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Quoting a Somewhat Miserable Job

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by derekbroerse, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Whoops! Wrong forum, mods please move...

    I've been asked to quote this property, as they were unhappy with the last guy who did it. This is one of these jobs that I could do, or not do, I really don't care... but I thought I'd run this one by everyone.

    The property itself is kind of a pie-wedge shape, as it faces a big sweeping corner on the road. The building is hard to describe--somewhat of a distorted rainbow shape, with the bottom of said rainbow facing opposite to the curve along the road. This tends to make every curb rounded and on funny angles.

    It also has a row of loading docks, facing on 45 degree angles to the driveway. Fences everywhere, and very, very little space to pile snow (wants me to price loader work to dump it over the fence into the vacant lot next door every few weeks).

    It is approximately 29000 square feet, but the PITA factor is very high. Also, they told me they are very fussy about it being plowed close to the fence etc. due to the lack of space, done for 8am etc.

    I'm going to try to include some small pix to give you all an idea of what I mean... even though they just don't do it justice.

    The back lot is a lot more open, but is a triangle. The picture that shows the dumpsters---that is my 'snow pile' area for the whole rear lot. The front is all being carried to boulevards etc. and the rest to the back.

    So far, with my little home made formula, I have come up with a price of $215 Cdn for straight snowplowing only. To me, that is high, but as I mentioned I think it is a PITA job and want decent money for it if I take it on.

    What would you guys quote this job at?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2006
  2. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    ....a few more pictures for your viewing 'displeasure'.... ;)

    Thanks guys!
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2006
  3. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    125 George Washington Faced Greenbacks
     
  4. Mick

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

    I'm not aware of the laws in Canada, but you might want to check on who owns that lot. Considering that this area would normally take an average of 3/4 hour, but with these conditions would likely be an hour or so and given their requirements and admitted fussiness, I'd say an amount equal to your rate for 1 1/2 hours plus loading, trucking and/or stacking fees.
     
  5. PAGE2004

    PAGE2004 Senior Member
    Messages: 102

    Definately looks like it would become tight after a few storms -

    Im assuming $215 is for 2-3 inches ???

    I think at $215 that customer would be getting a bargain.

    My bid would be this :

    2-3 inch $ 215

    4-5 $ 250

    6-7 $ 285

    8-9 $ 320

    10-11 $ 355

    12 and up $ 35 per inch

    Sanding / salt $ 400 entire lot


    This is how most businesses around here like it broken down.
     
  6. JElmWin

    JElmWin Senior Member
    Messages: 232

    Hey page are you talking US or Canadian? 'Cause Derek said $215 Can.= ~$185 U.S. You said $215 U.S.=$252 Can.
    I'm gonna read between the lines. Derek said the owner was unhappy with the previous plowers. I wonder why :rolleyes: . This is a major PITA lot. I think PAGE'S #s are ok for smaller amounts but I'd go higher on 12"+. Translation: If it's a PITA then bid high. If they go for it and you figure out a way of doing it quickly, then everyone's happy. :drinkup:
     
  7. PAGE2004

    PAGE2004 Senior Member
    Messages: 102


    Yes - Im talkin U.S. dollars .... and figuring that after the first year since the customer will be so pleased at the excellent job youve done ... you'll be able to hike up the price if you need to . Its interesting that some PITA accounts get much easier after the first year . The pricing of 12 inches and up is kind of a " vague " situation - Usually by the time a foot or more falls - they need snow REMOVAL and you make up for the " discount " rates you started with.

    To me - landing the account is the main goal here ... and as long as you can make an honest buck - you'll always be ahead of the game.

    Like Ive said here before - I cant count how many times Ive told a customer
    " Get someone else - you're impossible to deal with "

    Ive bent over backwards for un-deserving customers in the past and the only thing that got me was larger operating costs.
     
  8. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Hi Guys,

    I just returned from a two-day trip to Virginia. 13 hrs each way... whew that is a lot of driving!!

    Andy N. , that seems awfully cheap for such an oddly shaped lot... did you get a good look at it?

    Mick: I'm not sure what the actual laws are either, but the property is the outskirts of the Niagara Falls Hydro Canal, where water is diverted from the Niagara River to generate electricity. They tell me they have been doing this for years and no one has ever said a word. Realistically, all it will do is melt in the spring and run into the hydro canal with the rest of the badly polluted water, and get used to turn on an extra light bulb or two. Personally, I don't see it as a problem but believe me it would be on my mind too.

    Page2004: Yes my price was in Cdn. dollars. They were also very specific that they wanted a one-price-fits-all scenerio.... which was fine with me because that is the way I've always done it--no arguing over a ruler. So what I need is a set average price... our 'plowing economy' here isn't very high, and neither really is our snowfall. I rarely see over 6".

