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Back up equipment

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by eggy, Dec 21, 2000.

  1. eggy

    eggy Member
    Messages: 71

    Just wondering how many of you smaller operaters have a back up piece of equipment and if you dont have one what is the plan of attack. I can see a profit in snowplowing here in South Central Indiana with a older truck and plow but cant hardly see one with new equipment. We operate 2wd trucks in the lawn care buisness, and really have no need for new trucks., the idea is to find a older 4wd truck and buy a new plow(for next year) but we are awful scared of a break down at 4am with no place open and no back up...we would hate to take on good mowing customers next year and loose them due to poor snow removel services...any suggestions??/ideas???
  2. RB

    RB Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    I only have one truck, it's new,but I don't have a back up. I have a couple of numbers of local landscapers who will help me out if needed.

    I hope I don't have to use those #s this year!
  3. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I have 3 trucks,and honestly I could get away with one,up to 4-5",then i would be behind ,and with 2,everyhting gets done quickly and i know i still have a backup.Im not sure im ready to hire an employee,thats the limiting factor,my wife and i are doing ll the work,not sure if its worth the exra $$ verses the risk of another operator,workers comp,etc and then I couldnt use him all year,i wouldnt expect anyone to want that type of job,unless they were the boss.If we get the big one,Ill be OK,no reason to worry,that is the biggest reason i have 3 trucks.I have less money than one new one in all 3 of them and they are good reliable trucks that run great and plow just as fast as a new truck.I hope we get the big one,so the operators that are just getting by,go down the tubes and we cleanse the local system of underpriced,under equipped,operators that have been able to survive here for the last 6 years or so.

    [Edited by John DiMartino on 12-21-2000 at 10:45 PM]
  4. eggy

    eggy Member
    Messages: 71

    Thanks John that said a lot....Kinda wish nthat would happen in mowing too.....We have back up mowing equipment...I guess another idea is two purchase two older trucks and one plow and set up the other with the mount....I would think that very little goes wrong with the plow itself
  5. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    My "back up" is friends. It works both ways, I cover them if they break down, and they cover me. It is understood I will do my accounts before theirs, and they would do theirs before mine. Since we are REAL friends, we don't bid against each other. Like I have said before, discuss your prices with others who plow in your areas, and you will find out who your real friends are.

  6. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I have that bac kup system in place as well.Chuck,didn think it would help though when a business opens at 8 and its 10 of 7 and your truck is dead,friends cant get there for 3 hrs yet-nothing like a backup truck then.I have family and friends that i would help in a heartbeat,and have.I can call on any of them,I used to sub for a lot of them too,so they know my work and i know them very well.
  7. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I have a back up truck an 93 F 250. Only I use it to plow the shop, because I have yet to use it as a back up.

  8. Skookum

    Skookum Member
    Messages: 59

    I have one plow, but have mounts, controls and pumps on two trucks. If one truck goes down all I have to due is just pull the pins and mount plow on other truck and go!

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    one complete spare truck (old) plow and all works well sits most of the time use it a couple of times a month to keeps the problems shaken out but a dedicated spare. invaluable

    cost possibly 2000.00 well worth it much less than the price of gaining a lost good paying customer
  10. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    Just a question. What happens if the plow breaks? Then you have 3 trucks and no plows, for what used plows cost, do yourself a favor and buy another one.
  11. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    I agree with Dino buy a used plow and have it ready incase your primary plow blade breaks. always good to have a spare and a used blade is cheap enough.
  12. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    He probably doesnt have a Meyer. Otherwise Im sure he would have discovered that by now.
  13. Skookum

    Skookum Member
    Messages: 59

    Looking for one used one for sometime, they want only a few hundred less than new around here on used ones. Years ago you could get good used ones for about $600 every where around here, now everybody wants $2,500. Decided the mount was the way to go for now till I get either a new plow or find a good used one. I got two extra mounts and a pump from a guy for $150.00. Pump is worth at least $800! could not pass it up!

    Figured, in most cases, the plow should be useable with just a few welds, unless total loss in an accident or something. My concerns are more if the truck broke down. I am very easy on equipment and I am a good welder, but not the best auto mechanic. Mainly, I HATE automotive work to the point that I will take it to get it fixed, so I know they will have it for a while, which would put me down if I really needed truck.

    My second backup is two to three other plowers. One is already a plowing sub for me now. He has two trucks and heavy equipment.

    Went to buy a new Snowway in August. Wanted the down pressure for backdragging residentials. Then decided to wait and see what came out of the Hiniker C plow (which does not look good from posts I have seen on here so far this year about Hiniker plows). Western is choice around here.

    Last two years around here was not enough plowable snow to pay insurance. I mowed last two years the week of Christmas! Also, reason I did not buy a new one in August. Already this year, we have had three good storms worth about four pushes, and 6 on a couple accounts. Almost more than last three years combined! Had I bought the Snowway, it would have been paid for by now.

    Oh well, I really have no need for a second plow right now. I only do a few places right now myself that are easy and no time demand. I am using the sub on my accounts until my little boys are older or Mom's career slows down and no need for daycare (the daycare's charge as much as me). I had to back away from snow removal when my second boy came along two years ago. Now, my 4 and 2 year old boys and myself plow those couple just for fun mainly. Littlest one could go all day, as long as he gets to work the plow. Oldest one is done before we leave the house. I already know which will be working with Ol' Dad in the future!

    Thanks for the advise though and I agree.
  14. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    I can get a used plow blade only around here for under 300 every day of the week. Look as you drive around, many times people have a blade in the yard and no mount for it. Look in the trader type mags and the like, I picked up an 8' husky meyer last year for 200.00 and a 7.5' meyer for 100.00 all the same week.
  15. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    We used to do like Chuck and trade back and forth with other friends doing the same work. Two problems came up. First, we got bigger and didn't want to rely on them too hard, and second, in the world of give and take, we always seemed to be on the giving end. That grew old pretty fast.

    One give story that I still rememeber and rib the guy (friend) about went as follows. Big storm, 18" plus drifts, So I parked my truck and hopped in the backhoe. The friend broke his A-frame fatally, so I lent him my blade only to do his customers. Well, 1 and 1/2 days later, he was still plowing with my blade AND HE HAD HIS BLADE REPAIRED AND IT WAS SITTING IN THE BACK OF HIS TRUCK FOR A DAY - he did not have the sense to return mine so I could get the truck back to work and park the backhoe. He had to look over and around it every time he backed up. He also broke two A-frame welds, ejected one trip spring and broke the lift chain on my blade. I decided that day that I will be self-reliant.

    So, in addition to the backhoe, we backed up the outfit with a welder, sensible spare parts inventory and a preventative maintenance/insection program so we don't get caught.

    Works so far.

    And a good thing, too, because all our frieds have sold their plows!
  16. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Three trucks on the road this year, we could do the route with two, just take more time, which is kinda at a premium when it's snowing. I'm currently working on my backup plow, a 10' Western which will ride on the GMC 5500. I know it won't be fast or particularly nimble, but it will move snow and I could keep places open with it until I got a pickup on the site to clean things up. The GMC is also our main spreader truck, so I will probably use the Western in some cases to save having to go back after plowing with a pickup.
  17. Psyclopse

    Psyclopse Member
    Messages: 94

    I have two up and ready right now- the GMC and the Ford. The Chevy will be ready if I ever get time to put in the engine. If for some reason all 3 were to be down at once, I don't know what I would do. I was thinking of just adding the mount to the Chevy, but I have 1 Meyer and 1 Western- if the "wrong" truck broke, I wouldn't be able to change the plow. I may just get a new one.