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plowing private roads

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by clncut, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    I was contacted the other day by a contractor I mow for. They are putting in a private subdivision and asked me to give a bid for plowing and salting the roads. As of right now I have only plowed small lots, residential drives and subbed myself out to Plow Meister.

    Im looking for some advice as to how to bid this, should I just figure how long it will take and and my hourly rate? Is there average rate for plowing roadways? Im thinking a seasonal price would sound better than a per push contract? I just looking for any advice I can get at this time. Am I wrong to think that the chances of being sued over something greater then doing your average driveway or lot?

    Thanks again for your replies.
     
  2. bgingras

    bgingras Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    are the roads paved yet? Will they be finished by winter? Structures raised during thw winter? Houses occupied yet? I'm think an F150 may not do well clearing roads, but I may be wrong. I would definitly figure it based on what you make per hour and how long it will take you. You should be clearing it during the entire storm, and keeping it pushed back. Sanding and salting raises the whole slip and fall issue and if someone get's into a car accident then they will be looking at orad conditions and who was responsible for them.
     
  3. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Thanks, thats exactly what I was thinking, road conditions in an accident. The roads are paved as of right now, there are just a few houses currently. Im thinking of letting this one go and just will try to get the mowing account.
     
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    If you're planning to try for the mowing portion, I'd say threre's really no reason to let the plowing go. Have you traveled the portion they're wanting plowed to see how many miles of roadway? How wide is it? Assuming that there's no hills, it really shouldn't be bad to plow since it's paved. Everybody gets scared of being sued, but honestly how many times have you ever heard of anybody sueing a plowing contractor over unplowed roads? Be conscientious, plow as you and the association agree on, carry adequate insurance and you should be fine. If these are normal width roads (two car widths with no peculiar designs or obstructions), use one hour per mile for figuring plowing times and average 1/2 yard of salt or sand/salt per mile to figure costs. If you've got some other accounts that are "per push" then go for a seasonal contract. Accounts like this usually prefer seasonal as they can control costs. Even if it winds up a light year, they'd rather pay a little more and have predictable costs.

    This is really a good time to get started since there aren't many houses built yet. Get experience and grow as they grow. You can start by giving more attention to each house now, correct mistakes easier and learn as you go.
     
  5. echovalley

    echovalley Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 456

    check with your insurance agent.Our policy does not cover city or private streets,only comm. lots.
     
  6. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    If you take the road good,,, but make sure you have backup plow and sand. In short, you can always shovel a driveway....leaving a road plugged is big deal.


    Is this an association setup???? Is it just the road or also sidewalks and so on? How big is the area (length of road, sidewalks....)?
     
  7. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Not sure how long, going over to look at the property today after mowing. It is an association but they maintain their own drives and walks unless they contact me to plow. Ill let you guys know how long when I get home later.
     
  8. pbeering

    pbeering Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    A lot of good advice. Don't try to get too big too fast. Service this account well and be THE guy for snow.(and other services) Discount the drives in the neighborhood and as the place builds out you'll have a nice, manageable account. You also won't spend time riding around which increases your proofitablity.

    If you want to make a trip to Indy, I'll fix you up with some Magic Salt. PM or e-mail for details.
     
  9. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    All right, finally got over to the property and drove the roads, there is a entrance way off the main road which turns into a circle leading back to the entrance way. Total distance is just under a half mile. It is a new sub. with only the first layer of asphalt leaving the water shutoff valves sticking up in a small area. It is a 2 lane road. I was figuring half hr tops for smaller snowfalls. Im thinking of bidding 75.00. 50.00 seems to low for plowing private roads. What do you guys think.

    One other question I just thought of, when bidding parking lots or roadways for per push pricing. Do you bid figuring how long it will take with lets say 3" of snow, or do you bid figuring how long it will take with 3-6" of snow?

    Thanks
    John
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2005
  10. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    For a two lane private road - $75 sounds about right. Roads can go pretty quick. Be sure to mark those water mains and the edge of the asphalt. At least it gives you a place to start until you get a better idea of pricing in your area. As far as how to structure your pricing, you want to base it off of the trigger amount. I have used a structuring common to driveways - 3" - 6"; over 6" - 9"; over 9" to 12", over 12" etc. The last couple of years I changed to charging one price for anything up to 12", then add a charge for each inch over 12". It's just easier for me and the customer. I charge what I'd charge otherwise for 6" to 9". With a 3" trigger, around here it works out about the same for total annual income. If you live in an area where you average snowfall is less, you might want to charge less for each time. You really need some good historical data to figure a flat rate fee like that.

    If you're using $75 for the 3" - 6", then my structure would look something like:

    3" - 6" $75
    over 3" - 6" $112
    over 6" - 12" $150
    over 12" $150 + $2 per inch over 12"


    It's hard to tell about getting sued, mutiple residents on a single roadway increases the risks. I wouldn't be overly concerned about it, but check with your insurance agent whether your policy covers this type of account.
     
  11. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    The last couple of years I changed to charging one price for anything up to 12", then add a charge for each inch over 12".


    If you have a snowfall of lets say 8" you will probably plow twice for less wear and tear on your vehicle. Then Im guessing you would charge them twice at the price you quoted up to 12"? I plow all of this companies model homes and I have already tried the per inch pricing and her comment was, "How am going to know what the snow totals are, I dont like that way" hense came the per push pricing.
     
  12. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Well, to start with, I break about all the rules. I plow only once - when the storm is over. I use a 3500 studded with a full sander for ballast. I've plowed 14" snowfalls and have roads over 1/2 mile long. (Although it really wouldn't matter how long they are). They also have hills. I have one driveway that's real steep which I still plow at the end of the snowstorm. It's understood that I measure the snow in my driveway and that's what I bill all my customers. I've never cheated anybody and never had anybody dispute my billing. Even when I was billing incremental. I have had people want triggers that I consider too high - like 8-10 inches or until the axle keeps the car from going forward. Them I drop.

    It's all just local custom and planning on my part.
     
  13. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Thanks Mick, Anyone else care to add. What about billing. Bill at the end of the month, 2 weeks later or after a storm?
     
  14. pbeering

    pbeering Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Mick can get away with plowing at the end, but I wouldn't try it given the weird Indiana weather. I bill after every event. We send electronic bills to the subdivisions and automatically bill the credit cards of the driveway/private customers the morning after the storm.

    I think you are about right on the time/fee assessment. You can always adjust based on what you have to do. You should also include some ballpark numbers for salt, at least the intersections and entrance. (My offer still stands for the Magic visit.)
     
  15. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Thanks Pberring,

    Im currently priceing some tailgate sanders and depending on what I find I may look you up in the future.

    John