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Plowing construction sites...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by NoStockBikes!!, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. NoStockBikes!!

    NoStockBikes!! Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    The guy that built our house just asked me if I'd be interested in plowing the job sites in our development this winter... I don't have any sub jobs lined up for this winter, so it'd really just be a side gig, doing a few sites within 1/4 mile or so of my house. He's not too fussy abotu when it gets done, he just wants it done after it snows. I have an idea what I'd charge for a regular driveway, but I'm not sure how a construction site drive would be different. On the one hand it's uneven surfaces, can't just drop the blade and start puching, but on the other hand, it's not like it needs to be scraped clean, just clear out the driveway area so the workers can get in and out with their trucks.

    I welcome any guidelines, tips or suggestions. I don't want to gouge the guy, but don't want to end up feeling like I'm being taken advantage of, either. This would be rural type pricing, not urban/suburban, if that helps. A "normal" driveway (3 car garage, 50-75' long) probably goes for $20/push around here by "guys with trucks".

    I just have no idea how long it might take me to do a construction site driveway, haven't done any "off road" plowing before. I mean I'd love to get all efficient and clear that $200/hr figure doing the sites, but I don't have the balls to look him in the eye and say "I have no idea how long it'll take me, but I want to clear $200/hr." if you knwo what I mean. I just throw out that $200/hr figure because I've heard people throw that number around w/ residential drives... Anyhow, I've rambled long enough. Thanks.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2003
  2. MSB1766

    MSB1766 Member
    Messages: 40

    I plowed for the guy that built my house, Just watch out the snow can hide things.
    I plowed up alot of boards,saw blades. And there was a dumpster on the site at all times.
  3. NoStockBikes!!

    NoStockBikes!! Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Good point... One big nasty that'd trash a tire could end up costing a couple pushes... Might want to put some sort of "site picked up" stipulation. Or maybe make the arrangement as a general cleanup, then I could make sure that there wasn't any crap to run over...
  4. NNJSnow

    NNJSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    I would ride over and check it out, lots of times the road has its base pavement which means raised storm drains and manholes etc. Hitting those could really suck so, would go check it out. Probably would but some extra tear on your truck depending on the condition and current progress at which the construction is at.
  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Lots of nasty stuff of construction sites that will damage your equipment.Boards,nails,manhole covers,etc etc.I'd give it a second though,or charge him accordingly.Drives are veryhard to plow as they are a muddy uneven mess sometimes.

    Make sure you have a 24 hr tire service handy.
  6. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Construction sites suck! I did one for a regular customer, he's a contractor and the ste was across the street from his home. It was rutted and there was always the fear of a flat as has been mentioned. I charged double my rate for driveways.
  7. NoStockBikes!!

    NoStockBikes!! Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Manhole covers, etc wouldn't be an issue, cuz it's just driveways of new home construction. The nail issue would probably be the most significant realistic hazard I'd be looking at. That and boards with nails in it. Driveways would just be dirt/sand, so the biggest thing is gonna be the "muddy mess" PITA factor... I just hate to price them based on 10 minutes each when the reality turns out to be 45 minutes each, or vice versa and overcharge him...

    I'm kinda leaning toward charging "a driveway and a half", and see how that goes. Cuz I know they'd be cake if they were asphalt or cement. This sandy dirt could be interesting. Gonna buck the system and not do a contract on this deal, so that if it turns out that it REALLY sucks, I can adjust the pricing.

    Tires.. Tires, tires, tires... I gotta figure out how to price that in, cuz undoubtedly I'll pick up at least one nail. Maybe factor in a couple hundred bucks season-wise? Or a flat-out surcharge?
  8. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Another consideration: The site will be constantly changing.

    A customer of many years had an addition put on his home last season and every time I went there to plow, the layout was different. Towards the end of the season I was running out of places to put the snow due to the piles of materials that had been moved from place to place. Make sure you get a waiver for damage to tools and materials, they won't be where you expect them to be.
  9. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    There should be some kind of loader or grader on site there for that.

    I'd stay far away from there. Steel concrete stakes and oil pans are very uncompatible. Plus , most tow co. are unwilling to go 4wheeling especially at nite in that type of terrain.

  10. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    I plow snow in the winter so I can *avoid* going to the construction site!

    In addition to the specific hazards already discussed I think you just need to consider how much of a beating your truck will be subject to. We all know how much harder gravel lots and driveways are on the equipment--just think about one that hasn't even been finished yet.

    Be wary of lumber too. A hidden 16' long board could damage something 16' away from you, if you push it just right. (Listen to the voice of experience.) :rolleyes:

    I think there's a lot of risk involved. If the customer is willing keep things tidy enough to minimze that risk, ok. If he's not, I think there's not enough money in it to make it worthwhile...
  11. NoStockBikes!!

    NoStockBikes!! Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Good food for thought, thanks.
  12. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    "I think there's a lot of risk involved. If the customer is willing keep things tidy enough to minimze that risk, ok. If he's not, I think there's not enough money in it to make it worthwhile..."

    Your client may have the best of intentions & say he will keep the site clean. However the reality is, the site will have anywhere from 4-10 different subcontractors working at various times, & they could care less if the guy you made your arrangements with said the site will be clean. They will throw their garbage, nails, screws, pieces of metal, lumber etc. where they land. I would charge triple any normal driveway price & use a loader with the hopes that the loader can handle that 16' surprise better than my trucks. There's gotta be something better than that situation that you can find hopefully??