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How much to charge for salting

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by MI Green, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    I have never really don't salting i am curious what you guys charge to salt parking lots that are 1/4-1/2 acres. I think rock salt is like $50 or $60 a ton if I remember right. Also how much do you use?
  2. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    general rule of thumb is 1 ton/acre
  3. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    That's more than I imagined... So if I charged $100-$150 just for salting? I am aming on the high side with these properties.
  4. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    charging for salt

    We charge a flat rate for truck, spreader and labor plus material.

    We generally bid at approximately 12 pounds per 1,000 square feet for sodium chloride.
  5. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    That's 1/4 ton an acre. That's a big difference
  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Hard to compare Mi to KY.
  7. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Hahahahahah yaaaaaa just saw that
  8. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Something to think about

    I don't want to get anything started but before you question the rate of application please take time to check the science of the ice melter and the application rates behind the specific ice melter you may want to utilize. Then add your experience factor to each individual event.

    Realizing that there are many variables that change the rate of application a contractor makes during a storm, there are certain givens that can be in place by a contractor to help establish a baseline for the initial rate of application. A few include current ground temperature, expected air temperature, customer expectations and ice melter type.

    For years as an industry we have over applied sodium chloride as well as other ice melting products. Recent research by Universities as well as the Morton Salt Company, Akzo Salt, Peters Chemical and many others have tried to help contractors get a better handle on application rates of specific materials.

    The common solution for most contractors is to simply apply more product when more was not necessarily the right answer. Based on the ice melter type (sodium chloride, calcium, magnesium, CMA, and so on) the best choice may be to choose a product that will work at a colder temperature based on the science of the product. The colder the surface and air temperature, the slower certain products work. Thus as contractors, they generally apply more of the same verses changing product choices. I realize these alternative product choices do generally cost more money to purchase, the application rate per acre is generally less than sodium chloride so the actual cost to make the application is reduced. Not to mention that the other product will work faster at a colder temperature and give your client a better and faster result. Thus helping to reduce the possibility of a slip-and-fall accident.

    With all due respect to you guys, the fact that a contractor is in Kentucky, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio or any where else has no bearing on the starting point for bidding the job as it pertains to application rates. The determining factors are the expected variables during and after the event.

    Here's a copy of one study (as there are many of them out there) that clearly address the general over application of material by many contractors because they simply don't know what they don't know. Thus the cycle of over application continues year after year property after property. Yes there are times for heavier application rates just as there are times for lighter application rates. The key to success is knowing the difference and applying them to your individual business.

    The next thing to consider after deciding what your application rate per acre will be based on the material choice is to decide what type of spreader you can use to best calibrate and apply the actual rate of the application. Let's talk about that later.

    Here's one study from Michigan

    Katie Feltz
    Morton Salt, Michigan Technological University Study Uncovers
    Optimal Rates for Ice Melt Application
    New Mobile Tool Leverages Findings to Provide Real-Time Application Recommendations
    CHICAGO ± To date, there has been no definitive direction of how best to manage commercial snow and ice removal with the use of ice melters, which has led to potential over-application and misuse of safety-enhancing features of ice melt. Morton Salt, Inc. has set out to change that
    by partnering with Michigan Technological University to study ice melter performance levels in real world conditions. Through this research, Morton Salt has found how the interaction of surface temperature, melter type and application rate can be maximized for efficacy, profitability and safety.
    There are so many differing views in the industry regarding the proper product solution and application rate that snow professionals unknowingly over-apply product, creating unnecessary environmental runoff and reducing their profitability,´VDLG1LOHV+\VHOO0RUWRQ6DOW¶VGLUHFWRURI
    The study revealed:
    produces measurable melting. A deicer must also be accompanied by mechanical removal (i.e. plowing) to produce bare pavement.
    deicer are needed to produce bare pavement. A salt/calcium chloride blend is the most cost-effective deicer at these application rates.
    becomes equivalent to that of FDOFLXPDQGPDJQHVLXPFKORULGHV,Q³W\SLFDO´
    temperatures above 20°F, salt is the most cost-effective deicer.
    A blend of rock salt and CaCl2
    was found to be the most cost-effective and productive
    deicer in above 5°F temperatures. At $63 per application (based on a 1,000-square-foot
    magnesium chloride and nearly half the quantity of rock salt needed to produce the same results.
    Despite claims to the contrary, some deicers tested worse, or equivalent to URFNVDOW,W¶V
    third parties to ensure product integrity and customer satisfaction.³The average temperature in even the most extreme U.S. climaWHVGRHVQ¶WRIWHQIDOOEHOow 10
    degrees Fahrenheit,´+\VHOOVDLG³6RWKHUHVHDUFKVKRZHGXs that a blend of rock salt and calcium chloride will address standard melting needs during the season and keep snow removal
    a profitable business. We found that using only extreme temperature deicers can result in undue damage and unnecessary costs.´
    well in sub-zero temperatures, but provide environmental, pet and people safety in normal winter conditions while clearing snow.
    The study was conducted in Houghton, Mich., providing researchers an ideal testing environment. Key testing variables identified were: surface temperature, melter type and application rate. To address each variable, the team selected surface temperature ranges to
    measure melting performance in extreme and average winter temperatures using sodium
    chloride (rock salt), calcium chloride, calcium chloride/rock salt blend and magnesium chloride.
    Initial high, medium and low application rates were selected and adjustments were made during
    the course of the study in the case of over or under-melting.
    A controlled laboratory test was performed on each material at each temperature range as a
    control and comparison point. The study also consisted of field testing, which validated melting
    performance in real-world settings.
    ³7KLVUHVHDUFKSURved to be incredibly valuable in combating some common ice melt application
    myths,´ said Russell Alger, director, Institute of Snow Research at the Keweenaw Research
    Center at Michigan Technological University³:KDWZH¶YHVKRZQLVWKDWWKHUHDUHRSWLPDO
    deicing products to use in different climates that provide the best results for the greatest return.
    We look forward to conducting more research and testing to bring additional intelligence to the industry
    The results of the research were announced at the 6QRZDQG,FH0DQDJHPHQW$VVRFLDWLRQ¶V
    14th annual Snow & Ice Symposium. At the show, Morton Salt also unveiled a smartphone application that leverages the research findings to identify, in real time, the best snow removal tools and application to maximize efficiency and profits. It is available for iPhone and Droid platforms.
    For more information about Morton Salt, Inc., Morton ice melter products and the new
    smartphone application, visit www.mortonmelters.com or call 877-912-6358.
    About Morton Salt, Inc., a K+S Group Company
    Morton Salt, Inc., a Chicago-based company continuing a Morton Salt business dating back to
    1848, is North America's authority on salt and a leading producer of salt for grocery, water
    softening, ice control, agricultural, and industrial uses. Morton introduced the nation to the
    Morton Umbrella Girl and the now-famous slogan, "When It Rains It Pours" in 1914. Since that time, Morton Salt products have graced the shelves of more homes throughout the country than any other brand of salt.
  9. Superior to any

    Superior to any Junior Member
    from Private
    Messages: 7

    Thank you, my hat goes off to you, I am being serious and not sarcastic, finally on here with some sense. I am sick of arguing with hack jobs. And yes the scientific answer is a regular rock salt covers 5 ounces to a square yard. There are 4840 square yards in an acre so 4840x5 divided by 16 for ounces in a pound gives you 1512.5 pounds of salt per acre. But that is normal conditions so I agree with Handyman to be on safe side general rule of thumb is 1 ton an acre, what you charge is based on what equipment you got and etc and what you want to charge.

    Thanks for listeningussmileyflag
  10. Superior to any

    Superior to any Junior Member
    from Private
    Messages: 7

    Ya according to his quote that is 522.72 pounds which is a almost a third less what my ap rate is. He also used a mortin salt study, which I did not look into and I also do not use Mortin. I personally know this is not correct for the salt I use. I would like to see Wayne, a full acre lot of all pavement have five inches of snow an inch of it compacted by vehicles before my company gets there and then plow the lot, put down 522.72 pounds and come back the next day to a picture perfect lot and see all pavement, if that is the case I will buy your miracle salt from you!!! And if you have swamp land in Florida.

    I agree with Handyman, because what I do is for example I will throw down 500 lbs on an acre of dry pavement as a pre treatment. Lets say in a three inch snow storm, I come back and plow the snow lay down a thousand to 1500 pounds, depends on the conditions, so could be close to a ton. I will agree with Wayne that I have done 522.72 pounds on an acre before when the pavement is completely dry and we are only getting a quarter of inch of snow/rain/ice. But for all decent size snow storms I am at 3/4 ton of salt or more. We charge per storm of a certain inches and above, then for any salting under an inch we alter the formulas. Most contractors do not plow unless an inch or more and I do not see 522.72 pounds melting an inch on an acre sorry Wayne.

    What I always do which always worked and which the salt manu. suggest doing, I would price it different in your contract. We do almost all seasonal so its factored in. If doing per trip MI, say half inch or under use Waynes formula so a 1/4 ton, up to an inch factor in 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton all major snow storms use between mine and handymans formula, 3/4 ton to a ton. Think about it, a v box spreader can hold up to a ton and a half to two tons for a pick up truck. I can spread a ton no problem on an acre, I also never heard anyone talk about which we have to set up a lot of contracts as a zero snow tolerance which we use way over a ton. So pick what you want and play around with it.
  11. Superior to any

    Superior to any Junior Member
    from Private
    Messages: 7

    Your in the ball park, as his mortin study shown a $63.00 application rate of a thousand square feet you would be on the low side. What most small companies around here do is figure out, how many bags of salt they would use at wholesale price and times four for min. price. Which is typical retail, even if you are buying at bulk tons. So for example for a 50lb bag of halite most companies around here charge a min of $12.00 a bag spread. So you spread 12 bags, 600 pounds, they are charging $120.00. I charge more but sometimes this going rate, you have to factor in, vech. depreciation, salters, labor/workers comp./insurance/ gas, the list goes on. But for ball parking your numbers I would say you hit a blind folded home run. Thanks for listening
  12. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    I hear ya

  13. TJSNOW

    TJSNOW Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Let's say u pay $60 a ton for salt.....Do you have a "V" box or a dump to spread it???..That's a cost...Do you have a Truck to put gas in???.Those are both costs..Do you have insurance, so when Johnny no teeth claims to fall on one of your sites??..That's a cost...You gotta know your costs of doing business before you start throwing out numbers...Not to be a Richard..But, the Southern Michigan market is FULL of guys just throwing out numbers...That's why the Market Sucks...:eek:
  14. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    6-800lbs is closer to avg. If you put an actual ton on 1 acre of pavement after plowing the property owners will be calling for you sweep it back up. There are so many variables to consider when salting. Also pricing varies greatly from area to area plus the rate for a 1/4 acre lot is going to be greater then an 8 acre lot.
  15. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,257

    1 ton\acre\season.

    That covers the beginning of November or March when the sun is strong, there is a half inch of snow and temps are 30* or the middle of January at 5* and snowing an inch an hour.

    At least in this part of MI.

    Will 500# of salt create a black and wet acre of pavement? Absolutely, under perfect conditions. Under laboratory perfect conditions.

    Will 500# of salt melt the snow and ice off a parking lot that you just got done plowing at 5 AM and people start rolling in at 6 AM and obviously no sun and pavement temp of 15*? No way.

    Studies are great. For benchmarks or rules of thumb. Studies don't do you any good under uncontrolled conditions at the mercy of the weather.
  16. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    I did not get the notification that people have replied. I hate using salt when under 25 daytime high out. That's just me. If its colder than that snow is not slippery but with these accounts they want salt no matter the temp.
  17. Superior to any

    Superior to any Junior Member
    from Private
    Messages: 7

    I honestly can't believe I just read this, do you mind if I use this quote on my web page and I will block out your name and anything relating to you, do I have your permission?

    Get back to me at your earliest convenience thanks.
  18. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Lol I don't care. Its true what would you rather have? Dry snow powder, or slushed A parking lot? Maybe guys around me don't put enough on.
  19. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,257

    How long have you been in the industry?
  20. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Ive only done plowing for a couple of years and this is the first year any commercial properties want salt. So I am not experienced in salt except for sidewalks.