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Is my commercial rate accurate

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by USMC1153, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. USMC1153

    USMC1153 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I have started a new company that is dedicated to snow plowing this year. I have had very limited experience in the past but I'll post what I have done and if someone could just tell me if they think my bid is accurate.

    First off, I have a used GMC Sierra 1500 4wd. After careful research with plows new versus used I opted to purchase a new BOSS 7'6" standard duty plow.
    2nd I filed all the necessary state and federal paperwork for my business
    I have a 300,000 commercial insurance policy for my truck
    I also have a 1 million general liability insurance plan
    I have taken all the necessary steps I feel to be serious about this.
    Here is my question. I live in an apartment complex. I don't know the square footage I haven't measured it. But it has 161 parking spaces. The property manager wanted me to give her a bid for 1.5"-4" per visit price and then a price for each additional 2" accumulation thereafter. I would like this account because I live here and how nice would that be.
    I have read a thousand diffrent ways others have figured their rates and the general consensus seems to be that everyone has different methods but it works for them.

    My friend at church has a 763 Bobcat that he is willing to rent to me for free in exchange for my to plow his drive way so at this complex I will have my truck with the Bobcat. I also have my dad's 2011 Chevy silverado 1500 4wd as a backup if my truck went down. It doesn't have a plow, but I could at least tow the Bobcat. To make my long story short I planned on charging $540.00 for the 1.5-4" snow then each additional 2" up to 12" total accumulation would be $675.00 The property manager wants salting done minimally and by that she means only the main areas, and I haven't priced that yet because I'm not sure how to approach it.

    Thank you for taking time from your busy day to read my post. But I wanted to know if my price seems fair. When I sit and look at it and think for a minute I'll feel its too low, then 10 minutes later I'll feel maybe its a little high. But I am factoring in the expenses of running a professional company.


    p.s. I do have an aerial photo of the complex from google earth, I can email that if its necessary.
  2. cvwhr

    cvwhr Member
    Messages: 34

    Mark you may need to look this by how much time you will have in it, apartments are tricky lots of cars to work around and space. Also you live there do they want it super clean will you have to work on and off to clean it all and do you have avialible space for so or do you have to haul
  3. USMC1153

    USMC1153 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for posting for me. I would not have to haul any snow off the property. There are several locations that the snow can be dumped with the bobcat. There are 7 parking lots and at the end of each of them there is adeqate room.

    I know that the last 2 years I've lived here the company she used before I have to admit I think has done great work. Generally during the snow season she expects all vehicles to be parked in the back side of their building parking lot, then during the snow fall the company would come plow the front parking spaces and entry way and then the tenants move their cars to the front and the company would plow the back lots. I don't think the management is over demanding at all.

    And you brought up a good point though, b/c yeah I may only be able to work for a couple hours and then do somthing else for a few hours while I wait for the tenants to re arrange their cars. So I don't know what is fair to ask.
  4. lilpusher

    lilpusher Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 140

    In apartment complexes I have worked in typically we go through and clear lanes during a storm and after the storm is complete we go through during the day while most are at work and do the real clean up. It can be a bit of a pain because chances are you will never have a clear run at parking spaces. So count on cleaning up 2 times. Good luck and congratulations on new venture
  5. USMC1153

    USMC1153 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for the tip. It gives me something to chew on. Actually if I plan on 2 cleanup visits I wonder then should my rates increase more to reflect that?
  6. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    161 parking spaces is 23k ft2 plus the aisles another 20k ft2 based on that id say you are probably 5x what it will go for. So to answer your question yor commercial rate is WAY OFF.
  7. USMC1153

    USMC1153 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thank you for your opinion. I take all the critiques very seriously because although I am new I need to try to get a farily accurate idea of what these services are really worth, not only so I am making a competitive rate; but so that I am not charging my customer any more or less than fair value. I'm still trying to find that "magic number" for my rates. I'm trying not to go so much on a per hour charge because I know that I'm going to naturally work slower than someone with more experience.

  8. mpgall26

    mpgall26 Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Mark, if you live there and have any sort of decent relationship with the property manager maybe consider having an open conversation. Rather than play chess, they may tell you why a change in service that was doing a good job (did they pay them as arranged?) and what they have budgeted so you can both reach a compromise. You don't have to be a veteran of the business to realize the last reply by Longae29 is inaccurate, if you were 5x overpriced then you should charge $100 for a 4" storm ?
  9. USMC1153

    USMC1153 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for your post. I had actually thought about talking with the property manager in a formal conversation and try to discuss prices and things. I have lived here 3 years and get along well with her, but the reason I hesitated is because I didn't know how professional that would be. But since some others feel that way too it must not be a bad idea. I didn't think my rate was too high, and the previous post was the only person both on this site, and local contractors have said my rate was pretty good. But yes the last company has done quite well, the onl reason I could think of (unless there is some underlying issue) is because I am as local as you can get.
  10. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    I think Longae isn't far off, you are looking at about a acre of parking lot there (unless there is something I am missing) A truck should be able to a lot like that in about a 1-1 1/2 hour, so about $100-$150 for a 1-4inch snow storm. That being said, if you can make that kind of money on a lot, more power to you, but I know in my market, there would be no way.
  11. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    This may come off as a A&^ if so I'm sorry but i'm tired of new people on here that have never plowed a commercial property in their life and now want to start!!! So let me get this right? You have never plowed before at all or commercial properties?? And you are trying to figure out your cost to do a commercial property,

    #1 go plow for someone that does commercial properties and then you know what you can get done in a hour. and what and where a truck can get in to push and can't push!
    #2 most commercial properties want a $2 million or + umbrella or General Lib
    #3 have you ever ran a Skid Loader, does this guy know what kind of abuse you will be done to it? To be renting it to you for free. Nothing in this world is free!!
    #4 are you doing the sdwks?? are you doing the salt/sanding of this property what about the deicing of the sidewalks. Will you be able to come out during the day to do re visits for sidewalk or more salting/ sanding during a day time storm??
    #5 and what I have read yes you are to low!!!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  12. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    He is too LOW? I hope you mean he is too high. If not, then I am coming to where you are to plow snow this winter because I couldn't get half of that where I am.
  13. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    Wow, to high, to low. I have asked the price question around here... never to get a good answer. Always somebody wants to bull crap the question and not answer. Just say a number! Many act like they company/rep demands on a accurate answer, via website! Wow, answer the question or don't, but don't BS around it. Sorry its really starting to annoy me.
    I am a beginner too, never plowed before. Am i screwing around, passing years subbing? No. I want the risk/profit mixup now. Its not that hard, you don't have to be raised a plower to become a plower. People act like you cannot know or learn anything! Same thing done to me.
    Im bidding and trying to price commercial lots, I've never done it before, have NO experience, but I will if I start somewhere.

    I say go for it, give it your best shot, thats all I'm doing. You can already drive a truck w/o stumbling at it, add a up, done, left right to the plow and your good to go. Its not rocket science.
    I'd do the lot for $300 at least, first time, $200 or something to pass over it. Having not seeing pics, I think I still was abel to give an answer. Let your intuition do the talking, or just plain ask them what they've paid or want to pay. If you cant meet that then move on. Simple, Done.
  14. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    I did give him a amount, for doing the lot. However he can't even provide a picture? Don't expect much for help if you aren't willing to help yourself.
  15. R3Dside

    R3Dside Member
    Messages: 86

    Not personally attacking you. Sorry, my wording probably made it come out that way. Nevertheless, even w/ pictures supplied, I've seem people still have issues w/ answering the question for some reason.
  16. USMC1153

    USMC1153 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I had a few comments since my last post, so I would like to address them. First I wanted to reply to TPC.
    thanks for your input. I'll try to answer your questions as you have asked them.
    1) No I have never plowed commercially before, I have plowed driveways in the past, not many besides my own.
    2) I spoke with the property manager already, and asked her what insurance requirements they had and they want a 1 million general liability (which is why I have it set that way already). Also I am not interested in commercial snow plowing, but the apartment complex I live in would be a nice account because I wouldn't have to drive far to go to work. And if I had it, its less costs to me and a good account to have.
    3) yes I have ran a Bobcat more than most. I have a 2nd business I owned for the last 10 years. I install swimming pools in the summer, and use one almost every day. I don't own my own because I use my friend's for $100.00 a day in the summer and I don't have to store it, maintain it, insure it. etc... But yes he is renting it to me for free. Nothing is free, and I said in my 1st post that he's renting it to me at no charge because I will be plowing his residential driveway for the entire winter at no charge in exchange for the Bobcat. He only lives 2 minutes down the street and the Bobcat is there too.
    4) The property manager does NOT want any sidewalks cleared or salted, she has the maintenance guy do that. However, she does want the parking lot salted as needed and ONLY in certain areas such as the entrance, and little inclines in each parking lot, but I haven't factored in a charge yet because I am waiting for some wholesale prices for pallets of ice-melt before factoring that in. But yes, I would have the time to go during and after a storm to provide cleanup and whatever is needed. I save my pennies in the summer so I don't have to work( very much) in the winter, so I am pretty much available 24/7

    I can provide a picture, I took one via google earth, I will upload one tonight when I get home. I also live in Northwest Indiana and when I talk to local professional companies they won't even drop their plow in your residential driveway for less than $35-50, and that is no sidewalk, steps, or salting. I mean sure you'll get some guy with probably no commercial insurance and he'll do it for $20.00 but then you're rolling the dice.

    thanks for your support :)

    Thank you all for your comments, I do appreciate them.
  17. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    Ok, I am going to clear something up too. I can't speak for others, but if at any point someone asks for help, I am always willing. Anyone can feel free to pm me also
  18. USMC1153

    USMC1153 Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I did have one other question. My truck has a standard alternator, and does have the 2nd battery compartment. I do notice the voltage drop when I move the plow up and down, and was wondering what others thought in regards to upgrading my alternator and adding a 2nd battery? I know if I was only doing a couple residences it probably wouldn't matter, but if I have a commercial parking lot would it then matter?
    Also if I should upgrade the alternator which would be ideal for a 1997 GMC Sierra 1500 4X4? and then should I need to upgrade the wire going to the alternator too?
  19. vegaman04

    vegaman04 Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I would look at doing the "Big 3 upgrade" before upgrading the alternator.
  20. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    all my snow removal is done with heavy equipment, so I have little that I can contribute, but if you go to the Chev forum, and post this question in there, someone like B&B will help you. B&B is the guru of pickups, and a great guy