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I am a woman trying to start her own plowing company...

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Barefoot86, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Barefoot86

    Barefoot86 Junior Member
    Messages: 4


    I am a female trying to start a plowing company this upcoming winter. I live in Cleveland Ohio so the business would be great here. I am starting from scratch about learning the business so I thought this forum would be great. I have been looking on craigslist for trucks, plows, and/or combos. Is that a decent place to look? I want to pay cash for my equipment and didn't want to pay no more then 5k. Im still deciding on costs but I know I want to start residential to get my name out there. I was thinking about between 20-25 to try and beat competitor rates. I also researched insurance costs and I saw it was about a $100 bucks a month for coverage. I do know I need a 4x4 truck and from what I researched, Meyers is a good brand in plow. Are there plow companies to fix plows just in case my plow breaks. Any advice would be great. Thank you in advance.
  2. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,739

    Why do you want to start your own plowing company?
  3. Barefoot86

    Barefoot86 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    bc its a demand for it up here so the money ewould be good and I like to try new ventures.
  4. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,739

    so, you know nothing about plowing, trucks, or plows or snowplowing as a business. best advise is to work for a company for a year or two then go out on your own.
  5. Barefoot86

    Barefoot86 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I already know how to use a plow. I plowed with my uncle for a year... im just talking logistics not how to actually use a plow. thanx tho.
  6. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,739

    not what I was getting at. using a plow...not that hard. figuring out why it wont go up or dwn, left or right. what happens if something breaks? parts on hand? mechanic on call?
    your going to buy the equip for under 5k.........that's an ok starting place. but finding a good one might be a tad hard
    you stated that you want to come in under the competition? but what is the comp. out in your area? with that, what is your overhead? maint costs? upfront costs? just being the lowest doesn't mean your the best, the most efficient, or reliable.
    the insurance fact seems a little low to me, but that might just be regional
  7. skorum03

    skorum03 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Well craigslist is a good place to start. Are you talking 5K for the truck and plow? or just the plow? Unfortunately snow removal isn't something you can just kinda jump into one day and decide you want to do it on your own. Theres a lot of people who can offer good advice on here. My advice would be this, if you don't want to spend a ton of money on start up costs, buy a couple nice snow blowers and do a snow blowing business the first year and then evolve into plowing. 5K isn't enough money to get you started on a plow and truck set up. But if you already have a truck, then I would say 5K could buy you a pretty nice plow. A little more than that can get you something brand new depending if you want a V plow or not. Meyer is a good brand, but the best brand is usually whatever brand is carried at your nearest dealer
  8. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,868

    You're not going to get much for $5k....

    But good luck all the same!
  9. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    I will not buy a used plow truck - go find a truck that someone has used as a car and put a plow on it. 5K$ is to low unless you can fix things yourself. Try more like 10k$.
    Don't be the lowballer - hurts us all - sell the service they will get with you being small and not over extended.
    Stay with the going rate in your area.
    Go plow shopping, what can you buy close to home?
    If you can not fix it yourself you need to be service shopping and not really plow brand shopping. That said / I would get a BOSS V Plow. :)

    Just my thoughts, take or leave it. :waving: Others will say otherwise :dizzy:
  10. NBI Lawn

    NBI Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,797

    Sounds like you have a basic plan in place and have an idea what you need to do. BUT...I think your numbers are a bit off. $5000 doesn't get you much for a reliable plow truck especially if you only plan on having one. Around here $5k gets you a beat old plow truck that's hardly road worthy. Are you able to make repairs in the middle of the night bupy yourself? When (not if) the transmission drops out of the truck can you 1)afford the $2000 transmission but can you do it yourself to save labor costs.Also your insurance cost seem low. Commercial Auto and a General Liability should be more than that. Commercial auto may be
    $100/mo but now you need GL. (I'm a full time insurance agent). $20-$25 per drive may be appropriate for your area but you need to determine how many you can actually get and how much it will cost to get them (advertising). How many can you handle by yourself?

    My recommendation, take it for what it's worth...

    1) Set up your DBA or LLC with the state.
    2) go to your bank and try getting a small business loan.
    3) up your truck/plow budget to $15,000-$20,000 (if you only plan on having one)
    4) call your current insurance agent for an actual quote. They should be able to write commercial.
    5) don't worry too much about brand name for the plow. You should carry extra parts in your truck so middle of the night dealer service isn't too important. If it breaks where you need the dealer it probably isn't getting fixed that night anyways. In 15 years of doing this I have had plenty of break downs at 2am and have never had to go to the dealer. Sure the next day I had replenish my spare parts supply.
    6) have a back up plan! You get sick, who's plowing? Your truck needs a new engine or transmission and 14" of snow is expected tonight, who's covering your route and can they service it properly if it's snowing
    that much?
    7) oh and don't low ball just to get the business. $20 is low! Again it can be your area but you said there is a demand so there is no need to low ball. Make a name for yourself for quality work not being the cheapest or "the low baller" by other contractors. We all know the low baller in our areas and won't help them if their life depended on it.

    Plowing sounds easy, which it kind of is but it also takes a large initial investment and can be very time consuming/frustrating.

    Good Luck!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  11. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,919

    Sounds like you should work for your uncle for another year or 2 and learn the ropes, because it doesn't sound like you were paying attention as to how the business works.

    On the low price to undercut the competition.
    No one likes a lowballer. You will not make money being the lowest priced service.
    Know your numbers, there is a reason the competition charges more.

    Cheep equipment will not hold up and few plow operations take their broken plows to someone else to have it fixed.

    If you cant fix it under a street light at 3am in a raging blizzard your not ready.
    What will your customers do when you have to get your broken equipment to a mechanic, that may not want to drop every thing to fix your problem.

    How do you plan on tackling sidewalks with your 5k allotment for equipment.

    and don't forget to price out commercial vehicle insurance.

    do you have a LLC?
    If not your open to litigation that could take your home.

    Good luck
    as it's time to bid and get contracts signed for the up coming year.
  12. Barefoot86

    Barefoot86 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    i appreciate and value everyones opinions. thanks so much for the advice. i do have a little more research to do. i have an llc and a dba acct with my local bank already so maybe i should invest in my brand a little more. i dont necessarily want to shadow my uncle but i feel like i should maybe go to him for more advice. but yes this is a good site to learn things from as well and nothing beats trial and error. thank you all
  13. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    Nice try GV, it's not April Fools yet.
  14. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Forget every thing else,this is your first mistake starting up.
  15. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,739

    I didn't wanna be that rude yet. But x2
  16. Defcon 5

    Defcon 5 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,512

    Both these gentleman give you good advice......:drinkup:

    I would subcontract to someone for a year or two and learn the business...

    Keep lurking here and reading and learning and asking questions....

    This is not an Easy Business....I think your motivated by the winter we had last year and you have dollar signs in your eyes.......

    The last thing you need to happen is that your $5000 grand craigslist truck breaks down and you leave a bunch of customers without service....
  17. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,868

    Yup, x3.........
  18. bhmjwp

    bhmjwp Senior Member
    from kcmo
    Messages: 309

    My wife has plowed for the last 10 yrs. Some commercial and some residential. How did she start out, running a sidewalk crew. Did this for 5 yrs and still supervises it. You can get into at a reasonable cost, have a couple of workers and contract out to commercial and other plow drivers who don't let their butts get wet. Set your rates and stay firm. We often charge more for commercial walks than the plowing. Same with residential. You can have a great business that nobody else wants to do. No one will come lowball you, believe me!
  19. gallihersnow

    gallihersnow Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    This reeks of a troll.
  20. ponyboy

    ponyboy Senior Member
    Messages: 934

    I agree don't be cheapest
    Don't jump in over your head keep a tight route
    Get a solid truck and plow not the cheapest I hate Meyers I'm a western then fisher guy mainly because they have the most mechanics around here
    Get insurance
    Then go sell yourself
    Sell your contracts
    Sell your pride in work
    Here is where I will get yelled at
    It's only residential houses not rocket science
    BS the customers tell them you have more experience then you do
    Make a name for your self that you pay attention to details what ever it takes always up sell yourself
    Biggest key is what taupe of contact you doing
    Per storm
    Per push
    Always have them sign a contract. And no discounts for friends this is business you are on a tight time schedule no time fir discounts
    Good luck
    Get reliable equipment or you can loose everything in one storm