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Buying my first TRUCK!~

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by snowplowwizard, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    First of all, I've been lurking on this site soaking it all in for a few months now and have decided to start my snowplow business. I wouldn't exactly call myself a snowplow wizard, but that's the name of my company. :jester: I grew up on a farm so I've done my fair share of plowing in my day, but not for a few years. Anyway, I have 10 res accounts signed up, and 2 small-medium size commercials. I'm hoping to add a few more, so I figured it was about time to invest in a TRUCK!! I figure I'm probably going to be needing one of those:)

    I've learned a ton from this site. I have my insurance guy ready to insure the truck and I. I have an LLC registered. I have a 2000 Yamaha Grizzly 400 with a 4 ft plow on the front and a 150 lb spreader on the back. I worked the sidewalks on the commercials into the contract to be done with the Grizzly. Pretty easy walks. Long and straight. So now it comes to the truck.

    I can't decide if I should buy something for cheap, or spend the extra cash to get something more in the 10-15k range. There is a 1994 Ford F250 with an 8 1/2 ft western v-plow for sale locally for 5k which has my interest peaked. It has 200k miles on a 7.3 L diesel with a new pump. Newer Trans/belts/hoses. Plow works fine, but is 5-9 years old. (He can't remember how long the guy before him had it) I have a very reliable suspension guy who can give me the low down on the suspension. It seems like maybe this truck would be a good start. I can tow the Grizzly to the residentials if the truck broke down and at least get them done, but I certainly wouldn't want to lose my commercials b/c of a breakdown. So tell me what you all think. To buy Used, Not so Used, or very used. That is the question. Thanks for your help!
     
  2. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I always purchased new or pretty close to new because I haven't been overly savvy with repairs. If you purchased something a couple years old, insurance & registration wouldn't be as much as brand new, and you'd have something dependable. If you're good with repairs, maybe look at the older trucks. With the one you're looking at, it may NOT be your best choice -- it's a 15 year old truck, very high miles even for a diesel, and the plow has lots of use. I wouldn't go for anything beyond 5 years to begin with, knowing you probably want 4-5 years out of it.
     
  3. tls22

    tls22 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,263

    First off i would like to say ur off to a good start. So many guys come on here with not even a shovel in hand lookin to plow, u have everything line up. Good job! As for the truck it sounds like a good deal, i would need to see pics. Just dont sell ur self short. You guys had alot of snow out there last winter, there should be guys lookin to sell stuff. So they can get newer! Buying new might save you alot of problems at 3am!

    Good luck!:D
     
  4. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I'm not SUPER savvy with repairs, however, I've been a bartender for nine years and know a lot of mechanics. They're oftentimes pretty innebriated at 3am though. I do have a Western snowplow dealer within ten miles too. I'm really torn on this decision though. So far I've been able to buy everything with cash and if I stay in the 5-7k range I'd be able to stick with that, and I REALLY like not being in debt. We did get a lot of snow here last year, over twice as much as the average.

    Anyway, I did have a couple of other questions if anyone can tell me where to find the answers. I can't seem to find anywhere what the number of 2" plus snowfalls per year we average here in Peoria, IL. I'd like to include a seasonal price in my estimates, but am hesitant to do so without knowing that. I just want to be right. I also am having a helluva time finding salt. I've made the decision to start with bagged and buy a couple of pallets, but I can't find it and I don't want to wait until I have to drive to three ace hardwares, two lowes, two menards, two home depots and still not have enough and I stole everyone else's. Thanks for the time guys.
     
  5. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

  6. weeman97

    weeman97 Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    search up by me in the chicagoland area i have seen a TON of newer plow trucks u for sale!
     
  7. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    That truck would be excellent. The price is right too. I would make sure it is at least an 8' blade. 2 pallets of salt is alot. I run a 60/40 or a 70/30 mix of sand and salt. You don't want o put down just salt unless thats what the customer wants.
     
  8. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I've been searching within 250 miles of peoria on cars.com, ebay, autotrader, and craigslist. Thinking this f250 is a decent deal. I was thinking two pallets just so I didn't get stuck trying to find salt later in the winter, plus one of my commercials is almost 60k sq. feet. That's around half a ton per salting. I just wanna be safe and not run out.

    I just got undercut for the first time already today. One of my three commercials calls me and says a guy stopped in and is willing to plow the place for $45 per push. Ten inches, two inches, doesn't matter. I had quoted him a price of $90, $135, and $165 for 2-4, 4-6, and 6-12. This place is kind of small, about 20k sq ft, but has a TON of obstructions as its an Advance Auto with a car-x attached. We're talking parking blocks in the middle of the lot, poles sticking up all over, and an L shaped corner that has to have the snow pushed all the way around the building to a spot on the other side. Its gonna take an hour and a half easy to plow that place with more than six inches of snow. This guy doesn't salt either, or do sidewalks. Anyway, its in our contract that he must inform me in writing to officially cancel, but its not like I can afford to sue him, and I'm certainly not going to just show up and do it since he probably wouldn't pay me. So I told him to hold onto my info and when this guy sux to give me a call and I'll double the pricepayup

    Didn't think that would happen that quick. I hope his neighbor doesn't leave me too, cause I signed them up on the same day. Anyway, my first horror story. I'm sure I'll have more. :)
     
  9. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    not sure if that is that much undercut or not.
    two inch trigger? guy plows 45 per push.

    eight inches is three/four plows. so 135-180

    i would say maybe undercut since most storms are prob less than eight inches but not sure if i could say lowballer...........
    hes also not doing walks, salt so will add on for that too.

    its a open business so the odds of them wanting to wait for ten inches to build up is slim to none.

    i just do resi but try to only do per push.

    welcome to plowing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  10. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

  11. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    :)I should have written this before, but I'm going to probably have a couple of people riding along with me so I'm mostly looking for an extended cab. I'm using that grizzly as much as I can and I'm pretty close to closing a condo association, which would rule, so I'm probably going to be having at least two people riding around with me. I like riding three dudes in the cab as much as anyone, but would prefer to throw one guy in the extended cab.

    Oh yeah, and that's $45 per push, zero tolerance trigger, can't charge for more than one push per 24 hours. So that guys going to wait and wait until all the snow is done and come and push it, or push it, wait 24 hours, and then push it and charge again. They're gonna hate it. I offered to renegoiate my 2 inch push down a little bit and actually be making about the same amount of money, but the guy didn't understand the logic. I thought the same thing at first, but this stuff is lowballing to beat the band. Most of the time around here we get all of our snow in one big storm and this guy is gonna get killed on that $45 deal. Its not usually 2 inches here and 2 inches there. He's gonna have to hit that lot twice at the least during a big storm to keep them happy and he's only gonna get paid $45 to do it. Anyway, I'm bitter, but maybe they'll be back when they're customers complain or the dude just doesn't show up to do it. :)
     
  12. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609


    that doesnt make sense.

    if he can only charge once in twenty four hours... hes plowing by the storm, not per push.


    so he is charging them fourty five per STORM.
    if that is what it is. Dont quite understand how he can wait and wait and wait and plow at the end of the storm on a zero tolerance trigger either. If they want him to come back they would have to pay him if he is per push and then it wouldnt be zero tolerance because he left while it was snowing and they had to call him. I have a feeling you might have your signals crossed with the managment there and some miscommunication. You may want to follow up on this again to make sure your on the same page.
    hope the other guy who bid is making alot on the sidewalks and salt if he bid that per storm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  13. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I agree that it doesn't make sense and that's what I tried to tell the Advance/Car-x guy, but all he saw was $45. Either he's going to wait until he's sure there isn't anymore snow coming and just get his $45 for that 24 hours, or he'll plow it once and hope the timing works out right that he can have 24 hours between his two pushes to get to $90.

    I know I'm new, but I've lived here for a while and the snow is usually quite predictable and people around here adjust accordingly. If its supposed to snow a foot people see the snow start and hole up waiting for it to end. And when it ends EVERYONE is out in their Jeep's and Hummers and whatever they have trying to slip and slide all over creation. That's why I want to structure things the way I structured that deal. I don't want to make $45 and have to plow a place multiple times during one storm cause some dude is trying to pick up parts and is packing down the snow and the owner is calling me on his cellphone trying to get all of his $45 spent on gas. I also don't want to make my customers unhappy so I guess that's why I'm trying to do things the way I had that contract structured. It makes sense to me, and my wife, but we're just learning so if I sound wrong please help me out :) Thanks!!!
     
  14. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    if you want the job you could quote him the same fourty five PER PUSH but with a trigger.

    two inch trigger.
    you plow at two inches, make fourty five

    if its still snowing, you go back again and plow it, make another fourty five.

    each time you drop and you plow it you make fourty five NO MATTER WHAT.
    so if you have to push it four times on one storm because it kept hitting your two inch trigger you get 180

    If all the guy is seeing is the fourty five then show him the same fourty five but with the trigger. IF he calls you at all to come plow it your per push. so he pays for it.

    your first way was actually better but if fourty five he wants you can give it to him.
     
  15. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    That's what I proposed, but he didn't get it. I tried to explain that I would probably save him some money while still doing a good job with the proposal I had written and other dude isn't, but he was real focused on that $45. Those corporate guys like to see that low number and not worry about how many times it happens, or what business they lose in the process. There is no way the guy who is going to plow this place is going to plow it more than once per 24 hours for $45 so I guess they'd better hope they get lucky and everything comes at one time during the night or they're going to have some messed up parking lot. Oh, and this guy doesn't do sidewalks or salt. I do both.

    Maybe this kind of pricing is the way guys do it around here though. I'm just getting my feet wet in the pricing game, and it could be the way people do it. I priced a number of places that I immediatley turned down b/c they told me someone was doing it for some rediculously low price and I just put my own set of values on it and turned it down. Like I said before, around here, it snows for a set amount of time, you know its coming, you know when its ended, and you know when you need to get things done by and I've been thinking of the best way to help the customer where I should probably be thinking of the best way for me to make some money and still have customers. I'm trying to think of ways to please when I should be trying to make cash AND please. Lots to think of :) Man, you're out east and you're still up:) I'm the same way, sleep about 4 hours a day.
     
  16. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    well stick to your guns. its a walmart world :realmad:. you can check what resi in your area pays.
    I havent checked small commercial yet this year but last year a guy asked me to plow his lot and push the snow around to the other side of the building for thirty bucks. little tiny lot but still he wanted it ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BUILDING.
    i told him to pound sand.
    in the time it took me to plow that i could have done driveways at thirty or thirty five a piece.
     
  17. snowplowwizard

    snowplowwizard Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    That's what I'm talking about. Long live the little guy:drinkup: