1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Bidding Help

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Zodiac, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. Zodiac

    Zodiac Member
    Messages: 76

    I'm not looking for prices or anything on something, I made this thread because I have a few questions.

    First, "stacking" what exactly is meant by this term?

    From my understanding, stacking is like, if you have several lots in the same location, you can charge less because you'll already be out there.

    Second, I see lots of posts asking for prices of lots or driveways or something.

    Keep in mind I don't do this as a professional, strickly as a side job, and only because I have fun doing it. The minute I don't have fun, I'mma sell the truck and stop.

    But here's my idea...

    Everyone wants prices on the lots they want to bid on, and that's fine. I come up with my bids by several factors.

    Size of the lot, obstructions, location, and triggers.

    I have a total of THREE, you heard me, THREE commercial lots. And a handful of driveways.

    All three of my commercial lots are actually owned by the same guy. And they are spread throughout the city, and all three are gas stations. So they have pumps in the way, and what not, so sometimes they aren't straight pushes, lots of backing and what not, and it takes more time.

    They are all about the same size, I'd say pretty small for a gas station, each has 6-8 pumps on 3-4 islands.

    I can do each lot in one hour, that includes drive time to each one. And sometimes I pay my cousin to do the work for me, at $15 an hour. So immediately, that's $15 off the top. Plus fuel, which LAST YEAR could run me anywhere from $20 an hour to $35 an hour. Obviously when I'm not driving to the location, and moving snow around, it costs more and uses more.

    So we're at about $50 an hour.

    I did NOT have a salter last year, so I did not salt. And I do not do sidewalks or walkways, so there is no getting out of the truck.

    I charged him $150 for four inches of snow removal, and then up $50 every four inches after that.

    So eight inches was $200.

    If I plowed four inches, and then the lake effect snow hit, and he wanted me to come back and more four more inches, it was $300.

    For that $150 for four inches, I only plow once. I actually got into an argument with the guy about this before, because he said I never plowed, AFTER the lake effect hit. Which was true, I only do it once, if more snow falls, gimme a call, I'll clean it up, but I've got to get paid.

    Now, to be honest, I have NO idea what anyone else charges for this stuff. I know two guys who also own plows and plow in the area, but both of them subcontract, at the rate of $45 an hour.

    I did that for two weeks, and I quickly realized I wasn't making any money.

    So I started bidding, and ended up (from what I'm told) being cheaper, and since I don't have lots of contracts, I can be out there in fifteen minutes, if need be.

    Now, my other question is this, am I doing this right?

    I now have a salter, and fuel prices are going up... So I realize I might have to adjust things a bit. But am I atleast on the right track?

    Am I going about things right when I figure out what it costs me to run my truck for an hour, then charge a little more for profit?

    I do driveways for $30. It takes me about fifteen minutes. So that's like $120 an hour. A commercial lot with the same snow level, runs at $150 an hour. So I realize that's pretty similar, but rarely do I hit four driveways in an hour, with drive time.
  2. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    The term "stacking" simply means pushing snow into piles. As easy as it sounds there's a little bit of an art form to it. Knowing how to stack is important because if the property has limited space you'll need to get the piles as high as possible.

    I'll let someone else comment on your prices because we're in two totally different markets.
  3. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    ummm, yeah :dizzy:

    Ok like said above, stacking is ur abblity to push the snow in to a "tall" pile, so it doesnt take up space, or it might just be refuring to the place that the cusotmer allows you to put the snow piles, as this might be in there specs

    #2 , pricing., ummm ur close, $150 per hour might be high, but if ur getting the work , u tell me

    #3 drive ways, ur low, keep going up $40 is about right with out shoveling for a 2 car small drive

    #4 salting well that is a whole nother deal, and ur just gonna have to figur out alot

    #5 sounds like u need some better understanding of ur contracts, if u have some
    If u charge per inch, then the customer should have paid you $300

    If u charge per Push , well u only plowed 1 time then u should only get paid for one time,

    you cant have it both ways and neither can ur customer normally, the key is to have a balance of accounds, some that pay per inch, some that pay per push, and some that pay a fixed seasonal rate
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Well, I don't know what your town is like. It just seems like your driving more then your plowing. In your 3 hrs of plowing I can do 10 of my lots in the same amount of time. I don't shovel anything or salt.Yes plowing does involve backing up and you should make the people wait for you to plow not you sitting waiting for them.As for pricing I do only seasonal but I base my price on 25 plows for the season.
  5. Zodiac

    Zodiac Member
    Messages: 76

    Alright, stacking, make sense.

    I don't really have a problem with that, even this past year I just pushed everything as far back as I could, because I wasn't sure what kind of snow fall we would have later in the year.

    I have seen some guys that just leave it right on the curb or somewhere else, and then later in the season they struggle to find room to put more snow.
  6. Zodiac

    Zodiac Member
    Messages: 76

    I thought $150 was high, but it seems to be working for the three small accounts I have, I don't think I'll mess with anything there until it gets closer to snow time.

    I'm just worried because I'm getting my truck and equipment ready now, instead of last minute.

    I thought $30 was good for driveways, but again, with fuel prices the way they are, I'll prolly go to $40.

    The per push per inch thing, I guess I explained it wrong.

    I understand what you're saying, and all my contracts are the same. I only do per push, for the most part. I went with this because it's not uncommon to have lake effect snow, and I know one guy that has several (i have no idea how many) accounts where he agreed to keep the lots clean. I do know he makes a lot of money on these, but he also has the flexibility with his "real" job to take off whenever he wants.

    I don't have that flexibility all the time. So when we have a big snow, I either go out before, or after work. But there has been times where I take off in the middle of the day to clear lots.

    Salting is the thing that really scares me. Until I have a chance to really use my salter, I don't know how much salt I'll really go though, or the cost of it either.
  7. Zodiac

    Zodiac Member
    Messages: 76

    I believe your right, I do think I am driving more than plowing. The three gas stations I do, are for the most part, on opposite sides of town.

    The only thing I've got going for me is the fact that I have driveways on both sides of town, so I've got to be there regardless. The other nice thing is the driveways are in nice areas, so USUALLY but not all the time, I get someone to flag me down, and I can make a few extra bucks there.

    I do have an account with a local realty company, they pay me to go and do all their driveways on the for sale houses they have.

    I love this account because I get to drive around nice areas, and usually get flagged down by a homeowner who doesn't want to do their own driveway. And they don't care when I do them, but they better be done by Saturday, for their Sunday open houses.

    But I have to agree with you, I think this year I need to keep better track of my mileage to really understand what's going on here. It did seem like quite a bit of driving last year. But then again, with the snowfall we had, it seemed like I lived in that truck.

    I just hope we have a similar year this year.