1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Do you stick to your guns? (Salt pricing)

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Camden, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,598

    When it comes to salting how much are you guys willing to negotiate with the client? I told a guy I could put down salt for $150/ton (I can buy it for about $50/ton if I pick it up). The guy sent my proposal back yesterday and he crossed out my price and wrote "salt price too high".

    I was going to call him today but I'd like to hear from any of you who deal with this sort of thing more often than I do.

    I don't want to lose the chance at plowing the account just because of this but I don't want to be viewed as a push over either. :confused:
     
  2. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,445

     
  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,964

    Some of it is going to be your own situation as well.

    Are you in need of work?? Are you willing to get SOME money now, knowing that it fills a spot on the route that has a glaring hole?? Or are you already booked??

    Is it out of the way or right next to another account you're already doing??

    I agree with SnoFarmer, some people figure if you get the plowing, that they can get a different price on the salt, haggle factor.

    Personally I stick to my guns, unless it's right next to a property that I'm already doing, then I'll go back and talk with the person and try to work something out.

    Maybe put in that salt is / ton at a cheaper price, but now charge time to spread it at a hgher price than you'd normally charge.

    Either that or drop it down but fudge your numbers a little here and there. I know it's not ethical, and I don't do, but you know darn well it's done everyday.
     
  4. bltp203

    bltp203 Senior Member
    Messages: 484

    Look at it from a purchasing point of view. Do you accept the first offer/price you see?.....personally I don't. I always ask "Is this the best you can do?"

    Like the others said, it all depends on how important this account is to you.
     
  5. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    don't bid by the ton applied....bid by the job and explain it as your time--if there's a difference between you and someone else, its about time not material---you can explain this away as a quality argument which it is.

    They can always come back with a salt too high response...essentially they're saying that your time/equip isn't worth what you think it is. Somehow you have to make sure they know it is----is it them out at 3AM avoidng a slip and fall?????

    Unlless someone is applying a different type of salt, everyone is paying close to the same....you dont ever 'want to get into a markup argument with as customer. I know this is stating the obvious, but by telling them so much per ton they have a hook touse against you------unless they live in a cave they know that you're paying the same as guy #2 for materials. At $50/ton, the material is not relavant...application is. You shoot yourself in the foot by giving a general price per ton...it's based on where and when you spread it. Is he in charge of your logistics?? Tell him $500 per application....or whatever number....forget the per ton cost. Just my $0.02.
     
  6. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,598

    Kramer - That's a great post. I definitely did myself a disservice by giving a blanket price but that's why I'm on here and I'm going to chalk this one up to inexperience. I'll get it right next time...

    SnoFarmer - What are you paying for salt up there? You're not too far away from me so if you're getting a screaming deal I'll come up and get a couple loads.
     
  7. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,445

    havent used bulk salt or salt for a couple of years now.
    we only use it if we get an ice storm.

    My customers do not wand sodium used on the sidewalks so I mostly use mag clor or cal clor.payup

    but if I was going to use salt all we have to chose from is.
    http://www.cutlermagner.com/salt/products/iceControl.php

    call for prices lol as I am not sure what there prices are today.
     
  8. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    I agree, I charge by the application regardless of material. If they want more, it's another application. I feel it allows me the control of amount of material, and when it's applied. If it requires more then normal I just apply it more often.

    JMO
     
  9. Flipper

    Flipper PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,180

    I try to stay pretty firm, but I also agree to looking at it from purchasing view. Take this site for example. A lot of discussion is price of plows in different location and dealers. We always look for the best price, but do we always give it? I don't, that would be bad business. I always inflate a little. Many accept the price, others want to negotiate a little. Because of my forthought I can do that if I want. This is where the second point that was made comes in. Do you want or need the work? If it is right next to another job you could lower your price as long as they are not going to talk to the other guy. I might even lower both if it is worth it. (How accurate do you measure your application anyway?) Maybe put about 1.5 tons in the spreader for both places in one trip, charge by the application and you just made money at a lower rate. Break down the costs, even at $100 you should still be making money (I am not saying to go that low). I would go back at this point and ask him to come up with a number and if its reasonable try to compromise somewhere in the middle. At least you will have an idea of what he thinks is "too high".
     
