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Hourly price for a push box?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by cold_and_tired, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    I have been thinking about supplementing my snow removal arsenal with a Volvo 110 skid steer and probably a 10' push box.

    Trucks around here normally get about $75 per hour and the skids are getting $80-90. What price range do you think is fair for a skid with a push box? I was thinking in the $110-130 per hour range.
  2. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    I doubt the box is worth $30-$40 an hour.
  3. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    Even with the increased production?
  4. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

  5. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    When I first started plowing it was driving a bobcat S250 with a 8' plow on it. 2 of the lots I had were a snow plowers dream, big - around an acre, perfect rectangles, wide open, no lights, curbs, landscaping, etc. Using that single speed bobcat sucked. It had a lot of power, but no speed. Granted, it wasn't a push box, but it just seemed like such a waste to be doing 5 mph, on these wide open lots.
    One night I blew a hose and while waiting for the boss to show up and change it out another guy came in with a 3/4 ton truck and did the lot in about 45 minutes, this is a lot that took me 2 1/2 to 3 hours in the bobcat!

    Sorry for rambling, my $.02 would be to get a 2-speed skid steer if you plan on doing some serious damage with that pushbox.
  6. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    So I am better off without a pushbox and just staying with the trucks?

    How is anyone profitable with a box then?
  7. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    Thats about the situation that I have now. Perfect parking lots. Last year, we double teamed them with both trucks. I had the 350 with the Meyer and would go through and windrow the snow and my other driver would come through with the Boss and scoop everything.

    It usually took us two passes like this to get all of the snow moved and to clean up all of the boogers.

    I was hoping to do the same thing this year with the addition of another truck with a straight blade and the skid with the push box.

    My thinking behind it is that the skid would hold more snow than the Boss would, therefore we would reduce the time spent in each lot.
  8. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162


    On a per push or seasonal job.
  9. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    So is it flat rate or by the hour?
  10. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    I really want to go to a flat rate. Either by the inch or per push. I have talked with all of my contracts and they are going to need some persuasion to switch from hourly. No other contractor around here does flat rate, they are all hourly and they all milk the crap out of it too.

    I do need some help on figuring a flat rate price though.

    I took all of my invoices for each individual contract, added them up and then divided by the number of times that I pushed. That should have given me the per storm price, correct?

    The thing that scars me about that is, yes I will be making great money in the beginning of the season but around March, when when blizzard season comes, I will be in the red.

    I really messed up last year and didnt keep track of the total accumulation from each storm.

    In the end, I want to make the same, if not more, money and have fewer hours.
  11. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    If you can push to both ends of the parking lot then the Skid will be pretty fast. Plow to one end, spin the machine around and plow to the other end. You won't spend all that time backing up.

    You should have a 2 speed machine.
  12. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    First thing first, everything has its place..... but a skid w/ 2speed would be a must IF I were purchasing it for primarily snow removal ....but having trucks and skids both makes you more versitile....I will speak for myself and from my own experience, but a skid will out stack a truck, if thats any benefit to you, I know it is for me.....and a 10ft box (at least the one i have) will carry more snow BY FAR than my wideout or any other plow we run or subs run(which includes straight plows, straight plows w/ prowings, & vplows)....IMO skids are more durable, take any NEW 350,450,or 550 truck put the biggest plow you can on it, then take a NEW skid and put on the biggest box it will handle....take em both out on a lot, beat the pi$$ out of em both, and chances are the truck/plow will fail first.

    I have lots where the trucks can blow the skids away - example: square building that has parking lot on all 4 sides. Go in tight to the building and start driving around the building windrowing away until you get to the point of clean up. I'll smoke a skid on those.

    One of the lots where the skid with 10 ft box shines is a mini storage where everything needs carried to the end. We have a couple of these & the skids w/boxes have always been faster on these by quite a bit. Does the work of 2 or 3 trucks.

    Then we do places where its more efficient to run both trucks & skids.

