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jumping to bigger jobs

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by murphy4trees, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. murphy4trees

    murphy4trees Member
    Messages: 62

    This is my second post. I just started looking around here and feel grateful to have found this site, which is a tremendous resource. This post is a little long, so please bear with me.
    I tried doing a search and checking FAQs etc for help with the following situation:
    Last Thursday I got invited to bid on a 420 parking space lot... Two large side by side retail facilities. I'm not sure how many acres that translates too, but its much more than 10 x the size of anything I do now.... The bid was due today.... So I submitted the following prices according to the spec sheet provided by the property management co.
    $2,125 per plowing 2"-5"
    4,245 per plowing 5.1-10"
    7,050 per plowing 10.1-16"
    $860/each additional in. over 16
    And $995 on salt application to paved areas only
    195 for spot salting
    And additional charges for the sidewalks and loader and truck fees.
    Also gave them an option to pay a flat fee, for plowing only, of $25,950 for the season... Salting, walks, hauling etc.. would be extra.
    I was really just guessing and trying to err on the side of overbidding... If I loose this contract no big deal... but if I underbid it, I could get hurt.
    I tried calling some folks I know that do bigger work for advice, but was unable to get any help as most like to bid by the hour...
    Any thoughts or suggestions you might have would be appreciated.
    Typically we get 5 snow events here in Philly per winter, though it's been very irratic lately..
    Here's my professional history:
    I've been plowing over 20 years and have had as many as three active trucks and a couple backups at one time... But never got into the big work... I've got 11-14 small lots and 30-50 drives all in a 2 mile radiuus and have the plowing down to a science.. I got rid of all the cheap customers so I can make 300-400/hr when plowing myself... For the last few years I've been running a single 2 door, '89 Dodge Ram Charger. Its great for the tight lots and drives.. I can plow twice as fast as a pick-up and get better snow placement... Also have used a seperate truck for shoveling and calcium application... Just before the big snow last Feb., I bought a '91 Broco, which is another great plow vehicle for tight areas.
    I Am about to buy another Ram Charger and could put a plow on it. Maybe put a V blade on it and I can also pick up an old '91 township f350 with balde and spreader for 10K..
    I think salt storage can be on site and I'll have to get a Skid Steer there as well.

    My marketing manager called the rep from the property management Co. He seemed to like the bid which scares me a little, cause I'd hate to have underbid the job and get beat up on this one... I would not be interested in this job just to keep busy this winter... I Am in it to make a good profit... And in my thinking getting a large seasonal contract is like insurance... I'll make money on my regular route if it snows and I can make money on the seasonal cotract if it doesn't.

    I can always rescind the proposal as I never signed it.
    I was thinking about making the jump to bigger work this year, so this seems like the perfect lot cause its near my new yard and all the sidewalks can be plowed with a truck, almost no shoveling...

    I don't expect to make 300-400/hr on the big lot. I'd be happy with 200.. Also seems ike the price breakdown should be every 2" instead of every 5' and start at 1", rather than 2". Everything is still negotiable as I just submitted the bid today.

    Thanks for the assistance.
  2. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I don't know what lot size or what ratio parking spaces to travel lanes are.... but

    figure 10x25 per spot (generous) = 250 sq ft per spot
    420 spots x 250 sq ft = 112500 sq feet of parking spots
    GUESSING at 2 times VERY GENEROUS for travel lanes. loading areas and such = 225000 sq feet of "open areas"
    225000+112500 = 337500 sq feet
    337500/ 44,000 sq feet =7. 67 acres
    7.67 acres/ 1.25 acres per hour = 6.1 hours
    2125/6.1 hours = 350 an hour

    Thats my guess.
  3. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    now for the salt

    1 ton per acre...

    figure on 8 tons of material

    995/8 = 125 per ton
  4. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    Murph, I'm in the same boat with an over 11'' set price. It's like an old lady blowing a solid red at an intersection, just close your eyes and hope for the best. Usually a parking spot is 9 ft' wide x 12-15 ft. long.
  5. murphy4trees

    murphy4trees Member
    Messages: 62

    Thanks for the input....
    I'd be very happy with 350/hr for plowing and I may have underbid the salt application... I talked to the store manager from last year... he said that becasue there is a large part of the lot on a slope, it needs a lot of salt... I may use that as a reason to up the salting to $1,500-1995. I may also put a 24 hr. clause in as per suggestions on other threads... I'll try to find out the acreage.
    And again, thanks for the support.
  6. SnowProGRES

    SnowProGRES Member
    Messages: 34

    Sorry to post here but it looks like people who know some numbers are paying attention to this thread.

    I recently booked a distribution center here in buffalo and im curious how much equipment i need to devote to it and how long it will take to clear (booked at a high hourly rate for first season). Trigger depth is 3"
    Site Desc:
    Parking: Lot 1- 27,000sqft
    Lot 2- 27,000sqft
    Lot 3- 43,200sqft
    Lot 4- 5,400Sqft
    Lot 5- 40,500sqft
    Loading Docks:
    Dock 1- 75,600sqft
    Dock 2- 75,600sqft
    Dock 3- 121,500sqft
    Mixed Parking and Loading (approx 1/3 parking, 2/3 loading dock):
    Area 1- 48,000 Sqft
    Area 2- 27000 sqft
    Area 3- 28,000sqft
    The parking areas are simple straight runs with no islands and will be plowed with 3/4-1ton pickups w/8" straight blades the lots are essentially empty at night.
    The docks are abour 70% vacant at night the rest is filled with traillers lined up along bldgs for unloading, there is also some truck traffic. I plan to backdrag & plow the gaps b/t trucks and loading dock ramps with a modified 9' fischer designed w/boxes on ends to act as a "sno-puller", the areas near other obtructions, buildings, vehicles etc. will be given a clearance pass (9-10') with the Blizzard, and then remaining open areas will be pushed straight to end of loading dock and piled w/a 4wd backhoe and 10' sno-pusher.

    I would really like to be able to clear this facility in 2-4 hours i currently have at my disposal: 3 8' straight blade trucks, 1 blizzard 810, 1 9'3" boss V, and one case 4wd backhoe 10' protech.
    i am trying to decide wether or not to hire more subs... if you guys think i should what types of equipment should i be looking for in my additions to the team?

    Thanks a bunch,

    Mike G.
  7. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    I am no expert at this, but I think that if you are going to be using a fleet of 5 plow trucks and one backhoe, then I think you would be better off investing in a wheel loader with large pusher box. It would do the job faster and should be much more profitable. I have seen the ads from Pro-Tech that explain how they are much more profitable than a fleet of trucks, and it do make sense to me. Just my 2 cents.
  8. SnowProGRES

    SnowProGRES Member
    Messages: 34


    The lots are too small to clear w/a wheel loader and the customer has requested that nothing over 10' be used, in order to reduce damage to parking areas.
  9. ddm

    ddm Member
    Messages: 57

    Snow, are the lots all close together or adjoined? If they are that adds up to quite a bit of area. I personally would want some type of loader and pusher, even if it's a small, say 1 1/2-2 yd machine and 12' pusher. In my experiences, the loader/pusher combo on most any site can either eliminate 2-3 trucks or make you at least 40% more efficient. A great combination I think is a truck running with a loader/pusher pulling out all the corners and tight spots and then letting the bigger machine do all the work. I can't say that there's really very many places at all, even smaller lots, that I can't do with the loader. All in the operator though and whether or not they have the finece to run the machine in tight spots.

    As far as the 10' or smaller equipment; sounds to me like whoever was there last just didn't care about what they damaged. All in the operator again I would think. Just my .02 as the saying goes.
  10. SnowProGRES

    SnowProGRES Member
    Messages: 34

    I dont have a skilled operator yet, and perception is reality so i cant get anything over 10' in there.