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Need Help, First large Commercial

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by hairygary, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    First I want to say I have found this forum very informative. Since this is my first post, I want to preface with the fact I have been plowing for about four years, however this is my first larger commercial, as i have been doing mainly residential and few small commercial (10-12 parking spots). I would greatly appreciate anybody's help or input with coming up with a price. This company has asked me to put in a bid and they are interested in lawncare and snow removal & de-icing, but woud consider just the winter services. I have not been provided with a trigger.I know the previous company is paid based on snofall amount (dont have specifics). I have two 3/4 ton trucks one with a v plow and the other a 8' straight blade with I feel is adequate. For de-icing I have tailgate spreaders on each and use bagged salt. My questions are the following.

    1. How long do you think to plow with two trucks (not including sidewalks)?

    2. How much salt is required?

    3. What price would you come in at per push and/or Seasonal, with salt, including sidewalks

    There are about 15 plowable events per year in my area.

    i thank anybody who could give me input, and since I dont have enough posts for pm priveleges, you can e-mail me at areaplow@hotmail.com if you want to send me a message.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  2. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    here is the pics, it is not the buidlign with the semi-trailers.
     
  3. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    Sorry here are the pics, I figured about 2 acres of plowable areas with frontage road
    jones1.jpg

    Jones2.jpg

    Jones3.jpg

    jones1.jpg

    Jones2.jpg

    Jones3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  4. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,754

    Are all those pics of the same building?
     
  5. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    The first pic and the third pic are the same building just different angles, rotated 90 degrees, and it is the area with the lighter ashpault and the service road in front. The middle pic is the rear building and does not include the lot on the upper left where the semi trailer is, but everythiny else.
     
  6. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,245

    I dont get what areas you have to plow. You have to outline the areas that need plow. How many acres are there. Figure that out and after that it is easy. Does not look like many obstructions pretty straight forward.How busy are the lots during the day. What is the trigger? That is very important.Give us more info and we can help with how long it will take and the amount of salt you need. As price wise it is has to do with your market.
     
  7. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    I measured the area at roughtly 2 acres of plowable area not including the sidewalks. I figure with both trucks it would take about an hour. As for salting this area I have no clue now much time or how much it would use. I use bagged rock salt and tailgate spreaders. Here are new pictures, I blacked out the areas that are not plowed, so all the pavement visible is being plowed.There is alot of traffic during the day, but at night it is completely empty. jones1.jpg

    Jones2.jpg

    jones1.jpg

    Jones2.jpg
     
  8. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,754

    Well it all depends on your area. In mine, that lot could go for anywhere between $200-350. I would probably bid about $250, unless I wasn't bidding against anybody else. Then I would be around $300. If you think it will take you 2 total hours, then you would be making $125/hr, which is pretty good. That price wouldn't include sidewalks. As for a trigger, I would recommend a 1", or during an all day storm you could clear "runways" for them each time it snows 2-3" or so. I would figure about half price, or just give them an hourly rate for that. Salt I am not sure about, don't do a lot of it now.
     
  9. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    Area pricing varies. You correct in the time (about 2 hrs), on a lot that size make sure you have a backup plan if you get 12" your screwed. That sized lot puts a ton of wear on a truck as well. Its a learning curve, I did it too, taking on that sized lot with trucks & Bobcats. This past fall we bought a wheel loader, never again with trucks but now its a new learning curve for me.
     
  10. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Mike, I am confused by this post. Are you stating you need a loader to do a lot this size ?
    2 acres seems small IMO for a dedicated piece.
    Even with a bobcat and 12"+ should not be a problem with a snow bucket.
    Most guys plow with the storm anyway.
    Your post confused me.

    Hairy, 2 hours would be about right for up to about 4". As far as price goes I know contractors in the snow-belt of Indiana and there rates/hourly pricing is far different then Indy. That's part of the Business, figuring out what you need to be profitable, and at a price point to sell work.
    Salt, 1 ton should be a good average for pricing as well.
    Bags are tricky as you are now in the "size" lots that you have to compete with bulk application pricing. As in per ton pricing, or per application pricing.
    My salt price would be slightly higher then my plowing price, on that site.
    My plowing price would also be based on triggers as well. Slightly lower for zero tolerance, and a bit higher for 1.5" triggers.

    You also need to know the trigger/specs for a seasonal bid.
    If it snows 6" one day can you let it lay ? Or are there requirements of 2" and the lot gets "opened" up ?

