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hey guys, i'm a 1 man show

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by monson770, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. monson770

    monson770 Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    just wanted to see what everyone thinks about 1 man opperations. my finger is all bandaged up from salmmin it in a door, so i have time to type, slowly....

    i know a lot of companies are feeling pressure this year. my uncle has a big opperation and has told me he's angry with all of the lowballers, bassically stealing his biz this year. and it just sounds like its getting worse...

    what i am wondering is if it is more proffitable to stick with what 1 guy can do, as far as amount of jobs/quality of them. rather than have huge jobs that require a lot of other people.. seems like my season was not as affected by the big storms, as far as costs vs. revenue. i only do 5 commercial lots (3 office buildings,1coffee house, and a best western), and have 8 drives this year but will have arouund 13 drives next year. i know i dont make as much per year, but it sounds like the big guys actually LOST money... i think i only lost money on 1 storm, i had to have someone comewith for a couple of 8 hr shifts to shovel, while i plowed.. everything got done, and i was out about 50 bucks after the storm was over.. but the rest of teh season has evend that out.. i actually made some money this year.

    i will say that almost all of teh driveway cleints i hear about are all about who can do it for the cheapest.. well, if you want it done there are two ways to do it, cheap, and correctly...

    kudos to all of those who have a list of good clients, treat them right and hopefully the golden rule will apply to you as well..
  2. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    Congrats too you, but I'm confused. 5 commercial lots, 8 drives, But you lost $50 on an 8 hour shift?
  3. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    There are advantages to being small or even a 1 man show. The biggest is when it snow you know you will be there. The down side to being small is you limit yourself to how much money you can make, and how many customers you can have. I have been both small 1 man show type busines, then I decided to grom my business, bring on more trucks, get some full time employees, and so on. Now the way I looked at it was I can service more customers, and get my name out there, I can keep growing. Now say I make or profit 25 dollars per hour per employee, I can reap the rewards and put even more money back into my business, and grow even more. Now I am finding the downside to that is way more stress, and never enough rest. So to sum up what I am saying, it's really up to you and what your comfortable with as to if you want to grow and be multi truck, or if you want to stay a 1 man show and make what you can make. Either way I can think of many advantages.
  4. monson770

    monson770 Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    it was 2 - 8 hr shifts, i paid out 160 bucks to my shoveler and from waht i made that storm minus expenses = i paid 50 bucks to plow that entire storm, no money in my pocket.. it was a 3 day storm... i know i could charge a lil more here and there for drives, and have since adjusted my rates and informed all of my clients of the changes.. everyone agreed to my rate changes and so i continue, hopefully to not lose money again...
  5. greyst1

    greyst1 Member
    from 44720
    Messages: 72

    How did you lose money on 13 accounts and why do you need a shoveler? I basically have the same setup (accounts wise) and i don't need a shoveler and didn't lose money. Curious about the details
  6. NicholasMWhite

    NicholasMWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    This makes no sense. You paid the shoveler $160. In a 3 day storm you used a max of $200 in fuel. Maybe another $200 in salt. What other expenses are you considering? So by my math that means you only grossed $510 over a 3 day storm?? We had a 2 day storm here. I made $3000+ and didn't have any shoveler and didn't use any salt.

    Am I misunderstanding something???
  7. forbidden

    forbidden Senior Member
    Messages: 392

    If you had to pay out $160 to your shoveller for a 8 hour shift, I see nothing wrong with that. He is doing manual crap labour outside in the cold (I pay $13.50 to my low end guy and $16.50 to my high end guy and others inbetween). What I do find wrong is that you had to throw in a extra $50.00 out of your jeans to break even. If this is the case, ALL of your contracts are too cheap. You are in business to make money, not lose money, not break even, not to be the clients best friend.
  8. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    Knoweleg always comes with a price doesn't it.... It's nice to see someone that is smart enough to figure costs and nip the problems in the butt while your still small. If you keep that type of thought process and can improve your planning to avoid these situations, then you should do very well in business
  9. Jacobsmovinsnow

    Jacobsmovinsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    Wanna relieve the stress of a expanding snow removal business . Ensure that every employee is familiar with all the sites. Switch em around, along with different equipment . Get them familiarized with all aspects of the job. That way no one begins to think they are Gods gift to your business and if someone quits you can juggle the lineup to make up for the absence. Also if the owner gets sick or has to leave, the job will still get done right. Works for me.
  10. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    1 man show here - there are benefits as stated and stresses - when I break down It's stressful as all heck, but I have a friend that I have made an agreement with to cover each other when we each have issues.

    I gotta say- based on your above I agree with the other guys- you're way too cheap. You're not making money my friend. If you're only making $110 profit after expenses after a 3 DAY STORM you're going out of business and just don't know it yet. Figure out how many hours you worked that storm, for the moment forget the shovel guy you hired, and divide the hours by the profit- looks like you worked (paid yourself) less than $5/hour to me. That's stay at home warm with the feet up on the couch type money.
    Rough (really rough) guess, with all resi and a very short list this year, I'm pulling about $75/hour profit and it should be higher.
  11. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    heres a good tip get a snowblower.
    there is absoluty no way any one should have a shovel snow shovel is for stairs and around places blower and plow cannot get.
    the last big storm we had i picked up 2 high school kids 10 bucks/hr each i used them for 2 hrs got 3 big drives done and a 5 family apt with a screwed up configuration. 2 big stairs and long drive with 7 cars in it
    i made 500 bucks and paid them total 40 bucks plus some iced tea and lemonade
    yes they shoveled i snow blew everything else
  12. monson770

    monson770 Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    to reply to everyone thats inquiring about how my situation makes sense, i am a small 1 man opperation. i am in my 3rd year, and am only gaining a few jobs a year by word of mouth. i do not advertise, at least haven't yet. my main source of income is obviously not plowing, my dad owns commercial property's and i'm the maintenance guy he contracts to when it's something i can do. (not a plumber or electrician, nor could i fix heat/ac). so mostly i do the asthetic maintenance, plowing, mowing, painting, cleaning, deconstruction, and most of the buildout construction.

    so as for how much i charge for plowing, and what kind of lots i have. 3 out of 5 commercial lots have about 30-45 minutes of shoveling and salting to do, the plowing on those lots is about .75-1.25hrs depending on storm size. so when there is 8-10 inches on the ground it helps keep me on track to have a buddy come shovel for me, the reason i "get away" with paying 10 bucks an hr is i pay them the entire time they are with me. not the smartest idea, i know, but its the only way to get someone to cmoe out with you once in a blue moon... the lots pay for an average of 13 snowfalls (plowable) per season, as thats what i was told by the older guys as being the average to go off of. so i figure out how long the lot takes to plow, add in fuel, salt, and shoveling time (can't charge 60perhr for shoveling, duh), and i get the number i multiply by 13 and give them a season rate. for drives however, they vary because of size, and shovling amounts. so my "cheap labor" ended up sitting for about half or more of each 8 hr shift.... needless to say if i hadn't had someone to come help me shovel, i would have fallen behind and had less than happy clients.. so i bit the bullet and paid 50 out of my pocket to do the quality job i promised. workiing for 3 days and paying out is not my idea of a biz. but i see my situation here as i am doing the job as promised, and this time i just got unlucky. i did however pick up another commercial lot because someone else in that same storm, must have fallen behind and did a horrible job.... gave me a chance, and he almost seemed stary eyed after i cleaned it up..

    all in all i am learing how to mix commercial and resi plowing. it has costs me money but it will be making me more money as i keep learniing how to keep cost down and maximize profit.
  13. shoeman68

    shoeman68 Member
    Messages: 67

    I don't know what's going on. I have been reading a lot of these posts lately. "I don't make money" "lowballers' etc. etc..

    For the guys struggling, I have been there. If you are not making money this year,( in most areas snow has been above avg.) You need some good advise or a look in the mirror.

    I landscape the other 7-8 months of the year and I KNOW snow plowing, removal, and hauling is far more profitable, margin wise.

    Making friends with people in your industry will always help you. Taking business courses and a local Voc. Tech. at night, automobile maintenance courses, etc... Educate yourself in every aspect of running a business. You will be wearing many hats!

    Good Luck to all of you starting out. As I once heard, " If being self-employed was so easy, everyone would be."
  14. Bison

    Bison Member
    Messages: 59

    Oneman show here too. 38 resis and one small lot, no shoveling. The only time I really suffer is long duration storms,( it's hard to sneak a little sleep in) or if something breaks but I,m fortunate to have a back up truck. Get your pricing better and you'll do alright. After all you can break even sitting on a couch or sleeping in a nice warm bed and your truck doesn't get all beat up.
  15. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    3 office buildings a coffee house and a hotel. Plus 8 houses. Im confused how that adds up to only a couple hundred dollars a storm.
  16. D&E

    D&E Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    :popcorn: Something's up here.
  17. plowfever

    plowfever Senior Member
    Messages: 234

    I was a multiple truck operation for the last ten years. Here in Indiana I had a very hard time finding quality help and just got to stressed out and felt like it wasn't worth all the headaches. I had 6 trucks, one hoe with 12' box, and two skidders running last year. I had three very large factories, two big nursing home and about 30 small commercial properties that we plowed last season. We billed per hour at $55-65 for trucks and skids and 120 for hoe. We averaged making close to 60,000-80,000 year gross. For south central Indiana we were king of the snow. But I got tired of all the headaches and decided this year I was going back to the way I started and just do as much as I could handle myself and one part time guy (my dad or uncle). Now being the middle of February I have realized this is so much nicer. I get to sleep more, make more profit and my customers I kept are tickled pink. I miss having all the equipment and making a ton of money but to me life is more than the mighty dollar and I'm more happy now than I have been in 5-6 years.
  18. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If you want to make money ,get rid of your guys shoveling and plow only places that need plowing. Since plowing is not your main money maker,raise your rates and see what happens. Also please lean how to type a little better,please.
  19. peterng

    peterng Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    holy sufferin man who do those sweater puppies belong to? I think I need to find her calander for the shop.
  20. Fourbycb

    Fourbycb Senior Member
    Messages: 574

    There is nothing wrong with being a 1 man operation, I am I have 9 commerical accounts and 19 driveway's. All of my accounts are basically just a plowable customer and just a couple require any shoveling. I dont consider my self a low baller as I have not aquired a new account in 4 years and most of my other accounts are over 13 years old. I would say take on only what you can handle by yourself for a few years and then is you feel comfortable then upgrade and expand. Stay small at first quality is better than quanity and quality will bring you quanity
    Best of luck