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Hey guys, Some help? What should i do...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by PremierLand, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. PremierLand

    PremierLand PlowSite.com Addict
    from detroit
    Messages: 1,572

    Well some of you know how wishy washy I am.... anyway, I sold my dixie and trailer so I have some money. Im thinking about a 760lt. Im calling the dealer at lunch to see how much it is, it seems like alot of dealers in mich. are asking 2700 installed for them.... anyway, I have the money for it, but my problem is, im not sure if ill like plowing, or if ill make that money back this year (i have school so i can only plow b4 or after school or on weekends).

    see my buddies dad is going to teach me on a 04 f250 with an 8ft myers on the first snow fall to see if i like it, but what im thinking is, what if when that happens the dealer raises the price and it takes longer for me to get it put on?

    If you in my situation, and have mostly small 8x75 ft lots and very few circle drives, and have school, would you do it with the shovel and snowblower, or get a plow and risk not being able to pay for its self this winter, and not sure if i will like plowing (how ever I think ill like it because the previous winter I shoveled so i know what its like to be freezing)?

    thanks, im just trying to figure out what I want to do, it seems like I change my choice every month i know, but now that I have the funds ready, im really considering this. I found a dealer 20miles away so i will be giving them a call at lunch. Thanks Guys, sorry for the rambling.
  2. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    Dude, your starting to give me and probably every one else here a headache.

    It's November 17th and you have no accounts yet????? You can pretty much hang it up at this point.

    Plowing and school do not mix. I tried it.. Didn't work. To be a "REAL" contractor, you need to be available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. What happens when it's snowing 2" an hour, and a stay at home parent needs to go pickup their sick kid at school? You plow before school (say 6am).. By 9am there is 6" on the driveway, 12" by noon, and 18" before you even get out of school...

    It won't work, don't bother trying until you can commit 100% to being reliable and having insurance.
  3. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 502

  4. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Not to mention the fact that the cost of the plow is not going to be your only expense. Commercial insurance on your vehicle(for a high school age kid) if you can even get it is going to be through the roof and don't forget G/L insurance.
  5. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    Are you putting the blizzard on the 2X4 dodge or the 4" lifted 4X4 Ford??? I'm not trying to be an ******* but for the love of god it is November 17 hang it up for the plow. Stick to your school & blower.

    Don't ever plan on paying for your plow in 1 year, it is possible, not probable. You could make back the money you spent just on the plow yes, you have to consider ALL the expenses. What if it didn't snow at all?? How are you going to be able to get another mower & trailer for next season????

    Glad to see that you sold 1 of those spreaders!
  6. PremierLand

    PremierLand PlowSite.com Addict
    from detroit
    Messages: 1,572

    I see what your saying about plowing while in school still, but most of my customers understand that im in school. Last year they did. This year I have those same people + others. This past weekend I gained quite a few of my lawn customers.

    Thats true, i should be able to make 2700 in a season. I charge them $25 for the 8x75 drive and $45 for the circles.

    Basically im just not sure if I should spend the money when I know for a fact that school and plowing is going to be cutting my free time extremly short (well landscaping did too though). Im kind of scared about not being able to pay for the plow, but then again theres no reason I shouldnt be able to.

    Thanks though, I really see what your saying..

    SORRY IM SO WISHY WASHY. I just want to get done a fast way, last year it took me really long with the snowblower and shovel, and this year I have more accounts and dont want to have to do it with the shovel all over again. Last year I was shoveling at 3am before school, and the neighbors of the houses I was shoveling called the cops one me saying I was to loud that early.

    Anyhow, thanks, please dont bash, I just want to figure out what my best bet would be. If I decide not to plow/shovel (which i VERY HIGHLY doubt), i can sub them out or give them away, because most of the guys around here are doing drives in the $17-$20 range, but I plan to shovel or plow, what ever I can justify more in and still being able to pay the bills (not as much as you guys, but still insurance on 3 trucks, 2 phones and other crap).

    JMR- I pay close to 450 a month for a 98 dakota, 94 f150 and 93f150. a mill. dollar policy libility for my co is close to 1000 a year (but its in my dads name because you have to be 18 to legaly own a business), which isnt to bad.

