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Can I just resi's it work?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by jay33, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18

    Hey all. I've posted a few questions, but have read a TON of info here. I am projecting 3 or 4 years out (when it's time to get a new truck) and thinking about plowing on the side. As a former business owner, I think I have a pretty good grasp on insurance and expenses, and I know what my startup costs will be, at least in today's dollars. My question for those of you who do, or did, mostly residential work is this: After paying insurance premiums and only doing it in the side, can I make enough money to make it worth my while? I have family in two neighborhoods within a few minutes of both my home and work, which are also close together. Since I'll be in those areas both before and after work I wanted to be the "before and after work" guy. A buddy at work did it and made a killing, but has no insurance and also let a buddy use his rig while he was at work. What is a decent number of driveways without overextending myself? Should I just stay away?

    Thanks for any insight.

    Jason
     
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Figure anywhere from 250- 500 per driveway for seasonal .So how many based on that would you need?
     
  3. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,548

    Like you most people need to get to work and home at the end of a day. I think finding people that will want to wait for your werk to let out before they gat plowed will spread you out al over the place.

    The key to resi work is keeping a high density of customers. I have 100+ customers, and to drive past every one of them is under 20 miles (all in a 6 mile diameter circle).
     
  4. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18

    I was thinking more in general terms which only experience can answer - with the right combination of density and proximity to home and work, would I realistically be able to expect 10k in revenue? With 20 clients and 250/season each I'm barely making enough to cover overhead. With 40 clients I'm seeing more profit, but is it doable "on the side?" I have family and friend on both sides of the blade here, and it seems like folks are alright with the "before and after MY work" concept. If they're not, I would be doing us both a disservice by making contracts I can't keep. Thanks for the info.
     
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Your not going to get 40 drives done before work. Snowplowing all depends on when it starts to fall.If you get 4 inches an hour before you need to be at work and then it snows another 4 inches now your trying to plow 8 inches of snow and it will take a little longer .Don't for get about traffic too.
     
  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    How many plowable/billable events in your area per season?
     
  7. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18

    I'm still trying to decipher the snowfall data I find online. Maybe I should've asked for help with that first...
     
  8. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    You are going to have 10K in expenses? That seams very high. You say you need a new truck but do you need a $50,000 truck? I'm guessing you are depreciating the 50k (or whatever that number is) over 5 years. If you bought a $15k truck then your expenses would be 7k less.

    Are you sure you "need" a new truck to plow?

    FYI, my expenses for the year including depreciation on the truck and plow in my signature that I bought in '08 that I can attach to my plowing biz is only $3500.

    You might want to rethink your expenses.
     
  9. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,202

    People are always fine with waiting this time of year. What most forget is the pile of snow left at the end of the drive by the street plow. If you get a 2am snowfall and there isn't enough to plow before you go to work the town could put a nice pile at the end of the driveway well before you get to it.

    If your off work at 5 and you have a 5 hour route your last house is getting done at 10. That's a long time for people to wait. Believe me you will get the calls.
     
  10. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18

    Preliminary talks with insurance people in my area puts me near 3k for general liability and commercial auto ins. 10k was just an arbitrary number, but I would like to see more than 2 grand for the season in my pocket. My wife and I take turns buying new cars, and it's my turn next. Since I'll be buying a new one anyway I'm looking to get something plow capable. With the right deal and a GM discount I'll be right near 30k for what I want in a truck. My "expenses" would only be insurance.

    I've thought about this. The two neighborhoods where I would be are both private, and no one plows the streets except generous plow guys. The 5PM and 5 hour route is more along the lines of what I was seeking. Is there a reasonable number of driveways where I can make a decent ROI and still keep customers happy?

    I really need to research snow data.

    Thanks for the helpful information.

    Jason
     
  11. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Here's my experience. When I worked a f/t job I had about 20 customer's both res. and smaller commercial. I started off driving about 10 minutes west to get to the first one then worked my way east in time for my job. I started to build on that and after a couple years I had a nice little thing going. Well it didn't take long before a early morning storm or two had my customer's wondering where I was. It seems you realize this so I guess it depends on a few things, how close are the accounts, when it snows and how many vacation days can you take. As far as an investment, it's just that, an investment. Most investments in this business wont pay off for a few years.
     
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I wish my only "expense" was insurance.Are these driveways just going to fall from heaven like manta? Your new truck might burn a c note every time it goes out.Unless you plan on buying a 5.00 shovel to do all those drives count on another 5-6k for a plow.So your monthly expenses will be about 2k or a month.
     
  13. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    You're talking ROI, yet say you only have one expense - insurance.

    Sounds to me you are trying to justify a new truck with a new plow to the missus. If you want a new plow on your new truck, and can afford it, get one. If you pick up a few extra bucks plowing a couple extra drives, great.

    3K seems very high for insurance. Shop around.
     
  14. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    A $6k plow will be depreciated for 6 years. 1k per year.

    Your actual insurance cost should deduct what a non-commercial policy would cost you.

    Your actual truck payment is not reflective on your plowing expense. For tax reasons, you will depreciate the truck and the tax savings needs to be accounted for.

    I agreee, it sounds like you just WANT a new truck and plow. Do you have a truck currently? If so slap a plow on that bad boy and keep your $$$ in the bank.

    A long time ago my father taught me difference between needs and wants. There are very few needs in life. I think my wife is finally understanding that concept.
     
  15. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    I will put my number out there last year i plowed 22 times and salted/ Liquid/ rock 35 times.
    no offense but its going to be really hard on you to do both. And most likely if you do it you will get it done but it wont be the quality way that you (i would hope) want it to look. honestly there is a guy by me who is doing all driveway for 125 unlimited. he has 500 drives so far with 3 trucks. He is out 48-72 hrs after i am done. Still starting drives. i am usually out just cleaning up.... pushing piles back, etc I rather have more commercial work than driveways! Thats why i dont care if this guy does drives for 125. Hes paying the customer for him to do their driveway! Its not worth it!

    SNOW PLOWING IS A COMMITMENT! the guys who accept that are the ones who will succeed. The other ones........well i rather not say!
     
  16. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18

    Thanks all for the info. I have some thinking to do.