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Kind of a noob question but.....

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by srl28, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. srl28

    srl28 Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    We ve got 2 lots to do, both within 2 miles of each other. One is a large dept. store, 446 spaces and 2 large entry ways in from each side of the lot. The other is small, maybe 30 spaces.

    My question is this, is it ok/wise/sensible to rig up the 2 trucks taking care of these lots with hitch mounted/tailgate moutned spreaders and just run bagged through them? Or am I nuts and going to be the laughing stock of all the local plow guys doing a medium sized lot with 2 big hitch spreaders??

    Trying to save money on the purchase of a vbox, making up a salt bin and cost with that, the 24 ton minimum for bulk salt delivery, that cost, and of course having the cost of a loader to load the bulk,etc......

    Am I nuts? Any one maintain lots like this and use tailgate salters? If so, how big are the lots and what salters are you using? May have another mason dump with a vbox but its looking like that will be tied up elsewhere. Your help is much appreciated guys thanks :waving:
  2. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    It's not about appearance it's about profit.

    Do what works for you. you will be able to keep closer control your application rates and better understand your material cost between sites. Will make it easier to spot salt during storm follow up. Gives you two total units so if one of your units goes down you still can complete the job and continue to provide service. I would think you could easily deal with the salting service with only one salter but the concept of two is excellent.
  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    I did 2 big motels and some smaller commercial for the first year and then bought a V-Box.
    It was hard work using the bagged but it made me enough money the 1st year to buy another truck with the Box on it.
  4. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    How big is that large lot? 4 acres? That's about a ton and a half of salt. That's a lot of bags. 60 50# bags. Maybe buy one inexpensive vee-box, like a Salt Dog, and one tailgate? That gives you the backup, which is a great idea. Probably less than two of the real nice tailgate units. Plus bulk salt is less expensive.
  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    Man you like salt. Careful it's not good for the blood pressure.:nono:

    With a average application rate of 500lbs a acre that's a third of that and with the use of a good blended material he could use less than that. You can control your material use better when you load bags. you don't end up using 1500lbs when 500lbs will do. It to easy to just dump a little extra. Even if he used 2500Lbs that's just a little better then a yard of material. Waste of a 2 yard Saltdogg.

    The bulk savings disappear real quick when they are balanced against the cost of a loader.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    500 lbs/sq ft. Now that seems like alot to me. He's going to need a 30 yard live bottom for that.:laughing:

    Good point about the loader.

    SRL, put everything on paper. Then try to put a value on the "convenience" of bulk and go from there.
  7. srl28

    srl28 Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    thanks for the replys! It seems to me, and I havent really broken it down too crazy, but From the early looks of it, bulk is gonna be pricey. For this location we would need to pickup a loader somewhere, fine cause we can use it yr round, we re a landscape contractor the other 8 months. So here goes

    To run bulk-
    Found a cheap Bobcat 873, $11,770.00 with tax
    Jersey blocks and labor to install a basic salt bin- $500.00
    Bulk Salt at $95.00 per ton, 24 ton minimum- $2,280.00,2440.00 with the tax.
    V-Box, used lets say, a decent used one- $3,000.00
    total for 1 truck running bulk salt- $17,770.00

    To run bagged-
    2 large good quality tailgate salters, new- say 6k total
    15 pallets of salt, stored at our shop and in the trucks as needed- say $275.00 a pallet, got some left over prices-4125.00
    Total for 2 trucks running $10,125.00 roughly.

    Hmm, starting to lay out nicely. seems for me at least that the bagged may be the way to go, at least for a while. Would really profit better this way I feel too. Im sure someone will chime in here and say I'm crazy but......
  8. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Glad we can help. That's why you need to put it on paper. Now you've got something to think about.

    Now - here I go again - your numbers are from a cash flow perspective. You're amortizing the Bobcat in one season, which isn't fair to the Bobcat. If you amortize over 5 seasons, which is a little more likely, the numbers really even up. Also, your tailgate unit prices are for top of the line two stage spreaders. You could buy one Salt Dogg v-box for not much more money to put on the big truck, and one less expensive tailgate unit for the smaller truck. Still have two spreaders. One can handle bulk, but BOTH can handle bagged.

    Another question - you don't have a place to buy bulk a load at a time? We have two around here.

    So here's another scenario for you to chew on. Buy one V-box, and one tailgate. Staying right around 6G. No Bobcat this year. If bulk is available by the load, you can use it as available/desired. But you can always go bagged. And it would be easier to dump bags in the V-box at home/shop. Keeps cash flow this year down, maybe get the Bobcat next year, or this spring if you get the right landscaping job.

    Good luck with your decision. And you don't need to panic, there's still time. Let us know if you have any more questions.
  9. srl28

    srl28 Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    Seems to make sense....like pluggin that saltdogg dont ya? haha. Theres 1 place here that sells it bulk, not always open and its priced at about 130.00 per ton/yrd. and its about 10 miles away, in a storm that may suck.

    Kind of another silly question, we ve run bulk before, but would the 446 spot lot take up that much bagged salt? standin out there the other night in a little event just doing the walks it didnt seem that bad to do. This is a bit larger than what we re used to, thus the series of dumb questions but.
  10. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    No about the Salt Dogg. I certainly didn't mean to come off that way. And I don't own one. Might consider it next time though. The only reason I mentioned them is because of the pricing. And the auger setup seems to work very well with straight salt. Do you have the footage of the big lot? Seems to me it would be around 4 acres, if not more. Most guys say 800 lbs/acre. That's over 3,000 lbs. Even if you can trim it down to 500lbs/acre, you're still over a ton. I drive 10 miles or so if I want to buy from the yard. It's a main road, so you can move right along in a storm. And $130 ton is about half the cost of bagged. So if bulk works out, go for it. Otherwise run the bagged.

    You could buy one tailgate unit now. Try salting the big lot with it, and see how it goes.
  11. srl28

    srl28 Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    Great points, I really appreciate your help, everyone elses too of course! We will see. not sure what the best way to go is, having a hard time finding decent vbox spreaders, and the bulk pricing and availability and loading/storing issues are driving me nuts. I'll have to make sure the local place is open throughout a storm, if not, I think bagged is the way to go.

    what if they run out, or close, they seem to be the only place around with bulk available for pickup. I guess my real question and worry is how much salt would it really take and is the idea of using the 2 tailgate spreaders way out in left field. Looked at the site plan for this lot, cant remember the sq ft, do remember the 446 spaces, lot of concrete islands, etc.
  12. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Sounds like you should keep enough bagged on hand for two storms, at least. Regardless of what you get for equipment. Like I said, if it works out that you can use bulk and same same cash on a few storms, good for you.

    I do know a guy that gets bulk (sand) dumped in his pickup bed, and shovels it into his tailgate spreader.

    Sit on it for a couple of days. And call the yard to see how they do it during a storm. Good luck.
  13. srl28

    srl28 Senior Member
    Messages: 405

    Thats what Im thinking, thanks for your help. If its easy to get to that yard and they have enough, open, etc then that changes things, but we will see.
  14. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990


    two 6 cb ft hitch mount tailgates around $1,600 a piece installed equals a total equipment cost of $3200.00

    One Saltdogg SHPE2000 appox $4,000 installed, requires one SS for loading $11,770, and a bulk bin $500.00 total equipment cost $16,270

    I would consider setting both trucks up to handle the spreader in case of truck failure that would add around another $3-350

    or only the saltdogg (both trucks wired) for around $4,300.

    So you could equip two trucks for the price of one and not be dependent on someone else's schedule.

    Personally I would start with one tailgate and bags and see how it goes. I have a customer that has seven tailgates, makes every truck a total snow/icwe control unit. He uses blended material so he spreads less material then if he was using salt. Loves the system. keeps firm control on his costs per site, particularly when doing after storm spot spreading.
  15. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Lots of good opinions and advice. Personally, if it were me, I would try the bags for a season. You will def. have more time involved loading the smaller hoppers but I seriously dont think your going to have roughly 13k in labor loading bags which is the rough cost to run bulk. V box spreader's and running bulk is great if you have an entire salt route and dedicated salt trucks. Now if you had 3 or 4 times the places you mentioned then it might be worth the investment. Good luck.