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Newb, with aspirations.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by caelach, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. caelach

    caelach Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Hi Folks,

    I'm starting a snow plow business and plan to do medium size commercial properties. My expectations are that I will learn a few things the hard way, but hopefully will in fact learn.

    I bid a job this year but did not get the work. The company (I work there) was not pleased with the pricing or the quality of the work the winning bidder did. Looking back at my pricing they can see they would have paid less with me as my bid included everything while the winner pounded them with huge charges for walks and sand/salt spreading to jack up the price. They paid over $70,000 to this contractor. There was at least 68" of snow this year (avg. 50").

    The place has 10 loading docks, several hundred feet of walks (lots of street sidewalk), and maybe 400 parking spots, pretty big job for a newb. They run 3 shifts, so cars are always there. They have asked me to bid again next year after reflecting on the straightforwardness of my bid. This is a good thing.

    I have a new Ram 2500 HD 4X4, no plow (no work, no plow, was my thinking). I can afford a plow with the snap of a finger ($3500-4500). I realize I will need $1200-1500 or more for some kind of liability insurance. I have 3 drivers available if needed and one has a new F-250 w/plow as a second truck if needed. I also have several persons available for doing the walks and obviously a HD snowblower. I am not sure of my needs for a sander/salter. I'm thinking a 10 cu. ft. tailgate job will do.

    I'm just blurting out some facts about the situation and seeing if any of you folks can throw me a bone or two of advice about what you notice here. Like I say, I expect to learn a few things the hard way. I think I have the pricing for this job :waving: down, and they have been very disgruntled through 3 different contractors over several seasons.

    Thanks for your time.
  2. QMVA

    QMVA Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    You may want to think about a skid-steer. Sounds like it would be a nice contract to have but if you do try and get this contract find a few sub-contractors and get a few more small contracts in case this bid falls through.
  3. caelach

    caelach Junior Member
    Messages: 11


    Good points, thanks, I'll keep those in mind.
  4. Mick

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

    I think I'd be pretty careful before taking this on, especially with the apparent limited experience you have. First, are you going to be available to meet the commitments you'll be making? You said you have three drivers available - are these employees? If so, then you'll have other expenses and the $1500 in liability insurance isn't going to make it. Do you have shovelers and have you figured their wages and associated employee expense? Also, you said you have three drivers lined up, but only one truck as a backup. What are those other two drivers doing?

    Lets think about the income from this job. You said they paid $70,000 for 68" of snow this year and average is 50". That means there was 35% more snow this year than average. So, that means the average snowfall would have cost them about $51,500 ($51,500 x 135% = $69,525). Are you sure you can provide an "all-inclusive" bid for significantly less? What happens if you get another above average snowfall? Your costs will go up, but you won't be getting more money.

    Will you need to provide snow removal? As in trucking it off site. Do you have equipment or contract trucking and a dump site?

    Final thought on insurance - the $1500 sounds like General Liability. Probably $300,000 to $1,00,00 for a sole operator. Get a copy of the company Request for Proposal. They might require more liability coverage. Also, ask your insurance agent about Workman's Comp for employees - you might be unpleasantly surprised.
  5. Peopleeater

    Peopleeater Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    I would make the other driver(s) subcontractors, instead of employees. Then 1099 them at the end of the year. I won't receive a 1099 next year as I started a corporation, and he doesn't 1099 corps. It will be my responsibility to account for my income. I am going to try on my own next year also. Buddies went to an equipment auction saturday, and one said that case 1085 skid steers went for 5000.00 (used). I think they were 1085's.?

    If the other 2 drivers are to drive your truck, then they would have to be employees, I think. Besides that, I don't think I would ever let anyone else plow with my new truck, or in my case older truck. Not even another thought about that one!

    I believe you can treat the sidewalk guys as subs also. As subs, they would be required to carry their own worker's comp ins., and their taxes as I mentioned before.

    The skid steer idea is a good one as it would allow you to get into the parking spaces between cars that are empty easier than a truck with plow. Also would aid in stacking snow, or moving piles in case the need arises. You could also rent one, and figure your fees, and charge appropriately. Would have to make sure you could rent one in your area, and at what price. Also would need a HD trailer to haul it around.

    Your salter idea would probably be fine. If it is too small, it would just need to be filled more often. I don't think I would bid salt for a season. I wouldn't even bid plowing for a season, except maybe a resi. Too many variables to consider. I didn't see where you said per season, just threw that part in. I would charge per push, and then the amount of salt used per application, whether you charge per bag, per ton, per ?.... Ask if they want or need snow removal, and not just plowing. Also, see if there is an area on their property that they could pile snow. (away from building, and downhill so the runoff doesn't cause problems. You will probably find yourself salting more than plowing, depending on your area, and the customers desires.

    Just giving some input on what to consider before next season.

  6. TriCountySnow

    TriCountySnow Member
    Messages: 34

    Tri-COunty Snow plowing & removal

    I would be very carefully about how you bid this one would be great for larger company, however you have to think about some thinks like, you said you have 3 other drivers what shifts do they work. that is a very big lot for just one truck to do. you would be losing money in the long run you would spend 90 percent of your time there, that job for 1 truck will take about 4 hrs that is on a light snow day. My Company carry 1 million dollar insurance policy 1500 wont even cover the cost of a simple scratch on a car . From a Porfessional veiw i think that you would be in way over your head, that size drive you almost need loaders with snowpushers, Good luck
  7. jpboost

    jpboost Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    hello am a newb hr nice to meet you guysz........:)
  8. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883


    one Question.. why in a 2yr old post?:waving:
  9. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Second ?, how much snow do you push in L. A.:waving: ?