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South east Michigan formula for sidewalk clearing

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Ultra, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. Ultra

    Ultra Member
    Messages: 45

    There has to be a formula on how to bid sidewalks 0-2 inches / 2.1-4 inches /4.1-6 inches every inch after =????
  2. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Oh yea

    f(x) = {[x^3 - x]+ sqr(y^2/a^3)-pie*e}*p

    where x=sidewalk width
    y=snow depth
    a=age of snow shoveler/blower person
    e=equipment used
    p=desired profit margin

    Or, some of us hillbillys just figure time per x number of linear feet adding costs and profit and come up with a dollar per hour.

    How long will it take, by what you charge per hour. IMO, the braket prices add way to much confusion. We do everything per push, 2" nites are great, 12" nites ain't so great, but overall for the season, we make what we need to make.
  3. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    $.75 per ft, salt is included(i tell my custos its free;)) .actually i wont do a walk if they dont want salt, to much liability. if the walk is any wider than two passes with the blower the price goes up maybe $.10-.15

    20ft sidewalk shovel/blow and salt. two passes

    thats my formula for just walks. usally i cut a deal if im also plowing and salting in the same trip
  4. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Terrapro, good for you if you can make $.75 per foot. But in my area there aren't too many 20 foot sidewalks. Most are 60' of frontage and no one will pay $45 to have their sidewalk cleared.

    IMO Sidewalk pricing should be based on a flat per push price based on a linear foot rate. (length of sidewalk (60') x per foot rate ($.10) = $6.00) It is not the customer's fault that what is used on their walk is a shovel in the hands of a guy getting paid by the hour with 8" of snow on the walk.

    Using my latest and greatest sidewalk snow removal tool, that 60' sidewalk may take me a minute to do while on my way to another sidewalk. And that is $360 an hour. (I average $200/hr) Even if it takes you 5 minutes that is still $72 an hour.

    Like framer1901 said, bracket priceing sidewalks doesn't make sense. Every tool used on a sidewalk (shovel, blower, toolcat) takes very close to the same amount of time no matter how much snow is there. (2" w/ shovel takes 5 minutes. 8" w/shovel takes 6 minutes. 2" w/toolcat takes 1 minute. 12" w/toolcat takes 1 minute)

    Disclaimer: Facts about your plowing situation may vary. All prices and times given are estimates used to help you, the snow plower, figure out how to best price your situation. This information is given with the understanding that the author does not live in the state, city or street where the actual snow plowing will take place and further that his equipment, labor, or needed profit varies greatly from yours. Also that snow amounts, frequency and events per season vary greatly from region to region. Further searching on this web site is recommended to gain more information is recommended.
  5. Ultra

    Ultra Member
    Messages: 45

    sidewalk formula

    Thank you for your imput.. If you use calcium chloride instead of salt what would you charge per foot?
  6. Ultra

    Ultra Member
    Messages: 45

    sidewalk formula

    Thanks framer1901 glad I have a sense of humor..:gunsfiring:: Question why do you charge per push arent you screwing yourself?? It definately takes longer when the snow is deep... :nono:
  7. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Ultra - you know I actually pulled an old Calc book out and was gonna award a snow shovel if someone could name what the formula was - but I don't understand that stuff anymore..

    Here's my opinion on brackets - I hate em, I hate em.

    They do benifit the snow contractor, that's for sure and they are no disadvantage to the customer BUT:

    I like things simple - give the customer no chance to complain. In our area, we have narrow lake effect snow bands - snowfall can vary alot just within a few miles. I don't want a customer complaining that I billed at 4-6" when he only got 2" at his house. We were there, we plowed it, no questions.

    I've only been doing this 8 years, but in those years we get x number of events on average, and x number of 8" or more snowfalls. Overall, considering snowfalls and amounts - I base my bids off of x inches - it works out in the long run.

    Another thing - in this area local business' generally do not want a bracket type bid. The few brackets or seasonal accounts we have are out of town business'. From the little I see, it seems East Coast companies ask for this more than others - that leads me to believe that's the way things are done out there.

    Will this work in all areas? I dunno. It works here. Year after year we track our labor hours verses what we billed - it works. We get enough snow events per year that I think it helps average things out, if someone only gets 5 or 10 events, maybe this wouldn't work.

    Am I screwing myself?? No way, not at all. We have a target profit, somehow we make it every year, so I'd say we do OK. We're not small by any means, our prices are in line with most major lawn companies in this area.

    As for the per foot pricing, .75 per foot???? Wow. One place we shovel AND salt, it's gotta be 200-250 feet and averages 5' wide takes me 20 to 30 min tops shoveling and 5 minutes to salt - you bid 150 to 187.5 in this market for that location and you will starve. Think of it this way, an employee making 15 per hour (your cost 20) works 8 hours at 75% billing eficency (works 8, bills 6) costs you 160 per nite; if you bill 50/hr your gross after labor is still 47% (you still have to deduct truck, office etc.) This is where the lone single operator gets shafted sort of - all your truck, office etc is on one guys shoulders - the larger the company, while expenses are more, they generally are cheaper per labor hour enabling us to do things at a lower hourly rate.

    probably long winded and makes no sense....................
  8. Superior L & L

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

    That make a lot of sense. Thats big business for ya