    I would ask the Manager in charge of the bids how they want it bid myself.
    Ask how others are bidding it too. Nothing worse then offering "more", and losing the bid to a lower number, when in essence you actually were lower priced :rolleyes:
     
  11. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,496

    The good thing is you can put snow everywhere on those lots. The bad thing is as "RLM" mentioned if you get a good storm 6-12" you will struggle badly!! You must have a piece of equipment that can handle those lots no matter the amount of snow. Also if it snows heavy during the day you will have to carry snow long distances between cars, your pickups won't work. Bagged salt will kill you on a lot that size, you will need a large spreader and bulk salt. I see these posts all the time on PS, someone sees dollar signs for a large lot when they are not ready to do them. You have to work up to these large accounts don't just jump in. I'm not trying to be negative, but just trying to give real world advice. Maybe you can buy all the equipment you will need, in that case go for it.

    Good luck.
     
  12. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    Thanks for your input, I was thinking about $300.00 for the plowing, with sidewalk clearing.

    I still have no idea how much salt I need, or what to charge. I use bagged salt, and on previous jobs i have charged $14-15 per 50 lb bag. but those were smaller jobs. on a job this big I think I will have to make my profit margin a little smaller to be competative with companies providing bulk salt.
     
  13. hairygary

    hairygary Senior Member
    Messages: 149

    Wi-pens and T-man, I must have been typing my reply when you posted, and you posted exactly what I was thinking about salting. I dont think I can go bulk next year. I was hoping to do one more year bagged, before I bought a wheel loader.
     
  14. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    Wow, dedicated machine for that lot....little bit overkill wouldn't u say..those long narrow runs are ideal for a truck...I would think some back up would be wise, or someone to assist you in plowing it on BIG storms........long narrow frontage road would be easy plowing and the rest of the plowing has ample places to put snow, and you wouldn't have to push it that far...........the 250 -300 range per push sounds reasonable(no walks)....keep that seperately priced for shoveling and salting. 15/bag for salt sounds reasonable to. My price per bag is my price per bag no matter what size the account..... the more salt the account takes, the more you have to keep extra on hand, the more bags you have to handle, the more space it takes up in your shop/garage, etc, etc......good luck
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  15. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    You dont need a loader, for God sakes LOL.
    Its 2 acres not 10. I would wager a weeks lunch money these guys talking loaders do not have coverage for ALL there lots in a timely manner with loaders.
    How many Yoopers plow with loaders ? Trucks have been pushing snow a long, long, time. They will keep pushing snow for a long, long, time. You would lose your hinney parking a skid loader there, let alone a full size 2.5 yard bucket loader. You would need at least one more site VERY close to park a machine, and make any money.

    What is the biggest snow storm your area has seen in the last 25 years ? I have pushed a **** load of 12-14" storms over the years with pickups, not once feeling the NEED to drag a machine around to get things done. Yes after the event, we have stacked, and hauled snow. But both of those options can be subbed out. or rental equipment used.

    As far as moving snow, wings, v-plows, and Blizzard power plows do just fine.

    You can salt that NO PROBLEM with bags, you just have to charge what you can get and make a profit. Plenty of guys use multiple skids per event. No biggey.

    Good luck. :drinkup:
     
  16. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,496

    Like I said before, when the place is empty it's no problem with pickups. When it's full of cars during business hrs. now you have a ploblem! you can't make a run through with the truck and leave 2' of snow behind all the cars, they won't be able to get out! Also is the customer going to be fine with with "just stacking and hauling snow " after the event-- this means your taking up 20-30 parking spaces! With reguards to using bagged salt, if you must do it this way for a year it will work, you just won't make as much $$.

    I also think it's funny "Snowcrete" thinks you can just find someone to help on big storms. There's always loaders sittin around waiting for your call after a 8-10" snow storm:rolleyes:
     
  17. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I agree. You can price it as if using bags and even do it with bags.

    Just a suggestion... You may want to consider subbing out the salting to someone equipped to apply bulk salt for now too. There will likely still be profit in it for you. I works for me. $50.00 for a 30 second phone call and it frees up my time and equipment to get other work done. I haven't had to go through the expense of having bigger equipment, keeping skids of salt on hand and am still quite capable of getting it done if the sub can't service it for any reason. It has also worked great in my case because they have passed some other work on to me... Never under estimate the value of networking!

    Good Luck!
     
  18. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    maybe I didnt make that statement clear enough....find someone to work with....networking.....help them, they help you....works for me.....there are several accounts that we do stuff on as subs (plow/salt) that we don't neccessarily go to EVERY time it snows and likewise for the other 3 snow contractors that i work with in my area.......but heck what do i know, just trying to help:rolleyes.......I guess if you dont have a wheel loader in your fleet you cant do snow removal on a 2 acre commercial lot like that.
     
  19. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

     
  20. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,496

    You guys have listed good points and I don't want to argue about which way is correct. "HairyGary wanted help bidding this property, I simply gave him some things to ponder coming from someone who does similar accounts to the ones he's doing now. In my area there is no help from other companies, if you can't do the job someone else will. The one storm you can't deliver on is the one that loses you that account. These days it's dog eat dog. You must be self sufficiant or the other guy will take your account.