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Help needed on plowing and salting bidding

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by McG_Landscaping, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. McG_Landscaping

    McG_Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Hey guys I've been in the business for a while but have always mainly done residential plowing. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to bid on a few commercials in my area. I have never salted and am having trouble estimating how much salt to use on properties. Also do people normally charge per push or per hour? I want to be competitive but I don't want to lowball just to g et contracts. Is there a formula I can use or is there an average? My area gets snow but usuallly only up to an inch in many events. The money is in salting here. Any input would be appreciated
     
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If your in the Erie Pa area it's nothing but lowball pricing there.
     
  3. McG_Landscaping

    McG_Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    I am just north of pittsburgh. I know a lot of lowballing goes on but I am hoping to still find something decent. I am not afraid to look for a while
     
  4. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    YOUR pricing will be dependant on YOUR costs..... figure 20 lbs per 1000 sf....... welcome to plowsite.... the search button is your biggest friend here. Many of these questions have been asked 100 times.....
     
  5. McG_Landscaping

    McG_Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Thanks buddy but I am not new here. I just havnt posted a lot and I have searched the question. That's exactly what I was looking for. The 20 per 1000sf is exactly what I needed to know! Is that for an average snowfall? Or is that on the high or low side. And in terms of my cost I know those and don't really need help but I was trying to figure out an average price in my area. Also do most people just add a certain% markup on salt or just double the price? Thanks
     
  6. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    IDK, Your response seems alittle scarcastic..... Member Feb 2011 10 posts but your not new here? the salt figures are out there and if you truely searched you would have found them. Apply too agmg or usm will be my next suggestion...you'll make a killing...
    Good luck to you sir! :salute:
     
  7. McG_Landscaping

    McG_Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    I am sorry you took it that way. Not trying to be sarcastic just trying to learn. I only joined this past year but have been reading for a few years. And I have looked through threads but have not come up with a definitive answer but maybe because I don't actually have time to read through every single post on every single thread. But I am genuinely thankful for your response (not trying to be sarchastic) because the 20 per 1000 is actually the answer I was looking for. And I am not dumb, I would rather leave my truck in my driveway than work for usm or agmg
     
  8. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    Most people take there cost of operation (salt cost, vehicle cost insurance etc) and then add the percentage they wish to make in profit on top.

    Mick, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Although the AGMG/USM thing is funny coming from you, lol.

    This is too funny, I well say it is nice to read that someone has at least tried to research their problem before posting. It tends to get tedious when people post to try have all their problems solved without looking for themselves.
     
  9. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    YOU SAID IT!!!!!!! You should hear the prices I've been hearing so far around here. Driveways for 5 bucks! I just hope people will have a better sense about them to go for that plain stupid price. I already talked to a potential low baller (some kid new to plowing) He just bought this truck and was asking of course everything under the sun but he thought averaging 20 bucks an hr was good money.....WTF!:eek: It would be if you had no truck, insurance, fuel, payroll, taxes or overhead payments. And of course driving a late 90's early 2000 truck average shape for the year with an old arss Meyer mount on it.
     
  10. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Cough up the 150ish bucks and join SIMA! Tons of useful info for questions just like yours. They offer estimating, productivity charts, that, by the way are very accurate. If your serious about taking the plunge into commercial work join! I learned the hard way a few times and if I knew then what I know now I would have become a member years ago.
     
  11. 100InchHammer

    100InchHammer Member
    Messages: 34

    All I can say is keep your overhead at a minimum and you will make good money even when the work gets competitive. The $5/drive guys won't last, but unfortunately there is always an idiot to take his place. I try and average $80-$100/hour. All my trucks and equipment are paid for, I wouldn't buy another truck unless I can pay cash for it. If you have a loan on your rig, you're dependent on enough contracts and the $80-$100/hr has now been pissed away. Stay lean and reap the benefits when they're available and earn a good living when its tight.
     
  12. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    You are getting good advice by these guys

    If you are looking for actual estimating material, how to calculate your cost per hour of operation, average material application rates for many different materials, etc, check this out. It may be what you are looking for.

    Snow & Ice Management Bidding Package Includes:#1 Snow & Ice Management Manual � this is a comprehensive manual covering all aspects of snow & ice management for both residential and commercial accounts. Also includes application rates for many different deicing materials.

    #2 Snow & Ice Management CD full of templates for contracts, route sheets, hours of operation sheets, Who�s first, proposal formats, don�t take the risk template for clients, sample invoices, sample marketing forms and much more. All these templates are in Microsoft Word format and are completely customizable to your business.

    #3 Snow & Ice Management Quick Estimator CD � calculates per push, per event, hourly or season contracts. Also calculates material application rates for both granular and liquid applications for any deicing material that you may be using. This CD also calculates time and material for application of material, and hand labor as well. This CD runs in Microsoft Excel and is not software. You simply fill in the blanks and you have your estimate.

    Go to www.profitsareus.com or call us at 800-845-0499 to order. Feel free to call us with any questions you might have as well. Being a full-service lawn & landscaping business myself since 1979, I know what a contractor is looking for; something simple, accurate and professional. This package is it.
     
  13. McG_Landscaping

    McG_Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Thanks guys!! all of your input is appreciated! I definitely know about how driveway lowballing can be but luckily most of my lawn customers just have me do theirs because they don't feel like finding someone else. I basically know my costs and I do have overhead of basically just salt, my truck payments, and gas. I will have all of that set aside before winter so I will at very minimum have everything paid for. My big problem is salt. Do you guys run bags and if so do you guys buy from a large nationwide company or local? I am going to assume I will need a few skids of salt to just start. Also I am looking at buying a tailgate salt dogg poly spreader. Anyone have any complaints on them? Also I might have to check out that package! Thanks again!
     
  14. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Spreaders

    If you are looking for an excellent tailgate spreader, be sure to check out the SnowEx line. We run several of their tailgate spreaders as well as their larger spreaders and they have been very good to us.

    If you are looking for something small, check out the 575 tailgate spreader.

    Good luck.
     
  15. McG_Landscaping

    McG_Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Thanks wayne! I will have to look into them! I did look at the 575 but I think I am going to want something that'll hold 10 80lb bags or so. I will have to look into their other models though!
     
  16. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    You can use a tailgate spreader, just depends on how much salting you pick up. You don't want to be spreading a pallet a night even though we did for one season combined with running liquid. it was a PITA for sure! We have a Fisher 1000 going up for sale if your interested. Its in great shape and comes with everything. Being your first year possibly salting, this might be the way yo go. We're asking $650.00
     
  17. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Spreaders

    Good luck on what you decide. We use several different SnowEx models and they have served us very well.