    So with that said, I think its a wise move (if you have the work to justify it) to add a skid to your line up, making you more versitile. And on the rates you stated above - I do some stuff by the hour, & on that stuff I only get about $10/hr more for a skid with 10ft box than a truck w/wideout or vplow. But I will say that most of the accounts the skids are on, are per push or by the inch. Good luck and hope this is of some help.
  13. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    What's up fellow plower.

    Yup, everything is hourly down here. Don't bother me a bit.

    Your 110-130/hr sounds right on for the skid and box.

    But your 75/hr for a truck is a little low for the market....that's what good subs get for there trucks.
  14. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    The sad thing is that I have one of the highest truck rates around. I justify it to my customers with the fact that I am one of the only ones in town that has wings.

    I tried to get $80-85 last year but that didnt work out too well.

    I have a heck of a time raising my rates enough to make money but there is one guy running around town with a Ford Ranger and a 6' Western that gets the same rate as a full size truck. Whats up with that?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  15. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Could be he's just lucky and has been overpaid, or could be he's a stud and much more efficient than the vast majority.

    The huge variable is the operator. It's a common mistake.........people tend to believe because you have a newer or better truck or loader, with a superior or larger plow, the production rate will be better. In theory it can be.....but the reality is the operator is the real determining factor.

    Have you never witnessed two people in comparable trucks or loaders where one is by far better, faster, more detailed oriented and safer than the other?

    Experience is another misleading factor. I witness people who have been plowing for decades, yet there are those with 5 or so years experience who easily out perform them. One's ability to be better (sometimes much much better) than another is a fact that rings true throughout most comparisons.
  16. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    In all actuality, he has been a buddy of mine for about 6 years. He always rubs it in my face that he makes the same $$$ with his Ranger.

    I used to really give him a hard time for it but then I realized that, in theory, you would want the smallest machinery to do hourly work.

    I might see how much I could get per hour for Tonka toys!

    Back on track though:

    About my per push price, I averaged one of my contracts and came up with a price of $711.64 per storm with the lowest invoice at $245 and the highest being $1885.

    We average about 100 inches of snow per year. Can anyone help me with prices for 2" increments?
  17. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    Must be your clients. Or I've got the hook-up. Where are you plowing?

    I have heard of guys @ 85/hr...but they get em with the sidewalk rate, or Ice melt.

    I bill out $100/hr for one truck and one shoveler....and that is my current SUB rate. Each additional shoveler is 25/hr. Im sure the contractor bills at least 95/hr per truck plus around 30/hr for a shoveler.

    I handle 6 Commercial Properties, 5 of them with my own two trucks, and 1 I sub out. and I'm getting more responsibility this season. I am basically a well paid sub, that subs out my own sub work.

    I will also be subbing @ a lesser rate this season for another contractor...but the thing is: His sites are HUGE, and I get a piece of everyone plowing, running rental backhoes, atv's, shovelers, the whole nine...this way it'll blow away the 100/hr for a truck and shoveler.
  18. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    I wish I could bid every job using my production numbers as the operator who is going to be on the site. That would probably really change my success rate of bids. Why can't everyone be as good as me? wesport
  19. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    curious as to why you don't want to go hourly, and risk going in the red as you say. seems foolproof. snocrete pretty much explained the skids...even one of my single speeds w/ a 9ft pusher/kage will out work my plow trucks....IMO .i'm completely convinced that plowing with trucks is old school and in the long run not AS cost effective. your basically driving the skid around in the snow..very easy on the machine!!
    btw...there are websites that will give you your snowfall amounts , dates, temps ect
    GOOD LUCK!!!
  20. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,247

    The main reasons I would like to go with some kind of fixed price is because I dont think my customers would understand the higher hourly rate for a more productive machine. It seems like common sense to me but some people just dont get it.

    For me, I would like to get bigger and bigger machinery in hopes of finishing more clients in the same amount of time. I know, technically, that an hourly rate would still work in this situation but when you factor in travel time, things seem to even out.