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For Sale??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by RCIPlow, Jan 6, 2002.

  1. RCIPlow

    RCIPlow Member
    Messages: 86

    For sale- Whats left of my hopes for a profitable winter. Included is some self esteem, some, a lot of hope and ambition, a bunch of equipment, and some lousy weather forcasters, and a lot of rain.. Make Offer!!!!

    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    you are not alone i'm shur, i was hopin to double my income from snoe removal this year as i bought a v box (stainless at that) and a bunch of bulk salt. to date we had one or two flurries that made an inch, i went anyway but man is this killin me!
  3. MusGuy

    MusGuy Member
    Messages: 65

    How much is all that for sale and is it OBO??

    Just kidding guys...... Keep the faith, it will happen
  4. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Make a list and tell me...

    How much you want for your equipment RCIPlow, I'll make you an offer!

    If you have pics email me:D
  5. sledhead

    sledhead Member
    Messages: 77


    Pick up your shattered self esteem, gather up your hope and ambition, lift up that pouty lower lip, and get your arse out to the garage and fix somthing or wax a truck.
    Just get your mind off of the negitive and think positive.

    Sheeesh, your bringing us all down.
  6. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    A season like this is why you have to have seasonal contracts, or at least retainer contracts to help cover your investments. I know it has been mentioned before, but to invest in new trucks plows and spreaders and have to eat all that overhead until you get winter weather is just not sound business practice.
    I am not trying to degrade anyone, as I was in the same boat a few years ago, but i saw that during light snow accumulation seasons, I wouldnt be able to stay in business. I found a way to make the seasonal pricing look attractive to the customer, and it has helped immensley.
  7. Manx

    Manx Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    It snow every year !
    some times early and some times late
    but it snows every year !
    it's coming just be ready
  8. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    Not to rub it in but

    :D it SNOWED here almost 7" life is great again not even going to work my normal job today. Had 2 phone calls to do another guys parking lots at his full price as he is broke down. I told him to slow down but he's still a cowboy & thinks he knows it all. First lot I plowed in 1 hr. less time then him & he was totally amazed, he rode along as he was waiting for a tow. He said he better ride with me for another 3 hrs. as he wants to see if he can learn a little more. It made me fill good as he has plowed for over 8 yrs.:) Brent

    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    Dino, i have a hard enough time convincing people around here of the benefits of salt, let alone preapplicating for a storm, i'm gonna work on these 2 items before i try and pursue seasonal pricing. ( walk 1st then run) the winter is not killing me financially it's just that i love winter and the more snow the better.
    i hate lookin at all the brown stuff outside, brown sucks!
    at least we have ice on the lake so's i can icefish and watch all the moron's drive their cars on the ice which is to thin. many people have gone in this year.

    p.s washed my truck on saturday outside in my drive 35degree's and sun felt like spring.
  10. DaveK

    DaveK Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    All of my customers are seasonal contracts, so the more more it snows the less I make. That makes me :)

    But, I don't have enough customers yet to smile for to long, so I do some sub work also. That pays by the hour, so the more it snow, the more I make. And so far, we haven't had much snow. That makes me :(

    Right now, I REALLY want it to snow. Like 12"- 18" would be nice. I would have plenty of sub work and then all the flag downs and one time calls for the people that usually shovel themselves.

    <font size=4>Think Snow</font> <font size=3>Think Snow</font> <font size=2>Think Snow</font> <font size=1>Think Snow</font> ..... ....
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2002

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    Even though I have enough seasonal work to cover the expense's I'm with Dynaplow on this one, lack of snow does depress me in general ( :( ). I'm in my profit margin before the first snow but the real money around these parts is in the per inch, per storm category so "the gravy" is why I push the white stuff.
  12. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver Senior Member
    Messages: 279


    I'm sure it's alot easier in your area to sell the seasonal contracts.
    In my area winters are speratic and most people are willing to roll the dice & see what mother nature dishes out. Now I do all res. work, don't know too much about the commercial market in my area. I could see a seasonal contract being the way to go for chain stores, big com lots, ect. Anyway I don't depend on snow to get me thru the winter, I have plenty of other things going on to keep me busy. Plowing is good money & I still enjoy it so it would be nice to see a plowable event here soon. I got out last night to do a couple and I'll be back out tonight to hit 6 or seven to scrape the ice & treat. I'll take it for now.


    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    I have found it so easy here to sell seasonal. Even those people who have been per plow and hourly forever, really like the idea of fixed costs. The business people certainly understand my position of overhead and fixed costs regardless of snow, and they also love the idea of a small discount for prepays, and almost all of them do! Now this year I had the same amount of seasonals locked up and mostly prepaid, as I did total business last season. That is a great feeling of security when the weather warms.

