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Possible FIRST Commercial Account!!!

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by crazyskier537, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. crazyskier537

    crazyskier537 Senior Member
    from NE IL
    Messages: 129

    Hey guys. I do driveways in my neighborhood as my "part time" job. After handing out flyers door to door, I got a couple returns that have already paid me for the winter. Now, on these flyers, I put "Residential/ Small Commercial". I did this to add legitimacy to my buisness, and to show people i'm not just another kid with a shovel. I also was hoping I might get a small commercial site somewhere close to me.

    Yesterday, while at school, I got a call from someone that had a lot for which he wanted snow services. He said I dropped the flyer by his parents house, and they forwarded my info to him. This lot is like 10 blocks from me (very close). I went on google maps, searched the address, snipped a photo of it, and calculated the Sqaure Footage. There are two VERY small lots. One has around 10 parking spots, and the other has around 5 and a small drive. THE TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE IS 9,000 SQ. FEET. It is a very simple property to do. They only use half of one of the lots. The other half has concrete barriers to seperate it, since there is no need to use it.

    NOW, my question is: How much should I offer for this property? It would be done with snowblowers, since I don't have a plow. If there is a larger snowfall above 2 or 3 inches, I would have 2- 4 blower out there doing the lots. I have almost NO OVERHEAD, since it's like a quarter mile from my house, already have 2 blowers, and would be wiling to get a third. They are two- stage blowers (24" ariens) that I feel confident using. My only expense would be a backup blower, which would be another snow-tek, for $500. I will be using a walk- behind salter if they want salt (which is likely from what I have read). I got my salt for this year for $100 a pallet, and most likely could get more for that price.

    Do I bid for the season or per event? On my contract, I have those two options listed. I realize it's hard or impossible to tell me exactly what I should charge, but could anyone give me an IDEA? What would YOU charge per square foot? How would YOU bid on this account?

    Yes, I have searched and read alot on this topic, but I feel I am in a different situation due to me not having a plow. The people who help me will get paid like $30, since they are my friends and just want some lunch money lol. They have been helping me out for years, sometimes just for fun.

    I would really like some of your opinions guys. I would like to call this dude back today and meet with him to discuss and work out the details.

    Thanks in advance,

    Commercial LOT.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Please just stay in school.
  3. crazyskier537

    crazyskier537 Senior Member
    from NE IL
    Messages: 129

    As much as I appreciate your concern, who said i'm not planning on staying in school? Most kids have part time jobs these days. For some, it's working at Party City every day after school, and for some it's snow removal. I'm in one of the best schools in my state, and i'm doing really well in it. I'm going off to college (Boulder) in one and a half years to study engineering. I'm staying in school.

    So I have to go meet this guy within the next hour. Hopefully i'll be able to postpone giving him an estimate till tommarow. Don't want to screw this up.
  4. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    IMO, thats alot to do with just snowblowers. I bet its a couple hours anyway. Get a truck and a plow, or a tractor with a blower, but to use walk behinds, thats crazy :eek:
    There are just too many "what if's" with the snow blowers. I agree with Grandview, stay in school:nod:
  5. cpmi

    cpmi Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 167

    I'm all for small time business as some of us are exactly that. I am also for seeing younger guys getting off there a** like you and doing something instead of sitting at home which is a rarity today. BUT-you are getting in way over your head bidding on a commercial lot with snowblowers only. Can it be done-of course;Is it wise NO. Not trying to knock you or keep you down but as others said you are not equipped to handle a commercial property-end of story. Trust me and others who have chimed in-you are getting in way over your head.
    Just my 2cents.
  6. crazyskier537

    crazyskier537 Senior Member
    from NE IL
    Messages: 129

    What if I considered a plow for my jeep Cherokee xj?

    Ok, so I went and talked to the guy. He said they will do the salt, and front walkway. They want a 2" trigger, and want to be billed per event. He want pricing to be determined by the amount of snow that falls eg. 2-4 4-6 etc.

