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growing my business?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by B-2 Lawncare, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    Just to give you guys some insight insight on my business.
    I started out three years as a hobby doing fall clean up's, with aJohn Deere La 100 and a Home Depot lawn sweeper. At the time I was still working a full time job and did the clean up's for fun.
    I have a long drive way and got a plow for the little guy that winter. I plowed my drive way and all of the neighbors driveways that winter for fun.
    The next fall was when the economy went into the crapper. I was one of the six supervisors who didn't't get laid off. The stress was unreal and I quit and took a chance on runig a mowing and snow plowing business. We got a few residential contracts with the La.
    Looking back at it now I have made some bad business decisions. But I was able to over come them and grow. We now have grown and stepped up and bought some real equipment.
    It has paid off and we now we are now one of the biggest mowing and snow plowing business in town. When it snow's we are at our compacity with the equipment that we have now. This fall we had several commercial account approach us and we had to turn them down. Which leads me to my dilemma, all the commercial accounts want a per push charge.
    Which is a big gamble when it comes to snow. How did you guys over come the uncertainty of the winter?
  2. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    Let me also add that we are looking at adding a wheel loader with a big pusher plow. And I don't need to know about financials of your business, but would like to here how you made the leap to the next step in your business, and maybe how you were able to convince business to go from a per push charge to a monthly charge.
  3. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 6,739

    I think you're going to have a hard time selling seasonal contracts in Wyo, in my part of Co they're almost unheard of. Our winters and snow vary so much people are willing to roll the dice and take the risk. The same risk is ours as well, I haven't had one event yet this season and seasonal contracts sure would be nice, other years I would have lost my @ss. I don't count of income from snow, it's only additional.

    If you add a loader and pusher rent the loader for the season. I know a couple guys that go that way and it makes sense for them because they only need the loader for snow work.

    It's hard to grow without adding some debt, but it can be done with none or minimal it just takes time. I only by new when it makes sense and typically it lawn equipment. My plow trucks and spreader were all used. It just takes time to find the right deal but it can be done.
    Everyone has there own take on how to run / grow a business. mine works for me. Some will say my approach is conservative, to each there own.
  4. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 638

    Per push isnt a bad deal. If you get a big storm you just have to make sveral pushes to keep up and it pays in the end when you add them together. On the monthly deals there is more risk than per push. of course if it doesnt snow you win but then they are PO's because you were paid to sit home.
  5. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,106

    I find that talking budget for snow removal helps, when they tell you they want per push it opens the conversation up... why do you like per push? What is your budget for the season? Are you prepared to write that check all at once or in increments. I never tire of relating a season I had of 27 pushes in the month of January, I kept up to the work and had a lot of irate customers call me on "surprize" bills at the end of the month when they were paying their Christmas bills. A lot of them are seasonal now.

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    All of my per push accounts have incremental pricing, the more snow they get the more they pay.
    1-3 could be $100
    4-6 could be $175
    7-9 could be $250

    And so on and so forth, All of it depends on how large the lot is and how difficult it is to plow.
  7. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    Oh boy what fun the Holliday's and family are!
    I agree with your point about the snow here in the Rockies, for instance we plow the truck stop that only wants us to show up if there is two inches or more. So we have to calculate and budget time for them.so if get an event that is two inches or less we are not getting paid for our time that we have to budget for that facility. I can anticipate your next question. Why keep that account. First it pays well when we do service the facility.second it's a numbers game the more accounts that we can keep the faster I can push the competition out.
    One of the things that "Mr. Markus " suggested and that I have done on the mowing side is to ask about there budget. I don't know why I have never asked about budget's when it comes to plowing.
    This is where my lack of management experience hurts. I want to pick up a few more of the bigger accounts in town and we could service those accounts with a wheel loader. The loader would also be able to assist at other properties like the truck stop. Do we want to take on the debt of the loader to pick up a few more accounts?
    Is my ego out of control for wanting all of the big account's?
    Am I a dick for wanting to drive the competition out of business?
    Thanks for any further input.
  8. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 6,739

    B-2, Selling a seasonll for lawn-care is what all my comerical account's prefer, I have a few I set up with 10 months to pay for the season. This helps them out and I'm getting payments in Feb which is a nice thing for me too.

    I have a very similar pricing scheme that GP uses, I go up 60% every increments.

    I'd get a hold of Wyo Cat or Greenline Equipment in Casper to see what they have going on for winter rentals. Taking on the debt of a loader for snow removal only is something you might want to really think about.

    There's nothing wrong with wanting to be the big guy in town, do it over time not over night and when it makes sense. The last thing you want to do is spread yourself thin and not be able to service your accounts the way they should be. We live in a pretty small world out here and everyone seems to know everyone. Hell for all I know you could be related to my wife in some way, she has family in Sheridan, Casper, Rock Springs Lander, Medicine Bow, and Ablin, :laughing:
  9. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    How long have you been doing this? most everything is per push around here
  10. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    Thanks for the input, we have been grow our mowing and maintenance side, Greenline equipment has been a great partner. however we have talked about winter rentals and there rates are way to much. The lease would cost you more than if you just bought the machine. This is something that we will be moving on next year. You point about spreading yourself thin and not doing a good job is well understood.
    I moved to this forum from another, Guy's there said I was a jerk for the way we run our business. Guy's on this site seem to more in line with the way that we operate.
  11. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    This will be my Fourth winter. And most of mine are per push as well.
  12. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 6,739

    Been doing what?
    All my snow stuff is per push.
  13. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    Being a local, I gotta ask, what the name of your business?

    To answer your original question, Contracts are how I overcome the uncertainty. Even with the commercials I do. That way, going into winter I know that I have $XX,XXX.XX in the bank from snow plowing contracts. I can then spread that out and budget it based on our usual average of about 30 pushes a year (not counting last year in that average lol). I can figure over those 30 pushes I will spend a certain amount in payroll, fuel, vehicle maintenance, insurance and other general overhead. From there, depending on how things work with the lawn/landscape end of things I can take whats left over and allot that to equipment purchases. I may buy the truck out of the landscape budget but equip it with the snow plow with the snow plowing budget. And then I have money in the bank from both sides should things go really out of control and we end up plowing a lot or trucks constantly break. While I may be losing out on some money by not going per-push, I know that I can budget my money I have what I have and don't have to worry about needing a snow storm just to cover expenses. Last year I wonder how per-push people even covered their overhead because theres certain aspects of the overheard that are there whether you plow or not. You can say you take money out of the landscape side of the business, but I try to keep the snow plowing budget and expenses as separate from the landscape budget and expenses. If you have a killer year landscaping and roll money in the bank, but then have a year like last for plowing (on a per push basis) and you end up taking money out of the landscape profits to keep things afloat, you're robbing peter to pay paul.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012