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Results of a school bid process

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LwnmwrMan22, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Here are the pictures.

    On average we get about 55-60" of snow, in 15 events.

    You are to plow at 1.5", automatically head out during the day every 2"

    School wants a bid by the hour, same price no matter what equipment you're using, truck, skid, you worry about getting an average price per piece of equipment.

    School also wants a bid for a flat season price for the year.

    What's your price?

    I'll let it go for a day, and post the results.

    What you find, might surpirse you.

    Red lines surround plowed areas, blue lines are sidewalks that must be cleared. Most sidewalks could be done with a skid and small blade.

    Middle school.jpg

    Primary school.JPG

    Senior High.JPG


  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Okay okay okay.... I didn't think anyone would actually sit down and put a number out there.

    Here's what happened.

    The school district wanted a bid for the season, or hourly, per piece of equipment.

    I have 2 other guys that I work with, for both summer and winter work. Some of you know I broke my foot this summer, some don't, but these guys other guys covered some of my work for me, and one of them does all the irrigation work on my properties for me.

    Anyways, I know through sources that they are VERY unhappy with the current contractor. I figure we'll put a decent bid in, I've got the list of contractors that were sent a bid packet.

    I and the two guys that are going to head this up, we spend 5 hours on Saturday driving to the schools, making notes in each of our notebooks, talking about how we'll push the snow, but nothing about hours to do each school. As we finished looking at each school, we would then say "NUMBERS", and each school, start with a different guy, so the other two were not influenced by the same guy starting each time.

    Once we were done with all 5 schools, looking at the plowing and the sidewalk work, we compared notes, and were all within 2 hours of each other. The quickest guy had 20 equipment hours to do all 5 schools, plowing and sidewalk work, the longest time was 22 equipment hours.

    I then informed the guys that the contractor that was doing it last year did it in 13 equipment hours.

    This was with 3 pickups and 2 skid steers. We were proposing 5 trucks and 5 skidsteers, have the entire district done in a little over 4 1/2 hours.
  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Bids were opened today.

    First bid, Company A wanted $75 for 8' truck, 8' skidsteer and prices went up from there, no seasonal price.

    Company B..... $60 per hour no matter what equipment was used.

    Company C, which was the contractor from last year, had been charging $83 per hour for whatever piece of equipment was used, charged this rate from '05-'06 when diesel was at $2 / gallon, actually lowered their rate to $78.50 per hour, no matter which piece of equipment or dumptruck was used. Their seasonal rate was $15,180 for the entire district.

    Company D was at $80 per hour, no matter what piece of equipment was used, and their seasonal rate was $17,945 for the season.

    Company E (me), I bid at $90 per hour, for any piece of equipment, and my seasonal rate was $36,000.

    I was more than 2 times the 2nd lowest bidder.

    The cheapest seasonal price for the entire district was less than my seasonal price for the Senior High.

    I haven't bid $60 per hour for years. I pay subs between $65 and $75 per hour.

    Like I said before, if I would have looked at these properties by myself, I might be second guessing my hours. However, since I had 2 other guys in the truck with me, none of us knowing what each other was thinking as far as hours it would take, I trust our numbers we came up with.

    As I said in the first post, at a rate of just under $18,000 for the season, with an average of 15 snowfalls per season, that's an AVERAGE of $1200 per event.

    If you can get it done in 14 equipment hours, then you're at about $85 per hour. If you take 20 equipment hours, then you're down to $60 per hour.

    I have banks that I get paid $2,500 on flat fees for winter work. I can do 1 per hour, with 1 truck, including sidewalk work, and do 6 in 7 hours by myself. I don't understand why guys would want to run 3 trucks, 2 skids to make the same amount of money.

    I'm not complaining, just getting tired of guys not getting these rates up.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2008
  4. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    was ity a live opening......i would have said t
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2008
  5. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    hat same thing and then would have walked out laughing.....actually has happend to me in a public opening... you just have to shake your head
  6. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    you forgot the "multiplier"

    around here there are guys bidding city work at $45/hr for pickups they then charge 2 hrs (or more) for every one actually worked
  7. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Yes, it was a live bid opening. I was the only one there.

    Once they opened the first 3 bids, I calmly said "you can just throw my bid in the garbage can, you don't need to open it".

    I told the business manager (know them real well, we've been doing related but not the same type of work for the district for 7 years now) how we came up with our bid. I said that I can do 6 banks by myself in 1/2 the equipment hours, and have the same amount of money in seasonal accounts.

    I said I cannot believe that last years contractor, who'd been charging $83 per hour for skids, trucks, loaders, dumptrucks, whatever.... since '05-'06, actually DROPPED their price by $4.50 per hour across the board for the same equipment.

    Crete - I agree, but if they take the seasonal price, they're locked in at the seasonal price, no "multiplier".
  8. plowdog

    plowdog Member
    from MN
    Messages: 45

    When this contract comes up for bid again, consider skipping the skids for plowing in your bid. They're too small and can't stack. Consider renting a loader for the season (like a 950 Cat) and a 14' pusher. I sub for a guy that does a dist. south of you , we started out with a few trucks, got an old michigan loader and thought there was nothing we couldn't handle. Along came more schools, add. to schools which ment bigger lots for more staff. He had to bail out or keep up.
    He decided to hit the ground running with more trucks and better equip. We now run 12-14 trucks every snow fall and 3 loaders with pushers along with 2 sanding trucks.
    Any heavy snow fall will throw a wrench in your plans and you will always have at least one truck break down. GO BIG!! Better to have the equip. and have to find more work than to be overworked and not enjoy it
  9. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    he would have to get the job first LOL
  10. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I realize that yes, it would have been nice to have a loader. The skids were for all the sidewalk work.

