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Selling salt locally to other snowplowers

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Bigplower, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. Bigplower

    Bigplower Member
    Messages: 52

    I'm thinking about selling salt locally as there is no place to really buy salt in the middle of a snow storm. I was wondering if anyone else has done this and how they do it.
    Do you sell it by the pound/ton or by the yard?
    Do you let people come and fill 5 gallon buckets so that they dont have to buy bags?
    It seems from the pricing i have seen, that there is a big difference in price between bulk and bagged and that it would make sense for smaller companies that have tailgate spreader to want to come in so that they don't have to hand load with bags or so they don't have to store large amount of salt themselves.
    Any and all input would be apprecaited!
     
  2. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,873

    Personally if you sell by the weight I think some get the shaft. If the salt is wet one yard of will weigh more than one yard of dry salt. If you have the ability to sell it I would take advantage of the situation.

    Good luck!
     
  3. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,699

    Where are you located?
     
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,853

    Weeeelllllll, never done it before and I wish we had the yards that did it by us, but if I were to do it, I would:

    Have a loader with a scale on it like the gravel pits do.

    Cash and carry as well, or at least a valid credit card on file.

    Or a retainer.

    Those last 2 are just because I know the reps of most of the scrapers\plowers around here. And the economy.
     
  5. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    Some dude just called our office, looking to buy bulk salt from us, probably like 5 pallets worth of bags.

    I think there is probably money to be made from the resale, but like mark said to be fair to you, and your "customers" having a small scale would be a good way to go, if you want to sell during storms you have to obviously be willing to have someone at your shop fulltime to load....i'm sure a lot of you guys have someone at your shop during storms to reload trucks...we just have our drivers reload themselves....
     
  6. Bigplower

    Bigplower Member
    Messages: 52

    what if the loader doesn't have a scale... i mean thats a couple thousand dollar option...
    need something simpler
     
  7. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,172

    As I recall, there is a yard South of me (Waukesha area) about 45 minutes that does this exact thing. I believe they set-up a HUGE cover-all building & hold a few thousand tons of salt. I'm sure they're charging quite a bit more than what you can buy bulk for yourself, but they are always open during storms to load. For most small to mid-size operations, the cost savings in not having to store & load bulk has to be huge. Honestly, I don't think that many people even have the property to store enough bulk, driving them to bagged salt.

    I'll see if I can find more info on the set-up, someone on here knows more about this place than I do I'm sure.
     
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,853

    Yah, it's called overhead, or

    cost of doing business.

    That way everyone is happy, the customer is getting what they are paying for, you're charging for what you bought, etc. No arguing about was that 1 yd or 1.5 yds.

    I'd think a loader mounted scale would be cheaper than a truck scale.

    But if you want to do it cheap, go ahead. You asked for opinions.
     
  9. Bigplower

    Bigplower Member
    Messages: 52

    Ya... i mean this year i need the salt bin for myself anyways so i thought about selling it. Eventually i'd like to be able to have someone there all night long. I doubt i will get enough customers to do that this year, but if i know 3-4 small companies that would be interested i could see how things go... the biggest thing is figuring out how to have an accurate way sell it. We have a 7,000 lbs digit scale, but it is only about 4' by 5', not enough room to drive on, and if you set the bucket on the scale all the salt would fall out...
     
  10. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    Superior landscape supply.....they have a massive coverall building with salt, i know last year they were charging 15-20 dollars more per ton than were buying it for, They have a scale. They don't do snowplowing themselves, so they can concentrate on their salt sales in the winter time.

    http://www.superiorlandscapewi.com/Salt.htm
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2009
  11. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,172

    I figured if anyone would know about the place, it would be you. Thanks for posting the link (so I don't look like an idiot 'cause I couldn't find them!) :salute:

    The $15-20 per ton seems extremely cheap for the small to middle sized co. when considering the overhead involved, & ensuing DNR issues.
     
  12. Bigplower

    Bigplower Member
    Messages: 52

    thanks for all the input!
    anyone know of a good place to get a scale for a skid steer?
     
  13. pasto_guy

    pasto_guy Member
    Messages: 48

    Just an idea but I may be way off here. Take your truck to a scale and weigh empty. Then use your skid to get one full scoop in the back and go weigh again. There is how much one bucket full will cost. Then have a minimum load of one bucket. That way if you do this when the salt is dry you have an accurate figure. When the salt is wet people will think they are getting more than what they pay for. As far as the scale goes try your local quarry or waste management site. Good luck. We too are trying to sell to other contractors this year but we have to do bags. I'm actually thinking of getting a bagging machine and ordering the salt in bulk. There are very few here that want bulk guess they stick to what they know.
     
  14. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,039

    Of the 5 locations that sell salt in our area 4 sell by the yard and the other sells by the ton. Everyone in the area knows who loads heavy and who skimps on the bucket. The guy that sells by the ton says "you pay for what you get with me and who knows what you get from them" the problem is he is $30 more per ton :dizzy:
     
  15. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,039

    We thought about selling liquid deicer last year since no one sold it in our area. But......we are landscapers not retailers :salute:
     
  16. Bigplower

    Bigplower Member
    Messages: 52

    what are they charging for salt? so i can get some ideas.
     
  17. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,039

    last year it was $125-$160.00
     
  18. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    It's just like any other business. You have to evaluate all the factors
    Demand
    Competition
    Income potential
    Staff requirements
    Startup expenses
    Advertising

    Think it through, on paper. It sounds like a great idea to me. If you are going to be 24 hours during the storm, does it make sense to have a guy sitting around in case someone comes by rather than plowing in a truck making money? Maybe to start, you have certain hours you are "open". After supper for an hour or two, midnight, 5 am.

    What can you buy it for bulk, what can you sell it for? You probably can get a premium if you have a good location, and offer good hours.

    A scale is expensive, but the way to go probably. If I sold by volume, measuring by eye, I would be overfilling, just to be sure. I would lose my shirt.

    Another consideration is to set up some sort of barrels/hoppers, etc that are prefilled with a given volume. Pick it up, dump it in. It would be faster, and would probably come off as the fairest value to the purchaser. I know we've all left the scales thinking "that sure doesn't feel like a ton and a half" The big fishing boats up here use "totes" for bait. They're about a yard. Pick them up with a forklift, the forks are on a turntable to dump them in.
     
  19. Bigplower

    Bigplower Member
    Messages: 52

    and that is per yard?
    what did YOU figure a yard weighs?
     
  20. Bigplower

    Bigplower Member
    Messages: 52

    this year i just want to do it as a small side thing... like at most 5 or so regular customers just to see how it goes... but i think long term a scale is necessary. Thanks for all the help tho!