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i have a question for you mid , to larger compaies

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by elite1msmith, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    im finding more and more, that im more valuble as a mechanic , or manager , than beig in the truck

    if something breaks, they call me , and im the guy that gets it going again, Problem is , i have a plow route too , and fixing their stuff takes me outof the game

    so at what point, to i hang it up , and step back , ? or do i just keep on plowing away ? My thought was, if im repairing stuff, then my truck is sitting still , or at least i traded and my route isnt getting done. Maybe its best that i buy a small cheap truck , and drive around, waiting to fix, or manage things...and hire another driver, to jsut keep the plowing going
  2. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    if you are even questioning it you are probably ready to not have your own route Hire another driver, and if you don't have something to fix, diesel up, pay for gas, pull a truck out of a ditch, yell at someone for being dumb, find mexicans that have wandered off with a truck only to find them doing their route in reverse, or stopping for hot chocolate, then you can be a swing driver and help out on your favorite properties, or if someone else gets behind.
  3. snowman55

    snowman55 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    i qiut plowing this year in favor of running ops and training when slow and I cant believe how much smoother my plows have been. more than pays for another driver. but I keep my truck at the shop as a spare, or I can go hit 1 or 2 properties if we are under the gun
  4. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    see thats kinda what i was thinking, I have always been use to plowing for like 2 days straight , i would be the first on the job , last to leave , always ,

    but , after this 2 weeks ... I have so much stuff that is peaced together, or made to run ,... i need time to do repairs... Or call customers... i have been findind that if i call ahead of time and keep them updated as to when they will be serviced, even if we are behind, they are happy to hear from me. If i dont call and we are late... they get reall mad fast... i already lost a few cheappy accounts, becasue of that last big storm , due to breakdowns and extra time needed to plow everyone. my feelign is , if i would have called, ahead of time, they wouldnt have been so quick to make the change
  5. ford550

    ford550 Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    I am rolling on the floor. I can't tell you how many times I've had to do that :nod::nod:
  6. country_boy

    country_boy Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    juts pay a driver to run your truck. and you still make money. just like i run my own truck but i have 7 other trucks. cant be in them all at once so i hire people to do it and of course i still make money. problem solved
  7. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    Plow a reduced route or do like I do just drive a salt truck, that way you get to see most of your properties and you get to see how guys are making out. I also run our spare tractor for a couple hours on big storms to help out. If your having alot of breakdowns you also might look at what's causing them. it's either abuse or subpar equipment, you shouldn't have trucks broken down all the time. JMO

    RODHALL Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    i am not a mid or large by any means.

    i would question why your having all the failures. sub par equipment or careless use if it is the first, then it is your own fault.

    With me doing all the work on the trucks to keep them running, it makes it nice to have someone who knows about the trucks. in over 5 years i have not had a failure due to sub par equipment.
  9. Can-Boy

    Can-Boy Member
    Messages: 46

    Hire an extra guy.You can pay him less than what you would a mechanic if you do the repairs yourself.Also what if 1 of your drivers gets sick?You can take his route.JMO.
  10. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    I have a reduced route of about 3 hours. That gives me time to deal with drivers, trucks, missed accounts and phone calls. We only run 7 plow trucks, 2 loaders, a new liquid truck and 2 walk crews. I would think at 10 trucks you should probably go to operations
  11. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762


    ok well here what went wrong. last week we worked all day and night , to get a truck running that i have been having problems with , we finnaly got the motor back together, runs great. We didnt have the yoke for the front drive shaft, so we removed it , put 2 tons of salt in the back , and stuck it at a large parkign lot. for that big storm.

    2 hours into it , the plow electrical crapped out.... i tested it , i know the systems pretty well, and it has major problems. (some of you remember i complained to western about this plow and electical problems) we i made the decition to rewire to plow , just hook up the valves and solinoids... it ran great still is wired that way , using extention cords - no joke - took 2 hours , with travel

    this was at the height of the storm , when it was snowing 2.5 per hour at 6 am - bad time to have problems

    well 2 days before, my truck , developed an engine problem , which we think is just a bad injector. I kept plowing with it that day , and took it easy , until the trans crapped out. and it was jsut rebuilt 15 k ago... and we took it easy on this one - im not happy, 3k out the door

    i bought a dump truck to replace it in a pinch , so thats what i plowed with during the big one. until , 1 PM, when the fram eof the plow cracked, to the point that i had to leave it in a customers parking lot. No i didnt hit more than a snow pile. It was already cracked, and how ever welded it , had zero welding skills,...im talking no penitration....we didnt notice it , cuz it was a buy it , and put it to work kinda deal

    so my truck sat still. Then the other drive got a flat tire... fixed that, but claimed he was having head light and electical issues

    So later that night when he came back , i started testign and trying to figure it out... just pulling fuses , looking for bad ones... Again , i know what im doing... suddenly smoke from under the dash.... i disconnected the battery,,,, i havent had time to look at it since

    I called a sub contractor, he plowed for a few hours and his snow way plow frame broke... he got in his big dump druck , blew a hydro hose, (snow way) which he didnt have a spare

