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How much salt am I spreading???

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Sno4U, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    I'm new to using a V-box spreader. I now have a Salt Dogg 1500.
    The problem is I have no idea how much salt I'm dropping on each lot.
    Is there some kind of truck mount scale available? I sell by the pound plus labor so I need to know.
    I doubt if I'm the only one needing to know pounds/applied.
    How do you all do it that have v-boxes?
    I do know how many pounds I have on the truck when I leave my supplier but its up to me thereafter.
  2. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    You get to know what you put on, it's not an exact science but who cares. If you start out with a ton or 2, just make sure you bill out more then that. You tend to use alot more salt in a V then in a tailgate just because it's so much easier to apply. After every place you do look in the spreader and estimate.
  3. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

    That is my dilemma with moving to a v box from my tailgate spreader.........my small businesses use only between 150 lbs and 350lbs.......it is very easy to gauge by only loading what I need for each site....... and they are set rates per salting......

    But I can make $35 more per hour from my sub job with a vbox.....

    I also have no place to store or load bulk salt and there are no 24 hr suppliers here.....

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  4. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,392

    I don;t have a vbox spreader but is this the norm to guess how much you put down and then charge more do you like to be over charged for anything you buy or when you need something serviced i understand that it is difficult to guess but to overcharge is not right, flame me if you want but thats just not right.
  5. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627

    We are going to face this same dilemma as we are switching to bulk. My only consolation is the fact I have been maintaining these accounts for a good while. I am able to purchase bulk for $102 per ton less than bagged. If I happen to error in their favor the first couple saltings I am willing to eat that. Some of these businesses we have equipment there 7 days a week sweeping their lots. I am okay in my mind if I error in their favor at first. We are going to weigh our dump empty, then fill it with one scoop of our 1yard bucket and weigh it again. This will give us a ballpark idea. Combine that with some numbers taken off plowsite and other sites which give an approximate weight on a bulk yard of salt and we should be close. From here out though, we will change future bids to flat rate salt prices. Good luck with you quest at the guess of how much you are dropping. I will listen in as I am tackling it soon as well.
  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I'll spread between 12 and 1500 tonne this year and I have spread over 2000 tonne a couple years, so I have a pretty good idea how things work with salt. At first I was worried just like the poster about how much salt I was applying but you start to get good at guessing and I don't rip anybody off but generally i favour my way not the other. If you put 2 ton in your box, you basically know how it spread off and you can bill accordingly. My smallest place takes more then 2 ton so I round up to the nearest 1/2 ton. Sorry if you think I'm dishonest, maybe i should start using bags so I can figure out exactly what i put on.
  7. TaylorMade

    TaylorMade Junior Member
    from MPLS
    Messages: 13

    Finding out weight

    If you weight a 5 gallon Bucket of salt then find out square inches of the bucket (Pie R Squared Times Hight = Sq In) (Divide by 12 for Squar feet) You now Know how much the salt weights find out the Sq inches of the bucket you use to load the salter with and the Square of the sander compare the two and you will be closer to the weight than 90% of the people out there.
  8. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Or you could just put one bucket in your truck and go to a truck scale and weigh it. Sometimes the water content will be higher but who care's, it all works out in the end as long as your customers are happy.
  9. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,392

    I wasn't implying you were dishonest and i understand about rounding up however you made it sound like you normally charge more not knowing how much you actually applied anyway i know the difference between bulk and bagged is like apples and oranges and thats up to you if you want to switch to bagged (lol).
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  10. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    I guess I should've added that I've salted all these clients using a tailgate spreader and bagged salt in the past so I have a rough idea of how much I'm using and at this point thats probably the only thing keeping me even close. As mentioned by another poster, you tend to use more salt w/ a V-box b/c its easier to do. So, I've just been using the higher number of what they've always gotten in the past. That way, no questions. I'm also comparing this to what I'm paying (how many pounds per load) to make sure I'm getting paid back for every pound I use.
    The dilemna is, what if I get a new client? Do I have to go salt them w/ the tailgate 1st to know how much they'll use?
    The other idea is to weigh out how much is spread at a given setting per minute. But, then u always have to run at that setting.
    I saw someone else ask this question last year and there was someone out there(East Coast) who had some kind of metering device-I was hoping maybe someone here could remember who that guy was and how to get ahold of him.
  11. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    They do have shaft counters that count every turn of your shaft (bed chain). Then you can come up with a number of pounds/rotation. We tried this but it was a pain. You will get very good at guessing, trust me.
  12. Earthscapes

    Earthscapes Senior Member
    from WNY
    Messages: 577

    Don't you have a minimal charge for salting ? If your already salting places, then you should know about how much product your using and guess how much you'll use for a new customer.

    If I charged by the pound, I would go crazy and shoot myself.
    My minimal charge is $85.00 for less than a 1/2 ton. I don't care if you need 10lbs, it's $85.00 for me to load the salter, drive to your location and turn on the salter.
  13. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    pretty much just a guess at what you think you used and then add some to cover your butt. we make so much on labor of the spreading itself if your off a little on the material it doesn't really matter. the reality is that you'lll be making at least $1,000 on just one load of salt so you'll do fine. good luck.
  14. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    But how do you sleep at night, knowing potentialy you overcharged your customer.:D
  15. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    on a pillow stuffed with $100 bills LOL:D

    to the poster: don't worry to much about it just do as JD and JAY and other's say just C.Y.A. i guess if you had a grain elevator or truck scale around you could weigh between aplications but if not, how about timing it for example at full speed every 10sec you run off 12lb's, BTW it wont be real acurate because of salt bridging and diferant vairables. but if you are that woried about giving them an extra 5lb :rolleyes: you might buy a set of truck scales to keep at your'e shop i guess?
  16. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Salt - such nitemares.

    A five gallon bucket of salt weighs about 50# when filled a few inches from the top. Sleep better and try it yourself.

    V Box spreaders have a controler for the auger or chain. Set the controler at say 5 and see how long it takes to fill a few (maybe 5) five gallon buckets - Do this a couple of times, the harder time you have sleeping, the more you should do it. Do the math and figure out how many pounds per second your spreader is putting out at an auger or chain setting. Repeat the above for a different auger / chain setting, like 10. The way DC motors work, it should be lineal, a setting of ten is twice as much as a setting of five. Now you have the Majic pounds per second rating of Your spreader.

    Now all you need is a fancy digital counter (available at Grainger - way cool more lites than the next guy) or just some plain jane stop watch. Time how long you are spreading salt and do some more math - 5# per second and spread for 1 minute equals 300 #. Now do this for every lot you salt.....

    After you've done this for maybe two nites - you'll throw that freaking stop watch out the window. You'll head to Bed Bath and beyond and buy the most expensive sheets and pillows and sleep like a baby knowing you're making soooo much more coin than the bagged guys............................. But somewhere in the middle of one of your sweet dreams, you'll realize, oh no, the salt I have today is way wetter than the salt I calibrated with, what now?????? :yow!: