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New to commercial clearing??? Questions???

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Kidder, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Kidder

    Kidder Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    I was just awarded 6 commercial lots from a person that I know. This is my first time doing commercial. I have done residential for 11 years. This year I bought a Bobcat S250 after I found out about the contracts that I was getting. I have to meet the property managers to discuss some particulars. What should I ask about or what do I need to know about to make this go smooth. My main concern is where to pile snow, at what point do I remove the snow, time frame for clearing and billing and payment details. Are there other issues that I should be covering. Thanks fof the information.
  2. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    How big are the lots, what do you have for equipment?
  3. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    All of those questions should have been answered before you did the bid?... How can you bid the site correctly if you don't have all the info?
  4. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    It sounds like you fell into some money, lucky you.

    Although these things should have been taken care of beforehand I am sure we can still help.

    Talk with the managers and get some info locked down, then measure the lots and take into consideration obstacles and concerns like handicap areas. While you are there drive the place out like you would be if you were plowing and time it out then you can base your flat rate price off a per hour charge.

    It is much easier for us to help if you supply some birdseye maps.

    If you can not figure this out for yourself maybe you bit off more than you can chew. Winging it is a bad idea when you have to take into consideration liability. You wouldn't become an EMT if you didn't know how to secure a suture or perform the heimlich would you?
  5. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    You jumped before you looked.
    Hope it all works out for you.
    Try the "search" button to find answers to your questions.
  6. Kidder

    Kidder Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    I haven't even seen the lots yet but he gave the lots to me hands down. He asked what my hourly fee was and I told him it was $75 per hour. He gave me six to start with but said that he could probably give about fifteen. I think that fifteen is too big for me for only having one skidsteer, down the road i hope to purchase another and have two on the road. The company that person is a manager for maintains 155 properties in my city. I have seen one lot and it is a 220 space lot, that is by far my biggest. I just have to meet the managers to see where they like the snow piled, etc. I have a combination of strip malls and apartment blocks. I know that I am fortunate but don't want to get burned at the same time. Thanks.
  7. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    Do you have a back up truck? Sounds like you are a one man band. I think 6 would be fine but who will do them if you're down for repairs? He may have given them to you because they suck to plow. Good luck though.
  8. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,537

    i dont think the manager should have to tell you where to put the snow.

    obviously you realize where it would be out of the way, thats the first consideration, second would be to push it the most efficient way possible, take the longest passes, fewer turns etc... that way you please the patrons/management and your also covering yourself.

    you need to tell us your equipment, so far its obvious that you have a truck and a skid.
    6 lots with 1 truck is way too much. if its snowing an inch per hour, and say you have a 1 inch trigger, takes you an hour to plow each lot with the trigger, you finish the first, second and maybe third lot in the allotted time, by the time you get to the fourth fifth and sixth lots your looking at almost 2+hours completion time due to accumulation/drifting over the course of time it took to cover the first three lots.

    if your charging 75 per hour, maybe you can find some subs that will work for 45 to 50 an hour, avg. rate where i live(for straight blades) then you get a $25 margin, then you need to see if that margin is enough to cover your overhead allocated to the lots your sending the subs to.
  9. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    What kind and type of equip do you have besides the skid?
    I hope you have at least another truck with an 8.5' blade on it. The skid will take forever to clean 6 even.
  10. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,190

    Ask where you can park/plug in the skid if your keeping it on site. If your lucky, they'll have an indoor parking spot for you.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,554

    since you have the contracts now already you want to start trying to figure out how long each one is going to take you because you will have to plan according to what time places have to be open by. this is stuff that is done before the bidding however you already won that. I would also make sure you keep very detailed records when you are out there. I am sure if someone else has done it before hourly they will know how long it should take. That might be there next move... after you submit your hours they may start wanting to negotiate.

    How are you moving from location to location? Trailering a machine in the winter and chaining everything down in an ice storm is brutal. If you can drive it your set... might want to do a road test to see how long it takes you to get to each place.

    My single speed bobcat is brutal, but its route is tight so that doesnt matter.
    You want to make sure that if your machine isleft on site that its safe... if someone steals your machine, or decides to let the air out of the tires, your done.
  12. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Unless it is declared a state of emergency or they are very high paying customers I wouldn't even consider it.
    (on edit) Ignore me. I know nothing, I see nothing. Where is my beer? Hey Mark! you want one?
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,554

    perhaps I should have said "trailering a bobcat in the winter in general while its snowing or wet is brutal"
    Ice storm might have been over kill on the wording.

