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Didn't win small lot bid, what is a fair price?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Kayem, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Kayem

    Kayem Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I didn't win a bid for a small commercial lot located near the cities of Minnesota. I am really curious to see what others feel would be a fair, high quality monthly price from Nov. 15 to Apr. 15 (5 months, 5 billing cycles on the 15th of each month). The winning bid got it for $350.00/month, or $1,750 for the season.

    Details include:

    Plowing every 2-3 inches
    Lot cleared by 6AM
    Salting/sanding (entire lot)
    Shoveling front entrance, in front of loading docks, and steps/landing on right side of building
    Plowing of windrows at lot entrances after city plow trucks, if needed
    Average snowfall of 55 inches
    Obstacles include guard rail between loading docks, and fully curbed lot
    Do not have dimensions right now

    I had multiple conversations with the owner and he wanted a quality, reliable, on time job performed - basically "you take care of it, I don't want to worry about it, and I'll write the checks." After submitting my bid and more follow up conversations he liked my bid, liked my agreement, and then decided to get another bid at the last second (the winning bid).

    My bid came in at $625.00 per month, or $3,125 for 5 months. Based on what type of quality work he insisted on, the quality of work I perform, and the amount of times I would have to visit the site to plow the lot and plow the entrances, salt/sand/other expenses, I felt like this was a fair price. Ultimately I thanked him for his time, to call me if something happens, and to keep me in mind for the future.

    I am not new to plowing (have worked for and subbed for others for several years) but relatively new to commercial bidding. What are your thoughts on this lot and my price? Am I way too high? I refuse to lowball and/or work for peanuts, and don't want to devalue plowing services. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    If someone.else has close jobs you're going.to lose everytime.
  3. blowerman

    blowerman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,275

    No Deer, so you're up at night answering questions on plowsite?

    But as to what Longae said, sometimes a tight route means the competitor is able to have a much lower price.
  4. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Is that with salt included wow I would be getting $400 or more per storm be glad u did not get it. How do people give unlimited salt in a contract? That would cost you $50 in salt at least per application so if you salt 4 times a month or 1 time a week that guy is going to lose money even at your price you would not make any money
  5. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    I can't sleep at night worrying everyone on plowsite is ok.......and I shot a real nice buck bowhunting and 3/5 guys got bucks yesterday morning so the rest of the season is all about drinking
  6. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,598

    I say your price was good not knowing your area. I stay in bed for the price that got it.

    Even if someone has multiple properties close by that doesn't reduce liability!
    There is a cost for performing the work, be ready to go 24/7 over a 5 month term and be liable for accidents caused by weather or nonperformance of us.
  7. cmo18

    cmo18 Senior Member
    Messages: 815

    400$ a storm??!! that lot would not take more than an hour
  8. gwhalen3

    gwhalen3 Member
    Messages: 99

    You're around $170 per push average with sanding and shoveling. Seems on target to me. Providing you get the 55 inches you avg.
  9. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Yes plus salt plus some shoveling plus calcium on walk or steps plus you will be there probally 2 or 3 times a storm yes
    Ishow up with a $60000 truck a $5000 salter a guy who gets $15 hour to shovel a bag og calcium $13 ton of salt $90. These are my costs I bill
    Truck with salter $150 hr
    Labor to shovel $45 a man hour
    Calcium per bag $40
    Salt $225 a ton
    That is what I charge so yes I would be at $400 a storm
    Btw I charge $100 a inch once the snow goes over 10 inches
    I'm in this business to make money not work for free
  10. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 594

    What I have found is that people looking for plowing on commercial lots say they want upmost quality and service so they do not have to worry about anything at all... And thennnn they get a low low price and they are too tempted by the low price and see all the "money" they are going to save, and cant resist giving it a try. Happens to me quite often.
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If I'm missing something ,that less then 20 minutes to plow 5 minutes to shovel.Salt ,your not going to salt every time.My arera your lucky to make 2k on the season for it.
  12. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    My area they want to see black top most if not all of the storm and might be more than 20 to plow depends what cars are there I would say 30-45 I guess I'm lucky then
    I agree they go with the cheapest that is why they own the proprietary where we do the work at
  13. cmo18

    cmo18 Senior Member
    Messages: 815

    Its crazy how big of a price differences from me to you.
  14. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    How much is your truck without a salter on it? Your not putting a ton on that lot.Are you charging a 1 hr minimum to shovel?
  15. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Sorry mason dump with a salter $150
    pick up $90

    No my contract say per application and I base it upon each lot

    Yes everything has a minimum my shovled gets paid weather he sirs in the truck or he is outside working
  16. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Like I asked before how do people give an unlimited amount of salt in a contract? Are you hopping not to lose money there has to be limits on everything in your contract you can't chance loosing money. I have broke even but I will not lose money so over the years I have learned what to charge and what my prices need to be
  17. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,782

    Kayem, you were competitively priced. I wouldn't lose sleep over it. You would lose more sleep if a slip and fall occured on an account where you grossed $3125. Don't let the loss of a bid change your way of bidding too much.
  18. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    What they want and what they want to pay for it are 2 different things.And that's why you didn't get this one.
  19. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    I would say your numbers are not to high.
  20. Kayem

    Kayem Junior Member
    Messages: 29