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Should I get in or what?

Discussion in 'Sweeper Forum' started by hickslawns, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627

    First of all, I am not asking for pricing info. I am in for snow and mow at 2 SuperWalmart stores in my area. I would love to offer sweeping and make myself the "go to guy" for all their exterior maintenance needs. However, I am not going to do it for free. I do not intend on retiring off 2 stores, but the price the one store is paying is seemingly low. The other store opens soon. I crunched all the numbers. Figured fuel, maintenance, insurance, payroll, equipment costs, dumpster cost, etc., and know what my (expected) expenses are. This being said, I figured with a 3 year and 5 year equipment replacement period, and figured at 15% and 20% profit. At 5 year equipment replacement, 15% profit, paying one man $10 per hour on payroll, I cannot come close to what they are charging.
    Now with this being said, there are only 2 other sweeping contractors I know of in the area and one of our stores has already tried both of them. He couldn't get the first contractor to show up late enough at night to get a good cleaning when the lot was less full. These are his words. The current contractor just isn't doing the quality job the manager desires.
    My position on this is this: I am going to bid the jobs at a price where I can cover my costs and make a fair profit (if 15% is fair) and replace equipment in a realistic time period. If I cannot secure the contracts with these expectations, it is certainly not worth it to me. After all, I can sleep all night and not lose money.
    What opinions do you the wise parking lot guys have to offer? I am just curious to see if I am out of line or not. The other factor I have considered is the opportunity to pickup other accounts if these guys aren't delivering in my area. ;) That thought process tells me there must be an open market for new sweeping contractors. I know the one guy does my Uncle's car wash (horribly dirty job) for $15 once a month. I also know walmart has paid between $50-70 per night. At approximately 2-2 1/2 hours to blow under cars, sidewalks, and sweep that that figures between $20-35 per hour not including maintenance and travel time. Hours to clean were according to the manager. What do you guys think? :)
  2. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    What part of Ohio are you from I may be able to help you out?
  3. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I think I would sell the sweeper and open a wal-mart :drinkup:
  4. jrd22

    jrd22 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    If you can't make $60 per hour it isn't worth it. Sweepers are a lot higher maintenance than plows. The reason that high volume (5-7 nights per week) accounts seem ridiculously cheap is because the contractor doesn't sweep the entire lot every night, they may only do 1/4 completely and spot the rest for litter. This is really common even though the contract calls for "complete sweeps" every night. We have had some luck with customers by explaining this(not many) and wording the contract differently, so we can be honest about it and do what we say we are going to do. John
  5. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627

    JRS we are in Lima. Northwestern Ohio. Probably close to 3 hours away.

    Northernsweeper- You just may be right in your idea. Maybe we should be on the other end.

    Jrd22- I think you are right in your approach. I run an honest business and I am upfront about our services. I bet if the Loss Prevention team started watching surveillance videos, they would find they are not getting the lot cleaned every night. If they are, then they are probably not getting the entire lot clean. I am there regular and do see a lot of gravel and stuff everywhere. Maybe Walmart should just pay a cart boy to pick up the trash and run a walk behind unit along the curbs and entrances a couple hours a night. I am going to approach them with the prices I need to justify the expense of equipment and not specify the lot will be done every night. Simply tell them the lot will be cleaned and do it 3-4 nights. I don't think they will go for this but I feel we could deliver better service this way. If they have not been happy with the only 2 known sweeping contractors in our area, then they are going to be stuck with the poor service, or will have to pay more. I know I will hold up my end of the bargain if I am awarded the contracts. I take a lot of pride in our work, and hire guys with the similar work ethic. It just isn't easy to find those guys.