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salt per acre

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by cecilmac, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. cecilmac

    cecilmac Member
    from nj
    Messages: 33

    How much salt per acre do you guys put in estimates, i was always told 1 ton per acre but that seems a little high??????
     
  2. CGM Inc.

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

    I would say for pricing it is about right but not for what you apply.
     
  3. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    one ton per acre is a little high...that's why it is used. If you are doing a per application bid (which you should), then you should use about a ton per acre or maybe a tiny bit more. That way, in the worst case-scenario you still make money on the lot. Then you also can direct how much salt goes down. Ur clients don't know what proper salt application looks like. From my experience people will complain about too much salt, just as they would complain about too much ice. So make it be known that you control the amount being put down due to conditions. Calculate a bid at the higher end to be safe...after all you are doing this as a business not a charity.

    I find that my usual is about 1000-1500lbs/acre with the events that I get here in Dayton, OH. Now we do get times where the same 1 acre lot would get 1800-2200lbs of salt. So 2000lbs (one ton) is a safe bid. More than likely other guys will bid at that rate, and you will just be making a good margin on most of your events if it is anything like it is here. I control how much it takes to do a lot, and I record exactly how much goes down on each lot during the event. That way, since my pricing is high the first year, I can refine it and get it to drop, because I know exactly what goes into it. Salt is where you should make the biggest profit margin. The average person may know a little bit about it, but they will never know what we do as seasoned contractors....So it is kind of an easy sale. I help educate my clientele on salt, because my prices usually beat the competition anyways. SO even with my big margin being known, no one else can touch it....So it keeps the client happy that I am honest with them...and nobody comes near those accounts because I have a better process and better connections.

    Got any other questions for us? I'm bored and waiting on some clients to pay bills to go get my new stuff....BORING. I'm open to anything ya got to ask.
     
  4. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,439

    Industry std calls for 6-800lbs per acre................I bid more, but 1 ton is way high.
     
  5. CGM Inc.

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

    I hear 1ton per 2.5 acre :)
     
  6. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    Where did you get that from? I have always been higher but that isn't too far off in a perfect world. Operators never throw the perfect amount. It has to do with controller speed vs. drive speed too...and there are small areas that it is hard to get into. I have a couple that are always 900-1100lbs and they are about an acre...but then again that's just some accounts I've done for three years...not an industry scope.

    Are you using straight rock salt or are you using a mix? and the mix ratio comes down to 6-800lbs in the mix? Cause I mix sometimes and that would be a good bet for a small amount of traction mix...(i don't cut with a lot of sand)
     
  7. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    That is 800 lbs per acre....Lets all give him a way to compare apples to apples from here on out. He is talking in weight/acre so lets give it to him for the rest of the thread guys :nod: Just trying to make it easier for the guy
     
  8. turbo5560

    turbo5560 Senior Member
    Messages: 285

    i'll second that. 750 lbs per acre is what i shoot for. i got a magizine in the mail recently and i believe it had a stat of something like 80% of contractors use too much salt. I would say 1000 lbs per acre is boarder line for too much salt.
     
  9. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    I would use less if I had a choice. My customers notice when I use less than half a ton on their property. I think it is a common misconception on the amount of salt that messes things up. We try to lay 900 lbs per acre (that is a happy mix-keeps my customers happy and tends to work). But soooooooo many customers complain when they don't see it looking like the roads or other shopping centers. When I lay "the correct amount" I get called cheap or people start talking "what if my customer slipped an fell...because of you laying to little". I would lay 900lbs per acre if it were all on me. that means I like to lay 9 bags from my tailgate units (per half acre common lots).

    My bagged manufacturer says 100 sq ft per 50 lb bag. My 900lbs comes out to 45,000 sq. ft of pavement. I believe an acre is 43,560 sq ft. So it is slightly more... I always say that you will never get better than being within 3% of perfect numbers....So human error, at best, would put you at 900lbs of salt for that one acre of parking lot. All that we are talking about on the majority of accounts in my acre is a one bag difference. I would lay a bag more for most of my accounts....if that keeps the customers happy, and they are willing to pay for it, then go ahead and be like me. I doubt a customer would look at my itemized bill and see that we laid one more bag than the other guy and be unhappy. the numbers are close enough.

    It ALL depends on conditions. In some conditions you can lay as much salt and it isn't going to work because of temperature. Now, what is affected, is the amount of salt to the amount of precipitation per hour you are receiving. You must have enough salt to work on the amount of snow you are getting per hour. So higher rates of snow get higher amounts of salt for pretreat and if there is more coming when we salt we lay more. I'd recommend, IMHO, to mix salt and sand (for traction and saving) to lay 1400-1600lbs per acre. I'm not sure what my ratio of mix is but I can find out and post it up (don't use it on everything). BUT I will look when I'm at my facility today or tmr and find out what my mix ratio is. I save a lot of money, and cars don't slide all around when I lay it. TRUST ME! you don't need much sand! but it does help. I can honestly say that I notice the difference when I drive away after I have laid it. I'm going to check on the mix but my guess is that it is 900lbs or so. The other guys aren't far off of what "should" be applied. Customers always want more, and some conditions call for more. So I'd say quote out double what you would lay. And add an error for over-applying. So quoting for 1 ton/acre is correct
     
  10. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    update on mix ratio

    NVM I found my ratio on my computer. It says that for one of my accounts I laid about 465lbs of sand in a 1400 pound app. So that comes out to a 3:1 ratio of salt to sand. It melted fine and added traction to the wet/melting pavement.

