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What did I do?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Nebraska, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. Nebraska

    Nebraska Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 32

    This is the first year that we have a spreader; 8Ft Vbox.

    We plowed our lots just as usual. We then came in and put down salt/sand mix after the plowing (if it matters it's a 20% by volume mix). This was all done by 6:30AM.

    I drive by the lots to check out how they look about 3:00 in the afternoon and to my amazement they are completly clean and DRY. I mention this because the other lots in the area are clean yet wet. WHY were my lots clean and DRY yet all the other lots around each one of these properties WET? If anyone has the answer I would greatly appreciate it. Whatever I did I want to replicate again! If it matters the lots we do are concrete as well as the comparison lots that were wet. They were dry on all sides N,S,E,W while the other lots that others did were wet (soon to be frozen) on all sides.

    Being it's the first year I am told by others that if you put down 1 ton of salt/sand charge 2 tons? Seems kind of steep in that we price this at $95 per Ton with a 1 ton minimum; which leaves a place that takes 1 ton at $190 with a cost of material at $36 for mix?

    Thanks for you input!
     
  2. Mick

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

    As for clean and dry vs clean and wet, could you have a higher concentration of salt than the others? or you plowed and sanded earlier than the others, letting the sun dry the surface longer?

    As for charging two tons when you spread one ton - I'm missing something, I think. I don't think you should be charging for service you didn't provide (the second ton). You're apparently already charging a profit margin ($95 to spread $36 worth of material). Perhaps you're misunderstanding when they say to charge twice your cost (ie: $72 to spread a ton, but you've already covered that with $95/ton).

    My advice is to set the per ton price to allow for sometimes spreading more than actual (ie: 2100 lbs) which you have, then charge to the nearest half ton.
     
  3. Nebraska

    Nebraska Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 32

    They are saying that they are charging a 1 ton minimum for smaller properties. For larger properties they are billing them for 2x the amount of product actually put down with a 1 ton minimum; for example 1 ton spread they are charging for 2 tons. It's bordering on collusion with the rate out here...call almost anyone and they will tell you $95 a ton... Two guys say "that's the way it is done here". I just would feel like I am taking them to the cleaners!.

    As far as the lots that were dry versus the ones wet...they were plowed within the same time frame. Everything seems equal i.e. plow, temp, sun, and layout.... Most everyone buys their salt / sand from the same place here too? Will this happen when you put down the correct amount and not skimp?
     
  4. Mick

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

    I got to thinking about my reply - re: charging to the nearest half-ton. I'd take that back and recommend you charge what you actually spread since, apparently, you weigh your truck or load at the beginning and after each job. I spread by the yard and when I've been to a place, I eyeball my load before and after each job. Then record the amount. Since my Vbox holds two yards, if the box is half empty (allowing for the sloping sides) then i've used one yard.

    For reference - in this area, salt is usually sold by the ton, sand by the yard. Mixed sand/salt by the yard since what people are buying is actually sanding - the salt is actually to keep the sand from clumping. Although, as you've noted, they get a definite benefit from the salt mix.
     
  5. Mick

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

    I was writing my second reply while you were, too. Yes, I think you hit on it. You're seeing the effects of doing a better job and not scrimping. Your customers will see it, too.:D
     
  6. Nebraska

    Nebraska Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 32

    Mick,

    My V box hold 2 yard too. It's just where we buy it they are calling each scoop (with the skid loader) 1/2 ton and billing us accordingly. I don't know how close the number are...will weigh on their scale next time I'm there. It's weird cause you buy the bucket for your loader based upon the size which they always state in yards of material...

    As far as the rate...I can not honestly bill someone $190 when I put down $36 of material in 10 minutes...or maybe I can? Will ask the owners of some of these properties how much they were paying in the past.

    Thanks Mick
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2002
  7. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    If you really want to knock their socks off, stop using sand. Then go to a fixed rate per application. Nobody has to know how much you put down as long as you get bare and dry pavement.

    As it is now, if you put down a ton of mix there are 400 lbs of salt in it mixed with 1600 lbs of dust/mud. Which somebody has to clean up in the spring,, whatever doesn't get tracked intot he buildings all winter, that is.