    We were at 12 hours for trucks with 8' plows, 10 hours for skids, clearing sidewalks and getting all the corners that we couldn't get the trucks in.

    About the only place a loader would have worked for, would be the large lot at the senior high.
  11. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    well just by looking at it i come up with 25hrs.....it was 12 hrs with truck and 13 hours S/W but i wasnt figuring a skid on the walks either.

    i guess i would have got the bid lol.......but i wouldnt work for $60 haha

  12. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    i would need Sq footage to tell you better... but my ball park number would have been around 18,000...

    trucks at $80 per hour... now normally im at $125 per hour, you have to consider who, and what yor bidding for... government bids, go cheap... same thing with menards in the area, if your over $80, you wouldnt win it. you just have to decide if its worth doing it for $80 per hour.... kepp this in mind... if they pay me per hour, im not about to put my most expensive rig, or my most PRODUCTIVE rig/ driver.... they will get an 8 foot plow , no bigger, and the driver will be told only plow at 15 mph max.

    this is assuming you dont have other fish to fry and need the work

    everyone keeps talking about raising rates for fuel , and salt going up.... fine and dandy in theroy, but if you have to bid against another company, they might not be raising their rates....its not always what you think your time is worth , but rather what is your compeditors time worth
  13. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Well, if you were at 25 hours, to plow and do the sidewalk work, and we average 15 plows / season, and you were to get the seasonal rate at $18,000, you'd have 375 equipment hours and average $48 per hour.

    I personally already have enough work for 3 trucks at $100+ / hour, so I didn't need the account. Figured if I could sub the whole thing out and make a little money on the side, then great.

    At $60 / hour, or at $15,000 for the season, there's no money to be made, even if you're the only guy doing all the work.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
  14. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762


    he said 12 hours to plow (which i figured 10) , and 13 to do sidewalks

    so PJ, like me , prop figured $80 per hour x 10 hours x 15 events is = 12,000

    13 hours side walk x $30 per hour x 15 events = 5820 - since he was figuring do it by hand the old fashion way

    total of 18,580
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
  15. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Yep, I see where you guys are coming from now. We were at 12 hours for the plow.

    We were at 12 hours (two of us) and one guy was at 10, so we're pretty much on target there.

    However for all the sidewalk work, most of these sidewalks are 6', so you're not going to get them with a blower quick. We were using the skids for sidewalks, as well as clearing out all the corners of the parking lots, pulling snow out of fenced in areas at each of the schools, etc.

    I know it would have helped had I had actual pics of problem areas as well. At a couple of the schools, they turned former tennis courts into parking lots, but left the fencing up. We bid it by pulling all that snow out of the areas, keeping access to all parking stalls. I'm sure the others bid it by stacking snow in there, and then getting paid to bring loaders in later to haul snow out.
  16. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    i bid all sidewalks the same, based on shovel time, if i chose to use a blower, tractor, or atv, skid steer, than thats my way of doing the job faster, with less labor, ... its my benifit, not the customers

    besides, at such a low hourly rate, jsut why would i want to put an expensive machine there... youd make more money by just letting them shovel at a fair rate per hour

    i do the same thing with lawncleanups, if they are per hour, then i make sure the guys use the small blower, and 48 inch machines, not the 60 inch. im not tring to milk the job, but im not about to give them my most productive peace of equiptment, for a cheaper than normal hourly rate
  17. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I have inside people at the district office.

    I know in the past that they've had issues with the schools not being plowed before school started. Not on days where it's iffy whether to close school or not, but even when there's been 2-3" of snow the day before, the school hadn't been plowed.

    We put together enough equipment and guys together on a plan to get the entire district done in 4 hours, with 22 equipment hours being billed out.

    I know you're not looking at milking, but we were looking at total cleanup in less than 5 hours. You couldn't do that with snowblowers and shovels with that amount of time.
  18. J.E. Hoenig

    J.E. Hoenig Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    My main plowing is a school district also it's done hourly but each piece of equipment has a different price. There are 5 elemenary schools 1 large middle school and 1 big high school with a massive bus garage where the whole district parks.
    The elemenary schools are done with 3 trucks(2- 8'blades and 1- 9' w/wings)
    The middle school is done with a loader w/16' pusher and 1 truck to outline for the loader.
    The high school and bus garage are done with a loader w/16' pusher,skid steer w/8'pusher and 1 truck w/8' blade and when everyone is done at the other schools we all group at the high school and finish it.
    There is a time limit so the buses can get out and it HAS to be met.
    If you knew how much I got for each piece of equipment you would probably move here.
    Loaders alone are over $200 hr,
    and there is nothing under $100 hr
    Bottom line is the last contractor couldn't deliver and schools were not ready on time
    with us they said "The plowing hasn't been this good in over 10 year" so like everything else you get what you pay for.
  19. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    We just started working for a particular school board this spring, and because they fired one of the snow contractors mid way last season for non performance I was just handed over 13 schools to plow and salt. The prices were basically given to me. I checked all the sites and would have had them done at 3/4 of the price given to me and still be making guap. Instead, I asked for a small increase over last years pricing because of fuel, bla bla bla, and they went for it. Plow trucks and machine unit prices were the highest I have ever seen. Salt prices were stupid high too. I researched bid results from previous years and realized its the same all across the board. I'm going to feel this one out this year, and take more next year if it goes good.
  20. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    You have to realize or remember that everyones motivations for taking on work are different. Some go cheap knowing they can continuosly milk them, some lowball to flush out the competition for a while, then call their price once everyones gone, for others, snow work is considered the off season, and they just want to keep equipment running, and key staff employed to recoup some of the salaries they have to pay them. For me, its to make money, and nothing else. I don't take on commitments for bragging rights-some of the contractors around me have complex of some type which make them feel good knowing they do something others don't.