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commercial plowing with 1/2 ton?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by hogson, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. hogson

    hogson Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    so soon ill be 16, and have been planning on plowing for years. only problem is: MONEY.. all i see out there in my price range (6000) are older tahoes and expeditions, which i know are great trucks. i need the truck to be my daily driver as well as my plow vehicle. i have plans of doing commercial plowing, but is this going to work out well with a 1/2 ton truck and probably a mid-contractor grade plow? :confused: im just curious as to what im getting myself into as far as money goes. what should i do to thr truck to prevent from breaking ****, and what should i look for in a plow? i dont want problems.. im just looking to make the most reliable thing i can on my budget.
  2. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    You probably need to start out doing more resi's than commercials. Build up a client base, and upgrade equipment as needed. Starting out at 16, you will still have to go to school, and do your homework, so start small, and build. As far as equipment, I think your right on with a Tahoe, and a mid weight plow. Everyone has to start somewhere, just do it above the board, be legal, pay your insurance, and do the best job you can do. You will have to remember, your not going to get rich in the first couple seasons, but you can make a decent living if the weather co operates.
  3. yardsmith

    yardsmith Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    I used a half ton for years; beef up the suspension, & don't overload it. Go easy when starting & stopping & using reverse & your stuff will last alot longer...
    If you look at older trucks you can get a decent 3/4 ton on ebay or craigslist for under 4000. Just have someone knowledgeable go with you to chekc them out...
    Like the others have said, it takes a couple years to get the ball rolling but once you have themomentum & don't give up it can be very profitable for someone your age if you keep your equipment up & do it above board payup
  4. hogson

    hogson Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks. What should I look for as far as residential accounts? I'm afraid of plowing brick driveways and fancy stuff because off the possibility of ******* it up. Is this a stupid thing to think? Also what should I do to the truck to prepare it for the load of a midweight plow? I just want peace of mind, so how can I over do it and be 100% sure I won't **** up the truck/plow?
  5. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    Your biggest problem will be getting commercial insurance at age 16.
  6. fargosnowpro

    fargosnowpro Member
    Messages: 91

    FWIW, our newer F150 with 8' Hiniker scoop has been in the shop all winter with 4WD issues, it has 2 years of plowing under it's belt. Granted it's being used by a few different guys who probably arn't as careful as they should be, I ran it the first season without major issues, it was a great truck then.

    Like other guys said though, it's maybe better to start with resi's than jump on board with commercials. You can get a feel of how the business is going to go and cut your teeth a bit. Start out with a blower or maybe a small tractor and blower, once you get some money saved up and experience under your belt you can start looking into a plow for your truck, smaller commercials or maybe even being a sub for a larger company.

    Being young and trying to jump head first into business is a really hard thing to do. A lot of store owners are going to be very, Very reluctant to rely on you for work. If you know your S*** and are willing to step up, you might have a good chance but if you don't, your elders will walk all over you. It's all about paying your dues and baby steps.
  7. somervillelawn

    somervillelawn Member
    Messages: 61

    I agree with some others in this post, start out with residentials. I'm guessing your in school. You pretty much have to be on call for your commercial clients all day long. With residentials you can hit them before going to school in the morning and then run back out after school to clean them up if needed.

    I see pleanty of guys out plowing drives with tahoes, jeeps, broncos, etc.... but for 6,000 if you keep looking you should be able to find a decent 1/2 ton with a plow.

    Good Luck and Stay Positive!
  8. MSplowing

    MSplowing Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 42

    I've got a half ton with a 7.6 meyer on it havent had any trouble with it yet. A half ton will work but you just have to take your time and be easy on it so you dont tare stuff up. As far as resi and commercial goes your best bet is to just sub out until you get more experience IMO, then venture off on your own.

    PLOWTRUCK Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    I dont care what anyone says a half ton is fine for plowing. I plowed years with a 96 half ton chevy with a 8 foot snoway and never had an issue. My father in law has always had plows on his half ton trucks with no problems and we get a **** ton of snow every year.
  10. hogson

    hogson Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks guys.. I think residentials will work out well for me. How many should I let be my limit so I don't overload myself? Also dint forget when it snows we usually are off from school...
  11. streetscrapin16

    streetscrapin16 Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    We plow our commercial lots with a 1/2 Chevy with Meyer 7.6 a salter and about 20 bags of salt and it works great.
  12. Tubby's Snow Plowing

    Tubby's Snow Plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 199

    Two out of three posts have foul language. I advise you to ease up and carry yourself better if you are serious about getting into business.