    I cant really tell if your being sarcastic or serious or what you really mean about you not knowing anything and where your beer is.

    The guy mentioned he bought a bobcat this year, so I thought maybe he had not experienced moving it in the winter.
  14. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    It seems to me that if you are going to try and clear all the lots with a skid that it is going to be hard to do that before opening hours. Question? How close are the lots to each other and you should have a truck running with a either and 8.5 or 9.5 blade on it. I think you are in over your head, but give us more details and then we can decide. Did the last guy use a skid to take care of all the lots.
  15. SteveR

    SteveR Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    we do 4 large lots with 2 loaders 3 trucks and a snowblower..Hope you have the equipment or subs to handle the work.
  16. plowdog

    plowdog Member
    from MN
    Messages: 45

    Congrats on the 6 lots- your work speaks for itself ! Most people here I'm sure have fallen into jobs and figured them out on the fly. Good job at seeing the need for a skid steer, does it have a snow bucket? is a blower avail.? Take this thought a step further for a 6" plus snow fall and consider LEASING a loader and a pusher. A loader will push and stack more snow faster and higher than a skid- just a thought ! Questions to ask- where do they think they want the snow vs. where you would like to put it. If you are able to haul the snow off site, who make the call and agree to a price before hand. What about the area snow is piled on, who picks up the trash that "suddenly" appears in the spring and repairs the grass? Don't forget salt/ sand storage- start stock piling now. Also, will they want sweeping in the spring? Keep a written detail of the work you do at each site, don't depend on remembering what you did at each site- the brain fades after 15 hours of staring at snow.
    Jump in with both feet, learn from your mistakes and have fun with it, plowing snow isn't rocket science but there is some skill involved.
    My thoughts- 2-3 pickup trucks and a cat 950 loader with a 14' pusher you'll be done in less than 5 hours. Enjoy yourself - the fun is about to begin!!!
  17. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Man is ohio that competitive? WHO plows for $45-50/hr with their truck/spreader etc?

    20hr storm and you get $1k for your truck/plow/labor/fuel? wtf

    We can make that in 4hrs with one truck.

    Even if the main guy here is charging $75 an hour, hell we get $75+ labor/hr for salt services, plowing is damn double at minimum.

    We can do small lots in 20 minutes $125-175 properties, have other accounts that take similar or slightly more time and are $200-275.

    we have $250 properties that we can do in a half hour :/ sucks for some of you guys @$75.00hr.. guess you really didnt get anything by signing those clients up huh?
  18. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Subs generally recieve a lower pay rate in exchange for not dealing with the customer, billing, hoping to get paid, where are you, the lot looks like crap, etc. I think we all have jobs that can pay 2-3 hundred an hour, while we're there. But there's travel time, fueling up, loading the speader,etc. I agree that $75 seems low for the primary guy, especially Canadian $$. But to each his own. And pricing is very localized. More snow per year means lower rates.

    Kidder has his hands full, to be sure. I hope he can pull it together. He needs to get some help lined up, fast. Hopefully they will be under the $75/hr. Of course we still haven't seen pics, or have any lot dimensions. If they are small office buildings next to each other, he could be fine.
  19. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,237

    I know it's early, but I'll take 2! :drinkup:

    OP (lest I be accused of not helping, being a smart ass or just replying with "I'd do it for a couple kegs") you have any experienced plowers you are friendly with?

    You might want to have a friendly competitor do some handholding with you or you're going to screw yourself big time.

    As everyone said, these are all questions that should have been answered before you gave him your rate. You should also have somewhat of a clue of your production capabilities.

    So your rate for a skid steer is $75. Great, what happens if you now find out that you can't do it with just one SS and you need a truck? Truck rates are generally higher than a SS. What if you really need a loader with a pusher?

    Good luck. You may also want to spend a few weeks reading up before the snow hits.

    PS And this is the kind of crap that experienced companies are dealing with?
  20. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,237

    Dang good point terra.

    This concept that any idiot (although BigDave sort of fit this concept) can plow snow without any knowledge, experience or even half a clue is getting ridiculous.

    Almost makes me think licensing would be a good idea. And I can't believe I just said that. :dizzy: