Ice control will be your most profitable area of snow removal. We charge 75-90% of what we charge to plow.
IE: If you have a lot that you charge 100$ to plow, ice control will be 75-90$
Now you will be able to that work in about 1/4 the time it will take you to plow that same area, so you can see that it is big $$$$.
Professional Ice and Snow Management
Will one initial application last for a typical storm? A typical storm here seems to be three inches or under lately. Do you go back and re-apply, does it need to be monitored or can you just drive away and forget about it? How long does it keep working? Are there any products that do this that are granular?
Wow that is alot of info that you need.
The answere at best is a maybe.
We have found that the magic-0 coated salt will last to about 2" and then it starts to slush up.
De icers and anti icers all work on a % of dilution.
Lets say that at a 30% mixture rate of salt to water it will melt .2 of an inch of moisture, which = about 2-3 inches of snow depending on moisture content. That will work down to a working temp of about 5 degrees
So when that mixture is diluted to 5% at 25 degrees it will start to refreeze, meaning that it is time to reapply. Now if you are getting 2-3 inches per hour of snow(which is very heavy snow) you will have to reapply evry hour.
Now if that is all you get for snow is 2 inches it may only mean one application.
Now by preappling the material you will keep the bond from forming between the snow and pavement making it easier to achieve a black lot when you are done.
Of course it all takes practice, and no two situation are the same. and you should keep logs of what works and what doesnt. So you arent doomed to repeat your mistakes.
Professional Ice and Snow Management
We find sanding to be our most profitable part of our snow bussiness.I agree with Dino we can make more money sanding in less time than plowing.We price ours at 90 to 120% of our plowing.Everybody has a plow not everyone has a sander,so those of you who own a sander should be compensated for it.
Sanding is the most profitable for us as well. We are not even bidding on jobs that don't require ice control services. Besides the $$ salt gives us an element of control when it comes to our properties.
There are many variables, and it comes down to experience butt... we have found one yard of salt will cover between 40,000 and 60,000sq ft. This is a rage between the lighest app and the heaviest app. Our jobs are based on sq ft charge giving us our time and material usage.
We charge $130.00 per yard.
Which turns out to be $20.oo less then Lazers per ton rate.
We may raise our prices for next year, depending of the cost of the materials. well see
I tend to disagree a little bit on the salting thing. This is my first year using a salter and i bought a Fisher speed caster 2, which is a convear taigate setup. We charge a modest $245 per ton but that is only 110% profit from my cost of 80lb. bagged salt. Add in the fact that I have to go get a pallet every time it snows, ( I use about a ton per snow) and then load it in the hopper, not to mention the fact that i am not plowing during this and I think I could make more money plowing. I seem to aveage about a gross income of about $125 per hour on salting when you include all the things required, not to mention the crappy gas milage with 2500lb of salt ridding with me every day. The point is I can make upwards of $200 per hour with my v plow for my truck alone. So I think of the salting as more of a service item than a real money maker. I am watching thes sites to see where I am going wrong for next year though. So kep up the advice, thanks
The problem is really your spreader. If you were to use a v-box, you could fly through parking lots. Loading a speed caster 2 must suck, you go through salt or whatever too quick. I know a guy who tried to use a speed caster 1. To spread salt and sand, it always got jamed, after the third storm he quit sanding, and took his 9' fisher to his speed caster. Note he got the speed caster used for 2 bills.
I agree with Geoff the problem is the spreader. I used to have a tailgate only and it really sucked. I loathed ice control. Now with the v box I can service all my accounts with 2 trucks(instead of 5 when plowing all of them) in about 2.5 hrs and clear about the same as if I plowed them. And when we do plow during a storm( we do medical and condo places, which all seem to on a mountain or in a valley) they always get a sanding and salting also. Takes and extra 5 min but adds alot to the bottom line.
Professional Ice and Snow Management
i have to agree with everyone else on this point about the spreader. I used to do several accounts by hand and then i bought a used v box spreader which came with one account. If i did my accounts with a tailgate spreader i would have to load the spreader about 16 times to accomplish the same amount i do with 2 loads in a full size spreader. My time would then increase from three hours to at least double that. Efficiency and reliable equipment is the key to this game.
I've found most of my customers are cheap.
They don't want to pay much money for
plowing let along wanting to pay for salt.
Plowing is more essential than salting.
Getting the snow moved I have found is
the most important thing. People can live
without salt. Considering the cost of
spreading equipment and the prices some
of you guys are getting for salting - you
are at a loosing game. With the average
tailgate spreader at around 1300 and average
v box around 3,000 both unistalled prices
if you don't have customers that are going
to pay for your services why invest in
the equipment. Customers don't care about
the cost of your equipment or salters -
all they want to know is what their job
is going to cost. They don't care what
your equipment is worth. Since snow removal
equipment is expensive if I don't get a good
buck for job and I don't even waste my time.
I'm in business to make $$$$$$ and not invest
in equipment that people don't want to
pay for its use.
I am relativly new to the snow removal game, but I learned one thing, I only want commercial lots that require salting. Now I may not want the salting accounts for the same reasons as others have mentioned (high$$). The reason that I like the salting accounts is that there are many more oppertunities to salt than plow. So far this year I have salted most accounts 10-12 times vs. plowing maybe 3-4 times. Those ddays that I went out and salted I would have otherwise not had any sales from snow removal operations.
I have a few lots that I plow that don't want salt. Those are the ones that I want to replace nezt season. I hope to replace them with ones that require salting.
I use a tailgate salter. I like the idea of a V box for not having to fiddle with bags, but there are too many drawbacks for my situation. I have no in house loader, and would have to rely on a supplier to load the hopper, and since none are open 24hours, I am stuck with loading ahead of time anticipating a storm( How many times have the forecasts been worng?)
The other thing that I don't like about the V boxes is the fact that they tie the entire bed of your truck all season long. My tailgate has a piviot mount, and I can have access to the entire bed in a minute.
I go through about 2000-2500# of salt with each run. I have to load my tailgater about 3 times over the course of a run. A hopper would hold more than enough volume.
The other drawback to me for a V Box is the weight of the unit. I use a 3/4 ton pickup, and the 800# weight of the unit puts a dent in the trucks GVW. ACtually, I could carry the V box and the 2500# of salt that I need, but that would probally be max. With the tailgater weighing in at just about 100#, I can actually carry more material if needed.
I am not knocking V boxes, but for my current situation, one is not practical. I am kinda looking for one to put on a spare truck.
Often times I go out to salt and don't even hitch up my plow. I am thinking of putting a V box on my spare truck, for such occasions.
Another thought I have had is; A lot of trucks running around only have plows, not salters. Who is salting the lots that they plow? Could you make a salting only route? Seems like most commercial business want their lots salted to reduce the chancees of a slip and fall law suit.
Hey Ford,I used to think a little like you.I finally bit it and laid out the money for a small v-box and I couldn't be happier.Sometimes you have to spend money to make it.My v-box allowed me to bid commercial accounts that I couldn't professionally maintain before this purchase.These accounts are where the money is,they must be kept clean and open,ice or slippery conditions are law suits waiting to happen and the Sander allows me to keep the area safe and also makes my plowing a lot easier on my truck.I make more money in 1/5 the time with a v-box than with a plow and most of my residential customers have demanded sand/salt on their driveways since I bought the unit.Now instead of making 30 on a little driveway,I get 55 and it takes 30 seconds to sand!I can get 25+ driveways out of a load that costs me 25.It costs less than 1 buck per driveway.I even do sand only on other peoples plow customers who wont buy a v-box.I am glad not a lot of people sand,it's much more profitable as a result.The bottom line is my bussiness has more than doubled with a v-box and I havent had to travel 1 mile more than I was before to get the work and $.
Boredom being what it is, I dug through the old topics and decided to revive this one.
I've used both v-box and undertailgate spreaders in my dump truck as well as a tailgate hopper on a pickup. They all have their pros & cons. I originally used an old v-box that I had rebuilt extensively. Damn thing had a vibration in the engine and would literally shake itself apart every storm. You didn't need sand with it, you got traction from all the fasteners that fell off. It was a BIG v-box, I cut it down to 3 yards from the original 4 yd. Later I got rid of the v-box and installed central hydraulics and an undertailgate spreader. I was in LOVE!!! Nothing to fall apart or worry about starting, no seperate engine to maintain,, YES!! Two years ago we stuck a Tryn-Ex swing away tailgate spreader on the pickup. That way we could plow and then shake a little salt without having to make a second trip with another truck. That worked great, for normal stuff we could salt when we plowed, if we need to get into heavy apps or sand we had the dump truck for that. Then, another change. Last winter we had a new dump truck and I had run out of time and money getting it on the road and never did get the central system on it for the spreader. Part way through the winter I acquired a v-box that was new enough to not need work every time out. Worked good the couple times I used it. Sold it already, I WILL have the hydraulic spreader back on the dump truck by this fall.
Salt is stored in an old truck body, holds up to around 10 ton. I'll put up a pile in the fall, I use an auger to both ptu it in the bin and load it out. The salt we store is used in the pickup spreader. When a storm is forecast and it looks "real" I'll go get a load on the dump truck and tarp it over. If I use it all, in addition towhat I use in the pickup spreader, that's fine. If I don't use it all it goes in the bin for next time. It takes me about 5 minutes to load the 10 cu. ft. hopper on the pickup, so it's not all that much effort to hand scoop salt into the auger. This fall I will be treating all my stockpile with Magic, that will both lower my salt use and will also keep the salt from clumping in the pile.
Alan,I am glad to here you had good luck with the Magic and would be more than happy to supply you with Magic this year ,but it might be easier for you to buy from SECO.I will see you at SIMA next week and let you know what would make the most sense for you.Thankyou for your business this past year it was greatly appreciated.
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