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Estimating Commercial and Residential

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by SamWJones13, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. SamWJones13

    SamWJones13 Member
    Messages: 30

    Hello everyone, I'm new here and looking for some advice on estimates. I know that telling specific prices is a touchy matter for many of you so I'll see if I can get your drift without having to ask.

    What I want to do for most of my accounts is a per time cost. Now, I already have a set hourly rate that is fair but will still make me money. The problem is that I haven't been in the business long enough to know exactly how much snow I'm pushing around per hour.

    For the accounts I have, I give them a price for 2-6" and price for 6" plus (50% more than the 2-5"). I see that a lot of people use the 2-4, 3-5 etc. etc.
    Say that I have a rate figured for 2-4", what percent more should I be charging for 4-6? or 6-8? and so on.

    My other question is about bidding by square footage. How many 1000's of square feet can be plowed per hour?

    I understand there's always an x factor (where does the snow go, equipment, sidewalks, driving distance etc. etc) but I just need some general ideas so I can stop bidding blindly. Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I know I am not going to be of great help, but here it goes.
    In my contracts I have a 2-4 inch price at XXXX amount. 4.1 to 6 at XXXX amount which is 1.5 X the first price, 6.1 to 8 at XXXX amount which is 2 X's the first amount. Then I give an hourly rate for anything over 8.1 inches of snow. I use the snow accumlations from the NWA web site as the total billed. If I know we are going to come close to the 9 inch mark, I keep track of the hours each time I plow.
    For the time factor. Well that is going to be tough to call. Each time you plow the same lot, you get quicker, and more efficient at it. Unfortunatley everyone on this web site, has been a first year plower, and it is a gamble when they submit their price. You will have to plow a few times to get use to what you can do with your equipment, then you will hone your estimating skills. As long as you have your hourly cost figured out, you will learn quickly on how close you come to bidding vs. actually plowing. Good Luck
     
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Never liked bidding like that. Why should your customers have to pay more if you don't show up in time? Just for ex. if you charge 25 bucks per plow and you do your whole route and have to go back it's another 25 bucks.Or just do a seasonal price.
     
  4. SamWJones13

    SamWJones13 Member
    Messages: 30

    Hey Grandview, besides a seasonal price, how do you normally bid lots? I want to get a little more experienced before I start offering a bid for the whole season. I think it would be a lot easier to get burned atleast for the first year.

    and RC2505, thanks for the advice, what would you normally charge for a standard 2 car driveway? Again, I know many people on here don't want to give out the price so maybe if someone could let me know what percent of an hourly rate should be charged for each driveway.
     
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I only bid seasonal. I usually base it on 25 plows for me. Since I'm the only guy plowing other then some extra gas I'll drive around after storms to cleanup the entrances ,so it ready don't cost me much since I'm already driving around and drinking coffee.
     
  6. SamWJones13

    SamWJones13 Member
    Messages: 30

    fair enough, seems like most people base it off 25 plows. I guess it's a little late now that the season's started anyways
     
  7. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I can honestly say I don't do driveways. At least I don't charge for driveways. The only ones I do are for myself, my mom, my wifes mom, and a little 90 year old lady that lives by herself down the street from me. I don't know her at all, but a couple years ago I saw her out trying to shovel 4 inches of wet slushy snow, so I pulled in and told her to go in the house, and never worry about the drive again I would take care of it. Other than that I do all commercial accounts.

    Grandview as far as your comment, I never let the snow build up more than two inches. The reason I price my lots like that is, that is just the way we do things here. There are about 9 decent snow contractors here, and we all do it the same way. The different prices are for storm totals, not because we don't show up untill it is done snowing. For myself I base the storm total on a 24 hour period. If it snows for 30 hours then the first day is added together, and the second day is billed seperatley.