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I know you guys probably get a lot of this:

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by CSTLandscapes, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. CSTLandscapes

    CSTLandscapes Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I'm new here. Not new to Forums, and certainly not new to the industry. I've plowed for years. Commercial and residential. My problem is, I've only ever plowed for an hourly wage while working full time for a landscape company.

    This year, as my personal landscape client base grew, and my family at home grew (have two new baby boys). This year, I finally decided to pull the trigger on starting my own company. Have over 15yrs in landscape experience, and I'm pretty good with bidding those types of jobs. It's how I've made a living.

    However, I currently have NO IDEA WHATESOEVER, how to bid competitively on snow. I've only ever gone where I was told and did the work, whether it was in bobcat with plow, bucket cleanup, push box, or truck with straight blade or Vplow...snowblower or good ol fashioned shovel.

    I currently have an ATV with straight blade. Planned on buying rubber edge for residential drives. Also have F350 Dually I need to get a plow for, and will have soon. Not sure what plow to get. Probably a question for another thread, but I've only ever used Boss and Westerns. Won't buy anything but a Vplow.

    Anyways, I'm in central Indiana. Carmel Fishers Noblesville Geist Westfield specifically, and really have no idea where to begin. My plans were to pick up a few commercial contracts and fill the voids with residentials. Have other buddies who will "team up". Buddies in the same boat as me.

    I know this post is lengthy, and is certainly bait to be picked apart. I'm just a worried, startup business owner who knows how to push. Believe me....I know how to push(had a property management group in Kentucky come get us during their "big" storms to save them from their disaster plow guys).

    But I'm throwing myself on the mercy of you professionals to get a little help in bidding snow So I can slow the winter time bleeding and be able to feed my boys. Anything to steer me in the right direction is appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
  2. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    How much does it cost to run your truck per hr,
    To insure it( snow is a added coverage) to maintain it, etc etc, plow, salt? now ,how much do you need to make to cover your costs And make a decent living.
    Only you know that number.
    Using my numbers you could starve, ether from under or over bidding.

    Buddies, what happens when they hit somthing or somene?
    They need to be employees or hired as subcontractors with their own stand alone business with the proper
    To cya
    Also they will be with their families when it snows on the holidays otherwise.

    You say that you have bidding experience.
    Snow is no diffrent.
    Cost x 4-5 or more.

    What aboot Salt? Cost per ton and for a ton applied
    Do you have a place to store it?
    Bulk or bags?

    i bid per push with a cap on depth then it's xx per inch over on lots
    Drives are seasionals

    All work that is billed is comershail work.

    I'm sure over the years you picked up on what your boss was charging?
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  3. CSTLandscapes

    CSTLandscapes Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Okay. So we planned on salting, if that means I go buy a tailgate spreader and slap it on another truck, I will.

    I never got a chance to pick up on bidding because I worked for a LARGE landscape company, and we did contracted work for a Huge subdivision. A subdivision which in itself was a city. I may be way off, but it was like 1/2million dollar contract. Then we pushed with a 2" trigger. Wasn't until 2 yrs ago they started picking up meijer Parkinglots and shopping centers when we got hosed when the number of pushes started costing money. Some years we won big, some years we lost. So as for picking up experience pricing, no go. Basically in the dark, but it was the pickiest contract ever, so the experience gained was priceless.

    Curb to curb. Pile height. Come in and open up. Wind row. Plow in scoop for cleanup. Tuck EVERYTHING. Off site dumping when storms ended up back to back to back. Everything had to be spotless always or we weren't released.

    I don't have a lot of overhead. Just run an office out of my home. As for storing salt, there are a few garages I can store, but it will have to be bagged salt. No bulk storage.
  4. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,604

    Sno hit most all the main items. Make up a flyer so when you go out to sell jobs you have something to hand them. If you're going to do commercial, start insurance shopping now. What's the closest plow dealer?
  5. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Sidewalks. Are a time sux, are you going to get oot of the truck or are you gping to hire a shovel monkey?

    For an example , in my neck of the woods guys get $75 - $132 an hr.
    But bidding by the hour you end up shooting yourself in the foot as you become
    more proficient or buy bigger and better equipment .

    So I look at a lot, dive around it mull it over and come up on a amount of time that I belive I can clear the lot
    At the trigger depth. Then this is my per push price.
    Others bid and charge diffrentaly .
  6. CSTLandscapes

    CSTLandscapes Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I don't want to be one of the Lowballer guys.

    We bill on average $40mh for la

    Awesome. I had planned on that, but I want to get my pricing down so I can give to residentials. Standard walks price, salting rate, then clause for other addons (shovel their side patios, front porches, whatever). Put everything on a 2" trigger and do a per push. Then have a hotline if they want to call in after the storms and have a final salt or whatever.

    Midstate is the closest to me. They sell Western but also service boss. I've been to misstate loading down on boss parts before our trips to Louisville(springs, shoes, hoses, lights). The usual suspects.

    I think the mower place up the road is Buyers and then there is a blizzard dealer in a centralized location to the area we service.

    Like I said, my experience is with Boss and Western. I do care about the money, but I don't. I put more stake in the reliability of my equipment and also whatever puts less wear on my truck. I am of the Buy once, cry once philosophy. Especially when I am the one using it, and not a bunch of different people. (Maybe westerns trip edges, because when we caught a manhole cover with one of the Boss's we had, it would rock your world)
  7. CSTLandscapes

    CSTLandscapes Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I'll get out of the truck. I'm no stranger to manual labor. Lol. Yeah I know it's not as profitable way to spend my time, but I'll take anything I can get. If that means the homeowner MUST have walks shoveled, I'll do it.

    If I get enough contracts though, I'll have a buddy ride with me once the bigger stuff is handled and we can make a run through of the residentials.