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First Commercial Bid Input

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by fortywinks, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. fortywinks

    fortywinks Member
    from NE OH
    Messages: 82

    Have been asked to submit a bid for my first commercial account, its a restaurant. By Google earth I estimate the lot at about 18,200 sq. ft with 210-220 linear feet of sidewalk.
    Assuming a zero tolerance type contract here are my guesstimates, try to be constructively critical!

    With no cars in the lot I'm estimating 20 min. to push the lot with 2-4 inches. Plenty of places to put snow. At 4"+ I'd give a half hour? At 8" closer to 40-45 min. 2007 Chevy 2500 HD CC with BOSS 8.2 Poly V. Could possibly add a Wrangler to that but would like to keep that pushing the resi's. Not looking to race thru the lot but to do a good job keeping in mind time is $$$.

    Snowblowing the walks with a 28 inch Ariens? 20 min? What if we just elected to shovel? 30-40 min?

    Now for salt. All bagged material. About $8-$10 per bag as my cost. Saw a previous estimate of 17 lbs per 1000 sq ft so based on that its about six 50 lb bags. Am i way off base here? Tailgate spreader anticipated but maybe a walk behind to start if money becomes an issue. I guess worts case is I send one guy with the snowblower on the hitch, a shoevel,a walk behind spreader, and 10 bags of salt. How long does it take him and how do I charge it. Per inch, per event, per hour, per bag of salt plus time, seasonal. So many options out there. Figure 25 snowfalls or calls for service.

    I'm figuring $75-$100 to plow with options on heavier amts plus $60-75 to salt?

    How would I protect myself in the event I had to have snow removed from the site? Hope that wouldn't be the case as there looks to be plenty of places to put snow.

    Thanks,

    KB

    Commercial Lot Estimate.jpg
     
  2. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,246

    I think your times are pretty close. I would give a little more time because there are always cars in lots and they are usually in the worst spot.

    As far as shoveling, get one of these: http://www.dakotamountainproducts.com/ They saved me tons of time on the lighter snowfalls. Much faster and easier than a two stage blower.

    You need to find out from the person asking for your bid as to how they want the pricing structure to be. You could possibly break it down into a few different structures to give them a broader spectrum to choose from.

    You can protect yourself if you have to haul snow by putting a clause in your contract.
     
  3. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    Sounds okay...Is it just this one property in the bid? or is this for a PM company or Realty group?
     
  4. fortywinks

    fortywinks Member
    from NE OH
    Messages: 82

    Yep..one bid

    Yes it is just one property currently. They did just open another location but its not convenient for me to get there. On the other hand if this went well I suppose I could try to bid out both next year. I have not spoken to the owner(s) yet as I got wind of this from someone who knows the owner and has plowed snow in the past. Would just like to have some idea of what I should be discussing when I go there and what I shouldn't be discussing. If he asks for a price I'd like to tell him I would get back to him. If I already have an idea of which direction I want to go I can get the bid to him quicker. Does my est. on salt look doable? I come up with a total of about 7500 lbs of salt or approx. three pallets worth. 300 lbs times 25 events? I think the actual amount would be less but that is where I would put the estimate for the bid at. Do you guys always seem to throw more salt than you thought you would or less? It always seems like come Feb. or March guys are trying to locate salt because they don't have enough.

    KB
     
  5. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    Hmmm....How far away is that other property....Cause any business would rather deal with one person. Find a reputable plower over there if it is too far. Have him care for it and take a minimal amount off the top because, after all it is your business name on the line. Don't discuss outsourcing...and don't screw the guy that owns the business. If he questions it just say "hey, I want your business. I can get you the name of a good contact to plow your other location, but I would love to care for this property" and just set it up for him to deal with the other guy. Get a feel for it. Small time likes to spend less moola $$$. Big time likes to save, but doesn't want to deal with multiple contractors and contracts....We sometimes lowball an account if we think we can develope a good, and long lasting relationship with a client. We don't do anything that loses us money, and doesn't work for the client. We are all about mutual benefit. Always get more salt than you think you need...but don't create a big debt for yourself. Come spring. That salt stock plunges.....and you have to give up the room to keep it...or give it up for next to nothing...I like to keep less than 5 extra pallets when all is said and done. 5 pallets take up 100 SQ FT single stacked (the only way to keep from losing too many bags). Last year I had 20 bags of salt/de-icer left....so I was right on the money...And i used the de-icer as a discount for early sign up for a big account. Get your foot in the door, and build a relationship with every business. Never burn bridges, because some day, you may end up hungry and all it takes is one good relationship to get back on your feet in this business.
     