    NO service on weekends, no matter what.

    They used to do the snow (no plow). He said he didn't like doing it, and that he'd like it if I did. They don't see many customers, its more of an office/ small distribution center. They will mark the property for me.

    I DONT want to be one of those kids that come on here and ask for advice, then don't heed it, but I firmly believe I have a slightly different perspective on the situation and property than anyone else since I know my physical, mental, and equipment related limitations. I WILL MOST LIKELY end up either buying a plow for my jeep XJ, or buying an atv or tractor. Since I already have the jeep, I believe it would be a wiser choice to go with a plow for 1 or 2k.

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Ill take your suggestions into the equation, and will report my results as soon as anything changes.
  7. crazyskier537

    crazyskier537 Senior Member
    from NE IL
    Messages: 129

    By the way guys, I still really need some ballpark figures. How does this sound?

    2-4" $200
    4-6" $350
    6-8" $400
    8-10" $500
    10-12" $600
    $50 per additional inch after 12"

    I'm really completely guessing on those numbers. I have no clue as to whether that is high or low. I realize my residentials work a little differently, but a 1,000 sqaure foot drive I have goes like this-

    2-4" $20
    4-6" $35
    6-8" $40
    8-10" $50
    10-12" $60
    $5 per additional inch after 12"

    I simply took those numbers and multipied them by 10, since the property is around 10 times bigger.
  8. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    What kind of insurance do you have
  9. MahonLawnCare

    MahonLawnCare Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 852

  10. crazyskier537

    crazyskier537 Senior Member
    from NE IL
    Messages: 129

    Too young to have insurance. I'm still in high school.
  11. indplstim

    indplstim Senior Member
    Messages: 195

    Yea....my commercial accounts require that I carry at least a 2 million dollar liability policy so....yea
  12. FinerCuts

    FinerCuts Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 85

    In all honesty I really would wait to start doing parking lots until you are either out of school or have a plow on the front of a vehicle. my .02
  13. fairwaymowing

    fairwaymowing Member
    Messages: 90

    Yikes buddy......I agree, your bitting off way more than you can chew. Unfortunately a business doesn't care if your 'to young' to carry insurance. What if a snowblower clogs and a worker puts his hands into the augers? Stick to your driveways around one area, thats def a better move. But hey nice to see a young person with this much drive. Lastly, $200 every 2-4 inches? Man id be rolling in $$ with that kind of numbers.
  14. crazyskier537

    crazyskier537 Senior Member
    from NE IL
    Messages: 129

    Ok guys, you convinced me. Not so much because of the fact I can't handle it, but because of plain old fear. The whole damn winter I would be thinking "what if". I made a good point with the car, and how you shouldn't drive since it's also a risk, but in life you should try to take as little risks as you can. I WILL stick to residentials and pick up 5 or 10 more. Commercials are still foreign ground to me, so I will try to steer away until I am a bit older and can both afford insurance, and understand how the system works. Thanks for all of your advice everybody! Also, thanks for bringing me back to reality and showing me how foolish of a move it would be to take this account. I can now imagine myself walking back and forth on a 9,000 square foot lot with my tiny little 24" snowblower. What was I thinking :eek::laughing:

    Can't thank you guys enough:salute:
  15. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    PM sent to you
  16. indplstim

    indplstim Senior Member
    Messages: 195

    Look at it this way, the time you spent snowblowing 9000sq ft(2-4 hours maybe more) could b spent doing 10-20 extra drives, and 200 per event is a little high, a plow truck could knock that out in under 30 mins and charge about 60 bucks, find those extra drives and u will come out ahead
  17. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Once you get insurance go for I don't care how you do the job just get it done, with out insurance you would put your family at risk if an injury every occurred. I'm glad to see you work for your money not expect your parents to hand it to you. Good luck I hope you have a great future