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Where Do I Begin

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by dreamscapelands, Jul 29, 2014.

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  1. dreamscapelands

    dreamscapelands Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Im from Wisconsin and have been running a successful lawn care and landscaping business for 3 years. I have also been snow blowing driveways for the past two years and have now made the dissension to upgrade my truck get a larger plow and do commercial lots I have already received multiple calls for quotes but I have no idea where to begin. I would prefer to do by the hour but have no idea what to competitively charge while at the same time making profit. What would you recommend for an hourly rate?
     
  2. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    Per hour rates are all over the place. The most I have been able to charge is $90. I do not like plowing by the hour. As of last year I have no hourly accounts, my hourly rate works out to $140 - $160 now. But I would not get any jobs if I bid it that way. What is the going rate in Fort Atkinson?
     
  3. dreamscapelands

    dreamscapelands Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I have done some research and gotten between 70 and 160 per hour
     
  4. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    Also with plowing by the hour, you will have clock watchers. I can plow two small commercial lots at $75 each in a little over an hour for 2 inches. About 40 min for an inch, but will get paid the same.
     
  5. Frank's

    Frank's Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Those prices sound pretty in line with local Wisconsin rates.

    I also agree that you will end up making more per hour if you charge a flat rate to plow, plus you won't have any arguments over charging for travel time, etc...

    Good Luck!
     
  6. dreamscapelands

    dreamscapelands Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    So how would I go about generating a flat rate also salting wise where do you get your salt because im having a tough time locating dealers.
     
  7. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    Bulk or Bag Salt?
    I just buy bags by the pallet because I do not have a place to store bulk salt. $15 a bag, I know that sounds high but I had to go get it, keep it in stock in the winter when no one has any and put it down.
     
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Most places you should be bidding by the push ,or when you get good you bid a seasonal price to them.
     
  9. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,496

    I agree with MaxwellP and Frank's, don't do by the Hr.

    Grandview, how "good" do you have to be to bid seasonal? And how do you know when it happens?
     
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Good enough not to lose money no matter how much snow you get,and its all a feeling and not bidding scared.
     
  11. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,530

    GV, please tell us when you had your magical moment. Was it something between the lines? Was in the handwriting? Did she have "seasonal" written on her head?
     
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Damn, hang on,MJD .you on here now?:rolleyes:
     
  13. dreamscapelands

    dreamscapelands Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    im in the same boat as you I dont have the ability to store bulk salt i will also be buying by the bag im just not sure where to go for it i found some companies that charge per pallet
     
  14. dreamscapelands

    dreamscapelands Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    How would you charge by the push
     
  15. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,402

    You hourly cost x how long it will take you x amount of trucks
     
  16. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    I have gotten the best price at Menards the last few years, I get it about now on sale. There is not a sale at this time. Last year I paid $3.59 per 50 lb bag.
     
  17. dreamscapelands

    dreamscapelands Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    How many pallets do you go through each year I have a 3 car garage and am able to dedicate one of those for salt
     
  18. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    2 pallets / 98 bags. Not that many most of my accounts do not like or want salt.

    I charge by the inch not per push.
    .5 to 3 $xxx
    3.1 to 6 $xxx
    6.1 to 9 $xxx
    over 9.1 add $90 per hr plus 6.1 to 9 inch rate.
    Salt is $xxx per time salted
     
  19. dreamscapelands

    dreamscapelands Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    how much do you charge to spread salt per bag
     
  20. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Figure how much time to do each job, and x that by $120 per hour. Minimum. My commercial accounts average $200 an hour when I divide my per push price by the time it takes.
    And if you have to guess how long it will take, add 15 minutes to it.
    I can do an acre per hour with my truck, but that is an acre of irregular space. An open easy push I could do in maybe 40 minutes.
    Also, do a tiered rate bid. X $ up to 3 inches, X from 3 to 6 inches, etc. A bid that makes money at 3" will not pay nearly as well when you plow 12 inches. This assumes you wait until the storm is over to plow.
    If you need to be there every 3", then no need for the tiered rates.