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Ice melt usage

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Greenman2ooo, Sep 27, 2000.

  1. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    I am looking for advice from someone who uses tailgate spreaders and has the faintest idea as to what their output of ice melt material is under various conditions. I realize this is a wide open question, but I've heard some crazy sounding rates from supposedly knowledgeable people.

    We are talking rates only for parking lots. Under most conditions, would 3-4 lbs of ice melt per 1M be sufficient??? Can the tailgate spreaders be calibrated for outputs in that range???

    The only application rate I found was on one bag of Growmark Ice melt which is Calcium Chloride. They recommend a rate of 4lbs per 1M. Would application rates be fairly similar regardless of what product I decide to use???

    I need to establish a guideline for myself so I know if I have a parking lot that is, let's say, 10M, then I (theoretically) apply 40 lbs and can price that out as .8 X 9.75 (price of 50 lb bag) to know that I will have $7.80 in the cost of my ice melt material for the parking lot, excluding walks.

    Any help in getting me some application rates for various ice melt products and/or tailgate spreader rates would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, I have read everything in the archives relating to this subject.
     
  2. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    I use bagged material but I have no idea what the rates might be that you are asking for. I am in the process of measuring lots that I have to see if I have an average price per 1,000 square feet for plowing. When I get these measurements I can check how many bags I used in those lots last year & get back to you. But those numbers won't really help because each storm or situation required heavier or lighter salt amounts. To make it easier for yourself, figure out your mark-up and charge by the bag.
     
  3. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    BRL-

    Thank you. The numbers you speak of will likely be exactly what I need. I'm looking for an average here. I would apply at a reasonable rate. If that "normal" rate is not quite enough, the lot gets deiced 2x and the customer pays that price, instead, possibly offering the second application at a slight discount if it is done in the same visit.

    The variance needed for most conditions would be small enough for me to absorb unless there were very heavy ice conditions. If a second application is warranted, it will be made at MY discretion, the customer charged accordingly. I'm not going to be subject to a slip and fall lawsuit because someoene is unwilling to pay for the proper care of their lot, or because I'm trying to consume a few less bags of ice melt on my route, so I feel the second application plan would work well.

    Also, do most of you just double the cost of premium ice melt products and charge that for an application charge? How about with rock salt, since doubling it's price would not make one much money? I'm pretty confident in my plowing pricing for the most part, but would be open to suggestions at to how to price salting/de-icing in a manner that the customer knows how much they will be charged every time they are plowed or salted, eventhough they know they can get hit twice for salting under more extreme conditions.

    Also, I have Nilsson's Time Labor Data Handbook and he says 50,000 square feet should take about 45 minutes to plow in an unobstructed parking lot, adding 15 minutes for every additional 2" of snow. Is this a slightly conservative figure, or should I stick pretty close to that as an approximation when figuring pricing?

    Again, thank you BRL, I will be anxiously awaiting your figures on both plowing and salting to see what sense I can make of it all. :)
     
  4. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    BRL-

    Thank you. The numbers you speak of will likely be exactly what I need. I'm looking for an average here. I would apply at a reasonable rate. If that "normal" rate is not quite enough, the lot gets deiced 2x and the customer pays that price, instead, possibly offering the second application at a slight discount if it is done in the same visit.

    The variance needed for most conditions would be small enough for me to absorb unless there were very heavy ice conditions. If a second application is warranted, it will be made at MY discretion, the customer charged accordingly. I'm not going to be subject to a slip and fall lawsuit because someoene is unwilling to pay for the proper care of their lot, or because I'm trying to consume a few less bags of ice melt on my route, so I feel the second application plan would work well.

    Also, do most of you just double the cost of premium ice melt products and charge that for an application charge? How about with rock salt, since doubling it's price would not make one much money? I'm pretty confident in my plowing pricing for the most part, but would be open to suggestions at to how to price salting/de-icing in a manner that the customer knows how much they will be charged every time they are plowed or salted, eventhough they know they can get hit twice for salting under more extreme conditions.

    Also, I have Nilsson's Time Labor Data Handbook and he says 50,000 square feet should take about 45 minutes to plow in an unobstructed parking lot, adding 15 minutes for every additional 2" of snow. Is this a slightly conservative figure, or should I stick pretty close to that as an approximation when figuring pricing?

    Again, thank you BRL, I will be anxiously awaiting your figures on both plowing and salting to see what sense I can make of it all. :)
     
  5. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    In this area (NW Vermont) it has been the practice to charge the same for salting or sanding as for plowing. I've been following that practice up until the last couple years, now I'm starting to charge more of "per ton" rate for salting and doing virtually no sanding. This year I'm using roughly $180/ton applied for the smaller jobs where I'm running around with the tailgate hopper at 700 lbs/load. Bigger jobs, where I'm using the dumptruck and laying down more material I'm looking at $150/ton applied. These number are for Magic salt and straight rock salt. I do very liitle with any other deicers as they cost far too much for he benefits of using them. Incidentally, this is with bulk salt, bagged salt prices would be substantially higher.
     
