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62 customers and freaking out

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by MichelleinMich, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. MichelleinMich

    MichelleinMich Member
    Messages: 32


    Let me start by saying "We" are new. (I'm the wife who does the billing, customer service, marketing, etc.) My husband his guy do all the work. I'm the one who's also online here looking for some answers.

    We live in Michigan and just completed our 3rd successful year of landscaping with 85+ weekly customers plus tons of mulch, etc. We finally decided to start snowplowing this year since we're sick of losing lawn customers to the snow guy.

    We hired some guys to hand out 10,000 flyers that I designed and in the end we have 62 snow accounts, all residential except for two offices, not too big. My husband is such a hard worker and is confident this will not be a problem but I would really like to hear somebody saying that it IS POSSIBLE to plow this many accounts? I know I know you can't answer this clearly without knowing how far apart the homes are but assuming a best case scenario is this possible?

    By the way we bought a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 4X4 with an 8' Western V-Plow to which we just put on brand new blades and shoes (we have some customers with rocky driveways so we decided to go with shoes.) We also bought a snow thrower and salter for the back of the truck for the two offices.

    Can someone please give me some hope that this will be possible? We're expecting a dumpload of snow tonight and I'm freaking just slightly.

    Also, is there a good video anyone recommends to show how to properly plow? My husband went out this morning just for the two offices and realized he has an issue leaving lines of snow all over the place.

    Sorry to ramble. Good to be here.
  2. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    Sounds to me like you need to hire a sub or two. Especially if he is still learning how to plow. I'm not sure if there is a "how to" video for plowing however there are tones of videos on this site of people plowing. The lines of snow are normal with a regular blade but with a vplow there a way to fix that, I have never plowed woth a vplow so you'll have to wait untill the rest of the guy's chime in. I'd say you could cure the windrows by plowing in scoop mode.
  3. Nelsen

    Nelsen Member
    Messages: 69

    Wow, welcome to the site and welcome to the industry. You certainly have a lot in that post.

    I'm one of those small landscapers/plow guys who try and get that season/season business of yours. ;)

    So first, great decision to keep that customer all the year through. But 62 residentials depending on how they are located, can be a bit of a strain for 1 truck. In fact, I don't know anyone who has that many accounts on one truck unless a HMA is built in there somewhere. It is POSSIBLE, but I don't probable that you won't have some timing issues.

    Map the route on Google maps and see how long it will take to just drive the route. Add 5-15 minutes per drive depending on what they look like and see where you're at.

    Most residential customers want it done by a certain time if allowable (timing of the storm). But, there are some guys on here that don't even start (and I'm not sure how they stay in business) until after the snow is done flying.

    The line thing....start a new thread with V-PLOW problem title and see if you get some hits. I don't a have a V, but plenty do and I'm sure it's been addressed here before.

    Much luck. Tell your husband he'll sleep in April. Lol

  4. Jaynen

    Jaynen Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Its my second year doing snow removal. First year with a plow. I got 11 accounts and thats plenty for me to keep my hands full. Especially on a bad snow storm. But I am sure if your good with a plow which I am deffinatly not yet, you can prolly do 20 or 30. I have my driveways almost perfectly clean at the end cuz I go over it with a shovel, so I average 20-30mins a driveway. Depends on the quality of the job. If I had 62 I would be screwed.
  5. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i think you well be fine, 62 contracts with two people is about right, if you guys are good with the plow and stuff, just make sure your clients know that you are trying hard, to get things done/organized, also, it wouldn't hurt to have a couple guys/friends that can help in when you have a really bad snowfall, lots of agencies that have temp workers available too, you guys well be fine, worst case scenario, you get a couple extra shovels, and a couple of subs, and you drive around with them and hand shovel some of them, even with a bad snow (over a foot) you should be able to do a place every 1/2hour with a couple of shovels
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    Sure it's possible, as long as your route doesn't cover too much area--wasted time driving not plowing.
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    It can definitely be done. But you need to know how to plow, and plow quickly. Without out destroying equipment. It will come after a storm or two. Hopefully your route is tight. If you are travelling a few miles for one or two drives, get rid of them. Also, know your customers' schedules. Some will work second or third shift, so plow accordingly. If it's a real bad storm, just knock out a hole so they can get in and out. After it's all over, you can go back and clean up.

