1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

How long before going Commercial?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by SnowFakers, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    As the title says, how long did you do snow removal before you got into the commercial market? Maybe its not a matter of time but equipment already owned?

    Reason im asking is that this is technically my second year doing driveways, first year with a plow however. I got a call yesterday from a friend to whom I referred snow removal to before I really got into it. I got him the snow contract at a small office building that I mow, he told me that if I wanted to that I could plow it for the rest of the year at 90% pay( I know what the contract goes for) as its out of his way. I plowed it yesterday and I actually enjoyed doing it. Its much easier to spend 35-45 minutes in one spot than driving around to 3-5 drives in that time. He will take it back over at any point so I technically have a backup even though I don't have a second truck able to do the job which somewhat worries me. So at this point if im in the same truck situation next season should I even consider going after any small lots? I always figured my truck was just too small, but yesterday went fine so im second guessing it. Sorry for the long post but it just got me wondering.
     
  2. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,867

    One of my first accounts was a large commercial transit hub and mini mall.

    All depends on what you go after and what equipment you have available to you.
     
  3. Wilnip

    Wilnip Senior Member
    Messages: 583

    .....and if you have the insurance and ability to salt commercial lots. If yes, I say go for it. Start with one or 2 small lots.
     
  4. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    I have insurance, just no sander. That may change by the end of the season and if I decide to dive Into it. Although a bigger truck or backup should probably come next. All I have now is 3 snowblowers. That won't cut it :D
     
  5. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,794

    Honestly, looking back, there is a lot of good in residential if you can get that perfect route. 100 homes for $500 a season is $50000, no salting, very little liability, the key is having the homes all together. Looking back, I wish we had done more to grow in this area
     
  6. V_Scapes

    V_Scapes Senior Member
    Messages: 943

    I did driveways since i was 17 with a snowblower. When i bougt my mason dump it came with a plow so I worked as a sub for a couple years. Then I bought a heavy duty pickup a couple years later and that same year i was asked by 2 churches to bid on snow. You have to be ready for it, its a big jump from residential, much more responsibility, and you always have to be available. you definitly need another truck or a good freind to back you up. you also have to be ready to get thumped with a heavy storm.
    the truck you have is a great driveway runner, id say stick with residential, plenty of money to be made.
     
  7. daddy daniels'

    daddy daniels' Member
    Messages: 32

    Don't wait for anything or anyone, ever. Take what fell in your lap, and roll with the learning curve.
     
  8. andersman02

    andersman02 Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    I like that quote.

    I love commercials but like people have you need the equip and lots more responsibility. Resis you can usually get away with plowing later on. You will lose a commercial real quick if its not open by site opening. No excuses
     
  9. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    I definitely agree that I need another vehicle, especially a larger one in order to really jump into commercials. Im hoping this winter goes well enough that I can do that. I certainly wont be giving up any resi's that's for sure. Im hoping to have a 40 or so home route fairly tight. That would be enough to keep a guy busy and then be able to help during/after if needed. But that's a ways off. We will see
     
  10. daddy daniels'

    daddy daniels' Member
    Messages: 32

    That's a scared man's thoughts. Using your perspective, you should have another vehicle for what you already have. Resi's are no less important than commercial. Resi's will actually sink your rep faster. Commercials typically don't leave feedback on every website on the planet, but mad resi folks sure will. Take the work, establish a relationship with a few other sub's who could help you out in a pinch. Problem solved. Successful business became successful by taking calculated risk, so take this one, it's about as low risk as it gets, especially since your friend already agreed to cover for you if you had troubles. Revenue equals growth, so go get some revenue.
     
  11. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 637

    Commercial does have risk, s&f, being unable to open because of lack of service, also one person visits their house. How many people visit a commercial lot and notice how well it is maintained? I do agree that if you have coverage and time on your route the opportunity while you it is available
     
  12. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    I understand what you are saying here and I agree. I do need another truck, but at this point I don't have the capital to purchase one. I have a backup plan with another truck and blowers so I would still be able to get my route done but in probably double if not triple the time. I know I need a second plow truck and that is at the forefront of my business plan as it will also be useful in the summer for mowing. I will talk to my friend about becoming more of a sub to him for things around my area that he may not want to do. I understand that I need to calculated risks but at this point there is no move to be made. I don't have the capital needed. Soon though, very soon.
     
  13. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,874

    Resi and commercial are 2 different animals.
    If you are completely ready for resi you might only be able to handle a few very small commercial lots.
     
  14. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    This was my plan.
     
  15. daddy daniels'

    daddy daniels' Member
    Messages: 32

    No move to be made? Am I missing something? You can do the work with the truck you have, right? If yes then do it! You don't need a second truck when you have your pal to back you up in a pinch. Establish other relationships to back yourself further. You don't need another truck if the one you have isn't being fully utilized either. Paying the operating cost of the second truck when the first one isn't fully utilized would be silly.
     
  16. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    Maybe there is a move to be made. I will certainly trying to establish new connections to try and get work, that's goes without saying. The second truck would be a backup, or possibly become the lead vehicle. Im worried that pushing my truck too hard will result in destroying it, and at that point id be out of luck if I had any more work than I do now. My current truck usually runs about 8 hours straight on a 5-6 inch storm, plus any extra cleanup for myself or helping my friend. I need a larger truck meant for plowing. So that will be the next move to be made. So I really cant make any moves until I have the needed capital for another truck, at that point id be willing to take a few more risks and take on more work as id have an actual backup plan for when things could and will go wrong.
     
  17. daddy daniels'

    daddy daniels' Member
    Messages: 32

    That's fair, 8 hours per truck is what I believe to be maxed out. I thought the truck was underutilized.
     
  18. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    Im somewhat taking my time during that 8 hours so I feel I could push it harder but don't want to in fear of ruining it with no backup.
     
  19. djr623

    djr623 Member
    Messages: 60

    Sorry if I missed it but what is your plow truck set up?
     
  20. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    Ford Ranger with a 6'8 meyer