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Help From The Pros.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by QMVA, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. QMVA

    QMVA Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    Alright people its that time of year again. Veteran plowers are getting new equipment. New plowers are planning out what to do and the people getting into the business seem to be lost and dazed. So I thought I would start a thread for the vets to add any tips they could to help out the less experienced plower like me. Add what ever you want. How to get insurance. Pricing and what not. Try to have a title on your post to help us know what its going to be about.
    Thanks and Give us all you got.:waving:
     
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    General tips and past PlowSite threads for the new "Plow Guy"

    This is something I put together a couple of years ago for just this reason. It includes threads that pertain to the very basics of plowing - like What it "per push"? and What insurance do I need?

    Feel free to add to it.

    (there are some members with replies who are no longer active here and some references have been ****'d out).

    A few threads to get started:

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10080&highlight=starting+business

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8767&highlight=starting+business

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7152&highlight=starting+business

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8374&highlight=starting+business

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8285&highlight=starting+business (discusses advertising)

    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7027&highlight=starting+business


    Things to consider in starting a snowplowing business (besides pricing).

    1. Do I have the time to commit to plowing? If you are unavailable during particular times of the day or periods of time, you’ll be severely limited in the types of accounts you can take on.

    2. What equipment do I have now? What will I purchase/lease before beginning to plow? If you only have a pickup and plow, you won’t want to go after accounts that need salting. If you have a ¾ ton pickup with an 8’ blade and a tailgate spreader, you won’t go after a 50 acre mall.

    3. What is my market area? The closer together the accounts and closer to your business office (likely your home), the better.

    4. What type of accounts will I pursue? Residential? Commercial? Industrial? Each will affect several things including type of insurance and equipment needed.

    5. Do I have the expertise and equipment for this type of account? (obviously you’re asking this when you look over a proposed job).

    6. For any particular job, you will need to consider - How am I going to approach this job, where am I going to push/stack the snow and will there be enough room for future pushes? What is going to be affected by where I plan to pile snow? Will I need to have snow removed from the site? You need to have the equipment for snow removal or arrange for it.

    7. A big consideration: How am I going to handle the inevitable equipment failure? Do you have friends you can call on to fill in for you? Do you have backup equipment? How about if you’re sick and can’t get out? This is a real problem - even people using brand new equipment can tell you stories of how their $35,000 brand new truck bit the dust and spent the next week in the shop. In the meantime, they missed out on thousands of dollars because they didn’t have a backup truck.

    8. Do I have the required insurance for the type of accounts I’m pursuing?

    This is just a partial list. I’m sure others can chime in, also. Notice I have not even mentioned looking at how much to charge. Another good resource would be to develop a Business Plan. For an example of that, visit the Small Business Administration web site.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2004
  3. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    Right on Mick, Snowplowing 101! :waving:

    Bill
     
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I like that, Bill. Thanks for the new title.
     
  5. Young Pup

    Young Pup PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,491

    I am new on this website. One word. WOW!!!! A boat load of information is on here. I have been in business in the lawncare part since 1998. I bought it off a friend who was doing it since 1983. I finally took the leap last year and bought a truck with plow prep package and put a plow on it. I have been doing residential properties with a snow blower. Just wanted to thank Mick for putting those threads up for us newcomers to read. Great reading and I am looking forward to more.



    Thanks.
     
  6. szorno

    szorno Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    Well, Mick just gave a pretty good "101" class. Here are some thoughts from a 29 yr veteran as we start another season:
    1) The first couple years, consider sub contracting to a larger outfit with a good reputation. Your per-hour income won't be as good, but your total per storm income could be decent. You will also pick up some good experience and OJT. I have a sub that started with me 3 years ago, with plans to go out on his own last year. He liked working for us well enough that he is starting his 4th year with us. Good man with a well maintained older truck.

    2) Find out what plow dealers in your area give good service and if there are any other places to get parts. (ie- NAPA store or maybe a used plow dealer) Your ability to take care of customers can be directly related to your ability to replace parts in the middle of a storm. That's where a good reputation is built.

    3) When you do start out on your own, get a friend to be your backup. Even if you have to go out and make a friend of one of your "competition" it is still good to have someone back you up.

    4) don't scrimp too much in the beginning. Everyone essentially starts in the same place. Likely a used truck with a used plow. But used and rolling crusher candidates are not the same. NEVER buy the cheapest of anything you can get. Truck, plow or parts. A 92 or 93 truck may cost more than the 88, but unless it is something special, the money is likely well spent for the newer. Look at overall condition and mileage on the truck. Always go with a nicer or lower miles truck for a bit more money. Same deal with plows.

    5) Read Read READ !! Lots of info here. Several other industry pages including mfgrs. Learn from the pros in writing whenever possible. NOT in the school of hard knocks.

    6) Have some fun. Nothing like a big lot with 4 inches of untracked fluff and the Top Gun soundtrack on the CD. Yee Haaa !!purplebou
     
  7. QMVA

    QMVA Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    Just thought I would bring it back to the top. :waving: