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help with commercial plowing prices

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by SnowChick2010, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    This is my 2nd year plowing, last year was mostly residential and small commercial businesses. I handled marketing for a family member that owned a pretty big lawn/snow co which closed about 5 years ago. That family member is no longer around to ask for help. I know all of you are in different parts of the country but please just give your best opinion. My biggest problem is on larger commercial accounts--i cannot eyeball a large complex and determine how long it will take to plow it. So i go to Google Earth and measure the sq footage, just takes me a few minutes. Then i compute the sidewalk sq footage too. Here is my example and what prices i came up with.

    Assume this:
    • 2 inch storm only (i know to bill more for bigger storms)
    • my goal is $125/hour (one driver with a shoveler riding shotgun)
    • I billed in past .25/lb rock salt and usually .28/lb ice melt (sidewalks) too much? i got that usually with no problem--a few we charged .18/lb instead
    • Lot square footage 110,290
    • Sidewalk square footage 2,142 (not plowing it, using snow blower or shovels)
    • Level of difficulty on scale of 1-5, with 5 being the hardest, i would give this a 2 (not on busy road, lots of places to push snow off lot, it's a church so most of time nobody will be there when plowing--so not cars in the way much)
    • I always tell customers that i salt that i predict you will need X amount of salt, but we will bill you for what we use; so typically your cost will be X but if there is an ice storm we may use double, or if you only need 100 lbs we only charge you for that
    • I am located in the midwest.
    My price:
    • $162 for plowing lot
    • $21 for sidewalks
    • 11 bags of 50lb salt needed at .25/lb ($137.50)
    • 1 bag of ice melt 50lb needed at .28 ($14)
    What do you think?
     
  2. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,022

    Well, your lot is almost exactly 2.5 acres. For billing purposes I used to estimate 1 hour per acre (yes, it can be done a lot faster depending on degree of difficulty, operator, and what equipment is being used), but it's a good starting point. If your goal is 125.00 per hour, that would put (my price) for plowing the lot alone at 312.50. Obviously you can adjust accordingly if you wish.

    For salt, I normally apply 800-1,000 lbs. per acre. So, for the lot alone, I would apply between 2,000 and 2,500 lbs. of salt. So, your number for lbs. of salt for the lot looks pretty light to me. The pricing of the salt I can't help you with. I wish you luck. It's nice to have a woman on here for once!
     
    SnowChick2010 likes this.
  3. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Ok that is very helpful. What have you tried to get per hour for one driver w a shoveler? (Sometimes drivers go out alone tho).

    And so if I said your price for plowing 2-4 inches, how do you determine the increase for 4.1-6 etc?
     
  4. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,022

    I haven't bid my own contracts in seven or eight years, so I may be rusty. First off, what's your trigger? 1" or 2", or something else? If it's a 2" trigger, are you going to plow it every 2" you get, or wait until it's done and then go plow only one time? Also, where exactly do you live as rates can vary greatly? When I bid my contracts I tried to average 150.00 per hour per truck. It doesn't always work out that way, but it was my goal. And I didn't offer shoveling, so I can't give you a lot of advice on the issue.
     
  5. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,221

    There are times when being hung up per hr rates hose you up, at the end of the day charge what the market will bare.
    Yes in this bizz we do sell time and time is money however being efficient and properly equipped is way to succeed in it.
    Generally / conservatively speaking a pickup with 8-8.5 straight blade with wings can clear 1acre with up to 5" in 30min with a decent operator.
    Don't have your shoveler ride along in the plow truck, it'll cost you money to have him fog up the windows and they'd be a distraction to the driver. I handle my shovelers as subs, they drive their own rig, get paid by the job not hourly and I supply ice melt and shovels.
    I use a 40% increase for every 2" increment.
     
  6. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    i try for one inch trigger, but some complexes want 2 inch trigger. Most are 1 inch. and when i would actually go depends on the storm. if 2 inches during time they are open and still snowing probably wait til it's done. if bigger storm like 6 inches i would go part way thru the day and again before they open the next day. when had co before we had 24 hour facilities and if snowed consistently (accumulating) we left truck there and billed them for several plow events.
     
  7. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    ok good to know thanks. and how much salt do you use? i looked it up from our old co we had we used rock salt on a 152,000 sq ft lot and used 1/2 ton and it was never icy, residual build up. sometimes more if was an ice storm etc.
     
  8. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,221

    I'm in Colorado and salt/ice-melt is used very sparingly due to the sun cooking oof any snow/ice. I'll spread average around 350# <> per acre.
     
    SnowChick2010 likes this.
  9. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Bill separately for the truck and shoveler. And like Buff said it's better to not have the shoveler in the truck. You can have the shoveler going around in front of your plow trucks if you time it right. That way they push all the snow off the walks into the lot BEFORE the plow gets there and then move on to the next one. Obviously this is what you shoot for but sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

    I would charge $210 for the lot, $45 for walk, and $15 for ice melt on the walks per push for 2" on this lot. Can't help with the salt for the lot as we only cinder lots here, not salt. And my prices probably aren't what you would get there as I'm in a completely different part of the country.
     
  10. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    pusher82 likes this.
  11. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    thank you
     
  12. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    ok thanks that helps! i figured out the salt, when i said earlier how much i was going but what i found on the internet which was 50 lb bag for 10,000 sq ft and based on what our old co used it was more like 50 lbs for 8200 sq ft. appreciate your help!
     
  13. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    ok i see, we have to use more here. thanks tho.
     
  14. SnowChick2010

    SnowChick2010 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Going to the expo in Kentucky should be fun and informative :)
     
    redclifford likes this.