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Storage unit plowing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by chrissheerman, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. chrissheerman

    chrissheerman Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    hi everyone. I wanted to ask all of you. I'm looking at bidding on a storage unit lot. I've never bid on a comercial lot before and was woundering if you would recommend doing a per event bid or should I try seasonal bid ive never done a seasonal bid either.Is it more of a PITA to plow between those little buildings than I think it is? well if anyone can give some advice that will be great. Gonna take look at it tomorrow and try to figure out how long it should take to plow so I can come up with a idea of what to bid.
  2. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Honestly, I've bid 2 storage places and both were per hour. I had a storage unit at the one place so I knew how bad it drifted in many spots, then you have to deal with the occasional car, truck/trailer in the way and have to come back. In fact the one I rented from, sometimes the drifts would be as tall as the buildings and the entire row of units. Plus neither property had anywhere to put the damn snow so you were stuck driving around and around pushing the same piles of snow.
  3. NickT

    NickT Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    Depending how long the lanes are storage unit lots are very time consuming, lots of drifting snow coming off the roofs of the buildings,you have to keep windrowing the snow to the middle of the lane to get it to the end, that's something I would try to charge hourly for.
    very hard to judge if you ve never plowed one before.
  4. BPS#1

    BPS#1 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,395

    I haven't done storage units, but one of the local ones I've heard they tell their plow guy to windrow it in the middle of the lanes.
    And pile what gets down to the ends at the ends.
    They don't want to pay for pushing it all to the ends.
  5. DaveCN5

    DaveCN5 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    We do 95% commercial with 24/7 auto factories with loading docks and storage facilities. We do seasonal contracts for everything but the auto factories and storage facilities.

    My advice is #1 develop a good plan of attack! These types of accounts are easy to lose a lot time because of the numerous tight turns, long straights and typically few areas to stack snow. Get a good aerial view of the account from Google or Map Quest and try and develop a method that keeps the amount of time that you have to drive in reverse to a minimum. We make money driving forward and gain nothing from driving in reverse (unless you're back dragging).

    #2 is using the right equipment. We use a truck with a V plow and a skid steer with a 10' box plow. Let the machine do all the hard work and use the truck to tidy up and prepare for the machine.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  6. viper881

    viper881 Senior Member
    Messages: 450

    On storage places knowing what the customer wants is key. If they want you to be within 2 inches of the building boss blades are not good for this. Blizzards work the best becuase those wings will stick past your mirror so windowrowing is easier.
  7. nor'easter1

    nor'easter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 138

    I agree with all of the other posts. i have done many storage units in the past and they can be trying, and they usually if corporate owned can't spend a ton. One of the places I did in the past never wanted any type of ice control so i had them sign off on slip and fall cause it was a skating rink for sure. The good news is a storage facility is not busy during snow events at all. Again depending on the size you got to at least have a skid steer with pusher. Making runs down isles with plows will make you feel like you are getting no were fast, just burns a ton of fuel. i had several small unit rows that we just put snow blowers on and worked okay. They are a lot of work but not priority one say accounts because again most people do not visit there storage facility during a storm say like shopping malls or business parks so you got some time. All mine where done on an per inch scale with relocation of snow piles separate.
  8. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    Storage units are the biggest PITA! lol Half of my seasonal equipment and extra trucks have been stored at a storage unit though for over 8 years. I store my liquid tank in there during the winter...since my shop is about 45 mins away during the snowstorm compared to the storage which is 5 mins away.

    Being there isnt free.... I cut and plow for a discount on my bill. Cutting isnt bad its the plowing that is a PITA! For one thing they want ALL of the snow on one end of the facility.(farthest away obviously.)
    They also wanted me to shovel infront of every unit so the doors dont get frozen shut.....FOR FREE!
    I said (I quote) "OH HAIIIILLLL NO! Not for free" So i lost the Snow account 2 years ago.
    That year they were SOOOO angry with the new company slid into a fence, snow was piled randomly. They literally had to count on when i or my guys were going to come back because we always lower the plow to clean things up a bit. (its like plowing the street you live on)

    Ever since i have had the account! But i dont shovel infront of the units.
  9. NickT

    NickT Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    Any pics???
  10. mike thunder

    mike thunder Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Consider the grade of the roads there also. I take care of a few storage facilities and they have roads that are on a severe slope to the center to keep the water out of the units. My 10' box slides over top at the highest points and leaves a 3 in. deep portion in the center that has to be dealt with using a truck and 8' plow sliding up each side of the slope to scrape the snow out. As a result there is usually a small windrow left near the doors. Typically salt applied at a standard rate would burn most of it off, but most facilities i've dealt with don't like much salt because their customers complain of tracking it into their units, and the salt gets trapped underneath the corrugated walls of the buildings and rust forms. I have my guys run directly down the center of the aisle's with the spreader on it's lowest settings so salt doesn't get flung against the walls. It's usually enough to take the edge off.
  11. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    Good point. My storage (well the one i plow) Is like that too! You're right if i went straight down the middle in most places i would leave 3-4" of snow...
  12. viper881

    viper881 Senior Member
    Messages: 450

    Just remember come jan. the snow on the roof is going to plow off into the road. so one side will have 1 inch the other will have 12 inches on some events
  13. chrissheerman

    chrissheerman Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    hmm yeah I was thinkabout these posibly being a problem. I think you have all convinced me not to bother bidding on it because yes there is a timber fence around it and I never though about the roofs being a problem but thats a very good point. But another question I have is whats the best way you have all found to bill out a seasonal bid I would'nt think it would be a good idea to send a bill at the end of the year and I doubt people would want to pay the total cost in one shot at the start of the season.
  14. B.Bells

    B.Bells Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    monthly! spread over so many montyhs, is what i would do.
  15. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    Ask them how they want it. Then KEEP TRACK!!!!!!!!

    If they want a bill for 700 bucks every 3 months, then do it that way!
  16. chrissheerman

    chrissheerman Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    thanks to all
  17. BPS#1

    BPS#1 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,395

    The one that I deal with WANTS their snow windrowed to the center.
    I'm assuming to "save money" on plow fees.
  18. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    I guess that is one way until One it turns to ice. Two after the first couple storms its gotta go somewhere! i cant see that working out.... Is this the first year you are doing it this way?

    At mine we push all the snow towards the end of the property.
    THis way >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Then once the corner fills up we Bring the loader in and push the pile into the Man made lake. Or BIG POND! I dont say "lake" because otherwise i get calls from the DEQ of Michigan.

  19. BPS#1

    BPS#1 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,395

    I'm filling in for a friend the rest of this month.

    They aren't a new biz so I'm not sure what their thinking is.
    Thats how he said they want it.
  20. BPS#1

    BPS#1 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,395

    We "normally" don't get frequent enough storms to really worry about that.
    Unlike the lake states.