    Now, to be honest, this year we have some new heavy hitters that are per push, and I stand to dramatically increase the numbers with every snow event, which also makes weeks like last week very exciting! So, with the right mix, we just keep smiling all the time!!:D

    Great places to start for seasonal sales:

    -small business with small lots and small budgets. These are typically $500-$1000 per year lots, and they like the stable snow budget.

    -Churches! Probably our number one seasonal, no matter if they are $1000 / yr or $5000 / yr. They have too many people involved in the budget to handle six bills a winter. They love to settle it once and for all in November, then forget about it!
  14. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    So much of selling seasonal is attitude. If you stay with idea that it will never sell, then you never will sell it.
    however that being said, I would really suggest the retainer route. You bill for 2-3 plowable events at the beginning of each month, or for say 25% of your total estimated budget for the season up front in Nov. Then just bill against that money when it does snow. That way the customer is not left feeling that you made out like a bandit on a light snow year.
    If you have a really light winter, then apply some of that money towards next season, thus locking that customer into staying around cause they have a vested interest. I learned idea from a fellow SIMA member, and i think it is great.
    If nothing else, my per push customers get charge for 2 plowings at the end of any month that we have no billable events Dec- March. Most times the customer doesnt even read that line item, then wehn they get the bill, they learn quickly that I am a pro. If your customer is business minded at all, they will understand why you have that line item. That little extra from just doing that will cover the truck payment.
    Use your heads, I am sure with the quality of people at this site, others have even better ideas.
    Like has been mentioned before, you have to treat this as a business, not a side line. The number shave to work. Even tho our home improvement side might be flush at any given time, I can not use that cash flow to bail out the snow plowing side, and vice versa. It needs to exist clearly on its own.
  15. DaveK

    DaveK Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    You bill your customers for two plowings if you don't do any plowing? And they learn quickly that thats makes you professional? I would find it harder to explain that to my customers than selling the contract. It is to much confusion for a soccer mom. It's much easier to say "It will cost you $xxx for the full year, you can make two equal payments, or pay in full.

    It makes more sense, and less time and paperwork involved if you just get half up front and the rest halfway through the season. I don't have to keep track of how many pushes in which month and then send invoices out every month. I like to keep things simplified, and I think my customers do as well.

    I offer 10% off if the season contract is paid in full by Nov 1st. And 90% of them paid this way. I collected the money when they signed the contract. I don't have to send any invoices.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    I will admit that , as Dave implied, I do mostly seasonal with residential because its much easier. I cannot stand all the paperwork that goes with sending monthly bills to residential. Now a good commercial customer I will gladly bill, but I am just too lazy to do too may residentials that way. In fact, I can see why many snow co's eventually evolve past doing any residential and only pursue commercial or municiple. One good commercial will replace a couple dozen headache drives, with their soccer moms.
  17. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    I must clarify that clause is for commercial only, we dont do residential so that aspect of the business doesnt apply to me.
    Sorry for the confusion.
  18. Mike Hughes

    Mike Hughes Member
    Messages: 51

    That is, unless the soccer mom is a hottie! .......just kidding.

    I'm with Mark.......very hard to sell contract pricing here. We had two winters in a row with very little snow. People think that will happen again.........I'm hoping not.....
  19. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    I've pitched alot of things & have not written off the idea of getting at least a retainer for next season. I'm sure I could sell a couple seasonal contracts to a few of my customers who have "0" tolerance for any kind of snow or ice on their property, it's just for the most part unless I was doing their landscaping and could incorperate into into a contract like that, it would be very difficult to sell in this part of the woods.

    I'm just a one man operation and the snow removal does hold it's own with very little overhead. I made all my initial investments last year and had a decent enough winter to pay for it all and still make a few bucks. All my stuff is in almost new condition. It doesn't cost me hardly anything when it doesn't snow. My liabilty is rolled into my contractors policy and I'm not running a fleet of trucks or paying employees so my overhead is slim to none. For now this works for me and when it does snow, I go out have a good time & make some gravy money. Unless I move I don't think I could ever depend on snow to get me through a winter.

  20. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    There was one year about 5 years ago that I only plowed my full route once for the season. Most of my acounts trigger at three inches but I do have a handfull that want cleared for any amount.

    We just got our first plowable event here this past Sunday in to Monday. Four to six inches total and then the wind kicked up. Spent most of today chasing drifts.

    The snow fell as wet snow but the ground was frozen so it turned to ice immediately. The town I hire out to with one truck flopped one of theirs coming down a mountain pass when the truck just started skating. I was the only truck out with a plow on and had to clear the way for the Emergency vehicles and tow truck. I made a pass to the top and stopped to check out the driver and almost fell on my rear end just trying to stand there! The driver was just bruised up a bit and needed new underwear, but was otherwise OK. By the time I got the road cleared for the crews, I was soaked in sweat. I must be getting too old for this crap!