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New one for me ?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by RLM, May 29, 2012.

  1. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    We plowed for the local school district last season & due to the lack of snow lost my shirt on the account (straight hourly). Based on their equipment list, what I made last season would not of even covered the insurance payments for the equipment, that doesnt take anything else (fuel, labor, repairs, payments on loans, etc) into consideration.Just got their bid packet in today. I'm trying to figure out a politically correct way to do the following:
    1. Tell them they are asking for way to much equipment, because they have never been held responsible to pay for availability is why. We would all love to have one piece of equipment (truck or wheel loader) for each acre or two of asphalt, but the numbers don't work. They have 25 acres in total, based on production numbers we could get it done in about 1.75 hours based on their list, way to fast considering we have till 6:30am on most sites. Last season (what there was of it), we came in under my bugeted time (I had also priced per trip) due to my staff being that efficient, I told the to take their time, not milk the clock, but don't rush & break stuff. Let alone the staff never plowed enough to figure out the "tricks, etc" or truely learn each site, etc. Only time we went over there was 14" of heavy snow on the lots before they called us in, which is BS, thats how stuff gets broken.
    2. Tell them we need guaranteed certain number of hours per month.
    3. Their budget (I researched it before I bid), is way low for the equipment they are requesting/requiring.
    They like to call the shots, it was a weird situation last year unlike any I have encounter in all my years. Further making it difficult is the fact they salt themselves & have a couple plow trucks, so on light snowfalls you don't know if your getting called in so it complicates my dispatching.
    My thought is to submit a "proposal" rather than their bid form, with a cover letter explaining why we submitted what we did. The proposal would include a monthy retainer, etc. Would still be hourly, but with a minimum charge of say 10 hours per month per piece of equipment requested/provided exclusivly to their sites. Anything over those 10 hours per month would be billed additional, is my thought.
    I would appreciate any imput.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  2. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 535

    its too late, they already made the bid specs. So bid what they call for but price it to make money. Some other fool will win it and will be writing a similar thread next year. Next time, try to sit down with the facilities manager and get him to rewrite the specifications before they send them out
  3. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    No way will I bid their specs again, way to much risk for the reward factor. They want 5 trucks, a bobcat, a backhoe & 4 loaders. If you want that much equipment on call for your lots you need to pay for it. The thing is 2 years ago they sent it out 3 times for bid before they got a response. Even one of their own guys commented for the last few years they have had a new contractor each year. For what we made last year in gross receipts off them I can easily find one or two (with salt I bring in more from one account this size) 2-3 acre lots and bring that much revenue in. I will let the equipment sit at my shop before we do it based on these specs again (no reserve).
  4. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    Any contract they write will be a loser. They either need to take it all in house or subcontract it all out. I wouldn't argue about separating the sidewalks from the parking but other then that I wouldn't want to be sharing liability.
  5. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    We plowed the sidewalks with the trucks, it is a *****, all granite curbs I run Chevy primarily which don't have the best ground clearance, tight turns. For tge budget they have they couldn't even afford to rent the four loaders (about 15k each for the winter) let alone payroll & fuel. The more I talk about it the more I realize how much I really don't want them.
  6. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 535

    Bid high, the worse that could happen is that you're low bidder again. If you are sole bidder, they will have to find something wrong with their own specs which hopefully you get to help write new ones, or they will have to award you the bid
  7. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    Bidding high won't help. They are only using a sub as a back up anyway. You have to commit the equipment on the chance they may call. If they only pay when you play and they never call you to play then regardless of what you could've made you are really just losing money by having your equipment sit.
  8. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    from Ontario
    Messages: 3,589

    Why would you have equipment available and not charge for a standby?
    Per push doesn't work for snow if you ask me.....
  9. truckitup

    truckitup Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    I am doing snow plowing sales for a company this year, and have had the same type of bids as well. It seams that this year everyone wants to go to hourly or per push due to the lack of snow last year. When you have large equipment required in the bid, there is no way you risk that, you can go broke quick with no snow. I put a monthly retainer in place to cover the expense of the equipment plus a little more, or try to sell them on seasonal. Not getting the bid could save you lots of $$$$$.

    This year many companies will want a price reduction due to the lack of snow last year. We just need to find a way to be efficient to maximize profits, and hope that we have an average snow fall this year.
  10. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    If you can't make money bidding to thier specs why even consider submitting a bid.

    School boards always have some quirky stuff in thier bids, but hourly without salting is not something I would consider. Risk vs reward is too high.

    We currently work for 2 different boards and they both have unique requirements.
  11. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    I would say they are taking a TON of risk off RLM by doing the salting....while I would rather do the salting also, that part of the contract wouldnt bother me as much as the fact they want that much equipment committed w/ no fee.

    I think you're answering our own question. Sounds like a waste of time writing up your own contract. If you dont do it, some sucker will.

    You'd be blown away at how commonplace that is where I live:rolleyes:....but it is a little surprising to hear that an account like this is working like that in the N.E. region.
  12. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    Run in the opposite direction and show em the middle finger!!!