    There will be a learning curve until you learn how much material it takes under given conditions. But once you get it figured out you can have bare and dry as fast, with less material costs and way less application cost.

    As an example, I do a lot here that I figured 500 lbs per application. That's a maximum figure, so I'm covered as far as material goes. Most times I can apply 250-300 lbs and get good results, if it's really nasty I use the full amount, but that is rare.

    I use $200 per ton as an applied rate for bulk treated salt, so an application generates $50 in revenue. Nobody questions how much I put down, it was an "application", period. I have two trucks with spreaders, I usually put down an application early, before there's enough to plow. When we do plow, if there are spots where it's sticking I'll hit it with a quick shot, no charge.

    In long storms I may do two applications that are billed and a couple touch-ups which aren't. But I still never exceed the amount I've priced at.

    No hassles with estimating amounts every time. No debate about charges, the customer has already agreed to a rate. No dust storms and no mud tracking into the carpets. You can cover five times as much area between trips back to reload. Everybody comes out ahead.
     
  8. Nebraska

    Nebraska Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 32

    I must admit I am learning....

    I tried to sell them all salt and my largest account with 4 large properties did not want to go with it because he is afraid it will ruin the concrete. Help me understand how it will or will not ruin the concrete?
     
  9. ceaman

    ceaman Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Only over applying will ruin the concrete if it is cured properly.

    Use a treated salt that is concrete safe. Show him the benifits (safe on concrete, environment, with lower corrosion, and effective temperature) then show them the results.

    Treated salt will beat a salt sand mix every time!
     
  10. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    We don't use or offer sand/salt mix. We use 100% salt. Its amazing how little is needed. We can haul more salt than a salt/sand mix ( salt is lighter than sand ), we can get many more applications per load with just salt, and the customers like the fact that in the spring, a little rain washes away all the residue. No sand to sweep up.:drinkup:
     
  11. KatWalk

    KatWalk Member
    Messages: 83

    salt and sand

    Nebraska, the $95 per application has to cover way more than the $35 material cost. I feel that when I tie up a truck for the winter and am on call 24/7 that the customer has to pay the premium for this "sudden service" I am particular about my equipment and wash everything after storms including the inside of the spreader.....this all takes time that has to be made up somewhere. I used to have that same feeling of wow I am charging them alot until you put it into perspective of the one time slip and falll accident that costs them $10,000. A friend of mine is a plumber and I worked 3 days a week for him three winters ago.....we went on more than one occasion to replace rubber gaskets/washers on a kitchen sink.....in and out in 15 minutes....$75. Didn't have to go to the store, didn't send them a bill....rubber washer kit was about.75 cents No clean up, no tarping the load ....etc.
     
  12. Nebraska

    Nebraska Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 32

    To alleviate the problem we are just going to bid the salt and mix at a flat rate for the lot in a worst case scenerio. It ended working out fine with the customer; I just called and received the previous contractors agreement. From that we came to an agreement on what the rate would be. It comes out to be about $95 for a lot that takes at most a 1/4 ton.

    Katwalk....very particular about my equipment too.....the day or two following a storm we powerwash everything too; even lift out the spreader and get underneath.. I agree the cost for that has to be covered as well as the cost for the anxious waits, the cost for alarms going off at 2am to check the weather, etc
     
  13. KatWalk

    KatWalk Member
    Messages: 83

    Nice quote for $95 per application using 1/4 ton......Earlier Mick had mentioned that you shouldn't put down one ton and charge for two tons...I am in full agreement. In this area, the people at the supply yard would cringe if I pulled up and asked for a 1/4 ton of product. It doesn't take long to sit down and crunch the numbers to see if you are making money or you are just keeping your head above water. You seem to be alright!!!!! I love sanding....it is so much easier than plowing!!!
     
  14. Mick

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

    I agree fully, there is good money in sanding. Just too bad I can't get as much sanding as plowing:( .

    Glad to see it worked out, Nebraska. Everything above board, everybody's happy. Maybe you'll start a new trend with honesty and still get the same money.

    Word gets around:) .