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Cell Tower Access Roads (Contract per Push)

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MGardner, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    I`ve been contacted by a firm that handles maint. of cell towers nation wide. Seems legit and have a contract proposal that explains details. Just curious if any others have previous experiances. 6" trigger and also emergency price when called out . My concern is it`s on a request basis only. Some of those towers have long access roads going back and if it lays there & freezes for 15 days THEN you as a contractor get called in it could be a problem . Or huge drifts that become frozen. They got me off the net doing a search , which is cool ,I`m just being cautious. If any professional operators can "enlighten" me on this it will be appeciated. Once again, I think it is perfectly legit, just haven`t had any "hands on" with anythign similar. Offering me 9 sites to be on call to, in my immediate area.:eek:
  2. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    You hit it right on already. They will call you when there is 6" compacted by truck traffic, on a gravel base. They will then expect you to plow up that 6" of hardpack. Sounds like a rough job. If these roads are paved, I'd consider it, but plan on having a loader available to do them if necessary. I don't think the company will pay more for a loader though... They are obviously cheapskates if they want a 6" trigger.

    You can also bet when they NEED access to a tower they will want the job done "yesterday". They also probably don't want you to use any salt...

    I would figure a loader and salt into that "emergency price". Read the specs and contract carefully. Then read it 10 more times carefully before you decide to commit.

  3. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    The firm has done an exellent job of providing detailed directions to find each tower. Snow removal required upon notification by the Co. that handles the maint. of towers.within 72 hrs. of cessation, which allows you to finish all priority accounts , in my case a supermarket (24) hr, two condo`s. an industrial plant , -2 gas sta. My thoughts are when everything is cleaned up I still have time to catch zzzz`s then if they call.........:head out in to the boonies and hit the towers.waving:
  4. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I have a friend who does a few, he says they are VERY lucrative; enough so that he travels 45 minutes to a couple. The terrain is pretty rough though, he drives to the sites and then chains up to plow. Most around here are on mountaintops with dirt "roads".
  5. a palustris

    a palustris Member
    Messages: 74

    I know somebody who only plows cell tower roads and a church, and thats about it. I think the only reason he plows the tower roads are because he has the contract to put the roads in anyways... I know from what I have been told that it is pretty rough plowing up those roads. They usually are **** roads, and go up steep inclines. These people have their own contract with the cell tower company... so they have their own deal.

    Steve.. this guy plows the road for the BIG tower off of 301 :eek:
  6. nben

    nben Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    Hello all. I have been a lurker to this site for a while now and figured I might as well register.

    We used to plow 14 cell tower sites in southern maine and newhampshire. Started out to be a great deal. The money was good, and they didn't have to be done for 72 hours after the storm. The last year that we did them (2000) we worked for a tower management company(we worked for the cell company direct before) and things changed. They were slow to pay (45-60 days), and questioned us on several storms that we plowed. The following year they changed their site requirements to a 8" trigger, and didn't want any work done without written approval everytime we were to plow. We were going to have to prove 8" accumulation by a local weather forcast before we were to ask for permission to plow. Most of the sites were along the coast and lots of storms here change to sleet/freezing rain before they finish. So if we got three 2 inch storms and then a 4 inch storm ending with freezing rain, we were going to have to plow all of the accumulation at once, but only after they said to go ahead. Bottom line is that is too much to plow through on a regular basis.

    I would be very careful on the wording of their bid requirements. I personally think that a 6" trigger is too much for some types of accumulation. I will say that the pay was very lucrative for us when we were working direct for the cell company, so if you feel comfortable with the terms, go for it.
  7. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    nben, Welcome to Plowsite!:drinkup:

    My friend was plowing for the phone company, which coincides with your report.

    I'll agree, you have to set this job up on your terms so you can work safely and not trash your equipment.
  8. SLC1

    SLC1 Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    I have never plowed any of the access roads but we do a lot of grounds maintenance for alot of the towers for one company, they are good to work for and good payers. My only concern would be that the roads are very rough and some are up pretty steep hills, if they didnt want you to come out until after 4" or more may be pretty tough getting up them, but I personally would go after the work, being that it is something to do a couple days after a storm and not any fussy work. Just Make sure that you run shoes on the plow and that you look at all the accounts first. Sounds like a good job to me. Just my two cents
  9. Five Star Lawn Care LLC

    Five Star Lawn Care LLC Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    Simalar situation

    We cut the Great Lakes Corprate Offices of a mojor cellular company and a couple of years ago i was approuched to bid on clearing the bush, weeds, debris and crap out from im and around the cell towers.... It was a frickn mess most of the towers had fencing around them and had massive amounts of brush inside... There was i belive 87 sites in all and they only took me to 4 of the sites and they wanted me to base my prices off that, and i would be given the other locations Upon signing the contracts. I had to decline on bidding for the simple reason that i had know idea what the other 83 sites were like and was not about to go into contract and start finding sites that twice the size as i had planned or twice as far.....Never even checked if anyone ever got the contract or if they just let it go...who knows

    Anyways i am not sure if that would be the type of plowing i would like to do out of the 4 i went to 2 of they had paved drives and the other 2 were in swamp counrty, some huge ruts from summer travel and nothing i would want to be 4x4ing in at 3am with a plow hanging off the front of my truck
  10. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Toured 6 sites today and most weren`t a problem as far as getting to them. Racked up 114 miles and one is a well traveled 650 ft lane going back to a huge tower. One dickens of an incline which wouldn`t be a prob unless it freezes up. I don`t want to get in the middle of a liability problem if services to cell customers suffer ......worst case senario snow atop freezing rain and their truck can`t make it back because I can`t get in. I`ve got a Lesco salt spreader mounted on hitch if need be but......Then one of them goes right by a farmers house and past his barn. Then there`s a hell of a hill the farmer told me his tractor won`t even tackle. He told me in the 4 years the tower has stood in his pasture they have never been back to plow it out. :waving:
  11. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    With a 6" trigger and 72 hours after the storm to get the work done it sounds to me like they don't visit there often themselves. I'd agree with Chuck that it's probably on a gravel base, but I wouldn't expect it to be driven on much before you get there. They probably have 4X4s themselves and they just want to be sure they don't get stuck or run off the road when they *do* need to get there. Which means they want *you* to be the one who risks getting stuck or running off the road.

    Sounds like a higher than average risk to you and your equipment. I'd really want to have a second truck along just in case something happens. Is there enough money there to make that a viable option?
  12. paul soccodato

    paul soccodato Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    with these roads not being a neccessity for 72 hours, it sounds like a good deal.
    gives you some work, after the event.

    definetly bring a buddy with another truck to get you out of a jam.
    i would chain up the truck, and go to it.
    if you have a skid loader or such, than it would be even better.

    although the truck (chained up) would probably get better grip
    also depends on what they want to pay.
  13. nben

    nben Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    All of the sites that we used to plow had propane powered back-up generators in the event of a power loss. Also, the cell companies (usually more than one per tower) had spare transmitting and receiving antennas mounted on the tower that could be remotely switched in case of a failure. Our contract had an "emergency response clause" that required a four hour response in case of an emergency. That only happened to us once in 4 years, and it was to a site that did not yet have a generator and they needed to get a trailer mounted one into the site to get the power up. You might want to ask if all of the sites have back-up power of some sort.

    Also, in our situation, one cell company owned the tower, and they leased tower space to most of the other area service providers (so there would be 3-4 other cell companies on one tower). I once heard from a technician that the renters had an access clause that allowed them to fine the site owners if they were unable to access the tower. I don't remember the exact amount, but I think it was around $1000 a day. The tech. went on to explain that to the cell companies, this was pocket change. Apparently one receiver is capable of like 10,000 calls at once. At $0.10 a minute.......well you do the math. There was never any mention of this fine from anyone who we worked for, but you may want to make sure that there won't be a penalty on your part if cannot meet their emergency requirements.

    On several occasions, we had to use a skidsteer to open up and push back a few of the roads. Most of them were on hills or in fields. We only did this by the hour. Too many variables for a flat rate. We would charge from when we left the shop to when we got back. Most of the time was road time, but they were willing to pay....!

    Like I said before, it was very lucrative for us. Just make sure that you feel comfortable with their terms before you commit. :waving:
  14. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Thanks to all,once again.:D I believe with the responses it will be proposal time . Hourly is what I want, whether they will be open to that way of billing is up in the air. I don`t think $65. hr. would be outrageous a big unionized company would get way more than that on service calls.
  15. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I think 65 an hour is low. 65 is what I would bid on the low side for an open paved lot.

    I would have a few hourly rates:

    80 for a 1 ton truck with plow
    110 for a skid steer
    150 for a Loader
    150 for a skid steer with a blower

    I think you need to cover those aspects with unpredictability of the locations and weather. Those sites are probably higher than surrounding terrain and experience more wind, hence more drifting. 65 an hour for truck that kind of work is on the borderline of being low.

    I would add 25% to those rates for an emergency.

  16. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I was thinking the same thing.$65/hr is pretty cheap.I've offroaded on some of those access roads,and had a hard time getting a truck in there,let alone plowing them.If your gonna have to plow up that kinda snow and hardpack,in those conditions,then price accordingly.Make sure they know what it's gonna cost if you need to bring in bigger equipment like chtucker stated above.You could easily lose your shirt on a job like that if your not careful.
  17. nben

    nben Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    65$ an hour might be a little cheap for this area. One thing to remember though is if the sites are spread out at all, quite a bit of the time you will spend on them is travel time. Not the same as going back and forth in a parking lot for 8 hours. Quite a bit less wear and tear, but probably harder on the front suspension. Not saying that you should charge less than normal to do the work, just a little added bonus:D
  18. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    That`s just it , there`s mostly travel time involved , I will give it a shot on the hourly thing but they want a per-push price along with an emergency price.