  6. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    BTW we like single stage blowers that can be lifted easily out of a pickup bed, or we have a dedicated unit care for the walks. We will be moving to an old short bus 4x4...the one we are looking at is an old bus from a retirement community. We plan on modifying the front to take a 9 ft blade and using the handicap hoist to lower/lift larger 2 stage blowers. The back door will be getting modified and we are loosing seats for salt storage. Its a long ways off, and we just use single stage now. My 2 stage is a beast and I hate wrestling with it. I'd rather just shovel than mess with a machine. I'd recommend a honda single stage blower. Pick a width that is small enough to do your smallest walks (we usually pick a 20 something inch...We make two passes. Keep your truck estimate. Don't add time, just work on improving productivity to hit your numbers. Don't mess with your customer because you are new. Do a good job, and if you earn less this year, refine your plan/skills and get it again next. Dedication is the key! Your numbers jive in my opinion. Offer them options, but I don't recommend a seasonal flat rate for plowing, since it is your first experience with the company. NEVER offer a seasonal rate for salt unless they pay a deposit IN FULL for the salt for their location. Remember, you are selling the salt and renting the space to them to keep it...remind them of it...nicely...
     
  7. fortywinks

    fortywinks Member
    from NE OH
    Messages: 82

    Okay,
    I went to look at the property again last night, about 7:30 PM and entire lot was full even back by the dumpster. Sooooo... if I were to have to plow in the time frame of say 4:00-10:00 I would have no place to put snow. The odds of me having to plow specifically during that time...who knows, but I might. So how would I deal with that issue. Ask the owner to block off two parking spaces so I can stack snow? What if a customer removes the cones or whatever and I can't get to it? Any ideas? I'm sure you guys have dealt with this before. This is a property I've not scouted before so I don't know what the lot looks like in the winter as far as customer use.

    KB
     
  8. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    Snow Contingency Plan

    When you go over terms, don't make him do anything. Put it in the contract that snow will be put here no matter what. Go out, pre-storm, and mark everything. We're required by some companies to use markers to mark curb cuts and inlets to keep from damaging concrete....So just do it when you do that. Charge for cones/markers that are damaged or go missing. That is what my contract reads. Don't by any means make him do anything else. If he asks just tell him that he can mark them himself for a slight discount and use his own cones. If you lose a cone, mark it up for the bill. I use a 20% markup on my cones and markers, because it takes me time to dick with replacing them....so technically they're not paying extra they're just paying your wage when you are working for their stuff. No missing cones= no bill for it.
     
  9. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    If someone parks there....Give your favorite tow company some business! make sure its marked though! cause they will tow 'em no matter what and someone will pay! So mark it, and have people towed.
     
  10. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    if that lot takes you more than 25 minutes with up to 12" of snow on it, you're in the wrong business.
    Seriously.
    that's an easy lot
    Whatever your minimum is (1/2 hour) that's what you should bid, with a little more (30%) for over 6".
     
  11. AEI

    AEI Member
    Messages: 56

    IMO.. I would charge a flat rate that you feel is fair for your services. I never charge anything under a hour. You will need to add a clause that you will only be opening the lanes and walks during normal business hours because of traffic.Then full cleaup prior to next opening.

    I always leave enough snow in front of my designated spots If its a (limited parking) to keep cars from parking there. Then when you get there on a new event... just push it back with new snow and start over with a blade full to prevent the people from parking there. Sure a 4x4 will push his way over it but who cares really. Just dont leave a massive pile that you cant push if it freezes over real bad. Be neat about it though lol.