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Beginner FAQ's / Advice

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by WarriorLandscapingCan, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. WarriorLandscapingCan

    WarriorLandscapingCan Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Hey guys, just trying to absorb as much as I can before I begin my first snow season as a business owner.

    Looking back at your first year, what do you think you would differently this time around?

    If you were to run into your 25 year old self, what advice would you give him / her ?
     
  2. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,214

    Go slow your first year till you get your feet wet. It was different for me because I had no landscape customers requesting service. I'm in the construction biz. To many things to list what I would have done different not just my first year a bunch of years. Try not to go in debt is a start. Get you 30-35 drives lined up and work your way into small commercial. You will grow with time as your name gets out there. Good luck and read as many post as you can. This ps site is a world of good info.
     
    Philbilly2 likes this.
  3. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,586

    Gooo...

    If I ran into myself at 25... first off I would kick my own a$$ an tell myself to listen to my dad more... now that that is out of the way.

    One of the things that my dad told me when I first got into plowing snow was to replace your main equipment every three years... I told him he was just not as good of a wrencher as I was... well, leading into quite a few snow events, I found myself scrambling to get things fixed to go out... while he sat on the couch at his house and told me I told you... 3 and out... 3 and out.

    Watch your bottom line... don't do work just to do work... you need to make money, or just let it go. You will make more money letting work go that will not be profitable than you will doing it just to do it. I have told guys that you don't want to watch your pennies... it the the nickles and dimes that you want to watch. I have watched guys trip over dollars to get at pennies... no good.
     
  4. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,586

    Better info than I gave you here.

    Grow as your pocket book allows you to, not as your head wants you to.

    Good call Fred!!!
     
    FredG likes this.
  5. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,652


    This right here, no point in working to break even. If you bid the job this way it will one take one breakdown to start losing money.

    Only other suggestion is to take care of your valuable employees.
     
  6. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,214

    If I listen to half of what my elders told me I would had a easier start. In many different respects.
     
  7. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,586

    Does that have anything to do with sticking a fork in an electrical outlet???? o_O
     
    FredG likes this.
  8. WarriorLandscapingCan

    WarriorLandscapingCan Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Lol thanks guys!

    I'll keep you posted on my first season progress.

    On a side-note,

    Does your body ever get used to the early mornings?

    Do you guys tend to plow all night / morning and then sleep all afternoon?

    I think I have a rude awakening coming my way the first few snowfalls !
     
  9. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,518

    keep it in ur pants.

    get use to gettint up at 12am to call the crew, naw its a lifestyle
     
    FredG likes this.
  10. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    Yes, make sure you know your numbers. My biggest mistake was not being ready to be a business man (you've been in lawn care, so this isn't an issue). I have been doing snow removal for longer, but haven't been on my own full time too long. This was my hardest year, I was literally working to break even. It's a little different story, but I would sub to "get by" thinking real work would pick up. Well it did, but I can't even begin to tell you how hard it is waking up in the morning knowing you aren't making money. Luckily other than my truck nothing went too wrong. I knew this summer every job I took was a break even job, but it's when you don't know your numbers good enough and losing money is a surprise, is much worse.
     
  11. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    And no, you'll never get used to the hours. More because they're never the same. I tend to sleep for a few hours here, an hour there. Between watching the news and radars, getting up to check the weather outside, figuring out when to call everyone, doing site checks, not to mention the actual work of cleaning the snow, it gets to be some long hours. You'll learn when you can and can't sleep.
     
    alcs likes this.
  12. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,977

    Know your limitations, but don't be scared to take a chance. Take care of that employee who is always ready to go no matter what time it is. And the 25 years old, to many girls and beer to think about. Of course that was 1983. O, and sleep is over rated.
     
  13. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    If I could give my 25 year old self advice the biggest thing is to take care of your body. I used to think I was super man and couldn't be stopped. I am still pretty young but I can already barely move a lot of the time due to several pretty horrible injuries on top of overuse injuries. I have a badly herniated disk in my back, carpal tunnel in both hands, had three separate knee surgeries, due for a knee replacement In one knee and have something called RSD in the other from a failed surgery. The list goes on. You only get one body, take care of it, hire the help you need, and do whatever it takes to keep those awesome employees that only come around once in a blue moon.
     
    Dogplow Dodge, FredG and Philbilly2 like this.
  14. WarriorLandscapingCan

    WarriorLandscapingCan Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Amazing guys,

    Thanks !
     
  15. WarriorLandscapingCan

    WarriorLandscapingCan Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Do you Gents have an idea of where I can get those snow shovels you recommended ? I believe it was you JHM,

    The website said it wouldn't deliver to Canada.
     
  16. WarriorLandscapingCan

    WarriorLandscapingCan Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Also do you guys take any vacation days in the winter?

    Would you write that into your contract with your customers and give them a heads up?

    I feel like vacation days would best be suited on charging customers per push vs a monthly or seasonal rate if you are planning on taking a few vacation days.

    I had my biggest year in landscaping working from April until Now non stop, my body needs a break before plow season..lol
     
  17. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,214

    And you will have this break, The landscaping has slowed up now plus probably 3 to 4 weeks or more before snow. You will be able to break between storms, Just don't go to far, This is your first plow season and your 25 yrs old.

    Work to get it started for now. Next year or 3yrs you may have a loyal employee to watch your back. Getting up is no big thing. Your going to earn money, I can't think of any other reason better for me to be up all hrs of the night. Just like Sno said it's a lifestyle. I'm usually pumped and ready to go.

    I'm better than twice your age. You have to be up to monitor to,
     
    ktfbgb and SnoFarmer like this.
  18. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,518

    sorry, it snowed 6" I was on vacation.:dizzy:
    (you better be careful you could get sued for not doing your job.)

    call steve wonder he'll plow it.....

    and who is going do plow while you are away?
    billybob ans Stevie?

    the short answer , NO. unless you have hired a sub.
    then next year why don't they just hire your sub as he always shows up.
     
  19. WarriorLandscapingCan

    WarriorLandscapingCan Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    In terms of residential homes, asphalt driveways, will you guys typically only spread salt down if the forecast calls for freezing rain, or will you always salt / sand walkways just in-case ?
     
  20. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,586

    Welcome to snow and ice industry...

    Do not plan vacations during the winter... mother nature is a crude b*tch and she will come down hard on you if you let her. Old mother nature drops a quick pop up shower dumping 2" when the 5 days is clear... it will happen to you...

    It is about as close of an industry to being a dairy farmer where you cannot every get to far away from home as the girls need you two times a day.
     
    Sawboy likes this.