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Commercial Plowing and Salting

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DJs Lawncare, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. DJs Lawncare

    DJs Lawncare Member
    Messages: 90

    I am just getting into the bigger commercial plowing. I am trying to bid on a place that is about 167,000 square feet. They require plowing every 1" or more plus salting. Does anybody have any idea how to go about bidding on this. All the other bids I have ever done are 2" or more commercial and 3" or more for residential. I am at a loss with this. Also plowing with an 8' blade I am guessing it to take about 4-5 hours to plow. If anybody could give me some ideas/help, I would greatly appreciate it.
  2. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Welcome to Plowsite!:drinkup:

    I don't mean to discourage you on your first post, but if you are taking on a job that big, you're going to need more equipment. In a major storm, you'll never keep up, and your area sure is prone to major storms!
  3. Chief Plow

    Chief Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    Not to be negative, but i agree with pelican, last year here we had 2 storms 8 days apart 2 feet each. That would be next to impossible to keep clear, look into a backhoe with a box blade or something along that lines. Just my 2 cents

  4. Pickering snow removal

    Pickering snow removal Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    I too agree with pelican and plowchief that is way to much pavement for a single truck and 8' plow plus what are you gonna do for stacking during a heavy storm perhaps if you wanted the job bad enough you could poss hire some subs to help i would kinda have price for loader service has well because at some point if the snow needs stacking it isnt gonna happen with a single 8footer , To be honest i doubt even a company our size would take on something of that size because around here the best price i can get for a loader is about 100.00 a hour which chews up the profit in a hurry iam sure there are better suited jobs out there you can bid on good luck
  5. DJs Lawncare

    DJs Lawncare Member
    Messages: 90

    Well I actually have two trucks. The problem with the loader idea is there are alot of spots where 9 foot is the maximum to get around all the islands. I am only guessing about the time that it would take. I just know it takes me an 1-1 1/2 hours to plow 2 of the parking lots I have currently. I can do my complete route with one truck in about 4 hours. I know the people that plowed it last year ran pickups. So I figured that I could dedicate one truck to that job and then my other can break free when it was through with the route and go assist. I also own a compact loader that I could use or a skid steer to move the snowbanks. Plus I could haul the snow with my dump truck. Thanks again for any help. It would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2003
  6. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Well, let's see, you've got 3.83 acres, call it 4 acres. If you've got a lot of cutting in to do and tight areas or long runs to make, your production rate for an 8' blade might be around .7 or .8 acres per hour. At a rate of .7, that will take nearly 6 hours to complete on a 2 to 4" storm.

    I think what these guys are trying to suggest is that while it is possible, you're limiting your ability to scale relative to the storm. You don't have any back up. Even a 6" storm would drive that 6 hours up towards 8 hours. Even if you could produce the job at an acre an hour with 2" of snow, 6 hours on one property may not be enough time to do the work if you've got a 4 am storm. What's your contingency plan?

    Plowing a 1" account is nice since you're not waiting for more snow to accumulate. The majority of your storms will be under 4" or 6". But those few that will come each year, particularly with lake effect, will separate the those that can from those that can not.

    Don't shy away from it doing it. You just may want to consider adding another truck. If it's retail and you've got a lot of islands and curbs, see if you can get a V-plow in their to help you out. Hire a sub to work with you. At the very least, add another truck that is dedicated to the site. Then you're second truck can float between your existing route and that site as needed depending the variables of the storm.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    I am just the opposite of some of the guys here. I know I have the knowledge and ability to do any job, whether I have the equipment today in September of not. Figure it out intelligently, with the help of good people , and go with the numbers. If you get it, you've got plenty of time to hire two or three subs to work it with you, or lease a loader for the winter and put $3 k into a 14 ' protech or RCS, and your golden. It could replace about 15-20 headache jobs that you are doing now, and make your life a whole lot simpler.

    It could be the big turning point in your business.
  8. DJs Lawncare

    DJs Lawncare Member
    Messages: 90

    Thanks Tom. I was starting to think I was totally nuts for even thinking about doing this, but I figured with thetruck and a skidsteer I should be able to get through pretty much everything. Does anybody have any ideas on how to go about pricing this though.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    Think about it per acre. If its 4 acres, its approximately 4 truck hours. That will go way up as the snow amounts do, but usually on commercial you are pushing during the whole storm, so most of your pushes will be 1-4 inches.

    If its 4 truck hours average, and your target hourly is $150 per hour, then price the first 1-3.9 inches around $600 per push. You could then adjust it up or down a little to fit your individual circumstance. I would give them prices for 4-7.9 inches, or some such combo, that is about 1.5-1.75 the first rate, then you could give a price for over 8 inches, at double or 2.5 times the rate.

    So, in our example, it may look like...

    Snow plowing, per push...

    1-3.9 inches $600
    4-7.9 inches $900
    over 8 inches $1200

    You know that most of your pushes will be in the first category, but at least your covered, if say they are closed from 10 pm tilll 8 am, and you let it build to 6 inches before you push it.

    The salting around here is usually quoted as per ton or per application. It is safer for you maybe to bid it per ton the first year, to see just how much you may use. Otherwise, a guide of about 2 tons average for that 4 acres would get you close to a per application price. Some days you may just sprinkle a ton on to hold it over till the sun comes up, and some ice storm may find you putting down 1500 lbs/acre, but at least it would average out.

    If you price it out like this, based on pickups , then if you get it you can lease a small loader, buy a protech and put the difference in productivity in your pocket as profit.
  10. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Tom... what's the smallest lot you'll dedicate a loader to - specifically a skid steer with 8' or 10' pusher? Assuming a production factor of 1.5 acres per hour on the lower end (depending on size of lot and runs), for a four hour timeframe, you'd need 6 acres. With this 4 acre lot - you may still need a plow truck for some of it. So you'll be under utlizing a small loader on this site unless you have to stack, relocate or manuever snow into specific spots, in which case either the production rate drops or you're bringing in a truck to relocate it on site.

    I'm asking because I don't know, not to be a smart a#%. Do you trailer a loader from site to site? How would you approach the 3 or 4 acre site?

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    We did a site almost identical to this, that we used a loader, and stored salt on site. It was well worth it, since at 4-6 truck hours in a light snow, you could easily get overwhelmed with only trucks. So, with the loader there, it was peace of mind. A truck could detail in in a very short time and move on. The catch was, there was other work for the loader nearby...

    still, I can get small loaders here on a monthly lease for very reasonable, and it may be worth it to a small operator like him to do it just for that lot. It gives you the experience in doing lots of that size, gives you more reason to bid OTHER large lots in the area if you already have the loader/pusher, and also to sub out the loader to stack and such in between storms.

    It is not uncommon here to drive loaders all over town. I drove a loader just like a plow truck one year, with a 12' blade , many miles per night, from schools, to small dr. offices, to just about anything larger than a driveway !

    Now, if you have a sub drive the loader, say an excavator who is laid off during the winter, a 4 hr job may be right up his alley !

    I dont use skid steers, so I dont know about that level, or how the production is, but if he owns one anyway, it would be valuable on this example. Maybe use this site as his salt storage, and route all salt trucks to this site to load with the skid steer....