    Boast - I didnt sell one, i decided to keep one. oh and its on the ford, i gave up on the fact of a plow on the dakota, that has barely enough traction in the rain, I dont know what I was thinking. But ya, plow for the ford 4x4
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2004
  7. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

  8. PlowKid150

    PlowKid150 Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Yo man. i feel your pain. I am in a very similiar situation. i'm 19 years old, turning 20 next week, i go to West Chester University in Pa, and i have school M,W,F. I now live on campus at school, 45 miles from home, where all my accounts are. I am gonna plow my ass off this winter regardless of school + driving..... too much money not too. In the off season of school and winter, i have 60 lawn accounts with my brother, and we still get all of our stuff done! If you want to make a lot of money, then hang a plow on your truck, dont worry about paying that plow off, it'll happen in no time if you have the motivation to find the accounts. Last year i put a brand new 8 foot western on my 04 Ford Super duty and i had very few accounts when i bought the plow. After the first snow, i had like 40+ residentials and a few commercials. Alot more are have come aboard this season... If you work your ass off and pass out flyers and get your name out quick, then the sky is the limit for your number of customers, as long as you can handle the load..you do need to know when to stop taking on jobs because it'll bite you in the @$$.... A big thing that i believe in is reliability and going above and beyond the expectations of the customer. I know i'm still a kid, but when you show the customer your not messin around, the age thing disappears. Offer to move the ladies mini van out of the driveway and dust it off for her when you plow her out, then when she goes to football practice to get her kids, she tells all the other mothers what a great snowplower she found and throws you business.... Catch my drift????? Anyways dude, this post is rediculously long, so i say just get the plow and make some green. I am proof that a 19 year old getting a college education can still run a business effectively. Take it easy man! Keep me posted!

    Kevin :waving:
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2004
  9. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    Mark, forget about it. Until you really know what you want to do...don't go investing a bunch of cash into plowing. I give you credit for having the gumption to get out and do an honest days work. But a successful business owner has to make sound decisions, sure there's going to be a couple bad ones in the mix, but for the most part they have to be good sound decisions that you are committed to. From what I have seen in your posts on lawnsite.com and now here, you need to do some thorough research and have a higher commitment level. But again, I give you respect for at least having the nads to go into business at your age. You are not scared of hard work of which 75% of today's youth won't lift a finger.

    Here's my opinion for whatever it's worth...go plow with your buddies dad for this season. Maybe he has some other things to do and will let you plow some of his accounts with his rig. Get some experience with it before buying all the equipment. I know it's fun to own all this various equipment, but bottom line it's because we need it to do our jobs...not so the neighbors will think "wow, that guy has a ton of cool equipment, he must be rich". Good luck and concentrate on school for now, the business will still be there when you are done.

  10. PlowKid150

    PlowKid150 Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Yo dude, i am back again. I posted my post before reading what the others really had to say.... I just want to comment on School/Business not mixing. I do believe that your business will be more effective if you have 24/7 to concentrate on that, that is pretty obvious....but i do not agree with it not working....i'm living proof. Maybe it didn't work for you, but don't tell this kid it isn't possible. My University is comprised of many commuting students, which allows for a cancellation of school whenever it sleets, hails, snows, whatever.... And they broadcast that closing well in advance. When i hear that there is a chance of snow, i am in my truck, on my way home to hook up....Ready way before the flakes hit. Anyways, i am in college so i can get a business degree, so when i get out, my business will run correctly....i say Why can't me and PremeierLand have our cake and eat it too? Plow your heart out, get good grades, and you'll own a million dollar business if ur heart is in it. Ang hey if it dosnt work out, then at least you gave it a shot you know?? Good luck to everybody. Well i gotta go to an Accounting class at 12, so i'll check this post later.... :)

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2004
  11. Wilburn Parks

    Wilburn Parks PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 64

    He must have some real good accounts. That seems like a lot for 2 trucks.
  12. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    Kev, your points are very valid, and yes there is no reason why you can't be successful in business while going to school. IMO I see Mark in a position to where he doesn't even know if he'll like plowing. For a 16 year old to spend a good amount of money to get into plowing and not know if he's going to even like doing it is not a wise choice. In the past Mark has made some purchasing decisions before fully planning his course of action. I won't go into all that and I'm sure Mark doesn't want to revisit the past either, but IMO he'd be better off putting the cash in the bank until he is fully committed to whatever decision he makes. Mark seems to have drive & determination which with some common sense will propel him to being a successful business owner some day. Just trying to help with an idea or two. Good luck this season Kev.

