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Help. high school bid.

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by haybaler, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    ok, I've been plowing for 4 years now and have about 75 accounts. mostly residentail and a couple small commercial. For next year I don't want to take any more residential, I want one or two big commercial. I have an oppertunity to bid on the local high school. I've never bid on anything this large and don't want to lose my shirt. there's one main parking lot, maybe 1/2acre, then two small lots and the sidewalks are paved and can be plowed. the school currently does it themselves with one 1ton, john deere 4700 (little bucket no plow, back blade for walks) they have a big loader but couldn't't get it to run at all this year. I have two 3/4 ton diesels and kubota 4200 with 8' plow. if I get account I would buy a 1ton and put a rear blade and chains on tractor. They want an estimate for every 6" of snow, and a separate bid for sanding as needed. they said it take 2 guys (truck/tractor) 3-4 hours for a small 4" storm. The only time a loader would be needed is if we had a really big snow year, witch I don't see happening. the winters have been warmer around here and more snow melts between storms anyway. So, how much per plow 600, 900??
  2. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    I was going to tell you to request what they are currently paying (they would have to tell you, if they were using a contractor). I looked at the local school district a few years ago, it was hourly & the rates they were paying I wouldn't have worked for ($ 45/hr truck, $ 55/hr backhoe with a 12' pusher) so I didn't even bother quoting. What I have found (I have had my time wasted many times). And that is what they are doing, you can't compete with what thier guys are willing to do it for & they really don't know or care what the true cost is (when you add in state benifits, retirement, vacation days, etc). They only get the quote because they have to.
  3. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    well there loader and truck are broken beyond repair so there looking at a new $48000 truck. maybe $2000/month won't look bad compared to that and they won't have the headaches anymore. Were def getting them on a per plow settup not per hr.
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    First, check with your insurance agent. You will likely need municipal insurance for a school. Then request a bid sheet, going without well defined expectations is leaving you open to too much liability. You need to know arrival times for staff, cooks, teachers and students. Each will need a different part of the parking lot and walks open. To prepare your bid, do a dry run keeping in mind spaces between times. Characteristics for each school is different. Make sure about where the snow is going. Address potential trouble spots, such as where buses line up in relation to the kids' path. Also, be aware that some students may drive, be picked up by parents, or walk to/from school. Are you offering a deicer for walkways and who is deciding if/when/where/how much gets used? Depending on size of the school, you may shovel or use a motorized vehicle for sidewalk clearing. Regardless, you want to make sure sidewalks are completely free of snow/ice.

    Basically, whatever you use for time to clear an area - double it. Then double the amount you'd charge for that. Being the first contractor they've used in some time, they are likely to have high expectations - and the parents even more so. The kids won't care.

    Hospitals, shopping malls and schools are among the most liabilty you can get.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2007
  5. Silentroo

    Silentroo Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Also look at the trigger level. Most of the schools here are on a 3-4 inch trigger. The salt on a seperate contract should be an issue as well. Be aware that "As needed" needs to be well defined. If the trigger is too high you will watch the rest of us plow! I will not look at anything over a 2 inch trigger and am considering lowering that to 1". Most of my longer termed customers have switched to a 1 and will call us off every now and again. However in most cases they will not.

    Schools generally are tough on insurance! Also be clear on clear times. Do they require an open up before busses or just at the start of the day... Do they require lunch opens for students.

    Lastly High Schools Are DANGEROUS places! BE VERY AWARE if you get it that "SUZZIIEE" has her daddies car and zero experence on ice. It however will be your fault she hits you or the Flag pole because she is doing 50 miles an hour.

    Just my $.02
  6. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38


    Ok I gave an estimate of 650 per 6" plowed. if it goes to bid I will give an actual bid. please give me some Ideas and keep in mind that when it snows the lots are empty.

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2007
  7. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828

    Are you doing the big and small lot? the road? $650 for 6"????
    How many trucks do you have. That seems low to me.
  8. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828

    I just went back and read your first post. That still seems low. What do you get an hour in your area?
  9. BOSS550

    BOSS550 Senior Member
    Messages: 212

    I'm not sure about other states but in PA here usually for something like a school or municipality they require your business to be bonded. May be something to look into before you put a lot of time and effort into putting a price together only to find out you don't want to be bothered with the B.S. bonding process.
  10. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    the road with the yellow line is obviously the highway, but yes the two lots and the little road to them. I'm figuring $80 per hr. I average $100 per hour on residentials but you gotta figure a little less for commercial and it's easier for me to have my helper do one big place instead of 20 little ones.
  11. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    to answer the truck ? I have two plow trucks but will only use one (unless bigger storm) and my tractor to do the six foot wide walkways and to push snowbanks back.
  12. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828

    I didnt mean the road with the yellow lines. I meant the road that connects to the road with the yellow lines. I guess every area must be different. We get more than $80 an hr in NY.
  13. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    Thank you that's all I'm asking for is feed back. I know some people only get $80 per hour for big loaders with 12' snow pushers.
  14. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828

    And your price is for 6"?? What about salt?
  15. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    yes the those roads. to give you an idea of scale that road to the right your talking about from the main rd to the end is only 200 yards.
  16. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    yes every six inches over an inch. so if theres 7" i make out better than 10"

    Salt/sand mix I told them $180 per yard spread because I didn't know all the details of what they wanted for sanding. I basicly double the price I'm paying for it.
  17. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828

    Your price sounds good. That sounds like a good price for the mix. Do they want salt for the side walks? This year the salt/sand was a big issue. Due to the snow than rain, then dropping below freezing. I ran in to problems with the ice. I would check with them about that for the parking lots. I had the same questions toward the beginning of the season and the guys on plowsite told me to sell the salt instead of the mix. The problem is payup . No body wanted to pay for it.
  18. haybaler

    haybaler Member
    Messages: 38

    that's why I didn't give them a per time price for sanding. there's no way they would pay for pure salt on the whole lot. I do think they should have there maintenance guy just spread salt on the walks with a fertilizer spreader. That way it's cheaper for them and I won't be liable for people slipping on the walks.
  19. columbiaplower

    columbiaplower Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    your low, I wouldnt touch it for less than 120 an hour per piece of equipment.

    4 hours x 120= 480 x 2 pieces = $960 per 6 inches

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    Haybaler I don't know where in Mass you are but around here $150 per truck hour is at least the minimum rate for a project that size and type. If you charge less then that it will leave very little to pay expenses with, such as insurance and particularly the driver. If you had to hire a drive just to plow snow it would take a minimum of 25 per hour to get anyone that is remotely competent so that right their goes along way to cutting your profit margins down. Then consider insurance, depreciation, repairs, and fuel costs that will eat up a lot more of the remaining money. Ask your agent to contact the insurance company so you’ll know ahead of time if this will cause a rate increase or even if its covered under your existing agreement. (Every year we are asked if we plow churches schools or condos.)

    Also from experience, I have noticed that people might appear to be vague or easy going about expectations when you first meet them, but when the big winters come (and yes they do still happen) they will not hesitate to walk up one side of you down the other should they feel you are not meeting their expectations. So keep that in mind when your talking to them now since its not snowing and they have nothing to complain about.

    The plow times they mentioned to you regarding how long it takes, I would take with a large grain of rock salt. They don’t really have to be accurate with you since it’s not their money. So, my advice is to price in the aggravation factor that a school is sure to come with and be certain of your costs, particularly insurance. Good luck.