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I am a General Contractor, and I have been thinking about offering plowing.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by RPGC, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. RPGC

    RPGC Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    First off I would like to introduce myself. My name is Nick and I am 22 years of age. I recently opened up my general contracting business after working for numerous contractors, and property rehabilitators since I was 15 years of age. I have always had a huge interested in construction, and especially woodworking. I graduated from college with a bachlors of science this past may. This is the first year of my business.

    Now, to get to the point. I am located in the Binghamton, NY area and obviously I am thinking about offering snow plowing. I know that thier is money to be had in the industry otherwise people would not do it. I currently hold a 1M dollar liability policy for my company, auto insurance, and all that good stuff. I realize that I would have to add snow plowing to my liability policy, but I cannot imagine this would cost more than the addition of roofing liability insurance. I figure it would be another 1,400 a year. Since my policy now costs 1,400 + the addition of roofers liability of 2,100.

    I have access to a truck, which would be a 2006 Ford F350 SD SRW Diesel 6.0L. I currently do not have a plow, as I was not sure if I was going to get into plowing.

    I have experience doing plowing for about 2 years only, so I am still very new to the game and have many mistakes to make, i'm sure.

    What I am getting at is, What size plow should I be looking for, and any brands in particular?

    If there are any guys/girls who plow down near binghamton, ny how is business? I am not looking to make bundles of cash, but to just subsidize some of my down time from exterior work as it fills with snow. I believe that I would want to get contracts for commercial lots mostly since I would presume they would be the best paying and what not.

    In addition to this I notice that alot of guys offer salting, what are the charges for doing salting in lots? Is there special restrictions to application of salt in commercial areas?

    I am just tossing the idea around, since I already have a truck more than capable of doing the power end of the plowing... I figure the expense would not be much more to get to plowing.

  2. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    As for the plow you will need at least an 8ft. If you plan to do all commercial then you probably would have better use of a PP or a vplow. I can't speak for the business in your area or the salt prices. Those are all different in other city's.
  3. asps4u

    asps4u Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    Welcome to the site Nick. Obviously this is something you would be looking to start next season, being the time of year it already is. You will need to talk to local contractors in your area to find out what going rates are, as they vary in different areas. You said you've plowed before, I would talk to whomever that was for and ask them about the rates in your area. As for which plow, dealer support is going to be much more important than brand! As far as what size and type, that depends on what you will be plowing. You say you'd like to plow commercial lots, than I would suggest a V-plow and with the truck you have probably a 9 ft, but no smaller than an 8. A V is very versitile and can be more efficient when used properly. Lastly, as you will see and hear many times, the search feature at the top of the page is your best friend. Use it for any and everything you could possibly want to know about snow plowing, chances are, if you're asking questions, there have been hundreds before you that have asked them too and there will be weeks worth of reading for you to learn from. Than after you search if you don't find any answers, ask, and there will be plenty willing to help. Good Luck :waving:
  4. BigLou80

    BigLou80 Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    I am beyond tired so my ability to articulate thoughts is going to be worse then usual.
    That being said this may not be what you are looking for.... I was/am in a similar situation. I run a small remodeling/GC business based on my experience I would let plowing for yourself go by the wayside on any large scale (subbing is a slightly different story). I have more or less exited the snow plow business and only do a few driveways. Building my construction business proved more fruitful for the effort and money involved in building a snow plowing business.

    I would look at where you plan on making most of your income and focus your efforts on perfecting that business. Getting a construction business off the ground will take all of your time effort and money, if it doesn't your either going to be a millionare by 30 or your not putting enough effort in. I found snow plowing only accounted for a small portion of my income and took a lot of time away from building my primary business.

    For me it was like running two completly diffferent non related businesses. Residential construction has very little overlap with snow plowing other then a truck (and I think a van makes more sense for a contractor). The tools/equipment needed are different, the insurance is different , the marketing and advertising are different. I am willing to drive 30-40 miles for a construction project but not for snow plowing, The only construction business with a lot of overlap is site work.

    Why do you think you are not able to do construction in the winter ? are you only doing roofing and siding? If so then your not a general contractor maybe going for snow work is a good thing as long as it doesn't detract from your primary business of construction. can you commit your truck to having a sander in it all winter ? Would $3000 spent on a snow plow be better spent elsewhere in your business ?

    I am only giving you insite based on my experiences YMMV, the only way it made financial sense for me was to get a lot of hourly plowing subbed to me, where all I had to do is show up when it snows plow and collect a check from the prime snow contractor 30-60 days later. If that had not happened my snow plow would be a $ loser for me and the money would have been better spent on something like a dump trailer for hauling rubbish or on a solid marking plan (which is another thread all by it self) or on some other business related investment.

    I will go back to snow plowing some time in the future, when I have perfected my construction business and all I need to do is collect a check. Then I will have the time and money to start another business to diversify my income stream
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  5. fireboy6413

    fireboy6413 Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    BigLou 80 well said, Nick welcome to the site, use the search feature at the top and you will find much needed information, I agree with biglou, if you are just starting your construction company then focus on that, nothing else. Its note cheap nor easy to start any company. Good luck
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Welcome Nick....read through the different forums and posts on the site to gain ALOT of info and wait till next year to do anything.
    Too late this year for new customers and for subbing.
  7. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    I agree with BigLou80. Good advice. I was in a similar situation. Time and money spent growing your primary business, instead of "starting" a new business, is the thing to do for the first few years. Too many people start a business, try to do it all and end up specializing in nothing. A start up rarely turns a profit the first few years. Diversify after your business, customer base and reputation is well established.