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Looking into sweeping

Discussion in 'Sweeper Forum' started by DJ Contracting, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,392

    I have a few questions about sweeping
    1. I have never seen any of our retail stores (Meijer,Wal Mart) get cleaned up.
    2. When you say a pull behind sweeper how much material can it hold?
    3. Where do you dump the dirt?
    4. How do you figure the cost (by the square foot or by the hour)?
    5. Finally what the going rate for these charges (hourly square foot)

    Thank you for any responses Joe
  2. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    1. They get cleaned up. Not sure what your question was, but I know around here, it looks like we havent been there for a week and we were there just the day before. It is amazing how much trash people just throw out of their cars.
    2. My tow behind unit holds about 2 SuperWalmart's a night without a problem. Can't remember the specs, but it holds it fine. Probably could go longer, but it doesn't take 10 minutes to do nightly, so might as well not wait until it is a workout to empty it.
    3. I just use a 4 yard dumpster. Some guys have dumpsters available at their lots.
    4. I have been going with a $30 minimum for something small, but need $60 per hour to make me smile. Could get away with less i think, but around here the competition is overworked and less than quality oriented so why sell myself short. I do charge less for the 2 Walmarts because they were my first 2 and I figured my costs/profit, and gave them a price. I wanted to make sure I landed those 2 accounts to justify buying the equipment and the price quoted was already more than they were paying so I didn't want to scare them off. They knew I was new to sweeping but take great care of them on snow and mow services, so they were willing to pay more than the last guy. It is a fair profit, but not something to retire on. Just enough to be profitable, and replace equipment every 3rd year, cover maintenance, insurance, payroll,fuel,and all the other business expenses involved plus 25% profit margin.
    5. Couldn't tell you a square foot figure just the hourly rate which may vary with location. Just figure your costs, what is a fair profit to you, equipment replacement timeframe, how much work you can realistically pick up and go! It is like any other business venture, how much will it cost you, how much do you want to make, and how much your local market will tolerate will dictate your pricing, and whether it is worth it to get in or not.

    Keep in mind, there are lots of variables. Are they 24hour stores? How much trash on a regular basis? How many nights per week? Lots of curbs and obstacles or just open parking lot? How much time on foot with a backpack blower? Are you emptying there trash cans outside? Are you getting real picky with every gum wrapper that blows in the lawn or just grabbing the big stuff in the lawns? These factors are between you and the customers. We worded our Walmart contracts for "an average of two hours per night, five nights per week" so it is pretty vague wording that allows us freedom to keep it clean on our schedule. We get the obvious junk every night, and concentrate on different sectors of the property every night. Some of these are the lawn on one night, blowing out all the way around the building another night,etc. . . I am by no means a pro at this, just getting started, but after last month, I think we got it nailed how the contract was worded. It gives us flexibility, doesn't lock us into 100% coverage every night, and keeps the property clean. Good luck and read the posts on the sweeper forum, because there is some good info here. Also do local homework and talk to people that have been doing it for awhile. I talked to equipment dealers who referred me to some of their sweeping contractors for an equipment referal. Their contractors were out of state and no direct competition who were very willing to help me with info so I didn't go pricing without a clue, and gave me some insight on what to look out for on the equipment. Best of luck, I hope some of this helped!
  3. scoot

    scoot Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    tow behind

    what kind of tow behind are you using?
  4. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    Picked up some more and now also use a 2005 GMC with Scavinjer mounted. Works excellent! Tow behind is now a part-time unit running 3 nights per week. The Tow-a-vac looks just like one Sweepster makes (or used to make). I don't think Sweepster or Tow-a-vac make them anymore.