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info on getting into plowing

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by trukoutftr, May 4, 2004.

  1. trukoutftr

    trukoutftr Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    can any of you give me some info to pass on to local landscapers and contractors here in north carolina on how to get into the business. i have some of my own ideas and suggestions, but would like to here from you guys up north on how they should go about getting contracts and customers and who to talk to. we are a truck accessory dealer down here and promote our products to landscapers and contractors in regional shows and would like to hand out a guide to getting into plowing down here.

    any help would be appreciated.

  2. Mick

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

    This is something I put together a couple of years ago for just such a question. There are links to several threads and some general advise. Unfortunately, some of the info is ***'d out as it links to a web site of a highly respected former member.

    A few threads to get started:





    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8285&highlight=starting+business (discusses advertising)


    Things to consider in starting a snowplowing business (besides pricing).

    1. Do I have the time to commit to plowing? If you are unavailable during particular times of the day or periods of time, you’ll be severely limited in the types of accounts you can take on.

    2. What equipment do I have now? What will I purchase/lease before beginning to plow? If you only have a pickup and plow, you won’t want to go after accounts that need salting. If you have a ¾ ton pickup with an 8’ blade and a tailgate spreader, you won’t go after a 50 acre mall.

    3. What is my market area? The closer together the accounts and closer to your business office (likely your home), the better.

    4. What type of accounts will I pursue? Residential? Commercial? Industrial? Each will affect several things including type of insurance and equipment needed.

    5. Do I have the expertise and equipment for this type of account? (obviously you’re asking this when you look over a proposed job).

    6. For any particular job, you will need to consider - How am I going to approach this job, where am I going to push/stack the snow and will there be enough room for future pushes? What is going to be affected by where I plan to pile snow? Will I need to have snow removed from the site? You need to have the equipment for snow removal or arrange for it.

    7. A big consideration: How am I going to handle the inevitable equipment failure? Do you have friends you can call on to fill in for you? Do you have backup equipment? How about if you’re sick and can’t get out? This is a real problem - even people using brand new equipment can tell you stories of how their $35,000 brand new truck bit the dust and spent the next week in the shop. In the meantime, they missed out on thousands of dollars because they didn’t have a backup truck.

    8. Do I have the required insurance for the type of accounts I’m pursuing?

    This is just a partial list. I’m sure others can chime in, also. Notice I have not even mentioned looking at how much to charge. Another good resource would be to develop a Business Plan. For an example of that, visit the Small Business Administration web site.
  3. trukoutftr

    trukoutftr Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Mick, i appreciate that info. i think to any potential beginners, i will recommend comming to this site. Down here, the restrictions are not as bad as up north. the only thing you really need is a truck and insurance then start getting accounts. you guys would be amazed at the amount of people that come into our store looking for a plow the day of a storm and think they can start plowing. this past season i even had someone come up to me in charlotte asking if i rented plows. i just laughed at that one. my goal is just to get info together for guys that are looking for the extra $ when a storm hits because down here everything shuts down and we are the only ones on the road which makes pushing so much easier. some of the small individual landscapers are the ones i am looking to help get started.

    most of the pushing i do is subing for a buddy that has more work than he can handle so i have 4 trucks and a tractor ready at any time.
  4. Flipper

    Flipper PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,180

    I would recommend that you pick up a heavier, more commercial line of plows. SNowbear plows will not stand up to commercial plowing. Western, Fisher, Boss or dare I say it Meyer are much better plows. Sell your customers quality equipment so that they return to you.
  5. trukoutftr

    trukoutftr Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I appreciate that Flipper. We used to only sell snowbear, but now offer Hiniker plows because we got set up direct with them and i do have a contact for Boss. I run an 8 1/2 hiniker v plow which works great down here especially with all the ice we get. Most of our customers are buying the Hiniker because it is a commercial grade plow. And we are all about selling quality equipment and service so they continue to come back for many years
  6. Mick

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

    No "restrictions" up here, either. All you need is a plow on the front of your truck. However, it's what you do and how you do it after that separates the "plow jockey" from the true professional. Location doesn't have much to do with it.
  7. trukoutftr

    trukoutftr Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    From what I had been reading on this site, i was under the impression you had restrictions up there. And i understand what you mean, I have met a few "plow jockies" myself over the last few years that have no clue on how to be professional and keep the business coming back.
  8. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    TRUCK............Have you ever been over to www.lawnsite.com ?

    Thats where most of the guys go that do LCO as well as plowing
    during the summer. Lots of networking and good info over there.
    Last edited: May 6, 2004
  9. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    TRUK.............Forgot to mention www.sima.org
    Snow and Ice Mgt. Assoc.

    Join up over there....... they hold several seminars, symposiums
    yearly. Costs a few bucks... but the advertising exposure alone
    for your company and the info. over there is worth the price of
    admission to the assoc.

    And ya get to meet Julie too...........LOL......................geo
  10. trukoutftr

    trukoutftr Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks sonjaab. I just signed up on lawnsite and found some locals that i can help as well as helping me.
  11. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    TRUK........Awesome! Lawnsite is Plowsites sister site.
    SAY that 5 times fast !...............LOL............

    Good deal and your on your way ! Covering both bases at
    once........Good Luck and keep us posted !.........geo