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I need your help guys (Magic issues here)

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Par 5 Lawn Care, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. Par 5 Lawn Care

    Par 5 Lawn Care Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Well guys.... I'm hoping you can help me with a problem I'm faced with. The problem is this. This fall, I decided to use strictly "Magic Salt." When I decided to use nothing but Magic, I looked on here for what seemed to be a good price to charge customers per 50# bag applied. After readng a lot of posts, I decided upon charging $30 per bag (plus a $20 service charge). I picked this figure, because even though I found a distributor that would sell me 50# bags for $8 (pallet quantities). I had to drive 6 hours round trip to get the salt. I also knew that the normal price for it is between $11 and $13 per bag. If I have to pay that much per bag, drive so far to get the Magic, store the Magic and load the Magic into my spreader, $30 per bag is not such an unfair price. My question to you guys is this. Until last night, I had never used Magic before. When I applied it, we had gotten about an inch of snow and the temps were very low (around 0 degrees). Since it was so cold, I used what I considered to be a lot of salt (Magic) on my lots. When I checked my lots this morning, to my horror, none of the snow, or ice had melted. What I'm concerned about is how my customers are going to react if I have to use almost as much Magic, as I would normal rock salt. The average price contractors charge per 50# bag of rock salt around here is between $15 and $20 per 50# bag applied. If my customers start getting $300 salt bills and they're used to $150 salt bills, they're going to freak! After seeing what I saw this morning, I'm thinking I should have put down almost twice as much product as I did. If I was using plain rock salt, I could get the stuff for around $3.50 to $4.50 per bag. I could then afford to charge $15 per bag, make a profit, salt the h*ll out of lots when needed (like it was last night) and the customers wouldn't have sticker shock when they get my bill. I'd like to know what guys that converted over to using strickly Magic, as well as guys that use plain rock salt think about this. Any help, or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2004
  2. plowed

    plowed Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    What were the ground and air temps? If it's too cold, salt/Magic does not work. Magic has a lower working temp than regular salt, but still, if it's too cold, it won't work. Salt/Magic also need moisture to work.

    You can sell them on the fact that it's more environmentally friendly to the concrete sidewals, and they won't have to spend money to clean their rugs, tile, hardwood, etc as it doesn't track in the white residue that regular salt will.
  3. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,124

    I used Caliber from Magic for the first time this year. Well it works a little to good. It leaves a residue and the next storm on the lots I use rock salt ,they needed salting. But the two lots that I used the Caliber on they were clear. Maybe I used too much. I normally use rock salt but I was in a rear end collision and my salt spreader is in the garage apart waiting for new parts :yow!:

    Regards Mike
  4. pbeering

    pbeering Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Relax. It was rather cold in the midwest and nothing works all that well at low temps.

    During the next couple of events, which appears may be as early as tomorrow night/Wed, experiment with various settings and amounts on your accounts in a controlled way. Take notes about how much you applied and then monitor the results. Follow up the day after and see which setting worked best. Pictures aren't a bad idea either.

    Last year we did controlled runs with salt, mag chloride, and Magic on parallel streets in a couple of the neighborhoods we do. Not only did we get a flavor of application rates, but we showed the performance differences to the homeowner's association.
  5. Par 5 Lawn Care

    Par 5 Lawn Care Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks for all the info and input guys

    The air temp was between -1 and 1 above Plowed. I don't know what the ground temp was unfortunately. Like Pbeering said. I guess I need to relax and experiment. One adjustment I'm going to make, is to reduce the charge per bag applied, from $30 (current rate I charge), to $20 per bag applied. That way, I'll be covering the cost difference between the Magic I bought and how much less plain rock salt would cost me. If plain rock salt would cost me an average of $4 per bag and I charged $16 per bag, I'd make the same profit by charging $20 per bag, for a bag of Magic that cost me $8. This was, I could do heavier apps when needed, without giving my customers sticker shock.

    Sorry to hear about the crash Kelley. That stinks they messed up your spreader, but at least you weren't hurt.

  6. avalancheplow

    avalancheplow Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    I have found out my uses with it that the bags are more ment for pretreatment. Its meant to go down when the pavement is still wet. If you put it on snow you will use like three times as much :realmad: When you have to put it down on top of snow use regular rock salt and mix 2 bags of magic in with it. PM and I can tell you more about it and How I'm using it. :waving:
  7. lush&green

    lush&green Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Of those who spread magic salt with a walk behind, what spreader works. I heard the agri-fab 125. Any one use it? Help?
  8. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    Try course water softner salt....its clean & blended for water softners and has less debris. I use it where foot traffic may take it inside. I have also used it in temps below 10 degrees and it works really well ( roads are black ). Cost is $3.00 50lb bag. For HOA's ( housing additions ) I use plain rock salt and have had good results.

    Magic salt.. seems to be "overkill" and the cost is way to much for most customers just wanting icy conditions to go away.
  9. salt shaker

    salt shaker Member
    Messages: 65

    Magic results

    We have used Magic Salt extensively here in the Snow Belt and have had nothing but great results with it. Any areas that it was applied have had no hard pack on them, and any ares that did have hard pack (where not used) got some Magic on them, and were able to scrape the slush right off. Temps. were around 3 degrees (air) and about 28 degrees (ground). Par 5 sorry to hear about your experiences but what rate were you putting the Magic Salt done at? Have you noticed any residual effect when you had to clean up your properties? Have you contacted the supplier and asked him these same questions? Kipcom, Have you ever used Magic? Have you ever seen anyone that has? Any salt is corrosive oops NOT MAGIC SALT :waving: Par 5 You are on the right track with your pricing, We kind of thought the same way you did but after using it 10x already there is nothing out there that can even come close to the product! :bluebounc Our first snow was a 21" walloper no product could keep up with it but when it was all said and done we had black pavement and did not have to over apply any product!! This last round with such low temps. we were still able to keep our same application rate and still did not have to over apply the material to get great results. I did what you did but on a smaller scale on my brick walkway last night. By morning with no foot traffic and no shovelling I had no snow where I applied the Magic. Lush & Green, you need to have a spreader that has one large opening so the material can go through. It is just like using rock salt with large and small material, the small particles go out the large ones stay in.. If the openings are to small then they need to be widened. The Agri-Fab 125 would work just fine.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
  10. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    OK this might be a dumb question and I apologize but how do you measure the ground temp? :dizzy:
  11. salt shaker

    salt shaker Member
    Messages: 65

    Infrared Thermometer

    Look at a Ben Meadows catalog you will find an infrared thermometer. Aim it at the ground, push a button, read the screen. cost is about $185. comes in handy when you are doing liquid Magic applications because if you use the liquid at temps. higher than 31 degrees you will bring all the dirt and oils in the surface up to the top and create a real mess on properties.