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Checking my production rates

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Littlefield, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Littlefield

    Littlefield Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Just getting some time estimates together for some local lots and thought I'd run this by you all.

    Yes, I'm new at this, being as how we're down south, but I watched a lot of money get spent last week on backhoes to get our town cleared out, and can't help but think this would be a great supplement to my other business. Also, I'm from NY, and I love snow, and I'm dying to get some hours under my belt so I can help out on some storms up north.

    All that being said, I've got a Walmart that I've measured out at around 590,000 SF, and my spreadsheet I've written up is kicking out about 17 hours for a 2-4 inch snow. This is with a F250 super duty with a Snowdogg 8ft wideout. We rarely get over 4 inches, but I'd figure about 50% more time if we get 5-7 inches... I think this seems very high based on looking at the lot, but I'd rather figure high and stay home than go low and lose money....

    Am I close? Figure that each snow event is weeks apart, so there will always be an easy place to stack snow, and there will be NO cars out if three flakes have fallen.

    Thanks for any insight you may have.
  2. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    So let me get this correct, you want to do the entire 13+ acs with ONE 3/4 ton pickup? Stick to driveways.......Big lots equal big iron... 17 hours to do a retail lot is not acceptable
  3. Littlefield

    Littlefield Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Mick, I don't want to get sideways with you..... I see you are from Maine, my Mom and grandparents are too. Please keep in mind the question here. I'm near Atlanta, we get 3-5 snow events a year, but this year has been bad and snow has laid on the ground making a huge mess. The Walmart waited 3 days to start clearing the lot. Totally different world here.

    Again, the question was, is it really gonna take that long to clear that lot of 2-4 inches of snow? I can hear the chuckles from here, but just looking to plow according to what the folks here expect, not moving to Maine!
  4. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    They waited 3 days probably because the "contractor" USM hired to do this lot bolted with his 3/4 ton truck. BTW have you seen they're contract? Can you effectively run your business with everything you need to clear the snow for 45-60 or more days before you start receiving your first check? I'm just putting it out there plain and simple... you can't do a retail lot and have it take you 17 hours too complete... you have too much liability... besides your truck will run out of muster trying to windrow all that snow....
    Stick to smaller commercial jobs if you must (and theres NOTHING wrong with smaller lots) You'll end up making more that way then if you try to work for USM doing a lot such as wally world with one 3/4 ton truck.... but hey thats just my 2 cents ...do as you wish
  5. Littlefield

    Littlefield Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I understand Mick.

    I'm not new to business, just new to plowing. I'm pretty sure I recognized the guys with Bobcats as locals. You don't really think every Wally world in the US has a plowing contract, do you?

    Again, this is Atlanta, but I can feel your pain. I'll probably do just what you said and go after all the smaller places, but I have two other trucks I can set up and 5-10 friends with Bobcats I can get pusher boxes for, so if push comes to shove, I'll shove back.

    I built my other business from the ground up, with no loans from the bank, and I plan to do the same thing with this.

    Thanks for the realistic advice! I'll let you know how it goes.

    By the way, any idea how long it would take you and what equipment crew you would field for a lot this size?
  6. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    1 truck????? no way. A lot that size, a 2 inch snow fall would be too much for even a handful of p/u's. That snow is super wet and super heavy 99% of the time. You would be further ahead to secure the contracts and find someone with heavy equipment to sub it out to. We've had a very mild start to our season and 2 storms its all we could do with our loader and 2 trucks to keep up in a 8 acre lot. IMO, a lot that size with 4-6 inches of wet heavy snow would take you days to clear going 24/7 with a truck.
  7. blizzardsnow

    blizzardsnow Member
    Messages: 83

    No frickin way. 13 acres with 4 trucks is probably not a good idea. And from my experience don't count on that lot being empty, even if you live where snow isn't normal. If you think it'll take 17 hours in an EMPTY lot what happens when there's 40 cars sprinkled throughout the lot? Oh, and 17 hours would be a quick way to get fired. But, if u do get the contract start makin friends with a local contractor- get a couple of skids with pushers- you'll make a little $
  8. Littlefield

    Littlefield Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Mr. Young and Blizzard,

    Thanks for the help!! Really appreciate it. Just so happens, I am friend with lots of local contractors. Your idea about putting a group of subs together is just what I was thinking. Great to hear I'm on the right track.