    These units are apparantly bought and sold like CONDO's are, something I have never come across in the commercial world. Probably explains why they are so fussy too. Did I mention that my tiny snow-dumping area in the back requires me to climb a curb every night???

    Yeah, I'm not real happy with the job, hence why I don't care if I get it or not. $215 Cdn would be my most pricey straight plowing job--even my big grocery store is cheaper than that b/c it is straight lines... none of this artsy-fartsy stuff.

    Is the concensus that I am pricing it too cheap then?
     
  9. T-MAN

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

    I agree with Mick on the 1.5 hours up to 4"'s Derek. I bet on your third trip to this account with those big v's you have you will be doing them quicker then that.
    Around these parts of suburbeia USA these lots are normal. It takes a few trys to get it down pat but once you do you will fly threw there.
    Also you are billing seperate for salt and loader work right ? I see dollars to be made here bud, I would pursue this account if I were you.
    Todd
     
  10. ace911emt

    ace911emt Member
    Messages: 83

    This would be a great place a bobcat, I have the same problem at a condo complex. I leave my 863 on site. Unfortunately just one lot seems unable to support the investment. Just my Connecticut estimate 1”-3” 675.00 plus salt-sand add 125.00
     
  11. stumper1620

    stumper1620 Senior Member
    Messages: 222

    Are you responsible for clearing this sidewalk after its buried, from plowing that front drive?

    New Image.JPG
     
  12. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I sure hope not. The guy I spoke to specified 'no sidewalks' but I would need to confirm that I'd imagine. I think they have township sidewalk plows (some kind of little articulating machine with a blade on the front)that do it all, though I have to admit I'm not sure why they even have a sidewalk there--its a bit of an industrial zone. I've never seen anyone ever walking there, ever.

    Yes, the salting and loader work are separate quotes. I figured the loader work would be, say, $60/hr with a two hour minimum to cover transporting etc. The salt I haven't put any thought into yet, but will probably be based on the area of the lot. Since it isn't a 'regular' daily salting (on call only) I dont need the salter truck up there, so scheduling is easier. I would float the loader up with my truck on nights when we aren't plowing.
     
  13. stumper1620

    stumper1620 Senior Member
    Messages: 222

    I would hope not or you better bump that price a whole lot, between the road crews throwing the snow off the road, then you from the drive, that would ba a real Beach to keep clear, especially looking at how skinny it is.
    you sure won't be doing it with a truck, even a blower would be busy on that area for a while.
     
  14. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Will you be running both trucks at the lot? I'd say if you are, just bump your price up a tad more, like another $25. Mostly because I see some areas of concern that might need extra attention. That sidewalk was a great example, also in the same picture that corner parking space will be a pain. Having pushed snow over a curb is a pain, make yourself a short ramp, it will save the curb and make your plowing life a whole lot easier. And your truck will thank you. As far as loading over the fence, are you not concerned the snow pile will break the fence, the loader can put the snow only so far. Also back to your pile by the curbs, you'll need to figure in repair costs to the lawn.

    With two v-plows it looks to be about hour to 1 1/2hrs, go for it.

    If the units are sold often, make sure you have it in writting who is the only person that can call you and tell you what needs to be done, otherwise you'll have 50 different "bosses":dizzy:
     
  15. DugHD

    DugHD Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 420

    my opinion is $450. U.S , set price 2" or 12" .payup
     
  16. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Thanks for the advice guys.

    I'm not touching sidewalks at all, but of course I would try to keep from intentionally burying them too.

    I'm also not too concerned about the fence (steel posts and chainlink) as they told me to do it and have been doing it for years. Only one truck on site at a time. I couldn't justify both... its not that big.

    I was thinking about something to ramp up the curb, even as simple as laying a 2x4" in front of it--the 33" rubber on the truck won't be too concerned with the rest.

    I submitted the quote with my original number, we'll see what they say. I must say, though, it is quite high for my area--even my grocery store is less than that (probably 3-5 times the size but all straight line pushing). There is no way I could even get the quote looked at seriously with a price like $450, US or otherwise. We just don't get that much here.

    When I dropped it off (Friday afternoon), the owner nor the property manager was on site. (BTW he owns like 6 of the 9 units or something, so he's pretty well in charge). I gave it with the woman who was running the desk. I casually mentioned that I may not always be the cheapest, but that I like to focus more on a quality job. Her eyes lit up, and she gave me a run down on the last guy. She is now the THIRD person on site to complain about last year's plow driver--tells me either he was really really bad, or they are just impossible to please. lol

    Actually, I'm hoping I get the job... I enjoy challenges. Keep the advice coming, guys, it helps me on all my quoting, not just this one site.

    Thanks
    Derek