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gas stations, a little help please?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by zippoz, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. zippoz

    zippoz Member
    Messages: 64

    in in somewhat of a situation here. let me lay it out for ya
    this is my first year plowing. i started out the season with a 87 jeep with 6 1/2 plow and 2 contracts. 1 comercial lot, and one gas station.
    sonce then i managed to pick up about 7 more gas stations all owned by one group.
    after speaking to them they are willing to contract about 20 of these stations to me in the chicago land area, from the south suburbs to the south side of the city. being that as of now it is taking me about an hour and 20 monutes per station i can do the 7 i have now in about 9 hours. and doing the other ones would require me to get another truck and a driver.

    basically i was wondering if pickiung up these other gas stations is a good idea. im charging about $50- $65 per site depending on if they have a car wash and using 100 lbs of salt on each one. but they are taking me a long time to clear. most of them have 4 entrances to them. and when you cinsider that they are 24 hour stations and that there is traffic most of the time its kind of a pain in the ass.

    im wondering a few things,

    am i charging too little?
    are they taking me too long? how long do yours take you?
    abd do you tink i should take the other stations, and if so at what price?
  2. Chainlink

    Chainlink Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 70

    My .02 Your set up seems small for that amount of work. If it were me I would buy a bigger rig with a much bigger plow(would cut time way down) And keep your current rig as back up. As for pricing it depends on your local market and can you make money at that price. You are at a fork in the road is it time to expand or keep only the ones you have nowand stay smaller. Everyones situation is different, You need to figure out how you want your buisness to go. Best of luck to ya payup
  3. scuba875

    scuba875 Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Sounds lite to me. You can sub and get more than that per hour. Are you getting extra for the salt? If not I think you are in bad shape money wise. It seems like a long time to me 1 1/2 hours per station how big are they.
  4. They can't be very big at all if he is only using 100lbs. of salt per station!!!!
  5. infineon954

    infineon954 Senior Member
    Messages: 235

    I agree with Chainlink....a bigger truck will cut the time in half. Are you taking too much time trying to really clean them out??? If so wait til' it's done snowing then go back and clean them out. I hope your getting your money for salting services too. If you are spending an hour and 20 minutes and only getting paid $50-60, in my opinion, you are doing them at a below average rate. Consider other things like the liability of objects and obstructions that you have to plow around. Charge more!
  6. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    For the $60 for 1 hr 20 min you are making about $45/hr and that could be a good rate for that rig in your area but it is not enough to higher someone else to drive another rig and make any money.
    At the rate you are charging your wage is your profit and if you higher someone else then there goes your profit, so why do it? Stay ware your at for the rest of this year and learn. Next year aproch your work with a little more education, bigger rig, and higher priceing so you can run your business like a business instead of a job like it is now.
  7. osbo68

    osbo68 Member
    Messages: 49

    DAWN has some excellent advice to consider. A bigger plow would definetly cut down on your plow time. But you have to consider the length of the contract and whether or not you would be stuck with new equipment you can't afford. For that price you should have those lots done in no less than 1 hr. To make money they should take about 45 min. If it take's that long You should be closer to the $80-$90 mark. Of course that's all based on $60 hr. If your not charging for the salt and using bag then don't forget you are spending about $6-$7 for 100 lbs. You don't make much money at your current rates. But hey live and learn. Treat your customer right and they'll treat you right. Sounds like it could be a good contract if you treat it right. Well that's my advice and opinion's! Good Luck and Happy Plowing! :waving:

    Oh Ya it's snowing out!!!!! Supposed to get "3-"5 tonight! Hope that weather man's right. :gunsfiring: payup
  8. Mark Witcher

    Mark Witcher Senior Member
    Messages: 604

    I have never seen a gas station that I couldnt plow in 30 minutes. But that is using a V plow or 8 ft straight blade with Pro Wings. Do you have Pro Wings on your plow? If you dont I would suggest you spend $175 and put some on tomorrow. Will turn your 6.5 into a 8.5 and you will cut your time in half ,EASILY. :nod: A straight blade without wings is not the way to do parking lots.
  9. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I have 7 gas stations and I get $75 a pop for some and $100 for others. The biggest one takes me 45 min. I don't salt them but if I did, that would be extra of course.
  10. drplow

    drplow Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    for that money, nowonder they want you to do all of them.
  11. osbo68

    osbo68 Member
    Messages: 49

    Sorry forgot about the Pro-Wings. Couldn't live without them. Hell I don't ever take them off. Gotta get some if they'll fit! :gunsfiring:
  12. zipp669

    zipp669 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I agree, Add pro wings or get a bigger truck & plow and then you may come out more money ahead.
    Definatly could do it quicker with 20".
  13. SGLC

    SGLC Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Even the largest gas stations we have up here shouldn't take more then a half hour to 45 min. I just think the set up is too small and the money is not enough.

    What is it about Gas Stations ppl don't like. All the ones up here are pretty much kept new or renovated with smooth lots and plenty of places to pile.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2005
  14. caz41

    caz41 Member
    Messages: 86

    How are you applying the salt? If you are doing that by hand that will eat up a lot of time. I think if you attempt to do all of these lots you are setting yourself up for some problems. The worst thing that can happen is picking up more accounts than you are able to plow. If you end up falling behind then someone is gonna get pissed and it will get back to the owner. Especially being that they are 24/7 stations. If you can't afford to get another rig on the road I would have to say you should either turn down the job or see if you can pick up some of the stations instead of all of them. If the owner is willing to give you say 5 or 10 of them, you should be able to handle that alone.
  15. zippoz

    zippoz Member
    Messages: 64

    what are these wings, are the ruber things on the end of straight plows that keep the snow cuped within the blade?
    as for the saqlt im only salting around the pumps and entrance to the minni marts (100 lbs dosent go that far!) spreading with a little fertiliser spreader by hand, and its included in the price
    then thing is that the few times i have plowed them once was on thanksgiving day, and the other was during rush ohur withlots of cars coming and going and i was trying to do a real good job. which took alot of time, i suposeonce i get better with all of this, and doing it at night it wont take me so long.

    oh and another thing, always with the phone calls, when will you be here, go to my station first, blah blah blah..... this one dude wanted me to go 15 miles ahead in my route for him, i told him it dosent work that way! i start south west of the city and move north east
    from orland park to blue island basically

    as for my jeep, its not a wrangler its a laredo, alot bigger and weighs more just so you all konw.

    i think the biggest issue would be getting a good reliable driver if i was to go and get another plow..

    oh and also you have to remember that im being paid only in cash at the time of service for these lots which makes that 50-60$ go a little farther and saves me the hassle of billing and to a lesser extent taxes.
  16. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 799

    I would go with a set of wings (not invest in any other equipment or drivers, wings are your cheapest way to go) and install a receiver/hitch mounted salt spreader. If you buy the salter used you won't spend a fortune on either the spreader or wings! Do they supply the salt or do you carry enough to do all of the stations? You need to get each station down to 30 minutes or less to make it profitable, and keep them all, don't give anything away. If the individual stations want you to do them first, charge them an additional amount for your extra time because it is a premium service. :drinkup:

    Oh, try some proper capitalization, punctuation and use spell check, it would make your posts easier to read. ;)
  17. Frozen001

    Frozen001 Senior Member
    from Rome NY
    Messages: 908

    1 hour and 20 minutes seems a bit long. Of all the gas stations in my area if I were to do them I do not think it would take me more than 45 minutes. Your price does seem a bit low for the amount of work you are doing ($45 per hour, and include the cost of salt and it is even less). If I were to take on more lots I would definitely get a bigger truck with a vee plow (or a blizzard for guys who like to go wide). I also think you are doing a bit much for you current set up if it is taking you 9 hours to complete your route (you did not say how much snow was on the ground, and if that is with like 3"-4" then it will take you longer with more snow).

    Oh ya and as far as taking cash to try and save on taxes??? :nono:
  18. DJC

    DJC Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    Gas stations are a PITA!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have 3 of them that i do. We use a 810 blizzard and it still takes my about 1hr per place.
  19. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Wow, I have to agree with NJPlowman- get a tailgate spreader and don;t hire anyone else- your charging too little for the services provided- salting should never be included in the plow price- figure your getting $10 to salt so ytour only getting $40ish for almost an hour and a half work (which is taking you too long to do) your working for dirt man.

    I charge commercial accounts my the hour in 15 min incriments with a minimum of 60 min at $60-$65/hour plowing only. The ideal station truck is a short bed half ton rickup- it can push 8 feet and carry a fair amount of salt/sand but is not too big. Raise your rates if your gonna take on their other lots AND only expand that single jeep or you'll be behind by the end of the season.

    Remember stations like to be kept clear all the time (they are usually a PITA as already stated) because they want to be babysat in a storm so you'll have difficulty carrying all those stations if it takes you that long at each one. At 1/2 inch an hour and starting at 1 inch (normal for stations up here) you have 8 inches accumulated at station #7 and you haven't even been there yet!

    FYI in the same time it takes you to do these stations I do about 28-30 residentials in the Dodge and earn over 2x as much.
  20. thundercat99

    thundercat99 Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    same contract

    sounds very similar to a gas station that i got a call from 2 weeks ago
    several stations if i went with there price matter a fact the viechle that you own is the truck i saw pushing one of those station, little jeep right by the way my trucks are parked 50ft away from it . ,

    zippoz call me we can help each other out 708 516 1640

    matter afact ill take you out to lunch