Preparing estimates for snow and ice management is no easy task. The condition of the property, the location of the property, the customer you are working with, the type of service they need, and the type of contract they want (among other things) all factor in to just simply producing the proposal so your client can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It’s daunting and time consuming, but it has to be done.
So how can you check all of those boxes and produce a winning proposal? There’s no secret formula, but we know three things that will help.
Elements of An Accurate Snow Removal Proposal
Three elements that are absolutely essential to an accurate snow removal estimate are, the request for proposal (RFP) from the client, accurate property measurements and historical weather data.
If you can nail down these three things, you will be on your way to preparing an accurate proposal that works for your business and suits your clients expectations. You can probably answer any questions your client might have about the proposal too, and hopefully you will have made it really easy for your client to say ‘yes’ to working with you.
Request for Proposal
A ‘request for proposal’ is usually the first step and essential item in the proposal process, especially for commercial properties. Property managers and owners will send out a request for services and it’s usually pretty specific. It outlines what the client is looking for from a service provider, so it’s important to diligently follow it to ensure your proposal is detailed and accurate.
Following the RFP requirements will also help you avoid unnecessary mis-communications when an event actually occurs. It lays out the clients expectations and gives you the opportunity to explain your service offerings, so hopefully you can clear up any questions or issues with the clients request before the first event occurs.
Plus, if there is something in the RFP that you don’t want to agree to, you have the opportunity to address it prior to presenting your finished proposal instead of surprising them when it’s not included.
Once you’ve combed through the RFP, it’s not a bad idea to review it with your client in person or over the phone to make sure you fully understand what the client is looking for. Sending over a site diagram that clearly outlines what you plan to service on the property if you win the work is not a bad idea either. By doing this you’re making your services tangible and creating another opportunity to clear up any questions from either side of the table.
Property Measurements are Needed for Accurate Snow Removal Estimates
If you are confident you can perform to the standards of the RFP, then you’ll need to start estimating, which of course requires accurate property measurements. Property measurements are needed for accurate snow and ice management proposals so you can:
- Determine the type of snow plows and equipment you need/can use on the property
- Calculate how much deicing material you’ll need to effectively treat the property
- Estimate how long it will take you to plow the site and clear the walks, and spread salt or deicing materials
Historical Weather Data & How to Get it From NOAA for Free
The third essential element of an accurate snow removal proposal is weather data. If you don’t use weather data, you’re guessing what you are going to be responsible for instead of knowing, and you might end up paying for it, literally.
“We use weather data based upon the region we are bidding because in my mind there is no other way,” said Chris Marino, owner of Xtreme Snow Pros. “If you are bidding a seasonal you need to have your weather data in order to provide an accurate proposal. If you do not, you will either potentially lose money or not get the bid.”
There are several places you can get weather data. Paid services like WeatherWorks are available, we’ve got it in our Snow Proposal Builder (from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s website and Canadian National Climate Archives), or you can follow this easy step-by-step procedure to download data from NOAA’s website for free.
So much has to be considered in order to produce an accurate estimate that addresses the needs of your clients and offers you some earning potential. Good luck preparing your estimates, and if we can help you with anything please let us know!