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charging for saltings on commercial lots

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by siteworkplus, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    Just wondering how the majority likes to bill for sand/saltings

    By the application or by the quantity?

    Just asking because I find that sometimes I have to treat certain areas multiple times during large events and per app would get overly expensive

    Not all events warrant the same quantity of product

    If by the app or by the quantity what do you feel is a fair mark-up for your product
  2. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    Flat fee per application. If I have to salt multiple times they get charged multiple times. Some times I use need more product and some time I need less. Know what it takes to do the job and bid accordingly.
  3. leigh

    leigh 2000 Club Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,342

    I charge per application. I don't have a scale on my sander. Not looking to get into argument as to whether I put 350lbs down or 325. What I do is sometimes if I salt multiple times is charge for a "light, med or heavy application. Sometimes your only putting it down in the drive lanes.Never had a complaint in 25 yrs.Sometimes I'll spot salt and won't even charge, still put it on the bill marked -spot salted N/C
  4. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    4 times. Don't forget, you have to buy the salt out of your own pocket first. If you're using bag salt, then you have to buy it, unload it at your shop, then load it on your truck, then pick it up again when you throw it in your hopper. then throw the bags away when you get back. If you buy bulk (and you should), then your initial costs are less, but then you have to pay larger amounts out of your own pocket when they deliver it, pay for your skid loader, store the salt, pay for a container or building to keep it out of the weather, then load it again when you put it into your hopper. Then you have to pay for your expensive salter, which also goes in the back of your expensive truck, which if it isn't rusted yet, it will be soon and will need replaced from all of the abuse.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  5. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    This same way I been doing it for 25+ years
  6. Moonlighter

    Moonlighter Senior Member
    Messages: 643

    Same for me, wouldn't do it any other way.
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I know its all about making money, I could never figure why you would salt while its snowing. If your plowing a place and it keeps snowing and you plow that lot 5 times during a storm ,why would you keep salting it? We would only salt after the final plowing was done.
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Less risk of hitting a car or something in high traffic lots.

  9. Rat_Power_78

    Rat_Power_78 Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    Wouldnt it be cheaper to slow down a bit?:D
  10. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    i agree with grandview about during heavy snow events with waiting to salt till the end of the event, I take care of a lot of facilities that have rehab/physical therapy centers in them and with that comes older people. Hence we salt all walks and drive lanes everytime we clean up the lot throughout the day. Makes life easier for us and allows us a little more time until we have to make a return trip.
  11. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    You have a similar situation as mine

    I totally get the in & out per app charge

    My specific situation is a 24/7 zero tolerance lot that requires constant maintenance hence the spot sand/saltings for safety

    Do you(Burkartsplow) charge per app or a set fee per event?

    I find I can spread anywhere from 3 to12 yds of product depending on the severity and/or length of the event (It's a big complex)

    Anybody else have a similar account?

    Still wondering about the avg mark-up on product people are using to stay competitive

    Not asking for trade secrets am I ?
  12. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    What is your mark up now?
  13. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

    as for salting after each plowing........also find that it increases my return time.....decreases the amount of snow I have to plow upon return and allows for a cleaner scrape. But then again......I only got to plow a single 1" snowfall this year........
  14. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    100%+/- includes all storage & handling

    Not enough?
  15. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Only you know if you're turning enough profit to make it worth your while.
    But to be blunt, I would be comfortable telling you no since you asked me. I know I've done a LOT of figuring on my salt charges this year. I switched over to liquid and thought it would be a good time to really break things down to see what my actual costs are since I haven't done that in a while. I figured out what my actual cost is and what my high profit number would be. I know I"ve broken it down to it costing me almost five cents a pound (a direct cost) to have a tri axle load of salt brought to me. If I only charged ten cents a pound (100% markup) , I figure that would barely, if even cover my handling and storage costs. For me, that would be a shipping container and a dedicated skid loader. Even though they are both paid in full (I buy with my money, not the banks) , you still have to figure in as if you were making payments, because at one point I DID pay for it or WILL be making future equipment replacement. I think a lot of people forget that part and only figure their ''direct costs'' and think the remainder as full profit. If I were to charge twenty cents a pound (which seems to be a number thrown around on this site), this would give me my profit numbers. I think a lot of guys quickly forget about those indirect costs that add up quickly, especially those small things. I forced myself to keep better track of these costs in order to better figure MY costs. IF you're doing things completely self employed, everything you purchase for work, needs to be paid for by your customers income and include a profit. Now if you're doing this part time, then that's a different story. But that's what I like to call leaving money on the table. So are you leaving money on the table?
  16. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Look around at just the things you purchase.

    A glass of Pepsi when you dine out. $2 bucks. Their cost ? I've been told under ten cents but that's been a while.

    Buy a draft beer at a bar. And here's one to think about. Not that I'm a big drinker, but if you go into a dive bar, a draft beer costs a $1.50. Go down the street to a nice restaurant and that same exact beer will cost $ 4 bucks. That beer was probably delivered by the same exact truck.

    Purchase clothes when the seasons change. The few remaining are marked down 50%. Do you really think they're taking a loss? So what does that tell you about their original markup?

    I just saw on the news today that fuel prices have raised every single day for the last 32 days straight. Do you think their costs to produce the fuel actually went up every day for a month? No, they're profit margins are way up now. Last years profits for them last year showed they were higher then ever.

    A buddy of mine used to own a pizza shop. He once told me it only costs a buck and some change in materials to make a pizza. They charged ten bucks a pie.

    You aren't working in the best of elements or the best hours of the day. Charge more and make more for what you do. It's hard work, get paid.
  17. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    On our residential properties its is all flat fee, most of our commercial properties are per ton however a few of the smaller ones are also flat fee per visit.
  18. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    Dodge Blizzard

    Thanks for your comments-food for thought (what are you doing up @ 2:30am?)

    Being in the excavation & material handling business during the "off months", 100% mark-up seems excessive (not to mention the governors cut in the Peoples Republic of MA)

    I know I'm comparing apples to hand grenades and all' but if I charged that kind of mark-up for loam or gravel I wouldn't't be in business long

    I know i'm operating in a somewhat "unorthodox" manner but this site is very unique in a number of ways

    the truck applying the sand/salt is "on the clock" for the entire event and I found it easier to pull out the product as a separate line item for billing purposes

    Doing it this way it seems I may be short changing myself judging by your comments

    I was trying to gauge myself in relation to an avg per app chg when spreading a 1/2 a hopper ld (3/4yd - 1yd) - ( this is for 1 bldg out of 5 that get serviced simultaneously but not identically--you starting to feel my pain?)

    After 24 to 36 hrs of pre-treating-spot safety apps- and final ice controls you can see where per app charges would get ridiculous and difficult to track

    Always a little nervous about raising prices in a down economy and giving low-ballers an opening but still want to be competitive without giving away the farm

    This is the part of business that gives my the most indigestion

    Thanks again for everyones 2 pennies
  19. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    Where are you at per ton and does that include the application--ballpark

    post 'No Comment' if you don't feel comfortable discussing prices-- all's good
  20. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526