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Help Please Driveway Idea

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ProLawn Outdoor, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    I will start with giving you guys a quick intro/company background. I'm 17 and have a business called Pro-Lawn Outdoor Services. I do landscaping and Lawncare in the summer months, and this winter is my first winter plowing. I have the truck listed in my sig, which is mine that I plow with. I would like some feedback on my plan for next winter.

    Here it is,
    My new idea that I am toying around with is snowblowing driveways. In my area, there is a subdivision of very expensive homes. Probably 70% of the homeowners hire a plow service. My other guy lives in that neighborhood. I want to to target this area with heavy marketing and I am looking to land about 25 seasonal contracts. I am pretty confident I can land these contracts because I am sure many of these people would much rather have snowblowing than plowing. I will offer a competitive price, probably the same as most are paying right now, but I will be snowblowing. How in god's name will I snowblow these? I am thinking of investing in a mid size skid like a bobcat S130 or 753/763 and mounting a snowblower on the front. before the storm I could drop the skid and trailer off at his house, then he could run the skid. The idea is that the houses will be grouped close enough so he will not have to trailer, just drive the skid out of his garage and run the route. I'm estimating the route will only take about 2-3 hours. When the storms all finished I could go grab the skid and head to some lots that need stacking or now moved around a bit. If I play my cards right, the skid will pay for itself (all seasonal contracts). Then I could have a skid for summer work also, which would be really handy.
    It would be three routes then,
    Me- 15-20 drives outside of the subdivision with my truck, 2-3 hrs
    My Sub with his duramax, doing about 3-5 lots, 3-4 hrs
    Buddy in the skid doing 25 drives in the subdivision-2-3 hrs

    What do you guys think? If I can land the contracts, is this a good plan? Remember I am still in school, which is why the routes are short. I don't think this will be a problem, I haven't had any trouble this year and my route is about 2-4 hrs long depending on the snow and the amount of one time calls I get. next year is senior year too, so the homework load will be lighter. Any advice/comments/questions will be greatly appreciated! Thanks,
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Would work if you can get them all. How are you paying for all this?
  3. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 532

    sounds like a great idea as long as you have the proper insurance. best of luck to you. you remind me of my husband. he started at 13.
  4. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Well the truck is mine already. The duramax would be my buddies because he is a sub. I do lawncare/landscape work in the summer which brings in a decent amount of cash. I would probably used money earned from the summer months towards the skid, then hopefully get my investment back by spring time. I want to expand into bigger installs and maybe some tree work, so the skid will be used all summer long also.
  5. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Yes I will make sure everything is properly insured and legal. Not sure if my parents are going to be game on the idea, they think I take on too much, but I think this plan seems manageable.
    Thanks for the imput guys!
  6. In2toys

    In2toys Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    A man with a plan, I like it. Good luck
  7. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Thanks, good luck to you too.
    I hoping it all goes through as planned, I'm going to start lining things up before fall cleans, we'll see what happens.
  8. MahonLawnCare

    MahonLawnCare Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 848

    how can anyone have a "business" when your 17? In order to have a "business" you have to be 18...I know because that's when I started....and trust me at 17, it was more or a less a hobby because I thought I knew it all and I didn't know squat!
  9. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    As long as it snows you should be ok
  10. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    No, most companies do seasonal contracts, which means they pay a flat rate whether it snows or not. The average driveway I'll be doing goes for right around 500 for the season. I'll probably have some per push customers, but I am shooting for 80 to 90 persent seasonal, lots included.
  11. Bird21

    Bird21 Senior Member
    Messages: 532

    I started the same way at 11 cutting grass. At 17 I was plowing 25 residentials with a 1500 GMC before and or after school, it was alot to do with school work and such. Fast forward a few years and I had 2 skids in one neighborhood plowing 125 drives it took them 5 hours to do the route. Fast forward to current and I still have two skids in that same area doing 125 drives, and 6 others at condo associations, 6 trucks doing lots and tractors scattered in the mix too. I use snow wolf plows for the drives and get the drives done cleaner than trucks, stack the snow where I want it, and keep the piles pushed in areas as not to damage any landscape. I would go with a plow versus the blower unless you are in a snow belt.

    A couple of points:: We only plow who we do landscaping for. We only take on what we can handle with the two skids doing the residential. We stake all the drives. Sketch a snow placement area for each house and leave a binder in the skid so the operator knows where to stack snow on each drive. Leave the skids onsite all the time plugged in and ready. ( Made a deal with a homeowner 2 skids parked = Free snowplowing) Color coded stakes at the end of each driveway so the operator sees the stake and plows. I change the color each year so nobody pulls a fast one by putting the same color stake in their yard that is not a client. ( It has happend!!) Leave route sheets in the binder for the operator to check off as he plows and to note anything outta the normal routine.

    I would say yes it is a good plan, it has worked for me for the past 14 years and there is a waiting list some years. Again we only plow who we scape for no Execptions... The reason for that is we don't want a ton of residentials for snow only we want the summer work too, and if they want the good snow service they will also get the good scape service. And we are not cheap, we shovel in front of the garages pull the snow back, move it away from all sidewalks, and stack according to the diagram.

    Good luck!!
  12. lawnproslawncar

    lawnproslawncar Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    A snowblower may be hard to sell in this economy but you never know. I don't know what the overall "status" of your area is like financially
  13. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Thanks, tons of useful information, I appreciate it. Just to address some things, The reason for the blower is that I think I can sell more contracts because these people where I live really like snowblowing. If they could get it for the same price as plowing, I am pretty sure I could sell these quick and get the jobs that I want easier. I am going to market a snowblowing service in this area, which I think would be an excellent selling point. Though we all know plowing isn't much different, customers just seem to like this better. I will stake the driveways, and I do have a storage place because my buddy who would run the skid lives right in this sub-development. A lot of these people are his family friends and neighbors.
  14. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Someone brings this up in every "kids" thread whether it is lawnsite or plowsite. No it is technically not a "business", call it whatever you want. We all start somewhere and have to learn, I may not know squat but I am learning every day and enjoy it. before I get this deep into the snow removal, I will have everything squared away, don't worry I am not that dumb to run a high powered snowblower on expensive properties uninsured. I am not saying I know everything, that is why I posted this, to get advice and think about it all summer before I dive into this plan next fall, I'm preparing well in advance, this will be a lot to manage at 17.
  15. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Ya, like I said, I will be able to do this for pretty much the same price as most of them are paying know. I know there are not that many scrubs in this neighborhood, I believe the median house price is between 800,000 and 1 mil. I know what many of the companies that work in this sub-development charge. Probably a lot of them will hate me after a few years, if this really takes off.ussmileyflag
  16. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    Um sounds like a great idea, just not seeing the difference between plowing vs blowing. In my experience the people can care less how its done, just so long that its done and done right, and done right everytime. You'll often read on here about how this guy plows this property with a truck with three different colored body parts, and the truck is junk and he must be lowballer blah blah blah and I have a new GMFram 250 with the Blizmeyersher plow and blah blah blah. But what matters is that the guy does the job, does it right and does it right everytime.

    Unless its some upscale high faluting neighborhood Im pretty sure very few are gonna care about the means of how and with what its being done, they are primarily concered with the ends of how it looks when its all finished.

    Best of luck to you kid. I sorta remember those days of unbridled enthusiasm. Run with it and you'll be successful.
  17. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Thanks for the imput, I know what you mean, from practical standpoint it makes more sense to plow. Snowblowing is a way to convince the customer that you offer a higher quality service at a competitive price. I'll do some more research maybe they really don't care. From what I have seen is that most will choose snowblowing if it is competitively priced. We'll see what happens, I just like to think outside the box. There is no other companies in the area that have this exact niche, I am really curios to see if I can make this work. Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it, who knows I may just end up plowing.
  18. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    O I forgot to mention, I don't think you saw the post earlier, median property value in this sub-division is about 800,000 to 1 mil. Many paver driveways too, these people will care about quality. This is the neighborhood that has many of the lawn company's who do high end work.
  19. heather lawn spray

    heather lawn spray PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,206

    have you considered a skid with a snow blower!? a fearsome weapon
  20. Winterized

    Winterized Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    Regarding your thoughts on using a blower.........

    Personally.... I think it's a GREAT idea! There is an up-scale housing development close by with very short drives and streets. About 45 units. Snow piles all over and it looks like crap. Hard to see backing out drives, pushing snow across the roads into neighbors property..... etc. etc. it's a mess every year.

    In my opinion, a good tractor or skidder with a blower would convince the HOA this was the only way to go. I just cannot understand why it has never been done.