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Have Truck need plow Newbie

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by buckeyepw, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. buckeyepw

    buckeyepw Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hey all, my name is Pat Im 43 and I have a 93 Silverado 2500 extended cab with 6 ft. bed.
    I have a power washing business and have wanted to do this for 3 years now.
    I had a yellow page ad come out in Sept. and got my first call Friday afternoon. Its a storage unit with four locations. They want plowed if get 3 inches and walks done if 6 inches, I would have helper if doing walks. Problem is I need to look at all places on Monday and get them a bid on Tuesday.

    I have never plowed before but I believe that I can do all locations by myself. I have done lots of reading on here and other sites. This is by far the most informative site.

    So here are my questions and I welcome any and ALL answers, comments and suggestions.

    #1. Plow selection, I have been looking at some used ones but none will fit my truck. I can get the Snow Dogg MD75 for $3100 plus tax installed. I would rather get used for money reasons.

    #2. Salting I am pretty clueless, have read and heard all sorts of different prices. The storage unit did not ask about salting but I should have a price in proposal anyway. Also what type of spreader to start with and whats best product and applicator for walks?

    #3. Does anyone price per job? As far as I can tell hourly is only way to go.

    #4. Best proposal form to use in my rush situation?

    These are my most important questions, I know I want to start small and get experience, I thank you for your time and responses.

    Plow on, Pat
  2. dodge15004x45.9

    dodge15004x45.9 Senior Member
    from malvern
    Messages: 361

    1. I got a new plow because its hard to find the right stuff to fit a 1/2 ton truck... my friend got a used meyers plow it stopped working on him during a storm last season... he had to use curbs to angle the blade.

    2. A walk behind is cheap and a good start as long as you aint doing alot of salting. but since its 4 locations you might want to look at a tail gate mount. for pricing salt, per bag x 1.5... so say it costs you 20 x by 1.5= 30 you walk with 10 bucks per bag spread.

    3. res is per job comerical job are by the hour. Hard part is know how long its going to take you. (see below)

    4. your rate per hour x that by how long its going to take you to do each location than add profit.

    Im sure some of the older guys will come in tomorrow with more/better info than I can give you but its some sort of start.

    This is a bid I just put out...

    Common road
    135 1-3"
    225 3-6"
    325 6-8"
    8+ (road plowed sever times during the storm see above rates)

    60 1-3"
    100 3-6"
    150 6-8"

    Rates will very on location and lot conditions.

    Oh yea try to to cut my bid up I'm working to make a living not to cut throats thank you.
  3. buckeyepw

    buckeyepw Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks Dodge, all input helps, Pat
  4. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    Similar to what dodge said! Oh and I would recommend the MD75! very solid plow... Although you have a 2500. It all depend on what you are going to mainly do. MD75 for resi/small lots and get a trip edge 8.5' plow (i think SD has one priced okay). My snowdogg's have never had any hydraulic issues and most of them use the same Paw'r pack (hydr. unit). For the money, it won't quit, and you can't beat it!

    As far as bidding the best advise you will get is find out your overhead and find out how much that is per hour. Then add up all costs and make a rate that you charge your truck out at for every account. Use that rate and estimate how long it will take you. Let's just say it takes you 4 hours to do it. Your rate X 4 (hrs) )= Bid

    Now there are thousands of ways to get to that number but each is a dif. way of looking at the same thing. I'd say charge four gallons per hour (my trucks averages) and then add your insurance cost and all expenses such as gas, salt, ect.

    Just remember that doing storage facilities are sometimes a PITA and can be deceiving. You won't get every bid right, or even win them the first time around. It is always a learning process that takes time. I can tell you my hourly charge for units is between 80 and 140 dollars an hour per unit. If I knew more about your expenses or the lot I could help you figure a bid a lil better but thats all I can tell you... until you get more info.

    Start with....
    -equipment payments
    -insurance costs
    -fuel economy/gallons per hour approx.
    -rate of depreciation
    -Rate of return on investment you are seeking
    -Your wage
    -Helpers wage
    -YOUR price per bag...(I will help give you an INSTALLED price to charge)

    -Lot size
    -Linear length of standard sized walks (if oversized please indicate)
    -Number of objects (curb cuts, drains, fire hydrants, buildings)
    -Number of parking spots or storage units
    -all special instructions also
  5. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    Dodge and Dayton both gave good advice...The only thing i would add is you might want to look into a V-Plow or even an Power Plow...I know by you post money is tight...But if you do get an account like a storage facility you wont be sorry with atleast a "V"...Storage facilitys to me mean alot of Snow carrying and a "V" or a Power Plow excell at this....Good Luck this winter...I hope all goes Well..:drinkup::drinkup:
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    dealer service and support is more important then brand
    get a V blade for storage units
  7. buckeyepw

    buckeyepw Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks guys, I will get my info tommorrow and repost with info. I am going to start small this season till I get feet wet really hope I get this and I will be happy for now.

    Where does one get salt? Home Depot for such a small account? Thanks, Pat
  8. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    NO! lol

    Never go buy stuff based on the account. Buy from the same place other contractors are buying it...you'll make a better margin. Look up Cargill salt or Morton Salt... IDK where you are but you could look for ppl in your area on here and ask them. The best that HD or Lowes is going to do is like $4/bag....NOT GOOD!!! I know that is half of their during the storm retail price but I get my bags picked up for the high $2 range or low $3 range delivered.... and you can beat that too.
  9. dodge15004x45.9

    dodge15004x45.9 Senior Member
    from malvern
    Messages: 361

    "Never go buy stuff based on the account."

    Than how the hell do you buy stuff? If you need it for accounts than you have to buy it/rent it. HD or Lowes would be ok in a pinch but our local contracts place sell salt in the winter by the tractor trailer load. If you buy more than 7 skids they deliver for free with in 15 miles.
  10. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    Let me phrase that correctly "Never go buy stuff based solely on one account"

    Odds are, that one account could drop mid season or something else will happen. You have to look at everything from a business standpoint if you are doing this as a business. You need to ask "can I get other accounts for this tool/equipment" and "what is my return on investment?"

    Those things are very important. Lets say I went and bought a truck because I got a shopping center. Big money account right? its worth say 50K a season... You have a contract and they drop the second storm and the guy says " I didn't know I had an in-law that did this, sorry" and pays his family. It happens all the time and there is no real fix to it except for a drop coverage fee. And then upholding that in court is another battle.

    It is the same principle as above. If you have the need for the equipment, them go expense it! If not then just keep chuggin' along until you do have the "need" for it. All I can say is TAKE A DEPOSIT for the salt. Tell them to lock in the pricing that they must deposit X amount. or else salt prices are subject to change during events. That's what I do. NEVER lock yourself into a commodity that you don't have a client locked in for. You will lose your @$$ if you do that. (also if you lay it and send a bill how would you take that salt back-grain by grain- until he has paid?)

    I tell my clients that I need X percentage of estimated total usage. I usually do 50% of what we project to lay on their property. They are only given the pricing gar. for the amount they put down. So it is either A.) put a full amount down (and we gar. it); although it works like giving me a 0% interest loan! or B.) Pay the amount at the nearest hardware, HD, or lowes..... My clients put money down for our average 10 applications with no problem. Commodities exchange is a tricky business to be aware of! I bought a truck load once for someone who signed and I tried to force them to pay it after no deposit was taken. That didn't work very well.