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Advice on bidding 3mile mountain road

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by J.R. Services, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    I have a chance to bid on a private road that goes up a mountain. And haven't really bid on a mountain road before and looking for some insight. The road is 3miles long, 16 feet wide, needs to be kept clear 24/7/365, never more than 1.5 inches on the road, it has a decent incline but nothing sevre. I had thought about purchasing an old state truck, but learned that the current service provider has just been using a 3/4 ton pickup, so I feel pretty confident my 1 ton can do, and I can always use chains if need be. I know salt is going to be my best friend. This is also a per year contract. So I'm looking to get any advice or tips that you all can give me. Thanks
  2. fairwaymowing

    fairwaymowing Member
    Messages: 90

    Seems like a cool job. I take it since you have a one ton you have a decent size plow (over 8'). If it were me, I would look at that job not as a 3 mile road, but a 6 lane mile road due to the fact that your gonna need to make at least 2 passes to clear the road with plow slanted. Most likely it's gonna take 4 passes to do a quality job unless you have a 10 footer. Anyways for plowing I've seen roadway plowing go between $100-$200 per lane mile.....for this I would suggest charging $150-$175 per lane mile since it is a mountain road. As far as salt, you can use anywhere between 400-700 pounds per lane mile and since it isn't flat, your prolly gonna wanna lay it down heavier. So again $150-$175 per lane mile on the salt......obviously only 6 lane miles with regards to salt. So if you get a 2 inch snow.....looking at a range between $1800-$2100 for plowing and salting.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    About right,at least 12 miles of plowing each time. And don't think your going to be plowing at 50mph either,so your going to have to spend some time there.And if it's a dirt/stone road that's not frozen ,its going to be messy,
  4. oneoldsap

    oneoldsap Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    Do you guys salt dirt roads ? Just asking , as that's unheard of around here !
  5. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    The road is paved. As far as estimating the plowing goes, I guess I have three options, 1) bid it by lane miles, which I think might put me out of being competitive, unless the per lane is a per event price 2) bid by square footage 3) approximate time, 4 passes on a 3 mile rd = 12mi @ 5mph is approximately 2.5+ hours, at an hourly rate of $200-250/hr = $500-$625/per push up to 2in. The kicker is nobody has any information on the number of events per year or the average snowfall because it's on the top of the tallest mountain in the county and gets weather that we dont get in the valley.

    As for salt, it could be classified as a single lane because its fairly narrow for being 2 lanes.

    Good tips, keep 'em coming - Thanks
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    250.00 an hr?
  7. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Think its too much? Too little? Its kind of a dangerous road and 20-25min from my house. So I'm not doing it unless its worth my time.

    Also, they provide two salt bins so that I can store salt, sand and gravel, and a parking lot to leave basically anything I want there camper, trucks, loaders, etc. There's more plowing at the top of mountain I'm just unsure of the road
  8. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    Great info fairway! Thanks, You taught me something today.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I would estimate in some plow markers for the edge of the road also. Sounds like there isn't any curbs, and Mountain road sounds like there is some steep drop offs.

    Also make sure you have a skid handy or at least a good tow truck company just in case.

  10. Bandit

    Bandit Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    Is the current/old provider still doing it and they are just looking for cheaper bids ?
    Or do they start there contract's on March 1st ?
  11. fairwaymowing

    fairwaymowing Member
    Messages: 90

    I agree with your idea that the salt can just be one application covering both lanes. But here's where the problem arrises. It's deff gonna take some time to make one pass along the 3 miles......30 mins prolly, then turn around and go back.....so that road is gonna be left untreated. That's not gonna be very good service in my opinion. Or your gonna salt on your first pass, then come back and plow the salt off the one side and not resalt? So Looking at 6 lane miles with salt when plowing....or if it's just icy and salt is all that is needed, than sure one pass, but you better believe your gonna be dumping considerable more to cover all 16 feet of roadway. As far as plowing goes.....around here in Upstate NY we don't do this 0-2, 2-4 inch BS that goes around and since this is a roadway your gonna have to be ready 24/7/365 and plow it every event so it's not gonna have more than and inch or two each time. So for that reason I'd be firm with the price. Your gonna wear your plow blade pretty quick plowing 12 miles an event. Your right though about being competitive with your prices for your area. Every area is different, and if you want the job you can't be absurd, but if your the best of the best, very reliable and honest, that comes with a price.....don't cheat yourself. Good luck lets keep this discussion going and please follow up with what happens since we are helping ya out!
  12. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    White Gardens - Definitely a good idea, yes there will be at least one bobcat on site and possibly a 4wd tractor.

    Bandit - The customer is happy with the current service but is required to bid it out

    Fairwaymowing - For salt I was thinking of doing this, pass 1 (up and down) plow and turn salt on low just to cover exposed pavement, and then on pass number 2 just plow to widen the road, then make one last pass down the middle with salt, covering the entire road with a light coating.

    This is also my first experience with bulk, I'm thinking a salt sand mix (which is what the current contractor is using) and then they also require anti-skid. But Im not clear on how/when you apply the anti skid. Do you mix it somehow with the salt/sand or apply it later?

    I had figured on between 3500-5100lbs of salt/sand for a healthy application

    For per lane mile pricing, your $100-$200/lane mile is per storm, without salt, for a pickup? or a dump truck with 10' blade?

    And how do you determine a yearly price for a road?
    Keep the tips coming, I will let everybody what the outcome is.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  13. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    It's about 2.5 acres to spread, so I would think 6000lbs on a heavy applications. Down to 3000 lbs on a light application.

  14. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Here's my math.

    3miles x 5,280 (ft per mi) = 15,840 linear feet x 16'w = 253,440 sq ft round to 255k sqft
    rate of 15-20lbs per 1k sq ft = 3,825lbs - 5100lbs
    as for lane miles I've seen anywhere from 250-700/mi on here = 1,500lbs - 4,200lbs

    btw there's 110k sqft of lot at the top, so that'll make it a little more worth it.
  15. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    J.R. Is that Sugarloaf Mountain in Frederick, MD? If it is, Fairway has your answer. I am familiar with that property and the management can be fussy. You will spend a lot of time there. $1800 - $2100 is where you need to be.
  16. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    lettuceman, its not sugarloaf mountain, although I will remember that, this is located in clearspring, close to whitetail but a littler higher in elevation, nice to have someone from around here chime in, the thing that is really kind of stumping me is how much to estimate on, I know most guys go 125% of avg snowfall, but since this is on the mountain they get weather that hagerstown doesn't, hagerstown comes in at an average of 25inches/year approximately 6 plows/year (2 over 2") and 8-9 salts. So I'm thinking 1.5x-2x hagerstowns average. Does this sound reasonable?
  17. fairwaymowing

    fairwaymowing Member
    Messages: 90

    So I take it they, and you want a seasonal contract rather than per trip. 95% of mine are seasonal and I prefer that. I would suggest coming up with a seasonal price (17k?) and dividing it into 5 monthly payments, Nov-March? Not sure if that works for MD......but you get the idea. BTW are the residents of this mountain road paying for your service? The town doesn't take care of the roads?

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    $1800-2100 PER TIME????? WOW I'll say it again, I NEED TO MOVE:dizzy:
  19. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Fairway - they are requesting a seasonal, which is kind of why I want this job, up until now everything I have is per visit, push, increamental etc... and its snowed twice this year. As for the owners, its not residential and its not public, that's all I can say.
    As for the yearly price, I'm interested in how you came up with that number (10/year, ?salts ?plows)

    Nicols Landsca - Yes we're higher but it hardly snows around here. Our yearly average is 25" most years its less than 10", but then every 5-10 years we get some monsters.

    Some more info if it helps anybody help me estimate.
    Elevation of the town: >600ft
    Elevation of the top of the road and parking lot: 2,000ft
    Average snowfall of the town: 25"
    Average snowfal of mountain: Unknown
    Average snows of town: 6
    Average pushes of town: 8
    Average salts of town: 8.5

    So my question is how much do you think the elevation will change precipitation?
    Again, thanks for all the tips and info, they are greatly apprieciated
  20. fairwaymowing

    fairwaymowing Member
    Messages: 90

    Thanks for the elevation figures......I actually tired to find some topographical maps of this area.....I have a geology degree, so I was gonna give you some insight to how I would look at the increase in events due to the higher elevation. I am assuming your season starts a littler later than ours and will end earlier than ours...with that and for example if it's a cold november or early december day (35 degrees) in town, up at the top (1500 ft higher for easy math) will be below 30 degrees. How I found that is called Lapse Rate. This is the decrease in temperature with increase in elevation. So you are gonna get freezing conditions and some sort of accumulation that your gonna need to take care of. Basically for every 1,000 ft of increased elevation it will be 3.5 degrees cooler......so an average difference of 5.25 degrees from the town to the top. Just note that this an approximate, and will vary a little with different atmospheric conditions. So to figure how many more events you will have will depend on how many days are in the low to mid 30s for your location. I mean, as you can see, your not gonna need a weather watcher up there telling you the conditions, but you are gonna have to stay on the ball with temp and precipitation constantly. Sorry for the long winded response, just trying to give you an idea of the difference. At my location right on Lake Ontario we are flat, and as you go south we get into the finger lake hills, and they get the first snow fall, the last, and the tiny amounts in between, that's it. During an area wide snowfall, they don't get any more accumulation do to being higher......hope this helps!!!