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@ Fellow Canadian Salters.... others too!

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by derekbroerse, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    One of my contracts, a family-owned grocery store (large) has just been sold to Loblaws/Valumart. The previous management only wanted plowing, but now the new owners are looking for salt (for sure) and maybe sand.

    I don't own a machine to do so at this point, but I guess I will buy one for a contract of this size. I have been using a hand spreader for a few other small jobs that call occasionally for salt, but I was doing that more or less at cost as a 'favor'. I can't afford to do that with a corporation like Loblaws.

    I have read in the past that people charge by the bag for salt. The question is how much should I charge, and how many bags should I expect to need etc?? Depends on the coverage, yet I have no experience in this and have an appointment to go talk to them in a little over a week.

    What about sand? Do you buy bagged sand the same way you buy bagged salt? I don't have a loader so bulk is currently out of the question other than by the shovel-full out of the back of the truck.

    What machine should I be looking at? The local dealer (haven't been to the second one yet) suggested a Meyer Mate because it can handle sand as well (has a vibrator in it too)... and can get it for me for about $2150 Cdn. +tax.

    I really need some help with this one because I can't afford to screw this up. I'm really short of funds at the moment and will have to get a loan to buy a machine so it better be the right one.

    Any advice is appreciated. Plz if you respond be clear if you mean Cdn or US$ because it can get confusing enough already...

    Ask me something mechanical and I can usually answer, but stuff like this I am kinda lost... :help:
  2. pcs

    pcs Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    What size lot is this place? I see you have a Dually Dump. It's going to be alot cheaper for you to buy your salt in bulk not in bags but again that all depends on the size of the lot.
  3. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    All I can say is that it is a decent sized grocery store... I wish I knew the measurements but I don't. I have a friend with one of those walk-behind wheel measuring tools, I'm going to see if I can borrow it and check a few of my lots out (older contracts that came with a set price).

    Think along the lines of an older Comisso's or something about that size (if you were to chop off the rest of the plaza parking lot), plus about 10 spaces in front of a videostore and a drycleaner, and the narrow driveway of a house (all part of the same original property, not sure if they are incuded still but assuming so). There are only two loading docks out back. It has a few funky angled corners and such (the road runs diagonally) but the vast majority is wide open asphalt in rectangular blocks.

    As for bulk I wish I could do it effectively, but I have no place to store it nor a loader to move it with. Maybe eventually but I doubt I could get everything in order in time for this year.
  4. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    Is there a place close by that sells bulk salt. We have the Salt Depot, Draglam and some others. I bet there is something close by. If you have to spread bagged salt it will become expensive and cut into the profits. You can buy a tailgate salter that takes only bagged salt or a tailgate one that has a conveyor belt on the bottom that will take bulk salt or even sand/salt. There is a company in Markham(Walker Equipment) that has lease plans or even a 9 cheque plan where you pay for 1/9 of your purchase the day you buy it and then for the next 8 months you pay 1/9 for each month. This is a good way if you don't like to lease, I hate leasing. If you can find bulk salt then you can buy a slide in salter but just remember it is a lot harder to see when backing up. Try to guess haw many cars the lot holds and I will be able to tell you on average how much salt you will need.
  5. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Took a quick drive thru tonight, its their first day open as Valu-Mart. They were closed for a whopping four days to change over. I want to wait until next week to talk to them once the pressure is off a bit.

    The place seems to be about 100-110 spaces.... but ridiculously wide aisles between rows, not quite enough for another row inbetween, but very large for a driveway. Could probably cram another row in but it would be tight with all the blind older crowd that frequents the store :p. Two loading docks, plus one more for the cardboard baler, and a large approch area for semi's to turn around.

    Not huge, but definately of note.
  6. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    I would guess that a lot that size would take close to a ton of material. That would be good coverage and melt out less then 1/2" of snow. If you have already plowed and you are trying to get it to bare surface you would not need that much. A ton of bulk salt in Toronto picked up from one of the local suppliers would be around $85. Bag salt is going to run you $150. I would charge $200 per visit but I have bulk salt on hand and pay less then $60/ton and I would already have a truck out doing other places. You are going to see how much they want to spend. They have the money. I salted the local Loblaws last year and went 88 times because they want it to look like July.
  7. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Here are a few quickie photos of the actual site. The aisle isn't quite as wide as I remembered from last year (I plow this one when there is no cars!) but the number of spots is the same.

    Property includes the house and the stores before the GMC dealer...
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2006
  8. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    How long would this take to plow on an average snowfall? Looks like a lot of plowing for 100 car lot. How many saltings would you get on an average year?
  9. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Typically, without rushing, the job takes 45 mins to an hour plowing. We often get snow in the 1" range, which they need gone for shopping cart 'rollability' for lack of a better phrase. I plowed them 17 times last year as a result. Guessing, at least half of those were under 2" snowfall.

    How much can I effectively melt away with salt without having to plow?

    Ironically this wasn't my highest dollar lot, as it gets a lot of lowball offers and was previously done by a local farmer for $90 Cdn... (I did it for $120 last year b/c the farmer retired, that was plow only no hand work or salt)
    Yet I think because they needed it "July-like" for the carts and the elderly people they cater to, I made the most off them over any other contract. It is also a very easy lot to do, all asphalt, lots of winging to the side...
  10. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    In Jan. and Feb. you will have a hard time melting anything over 1/2" of snow. If it only takes an hour to plow and you are getting paid per visit then I would plow anything over 3/4" and salt the rest. I would also salt after every plow. This would allow you to give them a lower salting price as the times you plow then salt you will not need as much salt. This past week I salted out an 1 1/4" but it turned to 0 quickly. The most you would use would be a ton and maybe as little as 750lbs if you are salting after you plow. You have to see if you can find bulk salt and then find a spreader to spread it. The spreader is more money but the savings in salt is huge.
  11. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Thanks for all the help. I will be going in to see them Monday (now that they have been open a few days and the pressure is off a bit). We'll see what they say. Like you say, they can afford it so I shouldn't feel bad (but I likely will :p) charging a fair amount.

    There is a depot nearby that sells bulk salt, other people use it so I am hoping they are open late or something. I'll need to research that a bit too.

    I'll be able to use the info and suggested pricing during my discussion, so we'll see what they respond with.
  12. Bob Church

    Bob Church Member
    Messages: 86

    Spreader selection

    Have you considered an under tailgate spreader for your dump truck? The Meyer Mate is a great product and comes standard with our vibrator, but if you don't have a tradition rear pick-up truck bumper I'm not sure you'll be able to mount it. There are several spreaders available on the market that mount to a receiver hitch. Meyer, Buyers, Imperial Electric and Sno-Way all offer this type of spreader. No matter what brand you purchase you should get a vibrator to make sure the material flows. Salt sucks up the moisture and wants to stick together. Karrier Company makes the Sure-Flow vibrator kit for use on every brand spreader on the market.

    Bob Church