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Dumb Question #1 - first in a series

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

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge Member
    Messages: 44

    As I'd mentioned in a previous post, we don't plow snow (yet), but will likely begin next season. I've scouted prevous threads, but am left with some nagging questions.

    This will be the first in a series of what may be 'dumb' questions, but they're ones that are stumping me. My hope is that when the landscaping season comes, I can provide as much help in the landscape forum to all of you as you'll likely provide for me here.

    Ok, that out of the way, here's question #1:

    What does everyone do during the holidays? Can you leave town for a few days to see family, or are you stuck at home just in case it snows?
  2. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Don't plan on much time off from Dec-Mar unless you have a VERY dependable backup person. One of our bigger accounts is ours because the previous contractor (using the term loosely) didn't bother lining up a backup when he took a weekend off to go deer hunting and things iced up.
  3. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Sorry man, don't plan on time off. I have plowed many a thanksgiving in the past 16 years or so of plowing. Haven't plowed an x-mas yet but it looks possible for this year.

    Just part of the biz, high proftis are in it but you got to stay around town.

  4. AB Lawn Care

    AB Lawn Care Member
    Messages: 93

    Sorry bud.Not in this business.The snow removal industry is just like the tow trucking business.We are on call 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year.The only way to get out of it is to have other people working for you during the peroids you want off.And don't hire untrained plower's!!!!!!!That is just stupid!I have been doing snow for about 6 years now and I have blowed on at least 3 x-mas's.I wish there was a way out of it but there are few.Sorry for the bad news!
  5. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    If you go anywhere better have a quick way back handy, and last-minute one-way airline tickets are horrendously expensive.
  6. RB

    RB Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    I'm a landscaper that got into the snow biz this year. I'm able now that I only have a handful of accounts to ask a friend to help out when I leave town. This person is someone that I trust very much.

    After a few years and a few more accounts I have to stick it out unless I have very dependable employees.

    I've found that this is the main reason why a lot of landscapers don't plow snow -- the don't need to and they want their winters to relax.
  7. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Holiday??? whats a Holiday???

    I have plowed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve and Day.

    Thats not too bad, but when you have to plow on SuperBowl Sunday, well thats just way the call of duty.
  8. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Even after you hire people to plow for you. Could you ever just let it all go and not be worried if things are being done corectly? I swear I have a great group of employees but I have to be there, no matter what is going on. Even if I just call guys in to sand I still come into the office.

  9. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Made a job offer to a new salesman today. He starts 1/7/00. When we talked about winter and plowing and holidays.... my response to him was "when it snows, your butt belongs to me". Don't matter what day it is.....

    I'm reminded of a recent post that I saw (here) about a fellow that gave up plowing this year and enjoyed a walk in the lightly falling snow with his child.... I missed alot in my years of plowing. Especially in this market. I have often wondered if I would do it all the same way, if I had to do it all over again. Unfortunately, I probably would. However, the thoughts of taking a walk in a light snowfall with my wife and/or kids, and not worring about whether we'll have to go out and plow - does make me think about it some (not having gotten into this business).

    I've often said to my wife, that I'd love to take a vacation somewhere where it's snowing and I didn't have to go out and work in it. THAT would be nice.


    Until then...

    Holiday ?? What Holiday.
  10. NEAL

    NEAL Member
    Messages: 98


    If you didn't plow you would miss it. I had to stop plowing and sell my truck this year due to a cutback of hours at my regular job (house payment more important than truck payment). Winter and plowing are just in my blood! People think im crazy liking the snow but you guys know what I mean! I WILL PLOW NEXT YEAR! Luckily i have a wife that loves snow as much as me and a 7 month old daughter that will grow up in the mix of it all.
  11. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Up until this year all of my accounts were industrial commercial buildings that aren't open on Holidays & most weekends. So if it happened to snow then I could still do the family holiday stuff & then hit the lots afterwards (unless it happened to be a heavy storm that needed to be pushed more than once) and have them all open for the next day. This year I took on some of those pesky banks we've mentioned & their 24 hour ATM machines so things are different. We usually do Christmas Eve with my parents 2 hours away and drive back 2.5 hours to my wife's parents Christmas Day. I told my Mom that I may not be able to make it this year, & then I told her again so it will hopefully sink in, because we know how Mom's are - "Yea OK, I understand, but you'll be here right?".
    I think your business is at the point that I hope to be in the future. My plan is to get rich enough to spend time during the summers in the Andes mountains so I can play in the snow then. I can stay at a beach resort so my wife can enjoy the beach & I'll helicopter to the mountains to snowboard. Shouldn't be hard to talk her into that one.
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    I have plowed many holidays like everyone else. What I found really helps is know your customers business, on holidays I do all reidential work, and any commercial thats open, go to family things, then finish up at night. I personlly HATE plowing durring the days, to much liability, things seem to jump out in your way(people cars ect). And people seem to love trying to drive through the pile you just made before you push it aside. I have never had an accident or liability issue, I want to keep it that way.
    If I don't HAVE to plow durring day I don't.
  13. jaclawn

    jaclawn Member
    Messages: 92

    Also, don't plan on too many nights of complete good sound sleep.
  14. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I don't plow as much as I used to, but getting to this point (and size) takes LOTS of time and little sleep, and no real holidays. It's hell planning family get togethers around snow squalls.

    But, as I said above - I probably wouldn't do it any differently..... but, it's fun to think of what it would be like to not have to worry about "checking the weather" every night.....
  15. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Ask yourself - are you going to go away and leave your livelihood and reputation in the hands of someone else (who's livelihood and rep aren't on the line)?

    Your customers may not be happy,
    You may have newfound liabilities or lawsuits,
    Your truck that you let him use will never be the same,
    You will have to work the equivalent amount of time afterwards anyways to repair the damage or redo the rough spots.
    You'll have to think of a way to respond to the nasty-grams on your message service that are, by now, 24-36 hours old.

    I could go on, but like all the other great minds above, staying put is all part of the game.