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Do you just keep bidding??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by chtucker, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I bid on quite of few jobs already, and everyone is "sending them to the home office" 2 large apartment complexes, a doctor's office and 5-6 small lots, plus a residential here and there. I only have the 2 lots and 2 residentials signed up so far...

    Do I just keep on bidding and maybe get it all (buy another truck and hire a driver?) or do I bid on what I can handle myself???

    I have currently bid on $2500 (figured on $50 an hour) with 8 month contracts (our snow season is October through April, sometimes May and June)

    As a side question.... At what point in parking lot acerage do you give up on an 8-9' plow and go big??
    What do you all do?

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    Chtucker, when I submit bids I always insist on time limits as to when I expect a response (two weeks for most accounts). This limits companies from calling you six weeks after a bid saying "its yours" after you already have a full schedule.

    As far as when to jump from a 9" to 10 or 11 footers that depends on the type of lot and the conditions your expected to plow in. If the area is say a 5 acre open lot than I figure on a loader or backhoe with a pusher doing most of the work. Its been my experience however if its a five acre lot at a hospital that will always have cars in it and has many islands or other obstacles, then bobcats with pushers and dumps with 9' plows tend to work best.

    Good luck :)
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2002
  3. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    CH, I went back and looked and you were the person who posed the question about whether a guy could price himself lower and make up for it with volume (meaning you were expecting many pushes for each client each winter, as opposed to having a large number of accounts).

    I'm sure you asked around your locale. Did you get the impression that $50 per hour is all your market will bear? From what I've read here that's only around half of what most of us are shooting for per hour. If that's the going rate in your neck of the woods, of course you'd have to stay in line with it if you want some of the work. I'd just hope that that rate proves profitable for you.

    And if I'm reading your post correctly, (that $2500 is the total of the per push amounts, not the total per season), if you get all the contracts you've bid on you're looking at 50 hours of plowing every time it snows. Maybe you'd better buy *a few* trucks...
    (If I'm reading it wrong let me know...)

    I think any more biddding I'd do would be calculated at a higher rate, so that if you do get them you can afford to pay a sub and still pocket a few bucks yourself. (What are subs getting up there?)
  4. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Thanks for all the replys... The time limit is the easiest answer.

    I checked and got bids from others and yes $50 an hour (heck $60 an hour gets you a backhoe and operator) is the going rate. Most companies however bid it just on a monthly basis, I have included in my bids that the rate is valid only if they sign up for ALL 8 months. October, November and January are lower snow totals than the other five months. I am doing only three billings throughout the winter (1/3 due October 15, 1/3 due January 15, and 1/3 March 15)

    $2500 was total for the month of what I have bids out, (8months x $2500 =$20,000). 50hrs for the month. 6 hrs per an average storm. With an average 8.3 storms per month (my trigger point is 3" at everything, but the doctors office) I think I will do OK. I am taking into consideration that most areas are not signing 8month contracts, I have much more time to pay for my truck, plow and skid-steer which I already own all three outright.

    Now for one more question, if anyone wants to divulge how much they hope to gross per a season per a plow truck?

    I hope that all makes sense. I have been paying attention to the everyone's posts. I appreciate all your guidance. I just should not have been so dim witted about not putting in a bid only valid to date.

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2002
  5. Ground Master

    Ground Master Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    I just can't see how you can make money at 50 bucks an hour. But, I know of guys that bid between 50 to 65 an hour. I think they are just trying to keep themselves busy in the winter.

    I've been doing only snow blowing and shoveling for years.
    My route may take me 6 hours on an average storm yet I will bill $360.00. This is with 1 -8 horse blower and a decent shovel doing driveways and sidewalks.

    I've been contemplating getting into plowing for years, but heck I'm not keen about getting up at midnight to start plowing. I have figured that I need to charge at least 95 an hour to make it worth my time. I figure there is only so much plowing one can do in a day and you may as well get the most you can. Then the more I think about it my rate climbs to 120 an hour.

    I think you should charge alot more and work less hours. You may get a reputation for being pricey, but I'll bet you'll enjoy plowing more and will be able to handle the big storms better. just my 2 cents.

    Messages: 81

    Here in Chicago I think the rates might be a little higher.If I'm not making a $125.00 per hour I won't touch it. Maybe it's just me.
  7. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    So more math

    I am figuring on a gross of $20,000 for the season

    $20,000/$125 an hour = 160 hr for the season

    $20,000/$50 an hour = 400 hr for the season

    Obviously, I have to work ALOT harder for that 20k, but do you get 160hrs of plowing in a season?

    What does anyone gross per season per a standard 8-9' plow truck?

    Annual snowfalls for what seems to be a majority of the posters

    BUFFALO, NY 92.5
    ERIE, PA. 88
    HARTFORD, CT 48.9
    CHICAGO,IL 38.9

    Period of Record Monthly Climate Summary
    Period of Record : 7/ 1/1976 to 12/31/2001
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
    Average Max. Temperature (F) 30.6 33.7 38.7 44.7 55.9 66.8 71.1 69.1 62.3 51.2 37.6 30.9 49.4
    Average Min. Temperature (F) 2.4 4.2 10.1 17.8 26.5 32.6 37.3 36.9 30.8 22.2 11.3 3.1 19.6
    Average Total Precipitation (in.) 0.75 0.91 0.96 1.07 0.68 0.90 1.79 1.95 0.99 0.73 0.82 0.81 12.37
    Average Total SnowFall (in.) 18.7 19.2 22.8 26.9 8.7 2.2 0.2 0.0 2.3 10.5 20.1 18.6 150.1
    Average Snow Depth (in.) 10 13 13 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 4

    150 inches per year for a 25 year average. I know that the above is confusing. But it shows that certain months work to my favor an certain months are hard work. I am also stating to all my clients that prices reflect cloud seeding this winter which is typically raises snowfall amounts 10-20 percent.

    When I was talking volume in my previous post I was more refering to length of season and snow events.

    $50hr is worst case scenario, if it snows heavy EVERY month for the 8months of my contracts

    I am certainly not trying to argue, I am bouncing ideas off everyones noodle. There is one fellow from Aspen, who I wish would chime in (Aspen is close by geographically, but is A WORLD apart economically)

    I hope this all makes sense! Thanks for your help.

  8. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Erie is 88" at the lakeshore.... 260" average at Interstate 90 (3 miles inland from the lake)....
  9. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Thanks John for adding that... I just found this map.

    I guess I should have said that $50 is what I bid them at, just a worst case...

    150 inches per year / 3" per storm = 50 plowable events

    8 hours for each storm * 50 = 400 hours

    20,000 / 400 hours = $50 hour

    More likely situation:

    150 inches per year / 6" per storm = 25 storms

    6 hours per storm * 25 storms = 150 hours

    20,000 / 150 hours = 133 per hour

    This goes back to how the HECK do I estimate this, I took worst case scenario and felt I could be profitable at that level. Now If the winter works in my favor, I will do much better obviously.

    Am I making sense or betting my head?

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2002