    Best of luck, and welcome aboard.
  8. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    With that many customers... and one truck, be sure to make maintenance of that truck and plow a priority.
  9. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Wow I don't want to scare you but if he is having trouble with leaving trails all over a parking lot and can't figure out how to solve the problem, it's going to be a long winter plowing 62 accounts every snowfall. Keep in mind, in a big storm, it will be more like 124 accounts as he will have to hit each one at least twice.

    I am assuming that he has the blade angled to the side (say the right side) and is leaving trails off the left side? If this is the case he needs to either take smaller bites, or go faster. I'd recommend the earlier.

    Have a good season.
  10. D&S snowplowing

    D&S snowplowing Member
    Messages: 40

    ya 62 is a bit for 1 truck... if he cant it all done an like a 2 inch trigger id say talk to some customers and they might want you to do them if it 3 or 4 inches but for the route the way i like to do it is pretty much a big circle and work my way back to my home or shop that way theres not really any backtracking which is a big key to save time
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You better make some snow plow friends fast! One truck all season ,yes it can be done but even a flat tire can set you way back. I think you should of capped yourself at 25-30 driveways this year.I think maybe you should find a backup truck just in case ,it don't need to be pretty just be able to plow just in case.

    Since your in charge of the office part ,make sure all calls go to you only ,don't have any go to him it will cost plowing time if he starts talking to people. never promise anyone anything ,just do the best you can.

    Also,personally ,do not go off on him if he's in a bitchy mood ,just leave him be for awhile.
  12. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    That, is hilarious! :laughing:
  13. cmo18

    cmo18 Senior Member
    Messages: 814

    I had 28 clients, one truck, real tight route took me 4 hrs just to open everyone up....another 2.5 hrs clean everybody up...62 is pushing it, buy a back up truck....best of luck
  14. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    My goodness
    I really doubt it with only one truck and no experience
    Hire some subs to help out

    Good luck
  15. Smitty58

    Smitty58 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    I think you should look for some help. If the drives are short ,say 40 feet long they can be done pretty quick with a snowblower or a quad. You could possibly hire a sub or 2 to help ,and they would not have to have a plow truck, just some basic equipment and the desire to do it. You seem to be able to grow your company pretty fast which is good, however nothing will shrink your company faster than irate customers. The last thing you want to do is get a reputation for not being able to take care of your customer. Everyone wants to be your top priority, with plowing you are going to upset a good number of those 62 if it doesn't stop snowing in time to get them done.
  16. 7_below

    7_below Senior Member
    Messages: 245

    Thats a lot of work for 1 man and 1 truck with no exp. Not saying it cant be done, but a lot of work! Definitely find another contractor to help out. At least for the first year, so you don't lose any clients after the first big storm. You could try craigslist. Just look up the guys that are still looking for plow accts. and call 'em.
    Good luck to ya!
  17. Lil STX Ford

    Lil STX Ford Senior Member
    Messages: 176

    1 truck, 62 customers @ 15 minutes per driveway avg... is like 16 hrs non stop then add travel..
  18. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    Michelle...My advice to you is try to find someone to help you guys out...There is no way you can service all those accounts in the proper amount of time. The last thing you want to do is ruin your company name....Good Luck to you and your husband
  19. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,594

    If it takes you 15 minutes to plow a driveway you have the wrong equipment.

    Speaking of equipment, this person needs a rear plow. An average sized driveway can be done in just a few minutes by using the combination of rear & front plow.
  20. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609


    You must be a rich guy looking for something to do.