    I rewired the dump truck (central hydro) to work with a regular western unimount, at 4 am . again with extention cords thru the window.... still works today

    that was great for a day , until the vavles on that plow went bad, when it got cold. its been sitting in the heated garge. and still doesnt work

    we disassembled the broken plow frame (central hydro ) and disassembleb the other plow, and basicly made one from 2

    it works , it runs, i an it all day today no problems

    the skid steer wouldnt start in the cold, jumping , wd 40, heater blowing air on it... for what ever reason now it will not crank...and i just put a new starter on it a few weeks back

    the dump needs a quick tune up , it ran , but not the greatest at times

    today , went ok , with a few execptions, the "troubled electrical plow" somehow had a hydro hose work its way lose. and the cables for my central plow got out of adjustment, so i ad to take time to tighten it up , which i have never done... i was guessing

    oh, and at 3 am , while i was asleep ... a driver called me up , says he hit a cart corral. no damage to the property , truck has a broken light... i said ok.. yeah , new bed, bumper tailgate, and light ., (the light was brand new 1 week old) ---dude that was my truck , my nice truck , with no dents or scratches... the one i take out on the town... im pissed
  12. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 630

    Im in the same boat as RODHALL, not mid or large but I still go through that just not usually in the winter. In the summer I have to try and do my work, meet with everyone and give estimates check on the other guys, be the problem solve/mechanic and do the billing. So basically the same stuff just not when its snowing but I would get another truck for someone else to run your route and then just stick to managing and repairing stuff and dealing with customers. by having another truck and driver to handle your route you could just assist on larger lots if nothing else demands your attention or if someone is behind help them get ahead on their route
  13. LawnProLandscapes

    LawnProLandscapes PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    wow talk about a shatty night.... :dizzy:
  14. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    well this was over a 4 day period, but with the volume of snow ,and the time it hit.,...sub zero and high winds... we have been working non stop almost. and the few hours we have had off, iv been doing repairs
  15. snowman55

    snowman55 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    sucks!!! doesn"t mean subpar. when you have that much stuff running 72 hrs straight the list will grow.

    that was 1 shatty nite.

    I have found the running ops only not only allows me repair time but I can reorganize routes much better to pick up the slack of a truck going down. my truck sits at the shop. a truck breaks down and they bring it back, or call a tow and get in mine while I repair. in the mean time I have rerouted the others so 1 route isn"t behind

    Only problem is guys are starting to talk about who breaks first so they can plow in the 06' dura LT (best truck I have ever owned)

    It is a vary hard step to take but my events are way smoother this year. Iand I get an nap in once in a while
  16. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    that list got alot longer in coming days
  17. snowman55

    snowman55 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    feel your pain I call to my guys warriors. Warriors get hit and knocked down but the victor adapts gets up and keeps kicking ass.

    Keep up the good fight.
  18. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    elite1, I'm having trouble following your first question, do you already work for some one else and have your own plow route or is this your total operation? BTW you dont have to be medium or a big operation to have a ton of problems. I run my truck for plowing and 99% of the salting, and I have 2-3 subs. Last year I had 3 dedicated subs (when their junk wasn't broke down) all I did were a few residentials, checked on the routes and salted 100% of the routes, things went very smooth. This year I didnt have much luck with subs and I decided to run my truck on a route and salt and check on every property and let me tell you I hate it most of the time. I've noticed quite a difference in the "smoothness" of the operation (not so smooth) because I'm trying to do too many things. This next storm wer'e going back to the way it was last year! Before I wasn't able to check on things like sidewalks and other things like dumpster clean outs etc. and man have I heard it compared to last year from prop. manager's. If this is your own operation and you are fixing your or your subs trucks instead of plowing then I would say you need to do whatever keeps the trucks going but I wouldn't be fixing trucks for free either! Hope this helped a bit, all I'm sayin' is IMO if you have more than one truck and more than a handful of properties then you could have major problems from time to time. When service is sacrificed then its time to step back and focus on one thing.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  19. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Man elite1 I just read some more of your post and it sounds like a U.S. Army ad...."we do more before 4am than most people do all day" Sounds like you need a week or two of down time, a few days for you and a week or so for the trucks! Thats a lot of problems to deal with at once or even over a weeks period. I'm a mechanic by trade since 1988 and I know not all problems can be foreseen but it sounds like you have some equipment abuse going on or some equipment that needs serious help or sold off. Start doing what I do with lawn care and plowing......"you break it you bought it !" I've noticed guys slow down a bit and are more careful with MY STUFF!

    DODGE-BOY Senior Member
    from OHIO
    Messages: 121

    I wish I had all of your problems. Would gladly accept them. First of all I disagree with your post on another thread about buy used/pay cash so it would never be as bad for me. I do know the feeling of not getting anything accomplished while babysitting/communicating/repairing/loading/prodding/encouraging/responding to 30 drivers while still trying to drive/plow myself. However after knowing what you have had for weather, I would be very relaxed and almost giddy about knowing there was a couple hundred thousand dollars on the books. All subs would be happy, banker would be happy, tax man would be happy, AMERICAN EXPRESS would be happy, and so on......you have left more snow on your lots after plowing than we have gotton so far this year. BE HAPPY!