1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Getting a Snow Removal Company Started

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by kingkong0192, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. kingkong0192

    kingkong0192 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I am quite new to the whole art of snow removal. I've been browsing around different forums for a while now trying to figure out the best way to plow snow. I will be plowing snow mostly from residential driveways. Most of them vary in length, but i'd say most are around a 1/4 mile (give or take). I live in Connecticut, and we do get a fair amount of snow.

    I was thinking about purchasing either a Bobcat 773G or an S185. I would of course buy the machine used with around 1-2k hours. After researching this i realized that was only half the battle. Nobody seems to be able to agree on what the best thing to push snow with a Bobcat is. I'm pretty sure it's just a personal preference, but i may be wrong about that. The argument seems to be between a snow pusher around 8' long (another debate on the size of the pusher), a regular toothless bucket, and a Bobcat snow blade (and of course they're people who debate whether a straight blade or a V-blade is better). I also heard about the snow blower attachment, but in my opinion, it's a bit too expensive. However, if it's light snow, id imagine that thing clears driveways super fast.

    After all that i was thinking about buying a beat around truck (either a 1500 or a 2500) to put a plow on just to push snow at a much faster rate than the Bobcat would be capable of. How does my plan sound?

    Also, how does the whole "Charging" thing go? Is it a flat rate for the driveway, an hourly rate, or does it depend on other factors (such as how much snow)?

    If you were first going into the business with the experience you have gained over your years of snow plowing, what would you do?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  2. Chris112lee

    Chris112lee Member
    Messages: 64

    a bobcat is pretty slow for 1/4 mile long driveways, I think it would be hard to be profitable.

    A 1 ton truck with a blizzard or v-blade would be more efficient, and you would save loading/unloading time.

    I would estimate under 10 minutes for a 1/4 mile drive with my blizzard plow. Hard to load and unload a skid steer in under 10 minutes.
     
  3. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    What part of CT?
     
  4. kingkong0192

    kingkong0192 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    New Milford, CT
     
  5. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    Just buy a decient used 3/4 ton pickup with an 8foot blade and learn as you go.
     
  6. kingkong0192

    kingkong0192 Junior Member
    Messages: 12


    I'm pretty sure i exaggerated a lot on that number. 1/4 mile is probably the LONGEST driveway i can think of. This picture is at 100 feet and shows the average length of the driveway around here. This is why i wanted to get a Bobcat, and a truck, so that i can move/pile snow as well and just straight plow it.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Landcare - Mont

    Landcare - Mont Senior Member
    Messages: 351

    If you're just starting out, a 1-ton 4WD pickup with a decent plow is the way to go. A skidsteer is a working machine only - you can't use it for your personal vehicle, therefore, you have two vehicles already. A skidsteer does not travel well on the road. How are you going to get it from wherever you're going to park it to the jobsites? Do you have summer work for a skidsteer? After you have been in business for a few years and/or pick up some good contracts/customers, you should look into getting a 4WD tractor with a plow and maybe a blower but not just yet.
     
  8. kingkong0192

    kingkong0192 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Why would i want to get a 4WD tractor over a Bobcat? When you say 4WD tractor, do you mean a lawn tractor with a bucket or more like a wheel loader? Bobcats are better in tight spaces, and a lot more compact. I think that would be better than a tractor.

    I could do summer jobs for people, and i actually have a trailer that would be capable of pulling a Bobcat.
     
  9. Landcare - Mont

    Landcare - Mont Senior Member
    Messages: 351

    Actually meant a farm-type tractor with a heated cab and a blower on the back - about 50-65 horsepower. This type of tractor travels well and fairly quicly on the roads and so you don't need to have a truck and trailer on the same jobs (three pieces of equipment for the same $$$). As I said, if you have summer work for a skidsteer loader, go for it. You can also get summer work for a tractor if you buy a brushcutter or flail mower for it.
     
  10. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    Those look very similer to what I plow. I started with a F150 after 2 years i bought a Jeep as backup.

    After I plowed 1 time with the jeep I sold the F150. I could plow 2x as fast with the jeep as with the truck.

    That is still true today. I have a sub with a F250 and I out plow him 2 to 1.

    I now have 3 Jeeps and over 100 customers (1 Jeep backup)
     
  11. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    I would never trailer a skid steer around during a snow storm. You would jack knife that thing in a heartbeat. I am going with everyone else here....If you are just going to do driveways, buy a pick up truck. I would buy 2 pick ups before I would buy a skid steer in your case. If you are going to use one, I like the power angle plow on it the best. I have one for a parking lot we do and I have the large snow bucket and a power angle 8' plow. I was thinking about putting wings on it this year so you can use it as both a pusher or a plow but if you are doing driveways you definitely don't want a pusher box. They dont scrape down all the way. They are for moving large amounts of snow corralled by other equipment in a parking lot. You can use them for "plowing" but in that case you would be more efficient with the power angle.

