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I bought a plow and have some questions.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by bambaclot, May 19, 2007.

  1. bambaclot

    bambaclot Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Greetings everyone,

    I'm sure someone can help me out here so here is a quick background and then my question. I was looking for a plow for my lawn tractor when the course of events brought me to buying a cheap plow on ebay for my 1997 Nissan pickup. I know it's funny to the big plow guys but I figured if my lawnmower can move snow then this truck should do okay for my 100 foot driveway. Even if I need a running start. And, I got the year-old Snowbear Plow cheaper than a new Sears lawn tractor plow which constitutes my reasoning for this inquiry.

    I thought about it for awhile and figured, if I can plow my own driveway, then why not do a few others. I am a Tugboat Captain by profession and since I work in the Great Lakes, I have the winters off when the water freezes. Why not plow a few other driveways for beer money?

    My question is thus: Does anyone have advice for a guy who just wants to plow in his spare time for something to do? I'm not looking to build an empire. I just figured I could help out some neighbors and maybe have my truck pay for itself at the same time. I am curious about truck ablilities (4 cyl w/4wd), pricing (in lower Michigan), plowing tactics, whether or not I should "Sub" out or just plow residences, or whatever. Quite frankly, I don't know squat about plowing. I can drive anything and have gone on a few plow trips with friends who plow but that was more for fun than anything else. So if anyone can put themselves in my shoes and direct me in a positive direction then all comments are welcome. Thanks in advance for any reccommendations. Sorry for the long introduction. GDL
     
  2. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    -If you got a snowbear, its designed for one or two driveways and deffinetely not for commercial plowing. Also you truck is not designed for commercial plowing.
    -Those who just plow for beer money or a bit of extra cash and are willing to do it cheaper than those who do it professionally become known as lowballers and are generally not to well liked.
    -Tips for plowing- don't stop in the middle of a push (probably won't be able to get moving again), don't let windrows sit for a while they will freeze solid, don't go full blast into a pile or while stacking, and when changing gears come to a complete stop before switching to reverse or drive (saves tranny) and use your head while plowing. I'm sure I have forgotten a few things.
    Btw, Welcome to plowsite.
    This time of year its kinda dead, wait until about October and this place will be buzzing again.
     
  3. Sharpshooter77

    Sharpshooter77 Senior Member
    Messages: 162

    Well first off welcome to the plowsite, If you bought a snowbear plow which I think is the light weight manule lift and manule angle, right? then I would stick with plowing your own driveway. Because those plows are not intened of commercial plowing. Then are made for the home-owner. Plus I think it would be a pain to get out every time to lower, raise, and turn the plow. That is O.k for your own personal use. But that would be alot opf time wasted in trying to make money with. Because when I was younger I almost hated my little toro tractor with a 4 foot plow because I had to get off and trun the plow and pull that big bar lift and lower it. most o the time I had every thing planed out and that reduce my getting off the machine time to turn the plow. But I'll tell ya there is notting like power angle when you irst use power angle you will never go back to manuel. hope this helps Shane :drinkup: :drinkup: :waving: :drinkup:
     
  4. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I know you don't know what Mark described as a lowballer, but this is all about education right? A better way to look at things rather than for "beer money" is like you said about paying for your truck. Heck most of us do that with what we do. There's no shame in charging market price for plowing, and only doing as much as YOU want to do. Many of us have 40, 50, or 60 driveways, maybe a bunch of commercial lots in there too. We all started somewhere. I know you also said you're not looking to build an empire (haha... just wait! you might want to in a few years!!). Unfortunately, it's probably like the other guys said about manually angling, lifting, dropping the plow -- it might slow you down and get in the way of trying to make your light commercial endeavors feasible. Give it a shot if you want -- probably not more than a couple driveways besides your own. See how it does, and maybe work it into your plans to graduate up to a larger plow/larger truck. Ever consider a 1/2 ton pickup? They can push more snow than the smaller trucks (though commercially most of us are using 3/4 or 1-ton trucks with bigger plows). Many of us spent years plowing with a 1/2 ton truck without too much trouble (I know I did!). Though each region has a more specific rate for driveways & such, you'll see a lot of folks in the $25-35 per-push range for plowing driveways. Best of luck, and welcome to Plowsite!


    ~Kevin
     
  5. bambaclot

    bambaclot Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thank you gentlemen for the advice.

    The Snowbear Plow has the manual angle control which sucks. It does have power lift though. I drive the small truck simply because of the gas mileage. I need a pickup but I also put 30 to 40 thousand miles a year on this vehicle for my regular job. With a larger truck this equates to a couple thousand a month in fuel. Otherwise I would have a full size pickup.

    I understand the economics of the industry and would never rock the proverbial boat by low-balling the going local rate here. Quite frankly, I could take it or leave it either way so I would have no problem charging the normal rates for my area. Like I said, I'm just looking to have the truck pay for itself. Perhaps just doing 4 or 5 driveways in my neighborhood wouldn't be too much for the Snowbear Plow. I know it will eventually kill my truck but I buy these vehicles as throw-aways anyhow, although this Nissan is in pretty good shape. I paid $4000 dollars for it and $250 for the plow. I expect the truck to make it two years before it becomes unreliable and only need to make a few grand plowing in that time span to make it worthwhile. The plow is basically brand new.

    Again, I greatly appreciate the input from everyone and look forward to comments from anyone else who is willing to contribute.

    One other question: If I am only doing some local driveways, should I be concerned about commercial insurance or should I just add occasional plowing to my current policy. I don't think this setup could do much damage even if I tried but I know how some people can be. Also, should I bill them informally or through my corporation?
    Thanks again.
     
  6. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,829

    you could always sell that and get a meyers 6.5 blade do driveways
     
  7. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Isn't that going backward from where he is?!? ;)
     
  8. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,829

    well you could do 20 or 30 driveways with a 4 way plow thats a set up from a snowbear
     
  9. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    I don't know if it would be backwards, but I don't think he would be gaining anything. I'd say it would be an even swap.
     
  10. bambaclot

    bambaclot Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Since people are ripping on my snowbear plow, here is my new plan. I will elliminate all competition within the tangible borders of the snow-experiencing portings of the United Sates by establishing a massive corporation, not unlike Waste Management, that will monopolized the entire continent for snow removal, within the next five years. Through decisive contracts with Oshkosh 4X4 Snow Plowing, my newly formed corporation will elliminate all competition by providing quick and instantanious snow-removal, with state-of-the-art and superior equiptment for $3 dollars a driveway regardless of the size. Includes salt, a smile, free mail-box, and a howdy-doody for the wife. Since we will dominate the entire customer-base, everyone with a plow, other than a Snowbear, shall be subject to a considerable tax fee, on top of yet a further tax fee, under the implications of my personal whim. Under this new regime, all snow-plowers and future prospective snow-plowers shall enjoy massive amounts of time polishing their Blizzard and Snow-way plows with wax, during which time period, they will be unaware that their future of plowing anything other than their mama's front porch with a shovel, will be firmly elliminated.

    Unless everyone on this sight is in full agreement that Snowbear Plows are capable of removing snow from more than 2 common residential driveways in any one single season, then the previous stated declaration of intent will be implimented and all non Snow-Bear Plow users in disagreement will become another statistical merger in the onslaught of major corporate takeovers. This is not a threat. This is a joke. Happy plowing!:cool: :cool:
     
  11. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Who gave the new guy caffeine?

    Not ripping on your Snowbear -- I think they work for the applications they were intended for. I'm certainly ripping on Meyers though because I don't like them! ;)
     
  12. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,829

    hey i guess if you like lifting it and turning yourself go for it