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Lot vs. Driveway vs. Sidewalk Formulas

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by btlawncare, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. btlawncare

    btlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    First I want to say hello. I'm Dave and New to the site. I've been in business for myself for about 6yrs. Year round maintenance and it's myself and up to 2 helpers so far.

    Okay, I've come up with a formula that I'm happy with for snow, based on every thousand square feet for the commercial lots that I'm plowing right now that are anywhere between, 28,575 and 35,600 sq. ft.

    The per hour price, including labor, fuel and expenses comes out to roughly the same. Those were the two ways I tried estimating.

    My hourly price was found by taking the time from home base to each individual site, (as if it were the only one I was doing) and back and includes a full tank.

    When I try applying that same formula, (per thousand sq. ft.), to driveways and sidewalks, the price comes in way to low. Now I understand with sidewalks equipment makes a difference, (I'm using a snowblower). Driveway could be a blower or the plow depending of course on the size of the drive.

    Question is, is there another type of formula I can use (that is similar). I'm thinking the formula is not working because there isn't enough square footage to go by the "per thousand", since the square footage is typically smaller with the sidewalks and drives?
    I did come up with one way but then as the walks get bigger the price seems to get lower. When you look at the walk, like a 60ft. compared to one of my 609ft. walks, the smaller one seems like I'm making out better.

    Obviously I want to be able to be the same across the board with any estimate that may come my way. I don't want to be like ehhh...this much.

    P.S. None of my estimating includes salting. I have a SnowEx mini pro 575. This will be the first time using that. I'm not sure how I will do that either. I need to figure out how many square feet a 50lb bag can go. Again I understand that varies with speed. For me a bag is $6. A ton is $90 I have nowhere to put a ton of bulk salt. I was thinking bringing it home and storing and using 5 gallon buckets. That would be a lot of fun...not. Would it be reasonable to say that I could use between 6 to 8 bags for 28000 square feet and get adequate coverage?

    I hope this makes sense, and thank you for any input.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Seasonal price.
  3. btlawncare

    btlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks but I prefer to do per push. I've been asked to pre salt plow and resalt. So trying to guess that would be worse for me.
  4. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    If it was me, I would come up with a per push or tiered pricing for the plowing/shoveling. Salting is extra for each application.

    If they want the site pre-treated, that would just pay the same as a salting application.

    In my mind there is no formula. Look at the lot and see how big it is, know about how much can be plowed in an hour, know your costs, add in profit, come up with your price. Every lot will either be easy or have some curveballs thrown in that need to be factored into your time, and thus your cost.
  5. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    This would be my exact answer!
  6. btlawncare

    btlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks for the replies. I'm trying to be a little more systematic about it though. That's the reason for coming up with a formula or method. I understand no two places are the same, I just want to make the process a little better than guessing. I have something that works and I can be happy with, but it just doesn't work with the smaller driveways and walks.

    As for salt I know to charge per app, I just haven't needed to do it before until now and was wondering about coverage per 50lb bag. Again, I know it depends on speed of the spreader and driving, but maybe a rough idea of square foot coverage per bag.

  7. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I figure 1,000 to 1,500 because everything seems to spread heavy.
  8. leigh

    leigh 2000 Club Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,342

    You kind of answered your own ? You need a pricing formula for different size lots/drives.Not much harder to have 3 or so pricing methods.It reminds me of most sq ft pricing,for example,i'll tile your 250 sq ft kitchen for 5$ a sq ft.but your 40 sqft bathroom or kichen backsplash may end up at 10 -15 sq ft.
  9. btlawncare

    btlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Makes sense. I kind of thought so but wasn't sure. Appreciate the help.
  10. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    Come up with a per 1000 sqft method. Then add in a multiplier for difficulty levels. Say A, B, and C lots. C is wide open snow goes any where maybe a 1:1 ratio for your formula. B would be some obstacles and snow needs to go only a few areas maybe a 1.5:1 multiplier and an A lot is lots of obstacles snow need to goto a specific spot maybe 2:1 multiplier. These are just made up but you get the idea.

    Then for driveways or small lots use a similar formula but have a minimum. Maybe it's a $30 min. plus X per 1000 sqft.

    Walks are the same but typically done in 100's not 1000's.

    Salt can be done the same as plowing for all of the above.
  11. btlawncare

    btlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks ryde. I do like the per 1000 sq. ft. method. It seems to work out to a base price that I can live with. I do like the difficulty factor for making adjustments. As for sidewalks, I like the per 100sq.ft. too. As for salt, I get it for $6 a 50lb. bag and will spread for $16 a bag. Thanks
  12. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    It's just a place to start. We run them through a system like this and then also just the old school look estimate how long it will take X hourly rate = total. Compare the two and go from there.

    For the bagged salt. Think about how many times those are handled. It all costs you money. You have to pick it up, unload and store it, reload and then load and spread it. Your time and fuel is worth something. Your space to store it even if it's your own garage is worth something.
  13. halfkeck

    halfkeck Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    One thing I look at being a novice is different salt pricing on asphalt vs concrete. Looks to me I can use bulk on asphalt but worry about rock salt on newer concrete. Dentist I do just built a new lot all brand spanking new concrete. Anyone else look at such when pricing?
  14. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,480

    1,000-1,5000 lbs. per acre???
  15. btlawncare

    btlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I would love to use bulk salt. That's $90 a ton compared to the 49 bags to a pallet at $6. per bag. I have the SnowEx 575x and they recommend the bags. I don't know if the bulk would work. I heard it has more dust content in the bulk so my thinking is it would chunk up quicker? I'd rather buy bulk and put it in 5 gallon buckets.
  16. btlawncare

    btlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    He was answering my question to how far a 50lb bag would go. 1000 to 1500 square feet.
  17. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,480

    Okay, gotcha. I was misreading it thinking you were laying down that much salt per acre.
  18. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Bidding help

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  19. C & K SERVICES

    C & K SERVICES Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I bite the bullet and buy sure melt plus for all applications and charge $0.35/ lb and a per hour spread charge. Works out to $17 a bag of salt plus labor