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Salt Bidding/Ice Management

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by PlowCom, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. PlowCom

    PlowCom Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hello All, I have really hit an obstacle this year and need some help. "Salt"
    I have now been told by two of my long time customers that my salt prices are a lot higher than others in the area. I attempted to do some research on the site but many of the figures are from 2009 and older.

    Snow removal for HOA residential roads about 123k sqft. I am in the neighborhood of $0.35 per pound and estimate about a ton of salt being spread on the roads since a majority of the streets are hills. No sidewalks are being done just roads. They want anything under 2inches salted and the last cleanup pass salted/the rest is on call. Ice storms and such.

    Do you think I am pricing high or are the others bidding very low in the area. Central PA...
  2. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    How much are you paying per ton for salt
  3. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,978

    your getting $700 a ton for spread bulk salt?
  4. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    we would be lucky to get $250 a ton for salt
  5. Broncslefty7

    Broncslefty7 Senior Member
    Messages: 945

    it depends where you are, i pay roughly 190 to fill my spreader and then sell that salt for about 1400.
  6. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Holy cow, I wish we could get those rates. Were paying 80-90 a ton and really have to fight to get 250 applied.
  7. PlowCom

    PlowCom Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I have always charge per pound and billed at the end of the season and many of the customers never really had any issues with it being that way since in general I would do more plowing than applying salt, last year I took a hit because the salt prices skyrocketed and it was pretty much all ice every storm. I was charging between $.15 and .25 a lb. The guy was pretty surprised when I said it would be around $700 give or take per pass for salt. I get salt around $7.80 a bag give or take. http://www.gosalt.com/deicing_price_list.php

    With all being said, should I attempt to come back in at a price around $400 or so.
  8. Broncslefty7

    Broncslefty7 Senior Member
    Messages: 945

    oh, you are buying per bag? wouldnt it be cheaper to buy bulk?
  9. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare Member
    Messages: 30

    So you are only clearing 80 per ton if you do that at best. How long does it take to put out. That doesn't account for any fixed costs and there is a lot of headache with moving and loading bagged salt
  10. PlowCom

    PlowCom Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I buy per bag because it is easier (somewhat) and I only do 3 sites. Two trucks and 3 people at most. The HOA that I have been doing was recently taken over by a management company therefore they are requiring different methods.

    It takes about 40 minutes or so to lay salt.
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I think if you bill salt monthly they might not think they are paying alot. I think its the sticker shock they are looking at.
  12. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    Agreed, break payments up as much as you can. People are only looking at that large sum but if you do it in small payments they see much less.
  13. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    I am not surprised at all that they thought you were high. I know that our areas are different but you are competing with people that are much better suited for the work you are doing. Someone set up to apply bulk has a huge advantage over you an would get 99% of the bids you quote against each other. Not saying your pricing is wrong for the service you are providing it's just the service is suited for a different scale of work. To compete and not lose the account find someone in your area to sub the salt work to. They give you a fair price you add your 15-25% the price is much more in line with where it will need to be and you keep all the other work. Once you build up enough business to justify the costs of going bulk you can take the work back in house.
    By subcontracting it allows you to compete on certain sites you may not be completely set up for. It allows you to grow your business while still making money, and at a pace that works for you.
  14. allagashpm

    allagashpm Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    I agree I understand your pricing considering you are spreading bagged material, but someone spreading bulk salt can still make a great profit and be way less than you.
    I would consider getting a spreader that can spread bulk material (even if it is a tailgate like the boss 800) and loading it with a shovel.
    You will lose business and unfortunately you won't be able to pull the low baller card because they are providing the same service and results, just with lower over head.
  15. chiaone

    chiaone Junior Member
    Messages: 3

  16. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 786

    I'm thrilled to get $250-300 per ton. Using that amount you need to switch to bulk.