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Quoting a Private Road

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by derekbroerse, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I have been asked to quote a private road, something I have never done. I went out to see it, its a km long (about 5/8 mile), regular narrow 2 lane gravel road, nothing special at all. Winds around a bit and heads to the lake. The last property owner on the road is the one who called me, I sure don't wanna deal with everyone on the road to try and collect payment though! He can be my contact.

    Need to talk to him tonight.

    I was thinking since it is such a small road I would just price it like an oversized driveway. I'd imagine that to retain maximum width I would need to make three passes to open it fully... no biggie at all. No one has mentioned salt or anything, so I'll worry about that later. I was thinking $100Cdn (like $87US) per push on this job with a standard 2" commercial trigger.

    Anyone have any advice for me before I go see him tonight? Looks like a very easy, gravy-type job.
  2. MJM Landscaping

    MJM Landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 259

    a gravel road that is more than a 1/2 mile long for $87.00. That is way to low. I do ones that are 1/8 private drives for around $150..

    Your market might be different up there but I wouldnt touch a road around here like that for less then $250 a wack.
  3. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Ahh well, wish I'd seen this a little earlier... I am now on-call for their heavier snowfalls (they have a Jeep with a light duty blade) for $100Cdn for probably 10 minutes work. I think I can be happy with that.

  4. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Hey derek, I did a paved 1/2 mile road (actually it was a wide bike path along the canal) with a small drive at the end (the only driveway) I did it for $100 with a 3-4 inch trigger. angle blade to the right push at 12 mph (at 15 mph my windshield started to get blasted and I really did not want to take a dip) hit the drive and clear the other side on my way out. It was really easy and fun, wish I had a foil though when I did it.

    Ask Mick, but I believe you don't want to salt gravel roads, sand maybe. And find out who is responsible for the road- is it a HMO or is it the guys at the end that called you and everyone else is just responsible for their own drive.
  5. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Too bad you can't squeek a little more out of them considering when they need you there will probably more like 10" on it.
  6. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I might be able to, but there's always next year.

    They don't need any salt or sand from the sound of it. He takes care of collecting from the other homeowners, too, so it really is a gravy job.
  7. Bigblue250

    Bigblue250 Member
    Messages: 54

    I would get $300 to break the road if thats all you are going to be called for.
  8. Mick

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

    Hey, Derek. If you've made the deal, that's great as long as you're both happy. Roads are pretty nice, you should be able to break out even 10" on there in about 15-20 minutes. Just scout out places you can push off periodically. You're smart having just one person you deal with, trying to deal with everyone on the road can be a nightmare. Final suggestion - check with your GL insurance - some will cover a private road on a Residential policy and some won't. It might depend on how many houses are on the road. It can get real tricky. Being "on call" can actually be to your advantage - from a liability standpoint. Just make sure "on call" doesn't mean "right now once we call". You need to have a reasonable response time - otherwise you get called when they're standing there wanting out to get to work or they tried to get out and now they're stuck in the middle of the road. Or they tried to plow it with their Jeep which now has snow piled in front of the plow and they can't get any further.
  9. Duracutter

    Duracutter Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 200

    Gravy, but thick gravy. There's only so many seasons. Hope you listen to the advice here next time.

    Gravy is more when you make 200 to 300/hr. And steady, that's real gravy. For example, many of my large sites have me roadchip the parking lots before it snows. Usually $250/hr to lay the roadchip and then once it snows, we bobcat it off and start the cycle all over again. payup
  10. Rowski

    Rowski Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Be careful. I don't know the guy and situation you are dealing with. We were on call for a very rural (side of a mountain) single lane road just over a mile long. They had an old small truck of some kind. They would call when they couldn't handle it with thier small truck. They also had very little plowing experience. Would only plow when there was "enough" snow, lead to packing several inches of mealy base. They only called us once that year, it was an unusually snow less winter.

    My point is they most likely will call when the situation is bad and want it done right away (multiple houses). Most likely in that situation your having your hands full with you regular customers. Personally I would do it by the hour with maybe a minimum. That way you get for what you do and they pay for what you did.

    Situations alway seem easy when the grass is still green.

    BTW don't salt a gravel road!

  11. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    I used to go sledding down the Mt. Philo State Park Rd just after a snowfall, what a blast, couldn't imagin plowing it though. Pretty steep and twisty.
  12. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    My liability policy specifies snow removal from private streets, driveways, parking lots, and street cleaning (maybe cleanup after plowing out a driveway? not sure) so that part is no problem.

    He has already been told that being on-call means he will have to wait until my other customers are taken care of. He is perfectly fine with that. If anyone else wants to whine, they can whine to him. I'm not a miracle worker.

    There is no mountain to deal with, nice flat ground with lots of room on the sides of the road for windrowing. Mostly orchards along the road, and open fields where orchards used to be. This is like an oversized residential driveway, as simple as they come. It is straight other than one not-even-90* bend.

    Yes, my blades have the deflector kits on them, I can move pretty fast if I want to.

    We don't get real deep snow here very often at all. Worst case, my first push will be in the V position pushing outward, then a pass down each side. I really don't anticipate this taking more than 15 minutes. Really. It's that easy. And as you well know I'm not new at plowing and also know my equipment well too.

    I like my gravy thick. Especially with turkey and mashed potatoes. If I can manage to do the job in 15 minutes, thats the equivellent to $400/hr. If it takes double that, a whopping half hour, thats $200/hr. That is a heck of a lot higher than our going rates around here!

    I'm hoping that this guy, having lived there for 35 years and been taking care of the area for a good portion of that time, knows when to say when with the Jeep. I suspect he will. He's a senior citizen, and I suspect his desire to go out and play in the snow is pretty low. Time will tell.

    They have never salted/sanded the road. I can do either if they decide then need it, but he has already been warned about the cost. His way of looking at this is 'if we need it, we need it' so there would definately be room for improvement for next year.

    Thanks for the advice, guys. I don't think there's much to be concerned about for this one. Maybe should have priced a bit higher but I think it will be comfortable. If not, like I said, there's always next year and I chalk that up to learning.

  13. jcesar

    jcesar Senior Member
    from Mi
    Messages: 492

  14. Mick

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

    Sounds like you actually got a good one. I usually don't let people tell me what they'll pay, but I had one this year who emailed me and asked if I wanted his road and parking area and what it paid. I looked at it and it was actually more than I'd have charged, so I agreed to his price.

    I know what you mean about his desire to go out and play being low. I had a road I did for a few years where the old guy had a John Deere mower with a blade on it. He'd get out and push snow with it. The problem was that I pushed all the snow into windrows that his tractor couldn't handle. So I got to leaving a section on a curve for him and his tractor, then another place that had a good flat section on the side of the road. Took more effort to leave it than just plowing it out, but he enjoyed thinking he was plowing snow. That little bit was just about enough for him and his machine.
  15. soulrider1979

    soulrider1979 Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    This is what Id do, say to the guy, Ill charge your 10 dollars an inch, then when I get there the service is 50 to 100 an hour. Thats it. Say you get 10 inches of snow. Its gotta take you at least an hour to push. I dont plow more then 6 inches at a time. Ist visit is 60 + 1 hour(100), 2nd is 40 plus another hour(100) = 300 per storm. He'll bite!! Then your will have time for other contracts!!:drinkup: