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Municipal bids

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mick, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I just wanted some opinions on this. A town in this area just signed three contracts for plowing the public streets. The town is broken into three routes and a different company got each route. The winning bids were $54.50/hr and two at $55/hr. Time spent in preparatation, repairs, fueling and loading salt is not included in the billing.

    My thought is that after I paid a driver and expenses, I'm estimating $25/hr. Then I'd have to go and buy a couple of trucks and plows (550's or 5500's minimum? with Everest quality plows?) The city doesn't any more often than I do now, so there's no advantage there. I'm also assuming I'd be paying the driver for time spent doing those things that I could not in turn bill the town.

    Am I wrong in my calculations? I can't see how I could possibly even break even. If the trucks and plows were paid for, I still can't see how you're going to break even.

    I'm telling myself to let them have those routes. It keeps them and their drivers from going after the ones I have.
  2. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    That type of work is really for larger contractors to keep their men busy during slow construction / utility work.There really isnt much profit , not to mention waiting 45-90 days to get paid.You really got to be" Gun-Ho" as they say to perform that type of work.
  3. GVLawnCare

    GVLawnCare Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    city work

    For $55.00, let someone else do it, you are better off. Like you said, you will not make any money at that rate. Even if you did get paid for down time, and loading salt etc... you would still MAYBE break even in the long run.
  4. easthavenplower

    easthavenplower Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    na to close of a margine dont bother stay away youll be happier instead of wondering if your gonna have to ask the bank for money
  5. snowplowjay

    snowplowjay Banned
    Messages: 890

    Those rates are too low. I don't know exact numbers for here but ive heard a few numbers rattled off that the CT DOT and the City of Meriden pay for Private contractors and those numbers are A LOT less than what ive heard.

    Also remember its your truck taking the beating of plowing city and state roads of varying conditions. Thats a lot of extra wear and tear.

  6. snow

    snow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 1,002

    My friend has an Autocar 6 wheeler dump and plowed for the town with it this past winter, i believe he was getting paid like $70 an hour for it and $65 an hour for his 1 ton dump.

    The Connecticut DOT pays $105 per hr for as 33k gvw truck with a 10' plow, they pay $140 if that truck runs a 6 yard sander. The nice thing about the state is they garuntee $3500 per plowing truck for the season, and $5,000 per truck plowing and sanding.

  7. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    The thing is that you are plowing per hour. Those turn arounds can easily take 25 mins, when your being paid per hour. The roads themselves are fairly easy, the turn arounds can be a pain, which is where the hours add up. Then your have to push the route back to make room for aditional storms, this adding to the cost even more.

    Now step back remember your not doing production work anymore, so you will work at an even slower pace.

    Mick, you also state what should be used for equipment. However if the contractor is using a 1 ton with a 9' plow, he may have won the bid. Now lets see most roads are at least 22' wide, that means 4 passes with a 9' blade.

    I think a profit can be made, just not a very large one.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2003
  8. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I doubt they specified in the bid what equipment was to be used. City council around here are not known for thinking things through or making the wisest decisions. They signed three year contracts. Maybe next time I can get it by bidding $30 and using a snowblower (thrower, whatever).
  9. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    You guys and your fancy equipment.... I'd do it for $14.50 per hour with a shovel. :D

    On a more serious note, it COULD be profitable if you had operators that would really baby the equipment and take their time. It really depends upon how many hours they can eek out. There are areas where $60 an hour would still be profitable because they have enough snow that even in years of light snow, they get more than areas like mine get in a good season.

    Maine could qualify as one of those areas....depending upon locale. As an example, last season we acquired an account that would accept nothing other than hourly pricing. We charged much less hourly than we make at our other accounts that are per push. We made a good bit doing that account despite the much lower rate because they require a high level of care and we got in many more hours of plowing there than we would have elsewhere. Therefore, our costs were divided among many more hours, hence a lower per hour overhead justifying a lower rate.

    I am ALL about profit, but don't knock it until you try it.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2003
  10. landman

    landman Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 185

    You guys are right to a point for example we put our tandem on with the state, the state provides the plow we have to mount it ourself, In the winter the landscape, excavating, paving business isn't doing much for us so being we are already paying Ins, registration etc we might as well use the truck to it's fullest capabilities. the state pays us $61.20 per hour from the time we are dispatched till the time we are finished this includes re-fueling and lunch. only limitation is after 10 hrs. you have to change drivers or park the truck. Sometimes they may dispatch you at 10pm and you might not plow until 2am and you get paid for that waiting time. so if I pay a driver $25.00 per hr plus the cost of fuel the truck still makes $30.00 per hr and thats better then the truck parked and not making nothing. PS.I was told a few weeks ago that the rate for this season is going up to $63.70 per hr. I will find out in about 2 weeks if that's true.
  11. phillyplowking1

    phillyplowking1 Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    I get $70 an hour for a tri axle outfitted with a plow and spreader.
  12. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    Right on LandMan
  13. Highpoint

    Highpoint Senior Member
    Messages: 241

    We do county roads and subdivisions. We use 1/2 - 1 ton trucks with 7.5 to 10 plows. We do get paid by the hour at a rate higher than all I have read about here so far. (can't toot my horn). We do very well. You do not need a big truck. Just dependable! We do salting only to when necessary. Pays the same as plowing. We pay drivers $12-15 per hr and subs $50-60 per hr. The #1 thing is to keep the county happy. We ALWAYS have backup trucks and parts available. ;)
  14. Michael F

    Michael F Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    I was talking to a "friend of a friend" that works for the city said his uncle had two routes for city last season, did them with three six wheels, supposindly made $ 90,000. I'm going to look into it more this winter once the lawn work slows.

    ROSELAWN Member
    Messages: 78

    In the suburbs of Kansas City a 1- ton truck with min. 8' plow gets $80.00 an hour, but must be backed up by $2 Million worth of insurance. 2 ton or more with 10' gets $100. Spreaders are an extra $30.00/ hour.
  16. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    So, what do commercial plowing contractors pay their subs in your neck of the woods? It doesn't seem to me that that kind of municipal plowing would be too different from subbing for another contractor. No selling, no accounting, no whining customers, no responsibilities other than to push snow--just answer the phone once per storm and go out to plow. Is a guy who gets $55/hr as a sub getting taken advantage of?
  17. SnowProGRES

    SnowProGRES Member
    Messages: 34

    how much snow do you get in missouri?
  18. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    In my neck of the woods there are no subcontractors. I've asked around. There are a few who have employees who generally make minimum wage, but in three years I haven't heard of anyone who hires subs or who has worked as a sub. I talked to the owner of a construction company where I get my sand/salt. He hires several guys who also have some driveways of their own. He'd never heard of anyone subcontracting plowing.

    As far as the sub getting paid, how much could you pay someone when you're getting $55/hr in the first place?
  19. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    Mick, I think you might have missed my point.

    The guys who've bid $55/hr for that municipal work have about the same level of aggravation and responsibility as subs do. They're filling essentially the same role for the municipalities that subs do for commercial contractors.

    I was just wondering whether you, or the membership in general, think that that is an equitable price for a subcontractor to work for. From past discussions in other threads, it seems to be in the ballpark, if not a little on the high side.
  20. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I do some municipal plowing but I wouldn't do it for that price even in US dollars! You don't need a 550, all you need is a good 3/4 ton 4x4 with an 8' front plow and a Sidewing to clear 12' of road, and a V-box spreader. Most town runs aren't long enough to need carrying 10-14 yards of salt or sand. The 3/4 ton with a Sidewing will plow as much if not more snow then a single axle with a one-way and is a lot easier to maneuver on side streets and cul-de-sacs.