  13. PremierLand

    PremierLand PlowSite.com Addict
    from detroit
    Messages: 1,572

    thanks plowkid,

    also, upnorth, your right i have made some purchasing descisions i wish i didnt make, but then again, i learned, and have alot more to learn, thats why i am asking you guys before i buy it, beause before i went out and got em on an impluse, and ended up costing me alot of money in the long run.

    lol i wish, i bought the dakota from my bro, then bought the ford for work and the guy gave me the other ford for 900 and i fixed it up and going to sell it (its 2wd and have no use)
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2004
  14. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    Not all is lost, you learned something. And keep in mind Mark, we've all gone thru these things as well, mistakes and poor judgement could have made me a millionaire if they paid well... :rolleyes:

    Good luck with your decision...and school.

  15. Hawkc01

    Hawkc01 Member
    Messages: 49

    Those who sit on the fence of indecisiveness...miss every opportunity.
    Those who poke opportunity with a stick...fail.

    Nobody on this site is going to decide for you Premierland! Choose one side of the fence and do EXACTLY what Plowkid said, go out there and make it happen and never look back. Prove some of us wrong, no better yet prove to yourself that this can be done.

    Choose the other side of the fence and do EXACTLY what receiving a proper education demands; commitment and focus. You may however regret the thrill of risking it all on the other side of the fence, which may not be a whole lot in your case.

    Plowkid, IMO you provided the best advice on this one buddy. Your not a kid anymore. When you finish school I have a management position waiting for you...if your interested...seriously. The right attitude is everything and you have got it.
  16. Mick

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

    Ok, let's look at this. To get at income needed, let's take they plow ($2700), vehicle insurance (additional $250?), GL insurance for plowing ($500?). Neglecting everything else (gas, repairs etc). Total - $4450.

    Now let's look at income - Pairing those drives you have; one straight and one circle will bring in $70. I'm going to call that "one pair" (of driveways).

    Now, let's say your area get 12 plowable events per winter. Each "pair" will bring in $840 ($70 x 12).

    So, you will need 6 "pairs" to break even ($840 x 6 = $5040). That's 6 pairs; not 6 driveways.

    Better get hustling. A better idea would be to put that money in a CD and keep it for college or trade school. You'll get a better return on your money.
  17. PlowKid150

    PlowKid150 Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Hey guys, Well the school day is finally over and it is now time to sit on the couch and review plowsite on my laptop hahaha.... Anyways, i really appreciate the inspiring words from HAWK, and Buck, you guys are the ones who I look up to on this website. The reason i can give a 16 year old some decent advice, is because ever since i can remember, i have really looked up to my elders, and took a lot of what they said seriously, whether it be with education, or business. So, i'd like to thank you guys for being such a valuable resource to me. As far as PremierLand goes, i still say go with the descion that you feel will payoff the most for you. I just really wanted to give you some motivational words of encouragement, because it IS possible my man. Take it easy guys, im sure we'll be in touch! Hey Hawk- That managment position sounds great....I am your man!

    Kevin :waving:
  18. kl0an

    kl0an Senior Member
    Messages: 215

    I'd like to go back to what QualityLawnCare said a few posts back..

    $100,000 on ONE truck??

    Say you make $100/hour average on that truck.

    To equal $100k, you'd have to plow 24/7 for 6 weeks or 12/7 for 12 weeks..

    If each event was a 12 hour shift, that would mean you had about 84 plowable events.. Figure 3" of snow per event and you're over 250 inches of snowfall.

    Checking Google and doing a search on your area, the 30 year average is 95.0 inches.

    Am I missing something here??

    Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine when someone throws out a number that appears a bit exagerated.. I like to work out the math on it..
  19. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    As long as your potential customers and you have a clear understanding of level of service will be provided then its not an issue IMO. Most I know of wouldnt stand for someone getting to it after school but some wouldnt mind. This is the biggest thing, if everybody knows what to expect and you meet or exceed thier expectations then its all good :nod: Put it in writing so there are no supprises.

    One thing I will say is that this is a gamble......If you need to have made X by the end of the season then I may steer away. Not only are you depending on mother nature but you are depending on your stuff not breaking or you not running over a mail box or a ton of other things. But if you could handle a loss this year then i would be more apt to go after it. Or atlest stay small enough that if you have a truck break down or something you can cover your customers. Your rolling the dice here when starting a biz. Many people roll the dice with no way to pay the dealer if it goes south and they are lucky enough to come out ok. I dont feel comfortable operating that way. I want to be able to pay up if everything goes south. Know what I mean? If you can pay the dealer and you have looked at the "odds" and things are favorable, go for it.

    JMO hope it helps
  20. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Please don't tell me that you're going to put a plow on the 2wd? :rolleyes: