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Local school district up for bid again....

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LwnmwrMan22, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362


    Minnesota mother nature has struck again.

    After agreeing on a two-year contract with Wild River Contracting last year at a rate of $14,900 for snow removal, the district decided to re-open bids for the services since there was too much snow last year.

    Jeremy Vitalis of Wild River Contracting was on hand to inform the board that the cost of keeping the district buildings plowed last year was nearly double the original figure because of the heavy snow.

    He said that a viable solution would be to move to an hourly rate for the plowing. Board member Tom Lawlor expressed concern with moving to an hourly rate because then they wouldn't know how much to budget for. If they stick with a flat rate, then they know what it will look like in the budget, regardless of how much snow falls. If they go hourly, it'd be a shot in the dark on how much they should budget.

    The board decided to void the second year of the contract with Wild River Contracting and re-open bidding on a flat rate basis.

    I've bid on this district 5 times, every time I've been over double of what the seasonal rate is. Last year my bid was $38,500. Another competitor was at the bid opening and stated that "yeah, that's probably what the bid should be".

    I already do the mowing, and have been doing the mowing since 2002.

    Just about everyone in the district tells I or my family (mom works for the schools, I have kids that go to school, wife volunteers at the school) that they wish we would do the plowing as well, since we do such a great job at the mowing.

    I'm thinking about putting another bid in, but we're already almost over booked for the season as it is, and if I landed it, I'd have to scramble for some more trucks and more guys.
  2. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    Nothing about this makes any sense.

    They agreed to a contracted price for two years, but the contractor charged double, and the district paid?

    The district signed a two year contract which they intend to break. To rebid the same way?

    You bid 10k more than what they paid in an extremely heavy year, but now since that was too much you are going to bid what? 15k less than your original bid? And you're already booked......
  3. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,279

    They agreed to a price for last season, contractor came to meeting this fall and said, WHOA way to much snow last year. Your bill should have been double, we got our butts kicked by under bidding it. How can we get more money or get out of the contract. How about switching to hourly? School says no hourly, cancel contract and take new bids so that we can budget properly.

    I'd bid it, and submit an attached letter showing your bid last season with slightly more agressive pricing if it is in the cards.
  4. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,747

    If you want I'll bid it at $55k and see what happens :)

    I hope they ban that guy from bidding this year. They should because he broke the contract.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I haven't been able to figure out if they received more money for last year or not. I was told by different people in the district that the contractor asked for more money, just no idea if they received any or not.

    My price last year was $38,500. We are going to be about 5% more than that for this year.

    Even last year I had a couple of other buddies in on it with me that had tandem dumps with front plows and wings, and they are back on board.

    If I get it, I will just have to buy a couple more older plow trucks and hire a couple of more guys.
  6. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    Why dont you bid it seasonaly and just cap it, then go with per storm pricing. Then they can budget and the bid will be fair, and your not losing money should the winter be a bad one?
  7. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Exactly! I never bid anything seasonal without a cap. I always tell people who want a seasonal price and no cap that they might not like the bids because I can't afford to short ourselves and my magic ball is in for repairs. Usually people are pretty receptive to the cap.
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    A couple of issues.

    Read the article again, the board wants a flat seasonal rate. They NEED their budget set.

    Second, how would you guys go about placing a cap on this? I and 3 of my buddies that plow all looked at the district separately, and determined it would be about 25 hours of plowing, not including drive time.

    Here, I base my averages at 18 times per season, so about 450 hours, +/-.

    I'm charging about $75 / hour / pickup (high(er) in this area), so about $33,750. I then added in about $5k for overages, mostly because my gut tells me I'm missing something.
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Had the bid opening today. I bid at $42,000.

    The low bid was $17,700.

    The low bid was from a company that did the district 2 years ago for $17,900 and was supposed to have a 2 year contract. They pulled out of the contract last year because they said they needed a rate increase to $20,900.

    The company last year (referenced in post #1) did the district for $14,900. This year they bid at $24,900.

    I stuck around after the bid opening to make sure that what it says in the bid is what's being bid. I have a hard time believing that these guys are saying they charge $58-75 / hour for a piece of equipment, when it's 20 equipment hours +/- to do the district.

    That's roughly $1,200 / 2-4" snowfall, and we average about 18 snowfalls / year. That alone would be $21,800. Yes, I'm almost double that, but I'm also getting the higher rates at my other properties.

    I don't get how you can run your own trucks at $60 / hour, pay guys to be in them, and make money.
  10. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    well, it will be up for bid again next year.

    next year you should bid for pizza and gas money.

    i mean, if they are taking joke bids, might as well do it right.
  11. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    You can always sub out the work. I have had a similar problem with my bank. They have ask me to submit a bid 3 years in a row and they always go with another outfit. I take care of a ladies yard that works at my bank and she tried to convince the bank manager to hire me because I did such good work at her house. Unfortunately she does not work there anymore.
  12. mnlefty

    mnlefty Senior Member
    Messages: 980


    Does the district have policy in place that binds them to the low bid? So these guys did it for $17,900 2 years ago when we had barely 40", then pulled out of the 2nd year because $17,900 wasn't enough, but now somehow figured out how to do it for $17,700??

    Makes a guy wonder if they didn't get word that maybe last year's company was able to squeeze the extra $$$ from the district for the overage, so now these guys think "hey bid it to get it, we can get extra if it snows too much"?

    I'll stick to my single route of resi's... "don't like my price, no problem there's enough who do."
  13. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Was peterson one of the companies that stuck their hands into that?
  14. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    No, I know the Peterson guys fairly decent, and they won't bid on it because it's too low.

    Which, is something to say regarding the Peterson Companies. :D

    If they say it's too low, you know it's lowwwww.....
  15. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Funny, Ive heard many comments similar to yours about them. They must be the latest lowballers of the southdale contract, started with shamrock who had it for a while, passed through a few other companies, saw peterson equipment there last winter, curious to see if anyone beats their price. Good luck getting the school district!