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How to I get started???

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by 99Ram1500, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. 99Ram1500

    99Ram1500 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I just bought a black 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 sport this summer and I kinda want it to start making me money, but I don't want to deliver pizzas. So I was thinking of getting into plowing next winter (late 2006).

    For starters I have no experience removing snow with anything but a shovel, and a small snow blower. My truck is a short bed, with 81,000 miles on it right now. It has the 5.2L V8, automatic transmission, and open front and rear axels (Dana 44 front, Chrysler 9.25 rear I believe).

    I want to start doing driveways and other small jobs in my area, and I want to know if I have the right rig to begin with, and what I need to add to start plowing next winter (late 2006). I have pretty much no idea where to start for equipment. And I also have no idea of what I could handle, both my experience, and my truck. I was also wondering what I should charge for services if I did plow. I also have a pretty tight schedule, I am in school at least 4 days a week for about 3-4 hours a day at least, and plan on working a part time job too, unless plowing would give me sufficient money, so I could be strapped for time. I just need to know how to get started.

    Thanks.
     
  2. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    hmmm where to start ...
    your truck is fine for plowing. not the #1 choice but it will work . < i plow with a f150 and have had no major problems>
    as far as plows go , your kinda limited on what you can put on your truck. some people say you can put a 8 foot blade on it. most would agree 7.6 is the biggest you should go .
    they may or may not be the best plow's out there , western plow's are solid and for the most part will hold up.
    i hear alot of good things about snow way also . the down pressure on the blade helps alot for back dragging ! they are also very light .

    if you want to just do driveway's start passing out flyer's.
    if you planing on doing commercial work , find some one to sub for. plowing snow is not rocket science , but you need some one to show you how to do thing's the right way.

    what else ... oh ya insurance !!!
    get it !!! it's expensive but a hell of alot cheaper then replacing a garage door you bashed in, or the hospital bill for the old lady that walked in front of your truck.

    thoughs are just the basic's. keep reading this site, just about any question you could ask can and will be answered... great bunch of people here on this site and most are willing to help !
     
  3. Mick

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

  4. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,594


    Well, You have a hole year to sell the 1/2 ton and get a 3/4 ton.
    You have no experience, Maybe you should stick to school and the part time job. You said you have a tight schedule, you need to have a flexible schedule for plowing as you can not control when it is going to snow or how much will fall.
    Not to discourage you but it does not sound like plowing is for you.
    I know it sounds easy, just put a plow on any thing and you can make $$$ plowing.
    Take some time and read some posts. It is Hardder to get in to plowing than you think. Who are your customers going to be? when can you plow? how do you plow? insurance, vehicle maintenance. ect,ect..


    Good luck...:waving:
     
  5. Kentuckydiesel

    Kentuckydiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    I know a few guys that go door to door each snow and get plow jobs. They make a lot of money. Don't be discouraged by the guys who do this as their main living. I've found that most pros in any area don't like to see people starting out, they think it takes away from them. Just see how much bad is said about "lowballers" here. -Phillip
     
  6. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,594

    Phillip,
    In Northern Mn, every one and there bother-in-law has a snow plow.
    Newbies and low-ballers are abundant around here. I loose one or two a year to them.
    You want to know the truth. It does not bother me at all. why? I have customers calling me for bids every year and I pick up some new accounts.

    The low=baller or the guy trying to make some quick cash usually are not around the next year or they are not reliable and do sub-par work.
    ( yes, some do, do a good job) I find that after a year of lousy service they call me back and I take them back with a little increase to boot.payup
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2005
  7. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Lowballers really annoy me sometimes. This is my first full season plowing, so I am kind of new at this, but I DO NOT go lower on the price than it should be. I think I am right in line wihth the other plowers in my area. I went and gave this lady an estimate yesterday. I plow mostly for fun (and to help pay off the truck!), so I cut her a small break... $45 per plow on a driveway that should be around $50+ a plow. She calls me back today and says that she got another quote from "a kid with his dad's truck" to do the driveway for $25! It is just not worth my while to drive all the way over there and beat up my truck for that low of a price. Oh well, the moral of this story is that when you start out you have to stick with your gut and give true estimates. You can lowball all you want, but in the end it won't help you out. Don't plow for less money than you think you are worth! You'll find customers and develop a good clientel (who will tell everyone that they know). Good luck and have fun. :)
     
  8. Kentuckydiesel

    Kentuckydiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 151


    I can believe all of that. I'm just saying there is money to be made by anyone with a running plow truck if they play their cards right. -Phillip
     
  9. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,594

    Your right, if it can move snow you can make a payup with it .
    But how much is the big question?
     
  10. Kentuckydiesel

    Kentuckydiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    Well, a lot of that comes down to how much money you have in your equipment. If a person buys a $45000 truck and puts a 4000 plow on it, they will have trouble. If a person goes out and buys a 1000 plow truck that runs decent, they can probably make money if they are a decent mechanic. -Phillip
     
  11. cincy snowdog

    cincy snowdog Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    low ballers --who cares ,they are learning just like we did ,their price will come up or they will not survive! not worth plowing for free if you do i have beach front property in alaska for sale wait til the plow is sitting next to the truck(when it was just in front of the truck a min ago):nono: at four in the morning see how long they lo ball
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2005
  12. Kentuckydiesel

    Kentuckydiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 151


    There is lots of "beech front property" in alaska. :waving: That is, if you meant to say "beach front". :rolleyes:

    -Phillip
     
  13. cincy snowdog

    cincy snowdog Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    it all depends upon what you consider a profit .keep the price up ,if you are competing in bids chances are ,your ok in price if you get em all your a low baller there chief and u didnt realize it so be serious about snow/ice control or you are just wasting your time and someone elses money


    keep em high boys this is a service not a ride.
     
  14. cincy snowdog

    cincy snowdog Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    yeh guess better use spell check more huh sorry ky thought i was in ky there for min
     
  15. Kentuckydiesel

    Kentuckydiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    :rolleyes: Yepp, us'ins en KY cant spel gudd. :D

    -Phillip
     
  16. PaleRider

    PaleRider Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    Read the Plow Site!

    :waving: 99 Ram 1500, The best thing you did was to join this website for your research. There are alot of good guys here that are willing to help you and then you have guys that need the needle and be put to sleep!!!! (snowdog) Take in the whole picture. Think about where your at. If you have class in an hour and it's snowing so hard you can't see your hand in front of your face, Can you stop plowing to go to school? You may be stretching yourself to thin, timewise. Read the website is the best I can suggest. I have a 2001 Ram 1500. I feel it's perfect for driveways and small lots. No need to feed a 3/4 ton if you don't need to. 2001 Ram 1500, Western 7'6", 265 75R-16 tires, 280 lbs for counter weight. I also added timbrens in the front end. I sub for a guy for $50 and hour and also have a few small accounts of my own. Get a plow that your comfortable with. Plows are a personnel choice. Just like Dodge / Ford / Chevy. Personally I like the Western. Like I said above read through this website. Good Luck!!
    PaleRider :gunsfiring:
     
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,594

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:confused: :drinkup:
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2005
  18. iakentdoz

    iakentdoz Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    Low ball or Hi ball, I don't care. As long as I make a nice profit. Just because some one else has a high overhead in loans does not mean that we should charge the same price. It's all about taking care of the costumers and making a profit. Sure $25 to plow a drive is low, but if the costumer is happy and the kid makes a profit, I'm all for it. I will NEVER charge a costumer a unfair price.
     
  19. somm

    somm Senior Member
    Messages: 200

    Most schools are closed or closing when the ice and serious plowable snow moves in. Part-time employers like Office Depot and Office Max thrive in the winter by hiring in-store, salesfloor associates who are successful, business-minded, landscape and outdoor contractors because its the perfect match for their business model - when these stores are making OVER-50% of their annual gross revenues in the Nov-Feb quarter of the year - and these store managers at least, have practically no problem granting Plowsite's kind of part-time employees flexible schedules at the "drop of a hat" around their own respective growing snow and ice business schedules.

    When we were just starting out in our first 8 years, these store managers would just keep our names on the books year after year so we never had to fill out all kinds of new paperwork each year. They'd just give us a call mid-Nov. to see when we's like to go on schedule as our landscape-maintenance biz was winding down for the season.

    Best part about Snow and Ice Business 99Ram is you can grow it at your own pace and size, and get some income support from these kind of part-time employers on your way. They helped us when we were first starting out. If need be, they are always poised to be of help again.

    Welcome to Plowsite and Best Regards
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2005
  20. lorentzlawnsnow

    lorentzlawnsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    i started my lanscaping/plowing business to put myself through college. they can both be done. granted i did miss a lot of class in the winter, but my teachers knew if it had snowed/was snowing i wouldn't be there. be upfront about it on both sides. work hard and stand by your word. it will create your reputation. now i have a degree that i don't use. good backup plan tho for when they come out with grass that don't grow, and pavement that snow won't stick on. :dizzy: