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Apartment bid help

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by orinicklawncare, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    I am bidding on the snow and ice removal on this complex. I will use 2 bobcats and one truck. I have never bid a seasonal, all of my properties are per push. Any input is greatly appreciated.

  2. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    Also, I have been tossing around the idea of switching to liquid. A few of my properties I believe it would benefit immensely. Has any one made the switch?
  3. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    You start using liquid when you do seasonals.. Saves on material..

    I haven't taken on a seasonal yet..

    I would think 1 loader and truck would be plenty.. We do a lot of complexes.. V plows are the best piece of equipment for them
  4. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    Flawless, Do you mind if I pm you with a few questions?
  5. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    Figure out how long it will take you to plow a 1-3" storm. Don't forget where are you going to put the snow based on the plan with the owner. Can you do what is expected?Take your hours multiply that by the hourly rate you need to make. This gives you a starting price. For seasonal from there everyone takes different paths.
    But first what type of service is needed?
    Do you need to plow the whole site every few inches?
    just drivelanes here and there?
    Nothing during storms?
    Do you come back to clean where cars were located?
    Do you do walks? If so how often?
    Do you include salt? If so when do you apply it?
    It would be impossible for anyone to quote this with out alot of info. Multifamily I believe is always the hardest to come up with a seasonal price. You will never have access to a clear site like you would in a commercial building. That is going to add time. It's up to you to decide how much.
  6. ANA Proscapes

    ANA Proscapes Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 109

    With out giving us the specs it's hard for us to steer you in the rite direction.

    I would use 2 skids and a loader if you get it. Looks like there's a lot of long pushes and concrete curbing all the way around the place. The real problem I see is all the walkways. IMO the walks are gonna be a pain.
  7. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,919

    If you know how to price for a per push price, I don't see why you can't price seasonally.

    You know how long it takes you to service the site per push, and how much salt it takes per application. I'm assuming bidding a property like this you've been in it for a few years, long enough to have an average snowfall history for your specific area, and how many plowing and salting runs you average per season.

    I despise seasonal work in southern OH, never know how the winter will be. So those properties that ask for seasonal, I figure a per push price, and per application price for salt, then multiply out for the total for the season. Then I add in a cushion to cover just in case years. Normally after they see pricing side by side, we go per push due to our iffy winters on the average.

    That's how I do it, and I try to make the numbers sway toward going per push because I feel the margins are lower in seasonal, at least for us.

    ADDING THIS on edit:

    Not sure about your average snow, but most likely I'd have 1 skid full time, 1 skid available for part of the service, and 1 truck on that site, if it were where I'm at in snow. The trick for this one, at least for us, would be not letting snow get built up past the trigger.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  8. tpendagast

    tpendagast Member
    Messages: 53

    depends on skidsteer size...if you have something like an s300 it would be better in my opinion, than a loader.

    Residentials are tight an parking is always more than anticipated (where did theses 20 extra cars come from?)

    Visibility is worse on a loader.

    Where is your snow storage, it does look like there could be a lot of carrying snow here, which will waste a lot of time.

    IF it were me, a pre wetted salt (like magic) would be key here... I would pre apply, apply, reapply... I wouldnt even push anything under 3 inches... just melt it. you will save/make more that way.

    also: they clearly have already had it done... tell them you have some experimental systems/ways of operating that lends themselves perfectly to this kind of property, and you are certain you can come in under budget, but you need to know what their budget is, so you know which combination of systems to apply to make their budget work. You're not here to contend against other contractors, you are here to exceed your customers expectations and come in under budget... so a little help from them is crucial.

    From there, work backwards from the budget to assign the combo of equipment systems, until it works like gang busters. Come back to them with a number that is 5% under the number they gave you.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  9. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 594

    "we really cant pay more than 5k seasonally, salt and walks included." what you mention is a great idea, but they will never be honest with you if you ask them a question like that. they will probably say something way under the actual budged
  10. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    Walk ways are handled by them thank the lord. Some of the problems would be pile placement, I have also tossed around the idea of taking my tractor over with front and rear blade. I am convinced that I will be switching to liquid which would help me on material costs and use the students cars to help melt the parking spots. But if I do a seasonal, do you guys work on a clean up day following the storm? If so does that get factored into the price?
  11. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    Thanks, I think it would benefit them to a per push as well. I would much rather have it due to the spastic weather we have here. I bought my last mower In Athens off of wake fields. He's a great old guy!
  12. tpendagast

    tpendagast Member
    Messages: 53

    If that's the case, then you don't want the job.

    IF they are telling you 5k for a place like that, you give can simply tell them "this is what 5k can get you" I can do it for $4750, to save you 250...but this is the limit...anything more will cost more.... it's that simple.

    If they are cheap and they lie, is there any wonder why they are looking for a new contractor?

    if they tell you 5k and you KNOW your number is over that, is there any point in submitting a number then?

    Ive had all sorts of people tell me reasonable budgets they have to work with (including the federal government), it's called doing sales.

    you either have a service and a solution to their problems they really want... in which case you are helping them work with in their budget,


    they are cheap and dishonest and you might not get paid anyway, in which case... no matter what their answer is, it helps you make a decision.

    You can simply ask them, "$5000? so that is what you were paying the last guy?"

    Simply put, if they dont have the budget... they aren't a customer you want... you will go all hell on wells and get stiffed come payday.

    Generally, on a seasonal fixed price... If I stage equipment and/or materials on sight, I'm expecting the first installment immediately, I don't run a savings and loan office. Equipment is allocated and mobilized, we are ready to work... payment please.

    No pay...no plow.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  13. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    I wouldn't let me equipment leave the shop for 5k for the season. I know just by riding around theres at least 2-2.5 tons of salt.
  14. tpendagast

    tpendagast Member
    Messages: 53

    Generally, I dont charge extra for clean up... I use it for QC/complaint control....after the storm once Im rested up, Im going to be out looking at my places anyway... so dropping the blade here and there or dragging out a vacant few parking spots is no biggie...

    Generally tho, I prefer to bring a rig with a sander on it as well... and if I need to make spot applications, I have a preauthorization clause in my contracts, allowing me to apply up to X as needed... so if I find icy spots, or troublesome corners etc... I spot them and write up the charge for billing later... catching crumbs or pushing corners with the blade is a gimme.
  15. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    Around here we average around 30" a year.
  16. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 944

    Over how many events?
  17. tpendagast

    tpendagast Member
    Messages: 53

    if you're like most places, around 20% of that 30" will be less than 1" (no trigger) events.

    so those would be salt or brine applications.

    another 25% will be 2" triggers that could still be melted off (higher rate or possibly double triple applications)

    so 45% of that annual snow fall will never see a blade dropped.

    so you're looking at actually plowing 16.5 inches.

    Like to come in 3-4" events.... or possibly the one 8 incher and a few 4 inchers.

    so figure out what your application cost is... figure out events...add 12% for spot apps.

    Then figure 4 four inch events...and done! there is your price!

    put a clause in that your seasonal price is based on 30" and anything more than 40" of snow fall will be charged an additional X per push.

    Include that salting is part of the contract, melt offs and freeze thaw call outs for additional salting, outside of a precipitation event, will be charged as extra over and above monthly....

    that should get your set.
  18. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    Many thanks!
  19. orinicklawncare

    orinicklawncare Member
    Messages: 51

    So figure in roughly 12 salt only trips, do I include the pre apply of salt or brine into those? Or is that an add on? and 6 ish plowing events with salting.
  20. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    What is the scope of work for the site? They had to give you something to start with.
    Most of what people are suggesting is just ideas on how to do it. If it doesn't match what is expected it is no help.
    Figure out what is expected of you.
    When do they want you to plow? after 1" 2" 3" zero tolerance?
    How are all the parking spots handled? Drivelanes during a snow event and parking spots a day after?
    How do they want the pricing? all inclusive? 1 Price no matter how much you plow, salt, push back? Or can some of this be billed hourly. T&M, or per time?

    Look up the weather history for your area. You will be able to get an average breakdown of storm totals to get you to your 30" average. This will help with deciding how many times to service.