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First commercial property

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by jonny72888, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. jonny72888

    jonny72888 Member
    Messages: 68

    Hey guys, I've been plowing driveways and small lots for a while. A local restaurant owner has asked me to put a bid in for his 2 places. Both are roughly 65,000 sqft. I need to come up with a few numbers. 0-3,3-6,6-9,9-12, and then a price per inch after 12in. He only wants it salted after each storm. I do not have to spreader so I'll sub it out. Got a price of $325 per lot for a sand/salt mix. I'm going to get a few more prices.
    1 lot has no walkways and the other has 400ft of store front type with the ability to blow the snow into the lot then plowed to be cleaned up.
    He wants both lots to have the main ways kept clear during business hours and for them to be cleaned completely after the storm and lot is empty. They are open noon til 1am.

    As far as equipment, I have a ariens blower, f350 diesel with a 8.6 xv2, and a Bobcat with a 7ft blade/box. I have several friends who I could call if I couldn't keep up also. The lots are about 15min (7miles) apart. We are located in Rhode Island.
    Having issues uploading picture of the lots.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
  2. jonny72888

    jonny72888 Member
    Messages: 68

    Figured it out. Blue is were snow can be stacked orange is perimeter and red is walkways.


  3. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    What's your question? How much should you charge?
    I will save you the trouble of all the normal responses.
    Every area is different, everyones costs are different, ect.

    How long will it take you to plow 1-3"?

    How long to shovel? Will you shovel with the same person that is plowing?

    Take your answers from these and multiply by what you charge per hour.

    To figure out what you charge per hour add up your cost for your truck( even if it's paid for it costs something), fuel, labor ( you are not free if you are the operator. Add in at least what you would have to pay an operator to run your truck) now add in your overhead I'm guessing you don;t have a ton but you have something. Even your driveway you park in is worth something to the business.

    Now let's say you come up with a cost of $60HR.(Just a random number)
    Now add in your profit. Let's say 30% or approx. $18HR

    You are now charging $78 hr.
    If the lot takes 2 hours to plow its $156.

    Most will add in a fudge factor as well incase you under estimate. So say $175.

    These are all made up numbers but it will give you an idea on how to get to a price you can hand to the customer.

    The next step is how to present it. Do you have a contract you can use? Does it outline who does what, when they do it, and for how much $? Who is responsible if there is a problem? Who is pays the bills? When do the bills come? How is the snow depth measured and recorded? and so on.
    Put it together with your business cards, on your letter head or something to present it professionally and turn it in. Also dress like you own a business when you meet with them. Nothing fancy just be clean.
  4. jonny72888

    jonny72888 Member
    Messages: 68

    Thanks for the response!
    I did a dry run with the first lot and guessed it would take 3 1/2 hours to completely clear it. So I'm going to say 4. Around me the town pays $80 per hour with a 4hr min for a truck and a driver. I was going to use that as my baseline. That would bring me to $320 every 3in. Which I think is cheap. Like I said, I've never done commercial property before so that might be spot on.
    I guess I was wondering if there was a "rule of thumb" for figuring out cost by sqft.
    As far as if there is a problem, it would fall on the property owner unless it was neglect on my part.
  5. SnoFarmer

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

    If it takes you 3 hrs to plow that first lot your milking it.

    Never bid a lot by the hrs it takes you to clear it at a 3" trigger.
    At 3" trigger it will cost $ xxx
    3-6 $xxx
    And so on.

    To maney variables when it comes to time, is it slippery is the snow light , heavy ,As you become better at plowing the lot or buy equipment, The time it takes goes down, so if bidding by the hr,
    You take a pay cut.

    Can you make it at $80 becuse it shouldn't take you more than a hr to an hr and a half
  6. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    How did you find that $80/hr with 4 hr minimum? That sounds more like what I'd pay my guys, not what I'd charge a customer. There is no way you can charge $320 for a lot that will take you a half hour to complete (example only). However, when I hire someone to say shovel sidewalks, I tell them I'll pay them $20+/hr with 4 hour minimum. Now I can do that because I know I have (usually) over 4 hours of work or I don't call them in. That doesn't mean I'm charging 1 customer for 4 hours of work regardless, it just means I have enough work to keep employees busy.

    I could be wrong and your area is different, but if you can't land jobs because you're over or under bidding, just keep that in mind. My guess is the actual contractor is making quite a bit more than that
  7. jonny72888

    jonny72888 Member
    Messages: 68

    The $80 @ 4hr is the going rate for a pick up with a plow on the town payroll. If I'm not going to be getting that then I should just plow for the town.
    Here a driver gets $18-25.

    You have to remember that depending on when it snows the business may be open and I'll have to work around cars.
    If you read my first post. He wants flat rate per increments. 0-3,3-6,6-12 ect..
    Remember all the snow has to be brought and stacked in the back. The front of the building is going to be what takes the time with the curbs and close quarters.
  8. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    OK, I misunderstood your post. However, my comment still stands about not being able to price a timed minimum unless it's much smaller. The rest of your route should cover that though. I don't know your experience or equipment, but with my limited plowing experience I could probably do that first lot with walks in less than 2 1/2 hours, even taking smaller chunks for the long pushes because I have a smaller truck and plow.

    My price won't help you. We're in very different areas. You say you have some residential and small lots. Use the same number you used to figure out your prices for the bigger lots. Break it down into smaller sections if you have to. Good luck.
  9. Hamster360

    Hamster360 Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    I would think you should be able to do both of those lots (including travel between them) in 3 hours with either the pick up or the skid, in a normal 2-4" snow fall.

    Ryde gave you good advice on how to find your costs, and what you should charge.

    80$ an hour for a truck or skid steer seems reasonable to me, but the 4 hour minimum is for hiring subs, not charging to the customer. You can have a minimum charge for showing up to a lot, in case they call you wanting something small done, but it should only be 1/2 hour or 1 hour.

    If you can charge 4 hours for a lot that only takes 1 or 2, go get every single lot you can and buy a bunch of trucks. It sure wouldn't fly up here though.