my own contracts, consisting of residential, and maybe small commercial.

    I use an early 90's 1500, with a beat up Western 8' for work now. The 1500 works great, though we haven't had accumulation over eight inches yet this season. I plan on buying roughly the same truck, early to late 90's 1500 unless I can afford either newer, or larger by that time. Along with a used SnowDogg HD75, and maybe a SaltDogg TGS03.

    My question is, how do you price commercial lots, do you figure the square footage, and base it off that? I noticed some posts mentioned charging an hourly rate by acres. How long should it take to plow an acre, and how do you factor in the hourly rate?

    If you have any suggestions on a different plow, or salter, feel free to throw them out. Keep in mind it will be a 1500, and I will have as many bags of rock salt, and ice melt in the bed as the truck can legally handle.

    How did you start off with paper work? Obviously a contract, with terms & conditions attached, and a no rock salt/ice melt waiver if they absolutely do not want either. Though do statements/invoices (For billing.), recites that you fill out, and can buy from Office Max work, or should it all be typed, and printed?

    If your trigger for residential is 1/2", and commercials 1", how do you judge when you return to a commercial property multiple times for one storm? Do you charge the same price if you clear it once before they open, same price when you return while they are open, and are only able to clear lanes, then the same price a third time after they are closed, for the final touch ups?


    I do apologize if it seems that I went rambling on, I just wanted to be clear.
    Thank you much for your time.
    Jacob.
     
  2. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,851

    do some more serching, there is lots of talk about your questons & service levels will depend on what you want to do & what they willing to pay for.....also remember if you give an inch some try to take a mile, but all will expect that inch all the time, it's about expectation setting if you know what I mean. good luck and keep learning, running your own business aint easy
     
  3. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    I plan on buying roughly the same truck, early to late 90's 1500 unless I can afford either newer, or larger by that time. Along with a used SnowDogg HD75, and maybe a SaltDogg TGS03.

    What brand of truck?


    My question is,how do you price commercial lots, do you figure the square footage, and base it off that? I noticed some posts mentioned charging an hourly rate by acres. How long should it take to plow an acre, and how do you factor in the hourly rate?

    Pricing is a feel thing and Size thing. But you asked $150 an Acre +- .

    If you have any suggestions on a different plow, or salter, feel free to throw them out. Keep in mind it will be a 1500, and I will have as many bags of rock salt, and ice melt in the bed as the truck can legally handle.

    V Plow, it will pay for the extra cost then save time.

    How did you start off with paper work? Obviously a contract, with terms & conditions attached, and a no rock salt/ice melt waiver if they absolutely do not want either. Though do statements/invoices (For billing.), recites that you fill out, and can buy from Office Max work, or should it all be typed, and printed?

    I use a computer and paper, 3/4 of my billing is paperless
    If your trigger for residential is 1/2", and commercials 1", how do you judge when you return to a commercial property multiple times for one storm? Do you charge the same price if you clear it once before they open, same price when you return while they are open, and are only able to clear lanes, then the same price a third time after they are closed, for the final touch ups?
    That is what a trigger is. You plow it every time it hits that number. I plow by the storm totals and what it will take to keep them open.
     
  4. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Setting yourself up for a fall with 22 year old half tons..
     
  5. cmburke03

    cmburke03 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Im new to plowsite too but Ive been in the industry for over twenty years..I agree with the last response..Using a 1/2 ton as your primary plow vehicle is asking for trouble..We run mostly one tons in our large commercial lots and 3/4 tons in our condo and residential neighborhoods..We have run 1/2 tons in the past and found that they just dont hold up to commercial plowing..They can come in handy doing residential drives but if you want to talk about plowing acres then I would definitely recommend upgrading to a bigger truck..
     
  6. Snow tracker

    Snow tracker Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    I would look at 3/4 tons and V plows. If you want to make money at this, it is all about reliability and time.
     
  7. Glessing.J.W

    Glessing.J.W Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Well that settles that. I will forget about the half ton, and get at least a 3/4 ton, or one ton. Same goes for the plow, I know a V plow is better, I also know a larger truck is better. I was just concerned about out of pocket start up costs.

    If I get my own clients, I will be offering full service, plow, snow blow, shovel, and salt.
    If I sub contract to a larger company for my first season in business, I will be open about it. Obviously I will be plowing, but if they need me to do sidewalks, I won't have a problem with that, depending on the pay.

