Estimating in City Limits

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by grahambros, Aug 28, 2020.

  1. grahambros

    grahambros Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hello everyone; I've enjoyed reading posts on this site over the years, but first time posting. I need some opinions. We do commercial plowing in suburban areas, but have an opportunity to expand into a few large apartments complexes within the Buffalo, NY city limits. Plowing is plowing, right? Wrong. No where to put snow, very very tight areas, and sidewalks galore; all of which I am not normally used to.
    So leads me to my questions;
    With a typical 2 stage snowblower, how many linear feet of sidewalk can you expect to do in an hour (3" snowfall can be used for this example) ?
    Do you solely use walk behind spreaders for salting sidewalks?
    How many linear feet of sidewalks justify you using an ATV or other motorized unit for clearing them?
    Have you installed salt totes within a property so the sidewalk salters can refill without returning to a truck? Any issues with these and/or recommendations on brands?
    These properties we are looking at are too tight for a typical 3/4 ton with a plow; would you go with small trucks (toyota tacoma) with plows or skidsteers? (we currently run two skidsteers on other properties, they are great but have a hard time finding operators).
    Any relevant advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman Addict
    Messages: 1,328

    No where to put snow, very very tight areas, and sidewalks galore; all of which I am not normally used to.

    Run, don't walk, away from this. Their is a reason the account is up for bid. The answer is above and it is from you.
  3. Kvston

    Kvston Member
    Messages: 65

    Figure about 300-400’ an hour clean with a blower if it’s dry, half that wet. Less if sloppy.

    Bid it high with salt on site and with parameters for removal or stacking built into the pricing schedule. Get all contingencies covered up front. Do NOT let them dictate when you can remove snow.

    go high enough that you can’t lose and only if you have enough men and equipment to deal with a pain in the neck like this. Oh and get paid up front!
  4. OP

    grahambros Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    The properties have 1,600 linear ft, 2,700 ft, and 2,200 ft of sidewalks. Do you really only estimate 300-400ft per hour? Seems low, but again not my expertise, hence why I asked. Appreciate the feedback!
    We are now looking at adding on a couple Boss snowrators if we secure the contract. Judging by your estimates, we're going to need to.
  5. Kvston

    Kvston Member
    Messages: 65

    Snowrators will double the output or a bit more. I figure walks at two passes with the blower and a pass with the spreader. So total lineal completed is 300-400 but total driven is 6-800. A lot depends on snow type, width of the walk [1 or more passes?], blower type, etc.

    The snowrator is by far better than blowers. Only reason I don't have one yet is low sidewalk volume for my sites and they are spread out.
  6. FourDiamond

    FourDiamond Senior Member
    Messages: 202

    There is an old Plowsite thread from about 2015 that puts production rates for snowblowers at 1111 feet per hour, of course it depends on width, snowfall totals, does the city plow three feet of crusty snow on the sidewalks, etc. As far as not bidding on a job because someone else gave up the lot, there are a million reasons why the property owner is looking for a new contractor. If space is a problem, be sure to include a snow hauling clause and estimated HOURLY rates to haul it. Try to get an "as needed" contract to have a location to dump close to your site.However, we have already had to haul snow 10 miles to a suitable location, but if the customer is willing to pay, I'll haul it to Pittsburgh.
  7. Kvston

    Kvston Member
    Messages: 65

    As a further input on the blower speed question I run an Aries 28” wide blower in 3rd gear typically for the snow I get in my area. Mostly we get packing type events these days. My numbers are based off of walks with bollards at the edge I’m clearing, multiple inside and outside corners, widths averaging 4’. That’s where my accuracy for my numbers comes from. Every person will be different. Going off of one thread or statement is not wise. It can help you figure out if you are being efficient IF said thread is from your area/similar equipment and site conditions.