  6. Doug406

    Doug406 Member
    Messages: 65

    as a general guidline, 1 ton of salt per 1.5 acre of lot is what I use. General remember. 1 acre is about 44,000 sq ft. We have a 1 acre lot that we use about 1400 lbs on. Conditions may change though.
     
  7. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    Alan and Doug-

    Thank you both for replies. We are in different situations, for sure. I can't afford to drop 3/4 of a ton of salt per acre. That is approximately 30 lbs per 1000 square foot. For a guy with a 3/4 ton truck, that would make a lot larger than a few (3-5) acres out of reach since we would have to make multiple trips just for salting.

    What good would a 400 or 700 lb capacity tailgate spreader be at that rate???

    Not that I am in a position to say I know anything about the topic.

    A woman I spoke with who has worked for FS for years has salted their 10M lot with a push spreader with less than 25 lbs of rock salt. Figuring her rate at using the whole 25 lb. bag, we would have 2.5 lbs. per 1,000.

    There is a big discrepency between these figures, how is one to best guess what would be appropriate???

    I am buying bagged material. So cost and efficiency are of utmost importance here. If you buy salt in bulk, you can apply it much more liberally since it is so inexpensive.

    I'm wondering if some are over-applying material or what gives.
     
  8. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    I try very hard to avoid over applying salt or other chemicals. In a majority of cases I am also doing the grass on these same sites and I hate to see salt kill and the knotweed taking over.

    We do one private road where we apply roughly 1,000 lbs per application. We finally measured it recently and it comes out at around 6200 ft in length, something like 1.17 miles. It's not quite a full two lanes wide so I'm putting it at something like 1.75 lane miles or approximately 100,000 feet of surface. That gives us roughly 10lbs/msf. One app. at the onset of the storm and usually one after the last plowing if there is more than 8" or so for a storm total. We've had very little trouble keeping a brine layer with that rate.

    Some other lots that I can think of right off the top of my head are in the 18,000 sf range and we're dropping 200+ pounds on them. We get 3 lots in that size range out of one 700 lb hopper load. If there is any trace icing after the last push we'll give them a gentle shake to take care of that.

    What we've seen is that the brine layer will remain active and keep a bond from forming as long as there is snow on top of it. Often the brine will be diluted enough that it will freeze almost instantly when you uncover it, usually after dark when it is colder and no solar radiation to heat the pavement. At that point it's just a matter of a quick drive around the lot with the spreader on high speed to lightly cover the area and in a few minutes you're back to bare and wet.

    I know these rates seem light, but so far they have worked for us.

    [Edited by Alan on 09-29-2000 at 02:41 PM]
     
  9. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    Still confused!

    Alan-

    Let me get this right. You charge $180 per ton. To find out how much you charge for a hopper load, divide 700 by 2000 and come up with .35. Multiply .35 times your ton price and you come up with a $63 charge for a hopper load.

    Further, you said you can spread three 18M lots with a hopper load. Therefore, we divide $63 by three to come up with a price of $21 to salt each 18M lot.

    My cost for bagged material to spread at identical rates would cost me $14 for an 18 M lot. Therefore, I would net $7 for salting, given the numbers you are using.
    Even if you pay half of what I would pay for a ton of bagged salt, ($116) the number still seem low.

    Not trying to be smart here, just trying to see if you have your numbers right since the number add up the way they do. I just can't make sense of such a low profit margin when most here charge such high hourly rates by comparison. If you would be so kind, tell me what I'm overlooking if your numbers are correct.

    [Edited by Greenman2ooo on 10-01-2000 at 02:55 AM]
     
  10. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    search the archives
    I responded a few weeks ago to this very question. You would think that I would remember the what I came up with, but I dont.
    I believe it was around 500# per 30000 sq ft. Which is ten bags@ 10.00 per bag, your cost would be $100.00.There isnt a magic number, sometimes its just trial and error.
    Buying in bulk saves big time.
    Dino
     
  11. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Greenman, loking back at my post, I can see why it makes little sense. I was grabbing numbers from memory and in a hurry. Virtually every thing we salt regularly is part of a fixed price contract. I tend to inflate price I charge for salting when I carry it as included item like that. My actual allowance for that 18M lot is more on the line of $80 per service. Too many variables to really be able to explain it, there is a lot of "gut" involved in it at times.

    Buying in bulk is a huge savings, we're talking $60/ton for bulk, so my cost for that 700 lbs is $21. Granted, there are expenses for hauling and storing, then labor to load out, but even with those factored in I'm content with the return. If I was dropping everything strictly on a per service charge I'd probably go to something over $200/ton applied.

    As it is now, there are many times when that same 18M lot will get one less plowing (in an ongoing storm) because of the salt application. In that case, on that lot, I figure that the salt app had a value of an application PLUS a plowing. Keep in mmind that I'm not billing that amount, we're talking fixed cost for the season. If I carry 15 full plowings and can eliminate some of them by chemical use that's a case of the salt making me oney form the plowing I didn't do.

    [Edited by Alan on 10-01-2000 at 03:34 PM]