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How do you charge for large properties - retail?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Here is one of our pricing structures for a retail parking lot property in NJ.

    SALT 300.00 CALCIUM WALKS 110.00

    2-4 480.00 140.00
    4-6 780.00 205.00
    6-8 1150.00 320.00
    8-10 1385.00 410.00

    OVER 10 PER INCH 125.00 OVER 10 50.00 PER INCH

    4” storm price $480.00 + $300.00 + $110.00+ $140.00 =1,030.00

    Theyre not huge places, but large enough that it warrants a skid steer and push box on site plus a plow truck helping out. We'd have 4 people on a site this size, two shoveler/mainly snow blowers, one skid operator and one truck operator. Ideally i'd have a 3rd person to help all the 4 guys on this site.

    The site requires the plowing of the parking lot price broken down as well as the sidewalk clearing price, salting price and salting/cma/calcium on the sidewalks price.

    The numbers seem fair, but then i add up a total bill of only $1,030.00 for a 2-4" snow storm? It hardly seems worth it considering the manpower, one truck and one skid assuming it would take about 3hrs total from start to finish.

    Does anyone else quote or bill out by the storms total accumulation? What sucks with this pricing structure, is what happens if you get 4" of slow steady snow for 6 hours? We'd be onsite at half an inch, salting, then waiting until theres enough to plow, then now being able to leave the site until the snow is over?

    Considering the fact that we have mainly ALL sites in NJ that we can get in and out of in an hour or less with one truck, "2 employees", they can make 1-2k easy for a 2-4inch storm with just 4-8 smaller accounts and be done faster than the time it would take us with a skid, truck and more employees... not to mention the liability of some of these retail places.

    Honestly, our pricing usually looks like that type of structure PER push.. So if they want the lot cleared the whole time the store is open, we will plow every two inches and so

    a 10" in storm with this structure pays

    $1,795.00 with all the sidewalks

    charging every 2", our normal structure pays $3,100.00

    The numbers are a far cry from each other.
    Keep in mind, that no matter if were pushing every 2" or only billing per storm total, we would still be on site for the same amount of time... generally because you just push constantly for the properties that get the total storm accumulation price anyway.

    Only in rare occasions when there is 2" or more snowfall per hour can you fall behind and not get to the whole lot at every 2".

    I've heard other contractors say that they plow monster properties, malls, strip malls etc and they bill out this way "total snowfall accum" , but they only plow out the main entrance/exits and lanes for the cars to get through. Theyre not out there plowing every part of the lot like we would be.

    I've also been told to never plow for total snowfall, since the weather forcast may state you get 8" and yet you plowed 12"+ just due to drifting or the next town over got 12" and you got 15" , 2 miles down the street... it happens more than you'd think.

    For $3100 a site, i wouldnt have a problem with 4-5 employees at that property with a truck and skid steer even though i think its still on the low end of price. At $1800 or less, its hardly worth the risk of say not getting snow in NJ this year
  2. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    Ram.. I am in s similar situation and bid the same as your structure for complete service after snow has ended, BUT t&m during business hours. I thinks it is most fair this way sine with cars in the lot and some ratilers covering their walks... flat rate during and someone gets shorted.

    Just bid with a large mgmt co and came up empty... wrangled a meeting to find out which areas were looked at for deciding factors... we shall see.
  3. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Yeah, well it seems like a 2" storm, its almost not worth going out with the crew.

    When we get say 12" storms, we make out great with the accounts... except a bigger lot/store like these, it only goes up in price according to the snow accumulation but takes longer in general.

    Say a 2" storm takes 3hrs
    10" takes 12hrs start to finish..... but 10" your only getting 3-4x more than at 2"... for the stress and problems that come from monster storms or lets just say "greater snowfall" storms, you'd almost rather have 2" storms and more of them. One of the contractors we worked with before said something like this and i never understood why he wasnt hoping for 2ft of snow like we always are...doesnt really make any more profit in the end:confused:

    Prices per total should be more like this if not per inch...

    2-4" $650.00
    4-6" $1150.00
    6-8" $1600.00
    8-10" $2400.00
    every inch over that should add $350.00... since this doesnt happen often

    Here is the other kicker... Ive seen home depots and lowes parking lots plowed before, HORRIBLE, i mean the company clears the main lanes, 40 parking spots and entrance/exits and theyre gone..

    We will actually clear nearly ALL spots, even with lots that are hundreds of spots, push the snow back, clear all the way to the curbs, snow blow off every portion of the sidewalks and plow as close to cart returns and corners as we can get on all angles.

    That eats up a lot of time. If i was the manager of the store, thats what "I" personally would expect, but many companies are bidding "cheap" to get the job and then do it just as stated above, only the basics until the storm is over, then they come back many hours later to clean up a little. :/
  4. B.Bells

    B.Bells Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    What it seems like from my point of view is this, it seems you have your work ethic down pat. Try, bidding it a different way, seasonal/per hour? Idk, with a acct getting bigger than just in and out I always like to go the hourly rate. not a inch rate. can lose your A*& off IMO... but im kinda new to alot of this. but just a extra way to look at it.

    One question, if you are there from start to finish, and remove every 2 inches, how do you record the changes, how do you know your total for that area? idk, doing it the way you are i see alot of ways you can lose out $$ and thats not good. We are all in this to make $$. Dont get me wrong i think your price is fair by the description. but i dont like the inch rate myself, try to stay away from it. Hourly seems to benefit everyone better IMO.
  5. U1200

    U1200 Member
    Messages: 33

    I work on a total accumulation structure. In the scenario you describe we'd go in during the storm and do the drive lanes only. No parking spots except for maybe handicapped, just where there's traffic in and out. For this they get charged 50% of the 2-4" full plow. We don't get big snows but you could conceivably do this a couple times during the storm. then when the storm is over and the business is closed and the lot is cleared of cars, you go and do your full plow based on the total accumulation. you can also salt the drive lanes and charge accordingly.

    But thats just how we do it on the accumulation structure. It benefits those with good equipment that can get it done quick.