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Commercial Plowing Questions

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by brycez28, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. brycez28

    brycez28 Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I have been working on growing my business and have been doing (small) residential snow removal. I have debated about doing commercial snow removal, but figured the startup expense was too high, I didn't have space to store a plow and I didn't have insurance.

    Well, as of a couple weeks ago I got extra space and a few months ago I got my commercial insurance, which covers me for residential and commercial snow removal. I was contacted by a local chain restaurant (comparable to an Apple Bees) about putting together a quote for their lawn services and snow removal for the rest of the year. I am meeting with them tomorrow.

    The lot is about 1.4 acres, I was thinking of charging in the $220 range (just for plowing).

    What are some other questions I should ask the manager? These are some I came up with:
    1. At what trigger depth do you want the lot plowed at during a storm?
    2. Where to plow the snow to?
    3. Want it salted? Every plowing or as needed?
    4. Sidewalks cleared too?
    5. What time do employees arrive for work?
  2. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,400

    As far as trigger, IMO you really don't want to give them that option.
    Either say, do you want zero tolerance, or 2"
    And explain both. Most places don't understand why z t. Is important.

    How many stores are you doing?

    What about hauling snow off property if it's starting to.take up to many spaces?
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  3. brycez28

    brycez28 Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Can you explain zero tolerance?

    As of right now, it would be (potentially) this one store. I wasn't planning on getting into plowing yet, but they contacted me and if they sign a contract, I'll get the equipment. I have a few residential clients with larger driveways who asked if I do plowing as well.

    If snow needs to be removed from the property, I will sub that out and that will be outlined in the contract.
  4. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    That's a generic term of zero.

    Go ahead and try to explain the impossible task.

    Sitting in peanut gallery for a minute.

    I would plow @ 1in, salt under.
  5. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,094

    Your location / market area plays into pricing and it'll also determine if hauling snow would be needed too.
  6. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,605

    Where are you located, how many events per year? You decide when to plow, not them.
  7. brycez28

    brycez28 Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I am located in Eastern WI. The last 3 years have been 14-15 snow events. Prior years were not far off from that, but I don't have exact records. In the last 8 years, we have only had two events of more than 12" of snow and one event of 8" (not including snow drifts). The rest of the snow is less than 4" per event, with the majority of our snow less than 2" per event.
  8. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,605

    If you do this, get a V plow. Purchase good equipment. And have a backup plan. Things break at the WORSE possible times. If you are only going to have one truck. Have a friend with a plow you can call in an emergency.
  9. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,094

    Most retail/restaurants want to be plowed at 1-2", they'll also want the walks shoveled and deicer/salt on the lot and walks.
    $220.00 a push was mentioned which is aboot the average for my area for lots that size with depths from 1"-4", walks and deicer/salt is extra. Don't lock yourself into a flat rate for plowing and use a tiered rate in 3" increments above 1-4", I use 60% for an increase for every tier. The reason is more snow more time is spent pushing it and stacking.
    As far as deicer/salt rates go it depends on if you're using bulk or bagged and also your weather, in my case we typically don't apply as mulch deicer/salt as guys back east. We get a lot of sun and snow melts oof quickly. Since this is your only lot you'll probably do fine with a tailgate spreader with a vibrator and use bagged which is easier to store and handle but it comes at an expense.

    Also check with your ins carrier to make sure they know you're plowing a restaurant, since it's a high traffic business there's more opportunity for slip/falls.
  10. brianbrich1

    brianbrich1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,102

    Why are you being contacted mid season to do the lawn maintenance for the remaining portion of this year? What happened to previous service provider? Lack of payment? Fired for poor service?
  11. brycez28

    brycez28 Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I don't think that I can economically/competitively do bagged salt for this lot. I can get treated rock salt in supersacks for $125 each. I can fit two on my trailer, 170 mile trip each way. $250+$95 mileage+$12.5tax = $357 for 4k pounds. $357/4000=$0.09 per pound.

    The cheapest bagged salt I can find is $9 plus tax and labor for 50 pounds. $10/50= $0.20 per bag

    $0.20*4000 pounds= $800 savings every 4000 pounds of salt
  12. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    Ask urself this question....how far does one ton of salt goes.

    Let's figure 20 salting in a season, and/or two salting per some events, how much do u have left before making that trip?

    Also, salt prices really won't be established til fall.
  13. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,094

    Going oof of what some guys say on this board 1/2t per acre.
  14. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    Your savings is $800-$357=$443 per 4000 pounds??
  15. shooterm

    shooterm Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 272

    I can get salt at $4 per 80lbs at Menards.
  16. FredG

    FredG PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,414

    When the time comes for salt, You should be able to negotiate a pallet for $5.00 per bag. I don't think you answered the ? about back up, As far as removal goes you will need a guy with at least a skid and a medium to large six wheel dump.

    You will need a dump site. You just can't dump snow anywhere. Usually around a retention pond is a good spot. I would gladly take that site for $220.00. If you have all your ducks in a row this is a nice little job to get you started. Good luck.
  17. mtnbktrek

    mtnbktrek Senior Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 144

    I hope for $5 they are at least 80# bags
  18. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Pretty obvious where the snow needs to go on that site. Can you not see where your options are?
  19. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,094

    Seems a place off the black top would be a place to start.......
  20. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707


    He's got plenty of greenbelt off the pavement to work with. Not sure why that's a question or concern.