    Furthermore, you will have issues with your age, being a minor. I don't think you will have an easy time with obtaining commercial insurance especially with no driving experience. I think you will also have a difficult time landing contracts or clients being so young and inexperienced. Since you are operating a vehicle commercially, OSHA will weigh in on that and my understanding of the laws is you have to be 18 to operate a vehicle commercially.

    My advice is to get a plow truck and get some experience under your belt for two years plowing on your own and not commercially. Then when you're 18 and an adult, you can then better decide the business aspects of things. I think you should find a decent truck, get a single axle trailer and snow blower. Get some cash together blowing snow in the winter and cutting lawns in the summer. Save up for two years and then pay cash for a plow truck.

    I admire your eagerness to start a business and get into plowing, but you have a lot of time ahead of you and I think getting experience would be in your best interest.
  13. lukynskywyrd

    lukynskywyrd Member
    from wisc.
    Messages: 54

    listen to Tubby young man....

    he made some great points....language included. Let me add this scenario.....what happens when it stops snowing at 2am on a Tuesday and classes start at 8am with a test at 8:30........and your customers want their drives cleared before 7:30????? And you cant say you are usually off of school when it snows....they close classes for 4"????? Maybe in Georgia but not in Michigan! Have you had alot of experience driving in snow/ice day or nite???? You got to get to the job with your rig in one piece and we are usually out in the storm. If you have $6000 burning a hole in your pocket then why dont you invest that with the help of an advisor into something that will appreciate so when you are able to work full time and get the proper insurance and have some quality experience you will be able to buy something more work worthy and give yourself a better start in your business venture. To buy a "craigslist crasher" as your only rig is a gamble, its ok if it is a backup or just for your personal use. Maintaince is a big expense, pumps and hoses will break along with ball joints etc....and usually when its 3am and 7 degrees outside! How about getting on a local contractors crew? You might start as a shoveler but atleast you will be around equipment that you can learn on. Everyone thinks they can climb in the drivers seat, drop the blade and away ya go! This might be a bit harsh but in MY opinion I think you are getting in over your head.
  14. Eggie329

    Eggie329 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    I was stupid in high school and plowed snow and went to school. It all depends on what you're up for! If it was going to snow overnight I would go to bed around 8pm and get up at 3 and have everything done before school. I'm crazy though and have always been a workaholic!
  15. hogson

    hogson Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    im not worried about school, &missing classes. and honestly here in stroudsburg they closed 2 days ago for about 3 inches.. but thats not the case. i am looking into working under a buddy of mine. he is a contractor with his own crew, etc. and i think this is will work out better for me. im going to use my own truck and plow some acounts for him, stuff like that. i would also get a few residentialmy own, like 15 max. this way i can slowly ease into the business on my own, and still have a helping hand out there if i end up in a bad situation. as far as just climbing into the drivers seat, i actualy have been plowing on my familys property with my dads truck for 2 years now. not an asstounding ammount of experience, but better than nothing. thank you for the help.
  16. Mikemat31

    Mikemat31 Member
    Messages: 72

    not for nothing but to get 15 resi accounts at 16 is ridiculously hard don't make it seem like people will just call you. I am 16 this summer i busted my ass i handed flyers a distributed over 400 business cards directly to peoples houses and I got 1 customer. Shoveling is a little different however, but I also do snow removal I use a craftsman 24in dual stager great investment. think about it buy a snowblower now because if you plan on expanding you will need one anyway. Buy a trailer mounted hitch put it on and go around with that. When you come back from college and such and you wanna plow thats when its fine. You have to many priorities to be relied on in such a demanding way

    hopes this helps
  17. hogson

    hogson Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I understand what your saying. Thanks for the imput I appreciaate it.
  18. SharpBlades

    SharpBlades Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    I dont think you would have a problem... In fact I will probably be adding on a tahoe or a reg cab short bed with a 7.5 foot blade. After Subbing/running as a backup for a couple guys this year who have small lots I think it will be more efficient on small lots than my 3/4 ton that is about 30 feet long with the salter and vee plow.

    As long as you take it easy/ don't overload the truck, and take your time, i'm sure you could carve out a real niche plowing the small 4 car - 20 car sized lots like insurance offices etc.
  19. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    im 20, this is my second season plowing. last year i used a beat up 78 chevy 1/2 ton with a big @$$ plow, and this year i have a 98 chevy 1/2 with a 7'6" plow. i mostly plow friends and family, but i have a couple others who rely on me for plowing, including a commercial spot. (warehouse with a couple small businesses inside,semi truck trailer bays and all) havent had a problem yet. plan to upgrade to a 3/4 eventually, but i have no concerns with my 1/2 ton. which is essentially the same platform as the tahoe
  20. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,392

    Thirteenth season with 1/2 ton trucks and still going