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Snow Bidding

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by New School, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. New School

    New School Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Just got into commercial snow removal and im not sure hoe to go about bidding. should I go by the hour, or a flat rate per lot per every2in or what. Very currious to no! :help:
  2. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    Welcome New School.A fellow Hoosier at that.Maybe I shouldn't help you because your in my territory LOL Just kidding. I would base it on a 2 inch trigger (Start) and bid it 2-4 inch at a starting price and then say 75 dollars a inch every inch after the 75 is just a example.What area of Indy you from I am In Greenwood.If you got some lots you need help bidding send me a email or private message I would be glad to help you out.
    What are you using to plow?

    Take Crae
  3. New School

    New School Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Im from the northwest side of town. Are you Brad shafer. First class lawn and landscape
  4. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    No I am not Brad Shaffer.I know who they are though.I am a much smaller operation than first class.They got a nice outfit going on with alot of headaches that I here LOL

    RCGM =Roller's Complete Ground Maintenance
  5. Mick

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

    There are three main strategies to pricing - Per Push, Per Inch and Seasonal. All those are based on the “fourth” stategy - Per Hour.

    Per Push - I will charge you $xx each time I clear the snow from a given area.

    Per Inch - I will charge you based on the total number of inches that gets cleared from a particular area.

    Per Season - I will charge you $xx for pushing any amount of snow that falls during a particular time period (ie: Nov 1st to Apr 1st).

    Hourly - I will charge you $xx per hour for the period of time I spend plowing snow from a particular area.

    The most common strategy is a combination of Per Push and Per Inch. In this you will have a “trigger” or depth at which you begin plowing. Say your customer wants a 3” trigger. He is saying he can drive on anything under 3”. So, you wake up and find 3.5” in your driveway. Do you plow? What if the customer disputes that there was over 3”? Now with this strategy, you will most likely structure price increments - ie” with a 3” trigger, you would charge, say

    $30 - for 3” to 6”
    $45 - over 6” to 9”
    $60 - over 9” to 12”

    To cover your behind and to account for those perhaps rare instances of more than 12” snowfall, you could do something like “over 12” - $60, plus $1 an inch over 12”.

    Per inch - This is generally only used for accounts requiring a very high degree is service, such as where absolutely no accumulation is tolerated and involve anti-icing by using chemicals to melt falling snow. An airport might be an example. Here, you would rely on a third-party weather service to determine snowfall.

    Seasonal - Here you indicate a price (say $1,000) to provide service for the season. With this, you will want to have a contract that is very specific and to what services, when they will commence and what will entail added charges. Example - you determine the average snowfall for your area to be 50” per season and with a 3” trigger, you expect to have seven “events” per year. What happens if it snows 80” one season and requires ten pushes? What if you get seven 2” snowfalls back-to-back? For a Seasonal account, the best strategy is have a three- (or more) year contract. This way, you take advantage of the “law of averages”.

    Hourly - You will charge so much per hour for each piece of equipment used and different amounts for different sized equipment. This may include plow, pusher, dump truck, sander, loader etc.

    How much to charge in each of the above situations is determined by local custom. It’s been tried here on Plow Site before and the variance between areas was pretty surprising.

    I mostly use a variation of the Per Push / Per Inch and offer a price for plowing anything up to 12”.

    I hope this helps a little.
  6. snowblower

    snowblower Junior Member
    from 5
    Messages: 1

    technical difficulties

    Locally, most contractors bid by "the push" or by "the hour".
    The push theory is often like Mick's, it is 2-4", 4-6", etc.
    Hourly seems more appropriate to snow as some is wet and heavy, others dry and powder-like. My question is regardless of methods, how does one invoice a storm
    that last for 4-6 hours of light snow that accumilates, say.. 6 inches?
    If the trigger is 3", do you plow then, and two hours later plow again?
    are they charged for two (2) pushes of three inches, or one (1) push of
    six inches? or do you push once at the end of the storm for an invoice of one push, 4-6"?
  7. Mick

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

    Many ways. Some plow every time it hits the trigger. Some plow every 6-8 inches and some wait till it's over. Here's a method of invoicing that I use in all situations and seems to work: I bill based on how much snow falls in a 24 hour period - starting when snow starts. Say it starts snowing at 3PM and snows erratically through the evening. It hits the 3" trigger at 10PM. I decide to wait on some and plow others. At 5AM, I plow some but but wait for some businesses till closer to opening time. A couple of absentee residents I waited until it's over and pushed ten inches along with the ones I pushed at 10PM. Now, at 3PM the second day, I measure how much has fallen and start billing. It doesn't matter who got pushed when or how often, I got everybody plowed to meet their needs and I plowed xxx snow at each place. Obviously, if you have a big area, you'll have to get several measurements. You simply record the snowfall for each area or site. Now, 3PM the second day starts a new billing cycle. If you have "overlapping snowfall" from the first day that is actually plowed the second, it doesn't matter - it got plowed at some point. You just need to make this billing method clear to the customer when you start out. Once you get used to it, it will benefit both you and the customer. You will have flexibility in scheduling plowing based on your and the customer's needs.

    I do have one provision which applies to a situation where it doesn't snow enough at one time to meet the trigger, but several snows over any period with no melting in between. I had a customer who didn't want snow plowed unless it was five inches or so. I finally convinced him to a 3" trigger. Then we got five straight snows, all less than 3", but totaled something likes ten or twelve with minimal melting. I'd call him to explain what has happening to his driveway, but he insisted on driving on in to pack it down. So, by the time it snowed enough to hit the trigger, it was a mess. I got jacked sideways on a little incline using a 4wd one ton with a loaded Vbox and brand new studded snow tires. I was not happy. I didn't plow there after that winter. Now I have a provision that the trigger includes an accumulation of snow (fallen or drifted).