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When does the bidding and estimating process normally start?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by D&R Plowing, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. D&R Plowing

    D&R Plowing Member
    Messages: 67

    I have been plowing as a sub and plowing some residential driveways but this year we are branching out to our own commercial plowing. When is it customary to start the bidding and estimating process? Do the business's start looking in July or August or is it later then that. I don't want to make contact to late and end up with nothing.

    I know it's only approaching mid June but I would hate to ask after all the accounts are gone. Any assistance would be appreciated.


  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Should of started last week. Hope it not to late for you to get some good accounts.

    PS Don't string yourself out to far. Summer driving is a lot different then winter. Now that your going to be the boss all the complaints come to you.Start practicing now on how to bid.It's never to early to start bidding just keep in contact with these people.
  3. D&R Plowing

    D&R Plowing Member
    Messages: 67

    Thanks Grandview, I have been the boss for 17 years and I handle all kinds of complaints almost on a weekly basis. That’s the easy part. I was out today in 80 degree weather dropping off business cards, talking to managers and business owners about when they start their process. Most of them did not have a definitive time that they started looking for snow removal. So I just told them I was interested and would submit a bid when they were ready. However, I will not just sit around and wait for them to call. I have looked at all the properties and will stop back towards the end of next month to complete the estimate and sit with them to see what their requirements are, such as their trigger, sanding or salting. I don't think the pricing will be difficult, just developing the form to use with all the right information on it.

    I live in a small village so I will try to stay within a mile or two. Maybe I'll just plow for gas. xysport

  4. Enzo

    Enzo Senior Member
    Messages: 387

    I have came up with a letter introducing myself with some background and info and included a few proposals for 3 properties this guy manages. I wanted to know as far as a contract would go how should I set that up and what type of wording should I put in it? Does anyone have a blank template that I would be able to use?


  5. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Proceed with caution.
    NO ONE has salt prices set yet, fuel prices rise daily
    Signing contracts now, then crying you under bid them by Dec. 1st because salt prices doubled, and fuel is $7 bucks a gallon will seal your fate.
    Sept 15th should be a safe bet for getting a handle on fair pricing.

    SNOWANDICEMAN Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    Bidding on jobs

    I will start right after labor day around Sept. 15. If you start now a lot of business don't even want to thinking about winter, especially if they had a bad winter. Plus with the cost of gasoline going up and up I would wait. A lot of business will use your prices for the other guy to beat the price, your better of waiting to Sept. Hope this helps :waving:
  7. D&R Plowing

    D&R Plowing Member
    Messages: 67

    Thanks for all the help. I just wanted to be sure, that I did not start too late and miss out on a chance to bid.

    Thanks Again

  8. ServiceOnSite

    ServiceOnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 950

    just wondering about this same thing the other day. last year was think ing dumping of the residental end of my services. biger parking lots are way better to plow than a poor lit driveway at 4am. last year when gas was 325 and almost the same for diesel i was charging 300 for a regular driveway. if i wanted to do them his year i think id have to charge 425 at least. i dont see many people wanting to pay that. i know its going to be easy to explain. " Look at the price of diesel now compared to last year " dont like it to bad kinda thing. i think that with fuel prices being what they are this may bring out more lowballers, or fly by nighters. just have to wait and see what happens
  9. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    I tend to agree on seeing guys WAY under bidding. With all the snow we had last year plow sales are probally way up too.
    Salt is my big concern, word now is a minimum increase of 30% with the price of diesel right now !
    My 3 year seasonal contracts are junk now, no way I can hold prices with 7% increases.Took a beating on them last season, so with everything going threw the roof now, prices will have to be adjusted to current salt and fuel rates. I doubt the "Best" (claims from the managers) service they ever had will mean squat when we get down to the nitty gritty in Sept.
  10. D&R Plowing

    D&R Plowing Member
    Messages: 67

    We're all concerned about the lowballers and fly by nighters. I can see guy's plowing for gas money rather then making a living at it. I'm driving a gasser which gets about 9 - 10 miles a gallon on a good day. It only has about 2000 miles on it so maybe it will get a little better. I think I will have to add a section on Fuel Surcharges in the contract to protect myself. I know it is a hot topic but everyone else in doing it, landfills, delivery services etc. So if they are willing to sign, then good fro me and if not then at least I tried.

  11. ServiceOnSite

    ServiceOnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 950

    but how do you guage the fuel surcharge? what if we end up with 5.50 gas and 7.00 diesel?? that tahke the price of a residential contract up from 450 to 550 then what try and bill them extra for the remainder of the year? and then if it dosent snow much for the rest of the year they try and take you to court or dont pay. i dont think there is going to be many driveway plowing this year. mabey just the per push guys. even then you gotta get 40-45 per push. tell you what the kids with shovels this winter will be makin a killing:realmad:
  12. D&R Plowing

    D&R Plowing Member
    Messages: 67

    I know fuel surcharges are a real pain but we pay them every day. When I bring stuff to the transfer station they charge me a fuel surcharge of 9.5% on the bill. On a load that cost$49.47 I paid a fuel surcharge of $4.70. Most company's that deal with deliveries or transportation have surcharges.

    Anyway the way I look at it is like this. When you bid a job you calculate the expenses of your truck, plow, fuel, manpower expenses and what profit you would like on each job. You base the fuel expense on the current price with a little padding for some increases. When the fuel prices exceed the specified amount, the fuel surcharge kicks in. It would only be a small percentage however if the prices stay relatively stable, then there is no need to use the surcharge. I would put it in my contract and explain it whether it's per push of seasonal. I think most people would understand as long as it's not abused just to make more money.

  13. ServiceOnSite

    ServiceOnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 950

    figure right now diesel is about 50% higher right now then it was last year. so in the overall sceam of things what would you figure on for in increase for a contract price increase just based of fuel alone?? fuel, insurance, and truck payment are the first and biggest expenses in plowing. after that then i get paid. so if a concract is 1000.00 last year 1300.00 this year??? im just not 100% sure that its enough? i dont wanna be gready but i do wanna cover the expense:dizzy:

    Messages: 56

    I made up my fuel surcharge to raise the total contract price by 10% every time that my fuel goes up 50 cents per gallon based on $3.00 per gal.. that way if fuel goes up a dollar a gallon I get to raise my contract prices by 20%. ( I bill customers after work is performed.) I didnt have to use it last year but no customers complained and they all signed it so hoping there are no problems this year. I think that this is a fair system for all parties.
  15. Snowpower

    Snowpower Senior Member
    Messages: 636


    No it's not.

    Lets use a 30 dollar resi as an example.

    Gas goes up a dollar after they sign your deal. Fine.

    Lets say it takes you 1 gallon to plow that drive. (which it doesn't).

    It cost you an extra dollar and you charge the client an extra six dollars?

    30 dollars x 20% is $6.00

    Every single so called "Fuel Surcharge" I have ever seen is a ripoff to the consumer.

    If you have to raise your price to maintain or even increase profit thats fine and do so by all means but Im getting sick and tired of hearing these price increases passed off on the fuel cost Hype.
  16. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    obviously Fuel cost are on everyones mind. This thread started about how soon to start approching potential commerical customers and now it is about fuel surcharges.

    Get out there and talk to owners. Give them a bid when it gets closer.