    My answer though, buy a truck. No need for a skidder and no way to get it around unless you do it all after the storm. It would take forever if you did. We did use it last year to do some driveway cleanups but it was always after the storm. After we got huge piles and mounds of snow we sent letters out to customers to do removal. It worked out pretty well but I have been plowing for 15 years and never remember a winter with as much snow as last winter and never had to do removal in driveways before. The other thing to think of is how much you will make off the machine. You cant buy a $15k specialty machine for driveways. Just my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  12. Chris112lee

    Chris112lee Member
    Messages: 64

    Someone a little uptight about towing? lol
     
  13. kingkong0192

    kingkong0192 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    If you don't mind me asking how is a jeep faster than a truck? The only obvious difference i can see would be the size in the actual vehicle. Would you mind making that a little bit clearer for me? Thanks in advance.

    Alright thanks for the input on that. However, the houses that i would be plowing wouldn't be so close together. I think i would need something road legal so that i could travel long distances. Thanks for the tip on the 3 for 1 with the tractor, i never thought of that before.

    Thanks for that as well. I think i might just go with either a pickup/and or jeep with a plow. That seems to be what everyone says is the best combo. As for the plow, im not quite sure on that yet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  14. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    We tow all the time but when there is snow on the road a 7 or 8k lb machine behind a 1 ton dump or more than likely a 7k pound pick up is a recipe for disaster when you try to stop. I have done it before but trailers are not fun when there is snow on the road.
     
  15. BlackKnight07

    BlackKnight07 Member
    Messages: 56

    Jeep= Smaller Wheel base easier to get into tight places and easier to Maneuver.

    I bought a F150 this year, doing hopefully residential once the snow falls and everyone loosens there tight pockets. We'll see how it goes, Maybe a Jeep is in the Future.
     
  16. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Well first off lets start at the beginning. First do you have commercial liability and commercial vehicle insurance? Second, have you set up a EIN number or whatever your State requires? Third, do you have any type of plan, customer agreements, or anything in place yet? These are all things I would be more worried about before I started asking what you should use to perform these services.....if you want to do it and be legit. As far as what equipment, I would just say a 3/4 ton with a V blade would be my choice. But if you wan to be one of "those guys" well.....good luck.
     
  17. kingkong0192

    kingkong0192 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I see you have a Bobcat there in your picture in the snow. How do you feel using that to plow driveways? No, i have none of those set up, i don't plan on making an actual "business" i just plan on getting customers that want me to plow their driveway, and that's what im going to do. I plan on starting with a few customers and hope my name goes from person to person, eventually getting me a lot of regular customers. I only plan on doing this in the winter, as the for the rest of the year i am a licensed plumber.

    I have another question as far as plowing goes. Lets saw you're plowing a driveway that's straight, and dead at the end of the driveway is their house (like the garage) looking something like this (=====[]) the "=" being the driveway and the "[]" being the garage. How do you plow that so that you don't just pile the snow in front of their garage door way? I'd assume you pull up as close to the garage as you can, drop your plow, and drag the snow back at least the length of your plowing vehicle.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  18. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Well let me start off by saying your walking a very thin line as far as performing a service and in return your being paid, that my friend is a business. I'm sorry but it's guys like this who are killing this industry and yes it hits a nerve. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for people who are trying to make money but trying to compete with guys who do it this way is B.S.! And to come in here and ask the professional guys who are doing it the right way is kind of like a slap in the face. What if you bid a pluming job for some guy and your licensed and have all the qualification's and I was slow plowing so I start advertising pluming work and get this job. Maybe a bad analogy but you get the gist. BTW a skid steer would be one of the last pieces of equipment I would use compared to the prior examples. I don't mean any disrespect but I'm sure you can see my point.
     
  19. Chris112lee

    Chris112lee Member
    Messages: 64

    I wouldnt do it without the proper insurance. In the off chance you back over a kid, or take out someones garage you will be royally screwed. Unless of course you have the bankroll to handle a million dollar lawsuit...


    Not to mention in the off chance the IRS finds out you arent paying taxes...
     
  20. blee1ash

    blee1ash Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    With some of the questions you are asking, it sounds like you had better stick to the plumbing.

    It's kind of like me saying I going to start a plumbing business, then asking how to solder joints and install pipe.