If your spreading smaller amounts,then per pound or per bag pricing is probably best,as long as you have a min charge.If it is a small lot that consistantly takes the same amount,then a per application charge could be used.
Once you get into larger amounts,it's best to charge per ton.Either way you go just make sure you making a minimum per location,so you not driving somewhere and laying salt for $5.00.Either way,don't sell yourself short,there is good money in salt,if you provide good service and price it right
The actual amount you charge will depend on going rates in your area.Ask or call around and find out.I'm sure some more locals will chime in here also.
I know this has been debated before, but I'd weigh in with a per occurence price as opposed to per bag or per ton. I started with a per bag charge when we got into salting. The problem is that you'll never make more than the margin on what you make per bag (with per ton you can't tell exactly how much you've used so it's a guess anyways).
The problem with selling salt by the unit is that it is to your advantage to apply more than may be necessary. Do you need to drop 500 lbs per acre when 250 will do? Over application of salt is unncessary and is not as environmentally sound.
If you determine a fixed price per application you have a greater opportunity to make more money if you watch your material useage. Put enough down to work, but not too much that you blow your profits. Some days you'll have to put more down and other days don't feel guiltly when you put down that light application. Remember, it makes up for the heavier ones.
Most commercial places around here want ONLY price per ton applied.I have tried the per app deal,but it gets way out of hand on the larger properties.We may dump 2 tons or we may dump 20,and make several apps per day,depending on conditions.They always felt they were getting hosed.
With the smaller lots,that are more consistant,I agree price per app is more effective,if you can sell it in your area.
As I read through these post, a question came to mind of those who have replied.
Are the prices quoted such at $ 18.00 per bag including the labor to put it down? If thats the case you need to change your way of billing for materials or your never going to earn any money doing this work. And dont get me wrong, until about 5 or 7 years ago I was making the same mistake.
When billing for salting, I suggest having an appearance fee PLUS materials with a huge markup.
Why? Heres an example.
Your client is 20 minutes away and needs the walks and lot salted. Now you have to get in the truck, drive 20 mins each way and maybe spend 20 mins salting everything.
One visit it is very icy, and you use 10 bags or 500 lbs of salt. If your billing them at $ 18.00 a bag then you bill $ 180 bucks.
Next visit its not nearly as icy, so you only throw out 5 bags and save 10 minutes on the application time. Now your only going to bill them $ 90.00. But you just spent 50 minutes to earn half the money, and both trips required the same truck, same insurance, same gas etc costs that have to be recovered.
We bill them a visit fee of say $ 50.00 to $ 75.00 plus materials. So now I know when I'm leaving my house Ive already covered my costs and any materials plus markup is just gravy. And if I have to go to two or three other properties on the way then my profits are only going to increase.
Ever have a plumber, phone company or appliance service call at your house. Its $90.00 bucks for the first hour and then whatever for anytime over that. Why shouldnt you charge similarly??? And were carrying a whole lot more liablity for the service were providing.
Now, how many of you guys are driving around looking at all your parking lots for free to see if there are any icy spots??? And after a two hour drive by, you've billed exactly zero dollars!!!!! I'll save monitoring fees for another discussion.
This is my first year salting, but I get $0.22 per pound and $60 per hour to apply with a one hour minimum. Same as $11/ bag. The only drawback is keeping track of sales tax, in my opinion if I charged per occurence or per ton applied I would not be selling salt for profit, it would be cost for application.
One other thing is it is hard to compare to East coast or other regions that are to far away from your market. In my readings here there is a huge difference in pricing structures. Although if I spread one ton of salt I get $440 for salt plus hourly application rate. (Not to likely to happen)
Around here price per ton applied is very low,as low as 70.00 CDN a ton.Rule of thumb is lay one,charge for two.It's just the way it's done here.We also have a 1 ton min everytime we go out.Stupid system,but it works very well.
I just charge a flat rate.I have 2 rates,normal/pretreat rate,and a heavy rate,that I sometimes need if its real icy or real cold.I only use what is necessary,I do and will nto charge by the ton,first off i do not have a scale on the truck,I use bulk only,and magic salt goes further than untreated salt,and works better,this is to my advantage.I do not double bill either,it will come back to bite you in the end.
I wish we could deal in all bulk salt. But it doesn't snow enough for me to buy a v- box, loader and material, let alone storing it. I charge a per application amount. I look at the lot .... estimate on how many bags and add on for profit. I have one lot that i do, 12, 50lb bags @ $4 a peice=$48 material, 15min to spread(not really but) I bill $450. I think I'm making money. Then again I have insurance, gas, truck payment, store products, get up at early hr so its done before opening. Not alot of guys salt around here either, which I don't understand. We get more icy conditions than snow.
We do the same as john. We charge a flat rate for normal condition, then a higher rate for a heavy application. It was to hard to keep track of pounds used and so on, as we use bulk material. Plus this makes the billing of customers very easy.
my 2 cents