    The truck make is undecided, depends on what I find on Craigslist, and other sources, price, miles, and year. I'd love to get a Chevrolet, or GMC, but if I can get the same year, near same miles, for considerably cheaper, than by all means I will go with Ford, or Dodge. I know a couple people that use a Tundra, and Titan, both of which are great trucks according to them.


    Does anyone know what to expect by subcontracting? I know the pay changes depending on the area, and what your running. If I had a 3/4 ton with a 8' V plow, and a few years plowing experience?



    Thank you.
    Jacob.
     
  8. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Will you be buying out of pocket, or financing?

    I know this is not a popular opinion, but I will tell you to buy a new leftover 3/4 or 1 ton regular cab and have them put a new 9'6" XV2 Fisher on it.
    The payment and insurance will come if you have the work.
    As a poster above said, the 2 make or break issues are reliability and time spent per account (If you get your own)..

    The reasons for a new setup are..

    Reliability
    Warranty
    Comfort
    Power and Ability
    Image
    Peace of mind
    Pride and a good attitude - You will look forward to getting into it at 3am
    Interest rates should be far more favorable -I scored a zero % loan via FMC.

    And lastly, and don't get butthurt you GM guys, you want a Super Duty. Seriously. You do.
     
  9. Glessing.J.W

    Glessing.J.W Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I was planning on buying everything used, and taking the truck to a truck service center, and the plow to another company, and have them both checked out, and make sure everything is running good. I know I will probably have to throw some money into what ever I buy used, to make sure it's going to be ready for Winter.

    Though if I can get financing, then depending on how much, I would be afford to buy better, more reliable equipment to start with.


    Jacob.
     
  10. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    It's far and away easier to get financed at a decent rate when buying new. You buy a 5 year old 80k mile used truck for 18k with a rate of 14.9%, and at the end of 5 years you have spent $427.27 per month for a total of $25,636.20....and you end up with a 150k mile bone.....that required repairs and caused down time.

    As an example, I paid $36,500 for a new truck and new 9.5 XV. My payment is $542.50 per month, but at 0% interest...every dime goes to principal. And it has all those things going for it that I mentioned above.

    Just trying to point out some things. Obviously, credit rating and income decide what happens.
     
  11. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    Here is one other way to look at it.
    Everything can break down. For 36K I could have three compleat plow trucks with V plows.
    I only have 2 but they where both paid for the year I got them. No snow , no payment either.
     
  12. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    If you have cash to buy. If you finance, then new has more going for it.
    Everything breaks down, sure. But a new truck carries a warranty.
    I played the pay cash and fix it in the snow at 2am with pliers and duct tape game for years on end. My credit never improved, nor did my bottom line.
    A new truck gives you and your potential customers some measure of security. All I am saying.
     
  13. Rsweares

    Rsweares Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    buying old equipment

    A truck that is older with a plow and 80,000 miles is a truck waiting to break down during a snow storm. Just my 2 cents.... been doing it many years with a plow contractor.
     
  14. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    It all depends on how they are maintained. Do you wait for things to break or do have a good idea how long things last and replace them before they give out. Do you look your equipment over after every snow event or just put it away?
    All my trucks are used but maintained like my life depends on it. Plus I have back ups that are not just junkers but put in to rotation and used so I know they will work. I have never had one leave me hanging in a snow storm or had one towed. To each his own but having new trucks sit around all summer and making payments on them will not work for me.
     
  15. Rsweares

    Rsweares Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    I agree with you, I guess I was talking if he was going out to buy a truck with 80k with a plow. Most guys do not maintain their trucks the way they should, or even not knowing how the truck has been used for plowing.
     
  16. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Show up in a truck with 100k on it, and the customer might not notice.

    Show up in a new or nearly new truck, and they notice. They want reliability, dependability.

    Who lets a new truck sit all summer? Not many. You will find a use for it.
     
  17. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    If OP would find a truck that wasn't a work truck and never had plow on it I wouldn't be scared of something has 80k on it

    I don't like buying a 30k+truck and put a plow on it. Like you said 30k+ can buy 2-3 trucks with V plows
    Last one I bought with a V I had 9k in it that was in 09 Did replace all the coil packsand plugs when hit 100k last summer and a alternator . Been a good truck and its my main work truck during winter and summer time.