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sanding???

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by johnsonnsonscj, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. johnsonnsonscj

    johnsonnsonscj Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hey fellas, I know this is a stupid question, but this is my first season with my own business, i never had to worry about billing anybody before now, and im not sure on how i should go about billing for sanding, so if anybody could give me some tips on how i should about doing this it would be greatly appreciated. :drinkup:
     
  2. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I have never sanded either but from what I understand most people charge by the ton and by the hour. I am sure someone will chime in and let you know what the going rate is.
     
  3. Mick

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

    I sand with an 8' Vbox and use a sand/salt mix. I charge double what my supplier charges me.

    If your using bagged (usual for a tailgate sander) most will charge 2-3 times their cost.
     
  4. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113


    Not a bad guideline.
     
  5. Mick

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

    I forgot one crucial element in my first reply - the minimum charge.

    I charge a minimum equal to 1/2 ton of sand/salt mix. When people call for a one-time sanding, they will always ask "how much?'. I tell them "it will be at least $xx which will cover up to 1/2 ton and if it takes more then 1/2 ton, it will be $yy per ton".

    This gets around the problem of traveling 10 miles to spread 250 pounds, which happens often. Using bags, you could use the same principle, just saying it'll cover so many bags, etc. This also gets around the problem of having to have exact weights. I will use the 1/2 ton charge up till it's obviously over 3/4 ton. It's not hard to look into the box and figure if it's over 1/2, 3/4, 1 ton etc. Although you're initially giving a "per ton" price, it actually comes out to a "per application" price with variation for conditions which require more or less material. I know it sounds confusing, but it really isn't.
     
  6. RidgeCon

    RidgeCon Senior Member
    Messages: 144

    I agree with Mick that you have to use a minimum charge or you will running all over the place for a few bucks. Our 8' sanders spread a certain rate when set and we now that if it runs for so long we have spread so much etc. However we charge a fir bit more that double the supplier rate because you have to consider the truck, fuel, employee etc. It all adds up. We charge about 5-6 times what it costs us to fill that sander. That rate however is different for long term customers, that is just our "over the counter" rate when somebody needs sand and they are not our regular customers. Our "regular" rate is still 3-4 times our cost. Has to be to make it worth while to go out.

    But a question, do you always go with salt/sand mix or do you go with straight salt down to certain temperature and then switch over?
     
  7. Mick

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

    Always sand/salt mix. Everything around here is hardpack or gravel. There is very, very little asphalt and no concrete. There is no anti-icing in this area. There would simply be no benefit to using straight salt.

    The State, however, is trying to do away with the use of sand as a form of snow & ice control since it is considered a pollutant.
     
  8. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    When I have traveled through parts of Wyoming and Montana in winter they use a lot of stone and cinder out their in places (no salt) that can be really tough on windshields too.
     
  9. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,202

    Mick is right with the minimum. Salt or sand/salt will go farther then you might think. I can do a fairly large parking lot on 2 tons of salt which is common for a standard 8' salter. Sometimes you have to put down more. If you are salting after you plowed then you don't need a lot, you are just looking for the little bit that is left. Sometimes there might be 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch which will require more salt. It also depends on the temperature and how much traffic the lot will get. These are all things you learn over time. But salting has good margins so don't sell yourself short. I have 3 salt trucks and they make more then the 11 plow trucks! bulk salt is about 1/2 the price of bagged.
     
  10. RidgeCon

    RidgeCon Senior Member
    Messages: 144


    I agree with you. We find the same thing. I would love to park all the plow trucks and just salt. we do a lot of commercial salt/sanding for other contractors who don't have the space to stockpile or the equipment or who just want to plow, that this is our biggest revenue generator of the winter by far.

    What do you guys pay for bulk salt (per ton) there?
     
  11. NPCInc

    NPCInc Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Mick, what can you tell me about the sand ban? I haven't heard anything about it.
     
  12. Mick

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

    Most people haven't. I believe it's in the legislature, just haven't been able to find out if it's actually a bill or what stage it's in. Sand is considered a pollutant and clogs waterways. The granules are finer than salt, so it gets airborne and affects your breathing. It can't "dissolve" like salt. Many, many areas that use sand do not or can not "clean up" in the Spring, compounding the problem.

    Personally, I think the DEP and Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (?) will have a lot to do with the eventual banning of sand as a form of snow/ice control. I believe the State uses only salt, now - no sand. Two or three years ago, the State experimented with treated salt but that didn't even last a whole winter. "Too expensive".
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2004
  13. NPCInc

    NPCInc Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks for the info. I'll keep my eyes open for that one.

    I'm in the same boat as you, everything gets sand. I was a bit surprised actually. I grew up in rural Vermont (I know, its all rural) and everything just got sanded. I moved here recently and figured there would be a lot of people asking for salt or chemical treatment but still everyone I talk to asks for sand, even a busy hotel I bid asked for sand after every storm. They'll be sweeping nonstop.
     
  14. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,202

    Ridgecon
    I pay $58per metric ton plus both taxes. 35 metric tons at a time delivered to the shop. I buy right from the docks at Lake Ontario.
     
  15. butler L&S

    butler L&S Member
    Messages: 89

    I only put down a salt/sand mix and have a set charge per app for each site I service. I Pay $21 per ton for a 80% sand/20%salt mix and get around $100 a ton to spread when averaged out.
     
  16. RidgeCon

    RidgeCon Senior Member
    Messages: 144

    We pay about the same here, how muc lead time to you have to give them to get it delivered. We get it directly from the ,mine here and you don't have to call ahead you just have to go down but you have to be therer in the middle of the night because they only mine so much every day and when that is gone the day's pickups are over. Usually modt people can get what they want though.
     
  17. RidgeCon

    RidgeCon Senior Member
    Messages: 144

    Butler, that sounds about right, you have to get that much to actually make money. I would love to spread salt sand all day and not plow, lot more $$$$ in it. It costs us about $13 to make up our salt/sand mixture here in the yard. The average cost around here for guys to buy the mixture pre-made is about $18-$20 per ton.