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Need Help With First Commercial Lot

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by dbcustoms, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    I am bidding a .89 Acre Gas station they want a price to plow and a price for salting

    I have been doing a few residential drive but have not had much success in bidding and getting the job on any commercial lots so i thought maybe you guys could help me out here.
    Thanks in advance
  2. Indy

    Indy Senior Member
    Messages: 704

    attach a map and we can help ;you more
  3. dayexco

    dayexco Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    it would be a disservice for any of us to tell you what to bid being probably all of our costs of operation and desired profit margin aren't going to be the same. it would be my guess, you'll waste an hour there without any sidewalks, salting....because of traffic, parked cars, cars coming in and out, etc...now you have to determine what it costs you to operate per hour, and how much salt you're going to use, how much time you'll have into it, how many nickels you want in your pocket once you leave, and price it accordingly.
  4. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110


    Here is a picture of the lot, the store is the building on the right and the left is the covering over the pumps.

    I never aked anyone to tell me what my costs to operate were, I asked everyones opinion on how they would bid it so i could get an idea how everyone else in the industry is bidding, im new into plowing, not business. like anyone, i want the most money in my pocket but i want to be competitive in the local market, otherwise i wont end up with anything in my pocket.
    If your just going to tell me to price it accordingly then you dont need to post on my thread where im asking for help, cuz pricing accordingly is what im asking for help to try and figure out.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  5. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    I have been reading on some other posts and see how some poeple think people asking for help mean they dont want to do the work, so i just want to make this clear, I have a price figured for both plowing and salting, the customer thinks it sounds high, i want some other opinions on how they would bid it so i can try to make sure im on the right page, i have bid 4 commercial lotsd for this year and as of now i have not gotten any, i know i have lost one for sure but the ohter 3 are up in the air yet and if im doing something wrong i would like to find out so i could correct my bids and hopefully get these 3 lots that are left yet.

    I would just appreciate some others opinions on how they would do it if they were going to plow this lot, i am not doing any sidewalks on this job just the lot
  6. What you and others who come on here asking for prices to bid need to understand is that we cannot give you an accurate price due to several reasons. We for the most part arent familiar with your areas going rates, your overhead involved etc. We could tell you what we would charge, but that has no bearing on what would be ok for your particular area and circumstances. Also as another has said you need to figure out what it will cost you to do it and what u want to make off of it. What I would recommend is developing a relationship and work for or with some local experienced guys that can teach you that kind of stuff. As I have said before in other posts that if you don't even know how to develope an accurate and correct estimate for a project, you have no business even trying to compete for that job. I really wish that they would change this forums rules so that asking for bid numbers on a particular, specific lot or job was not allowed. How do you expect to learn if you want others to do the work for you? Example, if I throw you a number and thats what you bid, you gained no knowledge of how I came to that number and why etc, so doesnt help you down the road at all and you will be on here asking for a number on the next one.
  7. fci

    fci Senior Member
    Messages: 122

    Here is how I would bid it. hourly rate $ x 1.0 hours = plowing $, + $5 for each tank fill cover = inconvenience factor (they hurt when you hit them) Salt cost per pound $ x 3 x 400# = Salting $ good luck you have to set a hourly rate that is competitive for your area. Same with salting.
  8. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Ok i had the plow time right on the money from your suggestion, but i was high on the salting, which i wasnt really sure on how much to figure, i have read so many different things on how much to apply and i have not salted before so it is all new to me and i dont know from experience how much a certain amount will cover.
    Thanks for the help, I really appreciate your response with something other than complaining about what im asking for, i really cant believe that NPMinc walked into his business knowing everything, I have worked for other poeple plowing, they treated their subs like crap so im doing my own thing now, he doesnt understand that working for someone doesnt mean you know everything their is about their business, and maybe if he wasnt so ignorant he would realize i am asking for help because i do not know everything and i would like some help from someone that has more experience then myself, im 25, worked in family businesses all my life and understand that you have overhead, i was not asking how much to charge, i was asking how you would bid the job(meaning time and amount of materials) I have gained a lot of knowledge and am glad this site is available to me, but by his theory we should also ban people asking how to fix their plows and their trucks because if they dont know how then they shouldn't be doing it.

    NPMinc next time before you post, please remember how you got started, not everyone out there is just trying to waste your time, some of us want to learn and that is why we ask for help, so far all the posts i have read from you are just complaining about everyone else why dont you actually contribute and help someone if they are in need?
  9. well then ask for help to come up with a bid based on your needs dont ask for someone to just give u a price. You said the customer thinks its high...ready here comes some advice....its simple really if you determined that bid is what you need to do the job and the customer doesn't like it simply walk away and find another one. If u lower your bid based on a customers reaction like that for every job you bid you will be broke and out of the business quick. As far as me complaining well yes I may be. I have put my time in this business and have spent ALOT of money increasing and updating my equipment to serve my customers more efficiently----a good thing for them and me. In other words I have put my time in with my boots and tires as well as alot of my money on the ground literally. I have had my successes as well as my share of failures. So yes it does bother me when someone who has no experience (ie doesnt know how to properly bid a job but does anyway) and has spent at most 10k(not saying u in particular) comes in and trys to jump into the world that I have spent probably at bare minimum 100k in equipment to be able do right. I have no problem teaching someone how to bid, but will never just go and tell someone an amount to bid. I will stand by what I said before that if you or anyone for that matter are that unsure of your bid that you gave that when a customer says it seems high you reconsider it and ask strangers on here if its ok, you did not have your "homework" done(meaning that the amount you bid was your number or you knew if u had room to go lower without seeking confirmation on here) before you did the bid, and therefore probably shouldnt have even bid it.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  10. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I am assuming if your still posting about this job, then after a 4 to 6 inch snowfall Sunday and Monday, the lot is still sitting there unplowed. If this is the case you need to act on this sooner rather then later. I would get your pricing in order and get it submitted asap. As far as your salt I hope you have the means to spread 400 to 600 pound of salt, and your not planning on using a push spreader, or throwing it by hand. If not get ahold of me I have a couple spare hitch mount spreaders I might be able to let go of.
  11. b&b landscapes

    b&b landscapes Member
    Messages: 74

    I just landed a major UDF chain and EVRYONE here says to stay away from gas stations because the fill caps can do major damage and/or you can break them..... here what i did....

    Most charge $5 or so per Cap for incov charge.... i have my guy get out and he hand shovels around them and i pay him $10 per station just for getting out and shoveling them alone.. saves me from doing damge either way and he happily does it for the $10 a station.... Saves money and headaches in the long run
  12. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    NPMinc, i did not lower my bid because they said it was to high i told them it was what it is, if they want me to do it then ok, if not then no problem, like you said, i cant go out there and take the risk if im not going to make money, i might as well stay home rather then go out to lose money. I guess maybe i should have stated what they thought it would take to do the job rather than how to bid it.
    also i would liek to knwo how you came up with 100 grand to start your business? most people start small. like i said, just remember where you started, its easy to look around and not like people starting out and becoming competition, but you gotta remember that was once you.

    RC2505 i do have a spreader on the truck so i wont be needing on but thanks for the offer, and also we did not got as much snow, this lot is covered with about 2 inches as of now, the gas station is currently closed but opening next month so they are looking for someone for the rest of the season.

    As far as the lids i did not realize that i should be adding on for them but i appreciate the help because i will definately take it into consideration for my next bid.
  13. dbcustoms have to agree watch out for those caps, they can do a number on your plow if ya hit one and if ya damage one they are not cheap to fix.
  14. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    after learning about the caps i definately will not come down on my price, im just hoping that i didnt make a mistake by not adding for them, but for how much plowing i have i may take the advice of shoveling them off and avoiding hitting them cuz thats gonna be cheaper in the long run if i take a lil tim to do that rather then have to fix one
  15. You are starting to learn young Jedi lol. Seriously, Good luck to you. Just remember you are in business to make money not lose it!
  16. fci

    fci Senior Member
    Messages: 122

    Dbcustoms I think you have gained alot of knowledge from your post. By reading your responses you seem like an intelligent person. If you are looking to get a jump start on bidding and estimating you should look into SIMA. They have a lot of info that would be great for you. And there are a lot of discounts on snow related products.
  17. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Thanks fci i will look into that and i have learned alot and i appreciate all the help.
  18. etpros

    etpros Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    id get for a season at lease $3500 in my area
  19. BlazingSun

    BlazingSun Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Fill caps SUCK. Nailed a stray one last week at one of our truck stops. Didnt damge anything except my coffee all over the dashboard. We have an agreement with our truck stops that we don't plow around their fill caps. They are marked off with safety cones by the managers before each storm. EXCEPT THE ONE I HIT...I made sure to remind them of that one for the next storm.

    I read so much on here for awhile before I even considered starting to plow, bought books on the topic, etc. I have never asked anybody to give me an exact bid for a property, but have asked a ton of questions to local guys that are actually didding on same properties as we do. We all work good with each other but we all have different price solutions too.

    Be thick skinned young man, you will go further, the seniors on here started small too and want you to LEARN the proper way to bid. And you will..... I have only been plowing 3 years and still learn every time I am on here. I have underbid properties and over bid properties in my learning process, its great when you overbid and still get the job. All about presentation....
  20. dbcustoms

    dbcustoms Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Ended up not getting the job, gas station is to open in a week and lot was plowed this morning by someone else. Thanks for the help on the bid though.