    Just to clarify, Blizzard, I know 17 hrs isn't going to cut it. I was working purely from an estimating standpoint, ya know? Anytime I have a large job, or complicated job, I break it down into smaller parts, or figure how long for a small crew to do certain parts, then expand and double check my figures to see if they make sense.

    Thats what I was doing here, checking my figures against your experience. Again, I appreciate the replies. I figure if they want to be open by 7 am, I must plan for about 5 pieces of equipment at the site the day before and be running them no later than 3 am or so just to give some cushion. Depending of course exactly when and how much comes thru, but that would be my minimum expectation.....
  9. blizzardsnow

    blizzardsnow Member
    Messages: 83

    I understand trying to think it through, I do the same- rule of thumb to live by- a skid with a 10' pusher is generally 2 acres an hour. Good luck!
  10. Littlefield

    Littlefield Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks again for the help. I'll keep the skid steer in mind, I know I'll be needing a few on standby if I'm going to make this work. Now for finding the pusher attachment south of the Mason Dixon line.....
  11. EvenCutLawnCare

    EvenCutLawnCare Senior Member
    Messages: 207

    If it were me I would find some good used plows for your trucks. Watch CL and ebay for stuff close to ya and slowly build it up. Bobcats and other iron CAN push without push boxes. They are a huge investment and IMO I think an angle blade on the front is alsmost as good in the small snows.
  12. Littlefield

    Littlefield Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I think I'll do that. I'll need to swallow my ego a bit till I get my feet wet (and cold) lol. I'm planning on starting on smaller lots and learning the ropes a bit before I invest a lot for next season.
  13. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    USM has the contract for ALL Wally worlds in the USA if not Canada as well...

    They have the contact, then get local contractors to do the work, they do not pay well in the southern states as it does not snow that much (as you know). They take there time paying and do not care what type of job you do, just do it quick.

    I had the opportunity to do 2 wally worlds here in town, I turned them down, was 1500 a lot per push, but I have 1 truck and it was just not going to happen..

    unless you can dedicate some heavy equipment, like a back hoe or loaders with or with out boxes, I would shy away from the wally world, at least until you get alot of contracts that will keep your lights on untill the corp pays you...

    even if you have the wally world, your still a sub under usm, and subs are always the last to be paid ( I know I sub for a company or 2, that still have not paid me????)

    my 2c worth
  14. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637


    Wait till the summer, look for trucks/plows up north were there a dime a dozen..
    try to find an area that did not have the adverage snow fall, but had less. people that just got into plowing, did not make any money at it, may sell there trucks a little cheaper.

    In the south, plows are just high, trucks with plows are crazy high, why? look around, not ever truck has a plow hanging off it like up in the snow states....

    just my advice, its what I am going to do this summer to pick up a couple extra trucks for the next year as I want to expand a little, but not spend a fortune on equipment that I may not ever use...
  15. PlatinumService

    PlatinumService Senior Member
    Messages: 559

    not up here tymusic
  16. Rain Man

    Rain Man Senior Member
    Messages: 138

    I do a 13+ acre School and can do 2-4 inches of snow with two 9'2" v plows in less than 5 hrs and that is pushing all the snow into the grass areas no parking spaces taken up with snow piles.
  17. slongfellowii

    slongfellowii Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    Size of lot has less to do with it than how far the snow has to be pushed. Is the 13 acres all one lot or 4 or 5 smaller lots. Some of the pushes at WM or similar can easily be 400 feet long. The main lot at one is this area is 400x1000. What if is not possible to stack on the short side because of drives? If a lot was 400X1000. IMO it would take longer to push the snow the snow 400 feet and have a 1000 foot snowbank than to push it 1000 feet and have a 400 foot snowbank. Better have a loader or is going to look like the ones around here with a pile around every light pole.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  18. Rain Man

    Rain Man Senior Member
    Messages: 138

    18 parking lots ranging from 7895 sq ft to 76710 sq ft and 211589 sq ft of roads.

    Some need plowed all the way from one side to the other because of sidewalks.:(