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Need A Little Help On This One

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by FIREMAN Q, Sep 17, 2005.


    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    I am bidding on a lot in the middle of a office complex. there is about 7 total buildings in this complex. each building in owned separatly and each contract is seperate. The nice thing about this one is that i have been told that if i want the contract it is mine. So that is a bonus. I still need to come in with a good price or he will just use the same guy as last year.

    The lot is 190' X 250 with limited obstructions. I have room to put snow on 2 of the sides with out problems. I would like to bid this by the push. around 3" per push maybe a little more frequent during business hours. It also needs to be cleared by 7am before the patients start arriving.

    the other question I have is what about sanding. I am new to sanding and I do not want to come up short. I am thinking it will be about a half yard for this size lot. It is a flat lot with no hills. I don't think i will have to go heavy with the mix.

    My first thought is that it will be $250 per push and about 120 for each sanding.

    There is shoveling involved but that is not much maybe an additional 25-50 plus i will have to apply mix to the walk ways. Maybe straight salt for the walks.

    So am I about right or do I need to change some numbers around. Hope you guys can help me out.

    Its right around the corner...I can't wait for the snow!!!!!!!!!

  2. Mick

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

    To be very honest - I'd pass on this. There are two red flags:

    1. "Each building is owned seperately and each contract is seperate". That means you have one lot with seven different bosses and seven different ways they'll want things. No way - get one person to report to just like I advise with associations. You're going to go crazy trying to figure out what belongs to who and what about if each doesn't want the same level of service or one doesn't pay and so on. You could potentially end up in a situation where two or more guys are plowing in the same lot.

    2. "I've been told that if I want the contract it is mine" (one of the seven). "I still need to come in with a good price or he will just use the same guy as last year". Good price must mean lower than the last guy. Anyway, the first part and second part of that statement are contradicting each other. He's just looking for someone to lowball last year's price.

    Besides all that, if it were me bidding in that situation, I'd be higher than usual for the PIA factor.

    In a lot like that, you will want to use salt rather than a sand/salt mix.

    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    thanks mick,

    let me clarify a little bit. There is 7 separate buildings. I am only bidding on 1 of them. The one that i was explaining. The owner, which is also my wife's new boss is willing to give it to me as long as the price is right.

    Hope that may change your mind a little bit Mick.

    :drinkup: :drinkup:
  4. Mick

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

    Only if the building's boundaries are very well defined and can be marked to show after it snows. Then you need to figure how you're going to get to your building without crossing another building's lot area and where you're going to push the snow without crossing or going onto another building's area. You would want to have a very specific contract with measurements and pictures.

    I've been in that situation and the potential for liability is a nightmare. Say you have to cross one building's area to get to yours. If you plow a path across the first lot to get to your's, it could be construed that you have accepted responsibility for the first as well as yours.
  5. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    If it is as easy as you say then the plowing would not be more then 1 hour. You would use less then 1 ton of sand/salt mix. If you are going to plow through the day with cars around you would do well with a set of wings for the plow. How are you planning to spread the mix? Do you have a spreader?

    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    there is an entrance to the complex that i would have to drive to but the parking area for the particular building is separated on all sides by lawn and curbs. It is well defined.

    I will be getting some wings in the next few days. I have not purchased my sander yet. I am waiting until i get a firm count on my commercial accounts and find out exactly what they will need for product. I am going more for commercials now, i have another guy that does my drives. it will either be a V box or a pro flow 2. The pro flow will be more work for me but i don't really have a place to pull the vbox after a storm

    do you think it would be about 1/2 ton for the mix for this lot then or closer to a ton???
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2005
  7. Mick

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

    For a sander, you want to consider a Tailgate model. Probably hold enough for that lot and they're easier handling to get on and off. Actually, I think 1/2 ton would be more than you'll need. I'm figuring that lot to be 47,500 sq ft. 1/7 of that would be 6785 sq ft. Does the building itself come out of that? At any rate, for 6700 sq feet you would use maybe 100# of salt. Maybe 125# of mixed sand/salt (but remember you'll have to clean up the sand).

    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242


    how long do you think it would take to clear off this lot with no more than 4 inches on the ground.

    I am leaning towards the tailgate sander...a little more work but that is ok with me.
  9. Mick

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

    I'd really need to see the lot, the building configuration, where snow is stacked, sidewalks, etc to even give a ballpark figure. Just too many variables. I won't even give my neighbor a figure without going over specifically for that purpose.

    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242


    I will get a pic to you in the couple of days. I really appreciate your help on this one.
  11. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Is this a medical Building ? The reason I ask is because the level of service tends to be at a much higher level for clients like these. I would not use sand at a facility looking for A+ service. Straight salt or liquid.

    This lot sounds like just over an hour to push so 1.25 hours times your rate for up to 3".
    Salt would be around 1000 pounds for straight salt, as an average. It is a bit heavy but I would probably charge what ever I get to plow the lot. So dont "Cover your butt on everything for your plowing price". The money is in salt so be very reasonable on your plowing prices. As in dont pad the crap out of your bid to account for every little thing. Usually when you do this you are high priced anyway.

    Sidewalks probably about an hour for a shoveler and spread calcium on the walks.
    Good luck
  12. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627

    Fireman Q- Keep in mind, none of the people commenting on this are even from your state. Not saying they are giving bad advice, just saying to use this site for assistance and opinions. Don't base your price off what others suggest from miles away. Bid where you need to make money. Cover yourself for liability reasons. Mick is right as far as needing to see the lot. I think everyone here wants to see each other do well. But. . . I find it hard to tell you how much you need to charge for sidewalks I haven't seen.

    With that said, my advice to you is bid it to be profitable. I don't plow for my health. I plow to pay the bills. What I have found is this: Take care of your customers and you won't lose them. Be reliable. Don't ever give them a reason to call with complaints. If you don't get the bid, this could be a blessing. When their current guy drops the ball and they call you to bail them out, that is when you secure their trust. This is when they realize why you might have been a little more money. It has always seemed to be once we pick up an account, we don't lose it. Once you secure that trust from your customers, don't ever lose it. Good luck!
  13. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    Im totally lost on this one, who what why? :cool:
  14. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    I dont think he knows how to bid a commercial lot that is why he is asking for help.
    Hourly figures are based on my experience. So take it for what they are worth.
    Profitable to what level ? And how do you define profitable ? Is experience ( I actually landed a job) and a good referral worth anything ? I realize you have to make money when its all said and done but over pricing your work will not get you very far as well. There is money to be made in this business but you cant make money if you over price yourself right out of work.

  15. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 794

    Just submit a bid saying "We will beat your existing price by 10%" and be done with it... :p

    FIREMAN Q Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    i finally got some pics of the lot i have been talking about. hope they show enough.

    go to this link


    as far as shoveling the walk, I only need to make a path so i was thinking the double door width down to the ramp. one other door on the side but i'm not too worried about the shoveling.

    I originally asked how much $$$ What i should have said is how much time do you think it will take and how much product should it take on average.

    I am now thinking it to be more towards 1.5hrs plowing plus about 800-1000#

    How does that sound.

    thanks agian for all the help

    Q :drinkup:
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2005
  17. BillytheMelter

    BillytheMelter Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    That is a large walkway in front of those doors. If you don't shovel the whole
    walk who is liable if some one falls on the unshoveled part. I have never
    taken care of a building where you only have to shovel a "path". Is there onsite maintenance that clears the rest of the walk area? Find out before you bid or you may be outside of you truck more than you think.