    So I did just over 900lbs on that lot and it was in a 3:1 mix of salt/sand. A lot of municipalities use anywhere from 8:1 to 12:1 mix of sand to salt....So it is far less than what your DOT will lay. I'd recommend the mix if you do commercial/retail facilities do not use it on private drives or driveways... it will kill stuff and clog local drains quicker. I'd rec. using calcium or looking into morton's safer than salt mix and also their "pet safe" mixes. I try to tell people in resi's how it costs them more in the long run to use salt. If they want it, use straight rock salt or treated only.also be wary of the treating solutions!

    So yeah you should aim for what the other guys said they applied... but make sure your customers are happy with the amount... I never got away with the industry standard...
     
  11. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    X2 on that one...If you read some of John Allins articles he says you can go as low as 300# in some applications.....
     
  12. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,533

    ditto on the articles in the ice playbook in the snow magazine. i bid at 800lbs an acre. just did an app yesterday on an hoa roadway that i calcd out using 1300lbs per app and barely used 800lbs id say.
     
  13. turbo5560

    turbo5560 Senior Member
    Messages: 285

    you did an app yesterday?!?!?
     
  14. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Too much salt / sodium chloride?

    Rates, rates, rates. One of the most highly debated issues for our industry. The article that you were referring to was in Snow Magazine I believe. Yes many contractors do apply way too much material only because it is easier to charge less and apply more than to properly educate yourself on proper rates of application for different materials.

    A couple ideas - Check out Peters chemical on the web. You can look up many different ice melting products and it will tell you application rates as well as temperature ranges for that product. However, that is not an exact science in real world applications. I also found on a web site a few years ago that said there were 66,660 potential variables to a snow event. I am not sure if that number is right or not. What I do know after 30 years of offering this service is that application rates are not fixed in stone but starting rates do offer you a great guide to start with.

    Good luck. Experience is the best teacher.
     
  15. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    Best advice you will ever get...on anything.
     
  16. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,533

    thurs evening we started to get accumulation, we do a 55 and over hoa that has pretty much a zero tolerance on their roadways. did a couple drive thrus in the evening and they had about 1.5" of wet and slippery. plan was to go in fri early morning like 6am to do a quick plow then salt. most of it melted down, but they were calling for more through fri so we just put down a light app just in case.
     
  17. fishgeek

    fishgeek Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 36

    I’ve been reading here for a little while now. The salt issue has been very troubling to me. I’ve read in several posts that it takes 20lbs per 1000 sq. ft. which comes out to about 880lbs. for an acre which comes out to 17.6 bags. Is this right? I have been bidding this way and not getting the jobs because I’m to high. Haven’t any of you snow gods taken the time to lay out some square footage and figure how many pounds it takes to put decent coverage on a area? My plow prices have been matching other company’s by 10 to 20 bucks, so I feel good there but these salt prices have pretty much killed my season. I’m buying salt buy the bag, what does salt cost per the ton buying bulk in Chicago? Chicago guys what do you charge the customer for bag salt? I’ve been charging the client $15.00 per bag applied. HELP HELP HELP
     
  18. DaytonBioLawns

    DaytonBioLawns Banned
    from 45458
    Messages: 347

    I got some salt for 2.70/bag out of Chicago... I guess the question is... How much do you PAY for the salt you are applying? I know with my units that still use bagged that we are in the $10-14 range per bag applied. The reason you may be losing the bids is the fact that you use bags... I can arrange a salt only or salt/road truck to do all of my lots on a few loads and it saves a lot of money compared to using pickups to do the work. Re-evaluate how you are doing the whole process. The product, where you get it, what you pay, how you load it, how you spread it.... I just did the same and my sales went way up. See my thread on "how many ways to spread salt" or something close to that.... It will show some simple and economical ways to store and load salt. I can't give you a straight answer because I don't know your market or overhead. I think you are close to what I dealt with in Dayton, Ohio.
     
  19. fishgeek

    fishgeek Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 36

    I'm paying $4.60 per bag delivered. I couldn't buy any early due to I didn't know how much I needed. The big question is the way I'm
    figuring the square foot. Does the 20lbs per 1000' seem high. I have 1 lot and I'm figuring 39 bags for 98,000 sq.ft.?

    Thanks for your input
     
  20. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Sodium Chloride Rates

    I think 20 pounds per K seems a little high to use a s a basis for bidding. Some will say it's right on target while others will say it's too high or too low and the debate continues.

    I have found that calculating applications rates for proposals at 12 pounds per K works pretty well for us. However, the actual conditions at the time of the application will certainly come into play as far as actual rates of application for an individual storm.

    Some of those 66,666 variables always become issues!!!!!! Check out the above post for access to rates per K for different materials.

    Good luck.