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First "Big" Commercial - How Far Off Am I?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Mitragorz, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    A friend of mine owns a gym, and in return for free member ship and training, I plow in front of his gym where the guys hired by the building owner don't get to.

    Apparently I do a fantastic job (;)) because the building owner contacted me for a price to do what her hired guy is doing now. Apparently he's unreliable and rarely shows up on time.

    Anyway, the total area is around 51,000'. It's all wide open and I don't need to do any walks. She's interested in a salt price, but I told her that with this shortage, I don't have any (shh... I don't even have a spreader, I'll need to buy one). She said that it's not a problem.

    She's looking at a storm-by-storm basis, not interested in seasonal right now.

    This is the front of the lot. The blue circle is where my buddy's gym is, there's a concrete drive in front that hidden by the building. That's what I do for him because the hired guns don't make it back there. In red is what the building owner wants me to do.



    Rear with loading dock:


    Overall top view:


    All I've got is my pickup with a 7.5' MM1 with ProWings. I've got a skid steer also, but don't see the need to use it here. There are plenty of places to stack snow, and no real obstacles except for that flagpole in the middle of the front parking lot. I forgot to ask her about a trigger, but she did give the impression that she doesn't need to lot to be babysat. She said she just needs it done by 8am, before the employees show up. There isn't much traffic during the day (besides my buddy's gym), people show up to work, then leave work. I don't know what operations are like in the rear loading dock. Based on that, I was thinking of this structure:

    2-4" - $150
    4-6" - $250
    6-8" - $350

    Should I up it? Should I go in increments of $150 instead?

    As for the salt, I'm looking at a SaltDogg TSG07. Seems like people like it, and it comes standard with a vibrator, so I can run bulk through it. Unfortunately, I can't buy bulk in bulk bc I have nowhere to store it. I'm sticking with bags.

    Based on 1 bag/2500', and 51000' area, it looks like I'll be using about 20 bags, or 1000lbs. My cost on bagged, whenever we get it in, is $150. So is $300 too much to ask to salt that whole lot?

    Overhead, without including the cost of a new spreader:
    -My time ($?)
    -Comm Auto ($90/mo)
    -GL ($1,450/yr)

    I'd like your guys' input on this. This will be my first real commercial account (again) since the restaurant I bid last week never got back to me...

    Thanks guys!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  2. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,908

    If that lot were in SEOH, I'd be roughly 125/push up to 4 inches, then for every 2 inches I'd add 15% if I did it tiered. I despise tiered pricing though, as it leaves customers the option to argue as to how much snow there was.

    I don't see 300 for salting as reasonable, at least for my area. If I got 200 to salt that it would be a miracle. Probably closer to 150. You're paying about 3.25 more per bag then we do though. Must be good salt to cost 7.50 a bag!
  3. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    if your paying 7.50 a bag thats a rip off you can get bagged salt for 6.00/bag at lowes or home depot if you had too
  4. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    That's where I get it. $6.98/bag plus 8.625% sales tax.
  5. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    I like tiered for driveways, but for a bigger project like this, I'd rather it be priced seasonally. But it's too late in the season and she's not interested in it :(

    300 is a lot to me also, I can't see anyone paying that much for it. I'll shoot her a price of 200 and see what happens... If I can get salt at all...
  6. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    If you cant find any bagged salt any cheaper then buy bagged water softener salt. its a couple dollars a bag cheaper
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  7. crazyboy

    crazyboy Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 370

    I think your base plowing cost is a little on the low side.
  8. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Yes, the BAG is cheaper, but softener comes in 40lb bags as opposed to the rock salt's 50lb. Fifty pounds of softener only winds up being $0.50 cheaper than 50lb of rock salt.

    But it IS the only thing that the local stores have in stock.
  9. Mitragorz

    Mitragorz Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    I but the bid in already, but I'll keep that in mind for next season. I'm hoping she'll go seasonal next time, though.

    I wound up giving her two options:

    Per Event Pricing
    2-3.9” - $150
    4-5.9” - $275
    6-7.9” - $400
    8+” - $400 + $50/inch over 8.
    $200 per salt application


    Per Push Pricing
    2” Trigger
    $200 per salt application
  10. jbsplow

    jbsplow Senior Member
    from -
    Messages: 125

    damn buy a couple pallets next year.. around here if u buy a pallet its anywhere from $3.75- $4.50 a bag. I get it for around 4$ and charge 13.50$ per bag spread. if the customer wants to spread it them self I always carry salt in my truck, a couple hundred pounds at a time I sell it for 8 a bag to them
  11. hatchmastr

    hatchmastr Senior Member
    from 516
    Messages: 243

    does anybody else find this to be crazy cheap ..??
    not to be a ******* but i am in long island to i dont know what area your in but is your time really worth that little?
    i do a couple lots about the same size around nassau county off 27 for 3x ur prices

    pls dont take this as me being a A hole . just so you know i did the same thing as u my first year priced what i thought was fair . i one day while i was talking to the manger got her to give me their ex contractors bid
    needless to say i trippled my price and still won the bid.
    dont be afraid to charge !! snow money is blood money .
    jus to put in perspective a 4 inch storm on 50000k sq ft is like 550 cubic yards of snow
  12. hatchmastr

    hatchmastr Senior Member
    from 516
    Messages: 243

    1-3 500.00
    4-6 750.00
    7-12 1000.00
    very ad inch50
    sal app 475.00
  13. G.Landscape

    G.Landscape Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 851

    1000lbs of salt is way to much product! We are generally around 250-350lbs per acre (43500sq.ft.)...this is why salt shortages happen.
  14. blizzardsnow

    blizzardsnow Member
    Messages: 83

    As an avid reader of this site I am aware that New Jersey and Long Island areas tend to bring higher prices. But $500 a push for 1.2 acres of a category A (easy) lot is quite a raping. If you can get it, hey go for it- but around here that would bring around $140-150 for 2-4".And i agree with JohnDeere_greene. 15-20% upcharge on tiers is pretty standard around here. Its a function of time not random larger numbers. Check your production rates with your setup and then figure your costs. You have to know your costs to accurately bid- everyone's costs are a little different. And honestly you ought to be averaging closer to 500-600lbs per acre of salt.
  15. GMCHALE520

    GMCHALE520 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I agree with hatchmastr. That's a dirt cheap rate for LI. It would take you for every just to pay for your equipment.
  16. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I see that around here people applying way to much salt each time after lot dries there is way to much salt left over that blows away

    Messages: 62

    I'm in Rockland County and your prices seem low.But to be honest this time of year take what you can and raise your prices next year
  18. ffmedjoe

    ffmedjoe Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 29

    If you have a feed mill in your area, try them for salt. I have to buy mine by the ton but it is really cheap,
  19. rcn971

    rcn971 Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    I personally wouldn't do it for that pricing structure, not worth it.
  20. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Would have to agree with this statement if it is in our area. Long Island might command more money, but $500 is ludicrous around here for that.

    That lot is super easy, unless you get a big blow of a storm. But he's got a skid steer to take care of it.

    As for salt. 180.00 a tons is the target price for our are when bulk runs no more than 80.00/ton. That lot might take 1/2-3/4 ton at most after a plow. And unfortunately most guys are going to 150/ton spread to compete and get contracts, but then jack up their bills by overstating how much they actually used.