American Liquid Waste Magazine - June 2012 North American Sweeper Magazine - June 2012 Issue - Page 21

www.nasweeper.com JUNE 2012 NORTH AMERICAN SWEEPER 21 Never Bring A Knife To A Gun Fight You can use any analogy you want, but the point is that you need to have the right equipment to do a good job. You dont want to use your parking lot sweeper to sweep a citys streets. We use the Elgin Crosswind, says Jacketta. I like the air trucks for the cities. But, we also have Road Wizardssome cities call and want a broom or a high dump and well use them in those circumstances. Jacketta Sweeping has also used Tymco in the past and says that as long as its a street sweeper, youll be ne. Its Not Always What You Know, But Who You Know Like any business, breaking into municipal sweeping can have a lot to do with introducing yourself and networking with decision makers. Ive had smaller cities call and just ask for a bid over the phone, says Jacketta. So, Ill nd out what their needs are. Do they just need you a day, or what? Ill quote them an hourly price and send them a proposal. I assume they are getting other bids over the phone as well. But, sometimes they are just looking at doing it quickly rather than going through a formal RFP process. To get that phone call in the rst place, youll need to know the right people. Im a joiner, says Jacketta. I dont like cold calling, so I joined our local APWA (American Public Works Association) chapter for just $150 and meet people through it. She has also gotten a booth at the Utah Asphalt Conferences Road School to meet new people. Introduce yourself to the street superintendent and city manager and let them know what kind of equipment you have. If you already have a relationship with a paving company, then they might be a good place for you to start as well. Joining a group or setting up a time to meet the mayor and city council members can also be benecial. Sometimes you have to come at them from different sides, says Jacketta. I think its just like anything elseyou just have to be there and build relationships. The hard part is when you do that and they put it out to bid, you still might not get the job depending on your competition. When youve done the leg work and talked them into contracting in the rst place and then still might not get the work, it can be frustrating. Other opportunities also exist. Three cities went in together to buy a sweeper. Jacketta Sweeping maintains the sweeper for them and provides the driver. They have a credit card for fuel. I think they are still paying more than if they had contracted it out, but it is an option for some and we are happy to help them with it. Talk The Talk And Walk The Walk Knowing the ins and outs when you are talking to one of these decision makers will go a long way. You will need liability insurance. Different cities will require different amounts. Jacketta has $5 million in insurance and that has been sufcient for the cities she works with, which range in size from 15,000-20,000 people.Most cities want you to sweep twice per yearonce in the spring and once in the fall. You will want to let them know that you maintain your trucks and what kind of equipment you have. Ive been in a situation where someone is bidding against me and they have a really low bid, says Jacketta. Part of the process can be to educate the citys decision makers. Some people come in with a parking lot sweeper. You can talk to the city about what they want out of a sweeper and the difference between broom or air and a parking lot sweeper. Speaking of bids, Jacketta says that she typically quotes an hourly rate. Some cities want a set price, but if we do it by the hour, it is cheaper for them in the long run, says Jacketta. They always want to know how much you can sweep in an hour. We can usually sweep 3 or 4 miles in an hour. Others might have a budget or want a xed price, so we can provide that too.One of the things you want to negotiate is water and disposal. Jacketta has been able ѼЁѡѥ́Ѽɽ٥ѡ݅ѕȁѡͅЁѡ͔ɔѡ́ѡЁԁݥѼхɔѡԁݥ݅ЁѼՑѡЁȁM$ͼսєѡɕձȁЁȁṔͅ)фM$Ёѡ܁ɽЁѡЁݔݥݕȁ͕ٕѡ͔͔$եѥȁѡɕɥѥɅٕѥѼյ5ɔԁхѼչЁݡɔѡյͥє̸ٕ䁍&IٔݽɭݥѠ́ݥѠѡкQ=ԁЁѡЁɅаݡѡȁIٔѡɽ՝ɵɽ́ȁI@IѼ}Ёݡѡɉ́ɔѡɕЁɕ̸eԁݽIЁ݅ЁѼٔѼݽɬɽչɉՍݡԁɔݕMeIͼ݅ЁѼ}Ёݡѡȁɐ͕̲́Ṕͅ)фMQՅѕ́ݡѡ݅Ё́ѼхЁٔ́P A Little Customer Service Goes A Long Way The cities are usually easy to work with, says Jacketta. If a truck breaks down, they say come back tomorrow. Of course, you dont want to make them wait too long. After its swept, I call them back and make sure they are happy. I ask if they need anything touched up, or if there were any complaints, etc. Taking care of problems when they arise is always the best policy. There was a parked car on the street and I had a driver run into the back of it, recalls Jacketta. He was going so slow that there didnt appear to be much damage. The lady came out and my driver gave her $20 for what looked like minor damage. But then her husband got home and they led a report. My driver didnt report it to me. So, I was surprised when I got a call from the police department. I had to call my guy in and he denied it at rst. But, the city was understanding and we worked it out. CONTINUED ON PAGE 22