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Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Kamtrey, Jun 3, 2001.

  1. Kamtrey

    Kamtrey Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    How to bid A one acre lot for the year?
  2. Mick

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

    Kamtrey, welcome to PlowSite. Saw your post on LawnSite and that 1MajorTom suggested posting it here. There's a lot to consider here. To start, what kind of lot is it and what kind of equipment do you have? I doubt anybody is going to give you a dollar amount, but there a couple of guys on here from your area that will likely help out.

    Good luck and I'll check back in awhile,
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2001
  3. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    How long will it take you to plow it with your equipment? How much do you want/need to charge per hour. I don't see how anybody can help you without actually seeing the site. There are too many variables that will affect the time it takes. Extremes would be two lots of exact same footage, one a wide open block with plenty of room to push off and the other with loading docks, islands and only one place to take snow off. One is a cinch, the other the plow job from hell. If you can't recruit an experienced plower to help you figure it out you give it your best shot and hope you're not too far out of line. If you come up short you'll know better next year. Sorry to sound brutal but that's how it's done.
  4. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    I agree with the above posts. Its difficult to know what to tell you with out further information.

    You tell us its an acre sized lot. Is it a medical building, store, office building, etc.? What hours are they open? Does anyone use the lot after hours? Is there a loading dock?

    Do you have any experience plowing? what kind of equipment are you going to be using? Are sidewalks involved? Will you be applying sand/salt mix, or straight salt?

    There are alot of parameters to identify. Once you identify them, you need to know what YOUR Operating costs are? Do your ALL your overhead costs average out to $30.00 per/truck hour or $125.00 per/truck hour?
    What will your market bear?

    I talked to people from all over the country this past week at the SIMA Symposium in Denver. Some people in more rural parts of the country can only get $10.00 or $20.00 for a driveway that I am able to charge $100.00 per push for in my market.

    So you can see that the variables are great. Hope this helps, its the best I can do, given the information you have given us so far.

    Last edited: Jun 13, 2001

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    To give you an idea of where to start, no matter the market in your area, you will need to run through the job in your mind, maybe even on site with your truck, to get as accurate of an estimate for time as you can.

    If you come up with a close estimate of your time investment per average plow, half your battle is done. That is my toughest part. Of course a two inch snow is much different than a six incher, but get a good average in your mind. Then figure out what their trigger depth will be. Here, a one inch trigger will get you out plowing about three times as often as a two or three inch trigger depth. We get lots of light 1/2 to 1 inch lake effect snows.

    Now you take your average time per plow, times the average number of snow events at your trigger depth, and you have a rough estimate of average seasonal time involved.

    My market is saturated with plowers, but I bid around $125 per hour and stick to my guns. I seem to be high usually, but I get plenty of jobs.

    So, for my only lot I can compare it with, that size takes me about three truck hours on average, multiplied by 15 plowings on a 2 inch trigger, multiplied by $125 per hour gives me a seasonal rate of $5,600. That is very high for my area when viewed as a seasonal rate, so I may present it as a per push, billed monthly. Or I give them a 10 percent early pay incentive by November 1 for full payment.

    This works for me, and I get some people who don't bat an eye at my prices, and some who out and out laugh at me. But I'd rather work at the upper end of the scale than the lower, so I just put more bids out. Its not an exact science, and you will learn as you go.

    Salting and sanding is a whole other story, and one I am also trying to get a handle on, but since you didn't ask about them, I assume you will only plow.

    Keep asking lots of questions here, these guys are the best there is. They have helped me more than you can imagine.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2001
  6. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    One acre an hour

    One Acre an Hour....

    That is the average I have heard bantered about from time to time.
    1 acre = 43,560 sq. ft (approximately a lot 209 ft by 209 ft)

    Of course, this figure is usually based on a 1 to 3 or 2 to 4 inch accumulation in an empty , open lot. (depending on your trigger)
    While it doesn't make sense to propose a figure for a worst case scenario (like a blizzard) you need to cover your costs and your a**, so I always try to set my price high enough to cover my costs and my A** just in case. $125.00 an hour for a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton 4WD truck with plow sounds about right for some markets, but other markets will be lucky to get $60 or $70 and hour for the same size truck.

    If you have to plow around islands and parked cars, or you have a heavier accumulation, you will need to adjust accordingly. I always give myself a cushion of sorts... if i think it will take an hour to plow an empty lot in a 1-4" storm, I may price it out at an hour and a half just to make sure I am covered. Now in a heavier or longer storm you may need additional trucks or a loader with a snow pusher for large accumulations. Its a hard thing to figure if you have never plowed before, but if you have done a fair amount of plowing, you too can figure it out in the long run.

    My suggestion is to look at some of the sample contracts here at the SIMA page, and see how they set up there rates... Most guys won't tell you the exact price they charge, but they will give you a range of accumulations and the premiums they charge for higher than average snow accumulations.

    Keep asking questions, its the only way to learn!
  7. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Also think about your climate.

    Up here in Maine, we do not get as much melting as some of the southern states in the snowbelt. So we figure on an average of 3 or 4 loader visists to any lot a year. Some lots the larger ones have a loader onsite, or one comes every storm. This past winter we had very little snow melt, so most places had a loader visit at least once a month. One lot had a loader stack snow 22 times this season.

    In our contract we state that due to the high cost of loader work, we will include X amount of visits a season, each adition visit is at X and hour. Snow hauling is billed out by the hour at all jobs.

  8. Mick

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

    Kamtrey, it's been two weeks since you posed this question. From your profile, I see that this has been your only post. Several have answered in general terms and have asked you for more information. If you're still around, how about letting us know a little more?