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seasonal bid or refuse to bid

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by mpgall26, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. mpgall26

    mpgall26 Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Att: Grandview and the other 2011/2012 winners.
    Have you seasonal folks refused to bid per storm, inch etc ?? Management RFP for 48 unit complex. Virtually all have drives and walkways with appropriate roadway, we'll call it 1 lane mile roads roughly. Amounts to a ton of tight area shoveling and single stage blowing.
    They aren't interested in seasonal bids. I just thought maybe $30's K but with all the dedicated people and equipment I want seasonals for obvious reasons. In the past I have preferred it, but I think on this I may actually decline bid unless seasonal based on all the PITA labor.

    Roads; easy
    Drives; Can ebling out from garages but still PITA.
    Walkways/stairs; PITA interconnecting tight and must be done with small blower and shovels.
    magic on all surfaces.

    I was thinking 1 truck(9'plow 2yd sander), 1 skid w bucket&8'box , and 5
    shovelers/blowers/spreaders would be commited here.
  2. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    but I think on this I may actually decline bid unless seasonal based on all the PITA labor....

    Go with your gut feeling !!!!
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Well you could break down the seasonal price for him and show how many per plows they will get for the money. Or explain again how with a seasonal contract the HOA will know what to budget for the season.Also tell him your seasonal contracts are at the top of the list when it snows.
  4. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    X2.... and if they still dont want a seasonal contract, chances are if you bid correctly (dont forget to include your PITA factor when bidding) youll probably make out better. Its not probable we'll have 2 back to back years like we had last season....they'll be begging for a seasonal bid the following year :nod:
  5. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    You might want to try and negotiate a stand by charge, after all there is a cost to you, to have that equipment in ready mode. Then a per service charge per storm, if they insist on not going seasonal. If you already have work for the equipment then bid a per service price, that reflects the pita factor, and follow Grandviews advice

    I do like a few per push contracts, as it does help if we get hit with an above average season.

  6. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    In DE the DOT homeowners snow removal reimbursement system will not reimburse seasonal contracts.

    and JMO but I wouldn't take a seasonal on a one year contract
  7. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    I understand what your saying, its not easy accepting a large bid that isn't seasonal. Especially if it requires dedicated heavy equipment, and has no retainer (very rare to see a retainer). In that case, I would look into sub contracting it.

    But it sounds to me like its truck work, with a lot of hand labor. Managing walks can be a pain if your the one doing it, but if you hire it out with the small blowers and shoveling, it is great because its a good revenue generator, with a minimal amount of capital investment required for equipment. I have found that in some instances I can get a 30K contract with a lot of hand labor, and only have one truck stop by for an hour and a half or so at 2" intervals to do the lot, meanwhile I have a few guys onsite for the duration shoveling. My only capital investment is some extra shovels, and a few Honda single stage blowers for only $650 each. Hire some shovelers (easy to find), and one really good shoveler who is capable of managing the others (hard to find) and just pay him much higher than an average shoveler, like what you would pay a truck operator.

    On the other hand, a $30,000 plowing only contract would require some heavy equipment with a high purchase cost, high rental cost, and a high yearly ownership cost. Although, I hate shoveling and the inherent liability that goes along with it, but if managed properly it can be a profitable account type. I even have several chain stores that are in a plaza managed by another company, but we just do the shoveling out front. The seasonal numbers I get for these stops are similar to what a small plowing account would get seasonally, with no equipment investment at all.

    So all in all, I'd go for it. Hire a sub truck (or skid steer because of the driveways) slightly above your market's going rate (to attract quality people) to handle the plowing, you can then put your trucks on seasonal accounts to ensure your yearly costs are covered, and handle the high profit margin salting on your own. Then assemble your hand labor crew and supervisor, which will all be hourly employees, and if its bid properly you really have no financial risk at all at that point because there is no investment. The profit gains experienced in a bad winter on a set up like that can help cover the operating expenses of your seasonal accounts if you get way above average snow fall.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012