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How and with what would you guys plow this?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Nepats, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Nepats

    Nepats Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 7

    I got a call from a place around me that wants me to put a bid in for a fairly large apartment complex, about 600 people.

    Right now I mostly do small commercial work and residential. I have three trucks at the moment, but I have a feeling this place is best served with a skid of some sort with one guy in it at the site the whole storm, which I do not have at the moment but I rent them all the time in the summer and have been looking for something else to justify purchasing one. Right now I have three super duties with an xls, 9.5 xtremev, and a 9 ft straight on the dump.

    As far as walkways, I was thinking 4 guys with shovels and a few blowers.

    I am no stranger to apartment complexes, I have a couple already but they all have driveways and they park in those and the driveways get cleared at the end of the storm and I do the roadways throughout the storm every 1.5 inches.

    They want plowed every two inches and the walkways done at the end of the storm, calcium chloride on the walks and salt on the roadways. The problem with this place is that I have to plow the roads, without burying the cars, they all just park on the sides of the roads and some of the roads that loop out have absolutely no where to put the snow, so it all has to be carried to designated spots throughout the place. I will attach a picture. I have some numbers in my head but they sound a little crazy to me. Let me know what you guys think..

    I know most people dont like posting their pricing, but I am really trying to expand and grow my business. Id like to know what you guys would choose for this place, and how much a seasonal price would be.. I am in NH, close to the seacoast.

    Thanks so much for the help!

  2. concreteguy

    concreteguy Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    Can't really see clearly, but the drive areas, I'm assuming are connected to the parking spaces ? If that is the case you'll need 2 skidsteers for approx 3 hrs. That's 2"-5" of snow and also several spots to pile snow along the way. A few trucks to tuck parking spots they can get to and to help move some snow, but the fact that it needs to be moved to those piles, makes the truck less effective. Sounds like to me the walk crew and equipment should be fine but like I said, can't see the walks in your pic. As far as the pricing goes, that's for you to determine. If it were me bidding I would say $1500-$1600 per push and salting extra. To be accurate, I would have to see the sight to bid. If you can't make money on it why do it
  3. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,838

    I say you need more then a skid, I'd say a full size loader with pusher would be better suited, along with a skid for roads, with a truck or 2 and 4 shovelers for walks and drives.
  4. Nepats

    Nepats Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 7

    I thought of the loader idea but a loader is too big and wouldnt be very effective. The roads are just wide open and then people park right on the road, some of the roads are around 50 feet wide with horizontal parking on either side and then some are normal sized roads with parralel parking on either side. It is right near a college campus so they are all students and will be coming and going all day.

    If you go on google maps and type in cottages of durham in nh it should come up and you may get a better idea.

    I have been there many times since it was built two years ago and i can say that it was terribly designed for northern climates.

    I was thinking of giving them a price for the year and just continually plow it, I figured around 3.5 hours with one skid and a 10 pusher box and by the time he got done, it would be ready for him to start again on the other side.. I was thinking about 50k a season and then salt extra, about two yards of salt per app, but I have never bid something quite like this so I am really liking the comments and hope they keep coming! Thanks guys

    TKLAWN PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,563

    RUN! As fast as you can that place looks like a complete nightmare.
  6. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,106

    That looks like a lucrative account but not at 50g/season and 2 yard salt per app.
    You can bet 600 people pay a maint fee .Ie: lets say I pay $100mth. That's $60g a mth in that complex. I don't know your market for snow but that's a cheap example of how much is on the table.
  7. DaveCN5

    DaveCN5 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    I would do a skid steer with a HLA Snow Wing for the driveways, a quad with plow for the walks, and use the trucks for the roads. College stuff sucks. We turn them down because they are too much of a pain.
  8. Timmytech33

    Timmytech33 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Looks like a fun place! Its hard to bid a site not seeing it in person. I will say from experience, the cheapest bid does not always win. Most times I find a moderately high bid will win out over a cheap bid when dealing with a customer looking for quality. Obviously this is within reason.
  9. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 591

    I know that place, last year it was plowed horribly..
  10. Nepats

    Nepats Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 7

    Thats kind of how I felt at first, but I would really like to expand and grow my business. I still might run at this point. I think I am going to submit a type of price like I dont care if i get the account, but if i do it will be worth it.

    I had a friend that lived there last year, they didnt pay a maint fee, but the rent was ridiculous. I would say our market is better than most, but certainly still have lowballers, which I am afraid this place is looking for. The company that built the place has properties at three other colleges, but none of them have snow removal; they are all down south. So therefor they consider snow removal a hinderance. How much do you think I need to adjust my price? I plan on bidding this place to make it worth my while if I get it, I am not bidding it because I absolutely need to work, just want to add to my company.

    the idea of a quad dawned on me a little while before i read this post, it would save a crapload of time. I am also afraid of the college crowd and being a pain.. You seem to have a great setup going, how would your plan of attack for this place compare to what i said? I know you said a skid for the driveways but there are no driveways, just cars parked on the side of the road and I cant burry them, it has to be scooped away from them. Do you also think the 50k per year sounds low? We get on average id say 70" of snow per year.

    I also cant help to think that if i get the plowing, it will get my foot in the door for all the landscaping also..
  11. DaveCN5

    DaveCN5 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    Thanks for the comment. After I Google Mapped this place I understand what you're talking about. We have learned over the years, especially for places like this, that if you bid the sidewalks and salting correctly, it will make it worth it doing. I would HIGHLY suggest you to consider investing in a quad with a plow and at least a single stage blower for your side walk guys.

    As far as plowing, I would go and meet with the property manager personally and walk around the complex prior to submitting a bid. Figure out where the snow is allowed and not allowed to be piled (in some corner parking spots, in certain areas of lawns, etc) and use this information to figure out how much work and machine it would take to complete a push. If you do this and find out that there would be very few places to pile snow and it would just be a time waster to plow for what you and your equipment can handle, I would walk.

    On the flip side if they allow you to put snow in some select parking spaces and areas that aren't really far between, I would consider it. I still like the idea of a skid steer (at least a 2 speed) and a HLA Snow Wing or a Kage unit. Windrow the snow away from the cars on both sides of the street into the center of the street and then use the box plow to push the snow into designated snow pile areas.

    I can't give you an idea on pricing. We have a bidder that does that. He's good with numbers and I'm not. That's why I'm on the operations side, haha.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  12. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    This is not the type of account you want to "grow" your business with IMO. This place should be done by a business that is already grown( and I'm sure they don't want to pay what that kind of company wants to charge ). You're in over your head on this. Do you realize how packed down the streets and walks will be by the time you show up? It will be bad. Not to mention some of those cars will never move, which will severely alter your time and efficiency.

    PLOWTRUCK Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    So I took a look at this on google maps to get a better look. You are going to need way more than a skid and a couple of guys shoveling. I do many apartment complexes in upsate NY and for a place like this I would put a small loader/backhoe with a 10 foot push blade and at least 2 trucks with v plows. For the side walks I would say at least 3-4 guys with blowers. It is hard to see the sidewalks but I am sure they are all over the place. I do one complex that is less than a 1/4 of the size for 14k per year including salt. The other factor are the cars. They are always going to be in the way, so figure in the PITA factor. $1500 per push is to low. I wouldnt touch this for at least $2200 per push plus salt . This easily should be over 65k per year but could be a giant headache if you dont have the right equipment or enough equipment. Also ask about calcium for the walks that will be a huge expense for this many walkways.
  14. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    That place isn't big enough to have 600 individual renters. $60k a year figure for snow services is ballpark IMO.

    I agree. I would seek to put a 3 yard sized articulated front end loader in there with a 12' power angle plow running off a third valve. Along with the 9'6" V plow. And the sidewalks, a couple 30" snowblowers on tracks..good ones, like the Ariens hydro-pro. Expensive, but worth every dime.
    I'd shoot for 45-50K for plowing alone, salt / cal clor and shovels / snowblowing another 15-18K as a guess, as those parts of the biz I don't deal with much..
    Try to get a 2 year contract, paid in 4 payments, then use the up front payment to go secure a loan on the loader and plow..with the up front and the contract in hand, a bank should play ball.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  15. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 591

    I think a loader would be a little too big for that place, it gets real cramped in there
  16. Nepats

    Nepats Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 7

    i agree with the two year deal, i already told them that is what i would be submitting the bid for if i did submit a bid. and they do have 600 individual renters, some of the houses are 5 bedrooms and they all pay individually per room.

    When you say four payments, is that per year or just two per year and 4 total?

    since you are in nh also, what do you usually use for an average yearly snowfall total?

    I agree with jguck, I think a loader with a 12 footer on it would be way to big for the tight areas of this place..
  17. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I mean 2x a year payment, though I suppose every client has their own preference on how they wish to pay...I just always assumed the standard was 1/2 up fron- say, December first, 1/2 on completion of the season- say, April 15th.
    My bad on the 600 renters, the place looked to small. But, by the room, I can see BIG cash there. Don't be scared to bid it to MAKE MONEY. Otherwise, why bother wasting your time.
    I live 45 minutes north, so we tend to get 2x the snow you get down there.
    We average 8 feet a year, but the last two years have been like3 and 5 each...I hope this year we get 12 again like 7 years ago or whatever.

    A loader is a nessisary evil in there if you have to carry and then pile snow.
    Figure it like this; A loader is only 8 to maybe 8 1/2 feet wide at the tires...now add a 10' pusher or power angle blade with forward extending wings that form a scoop, even better..There should be enough room for it, if the operator is paying attention.
  18. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Nepats, what equipment and experience do you have?
  19. Nepats

    Nepats Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 7

    I have about 7 years in the snow removal industry. I have three trucks right now all fords with a fisher xls, 9.5 xtreme v and a 9 ft straight on my dump truck.

    I know I do not have experience in places like this, but if you can only bid these if you have experience doing them, how did the people with experience bid their first one this size?

    Although I hear what you are saying, I appreciate all the help from everyone and I am leaning towards walking.

    I did come up with a full price of 74k per year and I think that may be too high but i dont want to bid too low and be screwed all winter. I tend to bid on the higher end of things, it is easier to not get every single job then to get all of them and not make a penny.
  20. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668