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Do you have ?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by frue, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. frue

    frue Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 52

    Do you have a formula for bidding or do you just eye ball it?
  2. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    I use the PITA factor + the size of the lot or drive to figure out the price to charge.(time)

    Have you plowed before?
    For who?

    What did they charge to plow a lot that you plowed for them and how much did they then pay you?

    Next, Do you know your operating costs?

    How much does it cost you to plow for an hr?
    truck, ins, fuel, maintenance, etc etc.....
  3. rjfetz1

    rjfetz1 Senior Member
    from CT.
    Messages: 640

    Eyeball after 19 years.............still see ok.
  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    There's a formula like SnoFarmer said to get what you need to make per hour in order to make a profit.

    It's no different than over on Lawnsite Frue.

    Once you get a property or two under your belt, then you can do better at estimating.

    The only formula I use is how many hours x $125 x 3 and that's my monthly charge.

    Say a property is going to take 2 hours to plow for a 2-4" snowfall. I'd multiply 2x125 for $250 per event, then multiply that by 3, since I average 3 events per month where I'm at.

    Actually we only average 16 events per year, but I add a couple extra to make up for the 10"+ snowstorms, and with a 6 month billing cycle, 18 divided by 6 is 3, so I just multiply by 3, or $750 / month.
  5. frue

    frue Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 52

    I am just getting involved and I dont have this down yet so I thought I would ask the pros.
    Never plowed but I am a very quick learner.
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    If you're going to get into plowing, here's 2 things I would do.

    Find a local gas station, strip mall, bank, wal-mart, whatever niche you're going to try to target.

    When it snows, if you don't have anything to do, hang out there until the plow guy shows up, maybe do it 2-3 times. Watch him. Hopefully it's someone that's been doing it a while and is fairly good at it.

    Time the guy. Then find another location and do the same thing.

    Now this means you're probably going to have to head out at night, since 95% of curb to curb plowing will be done between 9 pm and 7 am.

    That should give you a fairly decent idea as to how long it's going to take to plow different types of lots.

    Now if this isn't something you're interested in, then take some of your lawn maintenance customers and try to work out a per hour deal with them.

    Explain to them that you're new, trying to learn the ropes, and that you're going to give them a break on your time, due to the fact that they're allowing you to learn on their lot.

    Now remember though, once you become adept at the plowing end of it, you're probably going to be alot quicker, probably have increased rates, and whether or not the people that helped you out are going to be willing to go along with rate increases or not, that's something you'll have to work out in the end.
  7. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    When I see guys watching me, I go over and ask them if they want a coffee, if they say yes, I tell them to get me one too!:D
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I suppose you don't have to sit in one corner and watch the guy the whole time. Get a start time, watch for a while, then drive around town if it doesn't look like they'll be done too soon, then go back and watch for a while.

    I agree, you wonder sometimes who it is exactly watching you, but since I tie up my plowing accounts in Mid-May / early June, it doesn't really bother me. :blush2:
  9. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I'm just joking around. I could care less who watches me. I only do 6 places and 3 of them have secuity guards at the gates, so it's not much of a problem. I will not bid on places where the guy dores a good job, I focus on the guys that don't do a good job and go after those accounts. JMO
  10. mnormington

    mnormington Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    I lowba.. - err eyeball it.
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609


  12. frue

    frue Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 52

    Thank you very much you have helped a great deal. I hope someday I can return the favor.