  10. cjasonbr

    cjasonbr Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 635

    Next time? Just explain what Kramer said to the guy. Tell him he's paying for a service - not salt. If he wants to buy some salt he should go to the grain store.

    A quote that i heard on this site, and especially like is: "We sell our service, not our price." People know and most appreciate that a premium service demands a premium price.
     
  11. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    As someone said above, fudge it around a little, so the salt price goes down, but everything else goes up to balance.

    Or

    call back and say "so, we have the plowing contract, who are you going to get to do salt?"

    Let him sub the salt out. ;)
     
  12. jhook

    jhook Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Go back with $149.95 and meet him somewhere in the middle.

    :nod:
     
  13. cjasonbr

    cjasonbr Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 635

    DON'T NEGOTIATE.

    If you tell someone that it's a $300 job. Then it's a $300 job.

    If you settle on $250, well, then it's obviously a $250 job and you overcharged the first bid.

    A job is only worth what someone is willing to do it for. Don't make yourself look like a moron by underbidding yourself.

    Edit: If you need the business, you should consider that in the proposal, but don't negotiate after the fact.
     
  14. cjasonbr

    cjasonbr Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 635

    99/100 things i pay for i would NEVER think of negotiating. I can just picture this guy at the supermarket or some restaurant or something. "Is this the best you can do?" LOL.
     
  15. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    Why lower your profit margins to get that particular job?

    If you priced the work based on your costs of service and a reasonable profit what you are negotiating is your profit.

    The weld shop has a $40.00 minimum charge. Customer came in yesterday,
    "I have a little welding job i want you to do. just a couple little welds, 5 minutes. Do you do small jobs."
    I reply " we have a $40.00 dollar min. charge, if it's worth $40.00 to you, it's worth doing for us."
    His response, "I'm not paying $40.00 for this I'll give you $10.00"
    I said, "Have a nice day" and went back to doing work that made a profit

    The point to my little story.

    WHY WORK TO BREAK EVEN? Either you over priced to begin with or you need the money you asked for to make a living. Negotiating for a service lowers the perceived value of that service.

    When faced with the "we want you to do the work, but we want it at this price" dilemma, the response should be a no brainer, " We can't provide the level of service we are known for at that price. You need to find some one whose level of service mets your expectation of cost"

    JMO
     
  16. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,964

    I would negotiate SOME, if, as in my earlier post, you're already doing an account next door, or very close by already.

    It no different than when I sell firewood. If someone wants 2-3-4 orders of 4'x8'x16", I'll knock some off of the price because I don't have the extra fuel charge to haul each one seperately to a different house.

    I'm not talking alot, but I'll knock $5-10 off. There's fuel and time to account for there.

    If it wasn't too big of a price difference, and you could save yourself $5-10 in added fuel charges, then why not,

    I do agree with your example though basher, I'm not dropping it 75, 50, or even 25%.
     
  17. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,045

    Tell him $135 and only put down 1800 lbs. Due you actually have a scale on your salter. There seems to be alot of 3/4 ton pickups running around with 2 yard salters in the back but for some reason that 2 yard salter holds 3 or 4 ton of salt when billed out. JMO
     
  18. DAFFMOBILEWASH

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,596

    Make it simple, say a lot to plow is 100.00 and you are there for 30min to push the lot. Then for me the salting price is 80-120% of the push price. Be serious at 3am you really now how much salt you are putting down on a smaller lot?? For me the amount changes for it could be hvy ice or light fluffy snow. The law of averages will work out. Generally a 2yd salt costs 150.00 and grosses 1000.00-1500.00 depending on the conditions.

    If you market your services correctly you can make much more money on salt than pushing. For those who complain about the pricing, just reply by you get what you pay for. This is my price for my services and my customer reputation speaks for itself. Most of all dont accept more work than you can handle, work by proffit and not by vollume.

    Best of luck

    DAFF
     
  19. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,045

    I'm sure the laws of averages will work out for you but most of us aren't selling salt for 500- $750/ ton. Your pricing might work out on 1/4 ton lots but not on bigger lots. JMO
     
  20. Flipper

    Flipper PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,180

    I have never heard of a long term contract that wasn't negotiated and compromised by both parties.