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Introduction

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by PrimoSR, May 14, 2010.

  1. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Hi All,

    Just thought I would write a quick introduction and tell everyone a little bit about myself. First of all I want say I love PS; I have been lurking on here for two years and have learned a TON so hopefully I won't ask too many stupid questions.

    I graduated from college about 4 years ago and started working for a Fortune 500 financial company in customer service and hated it. Then got a job at another Fortune 500 financial institution in retail banking and hated every minute of that as well. So I decided to make some changes, I quit my banking job and got a job with great hours and no stress at a coffee shop to keep some cash flowing. However something good came out of being miserable for the last four years - it forced me to figure out what I need to do to be happy. I have always wanted to start/own a business and have had several 'business ventures' in HS and college but never seriously just for a little extra cash.

    With out writing my autobiography I came to the conclusion that snow plowing best aligns with my interests, hobbies, past-times, strengths, and goals. I recently purchased a Chevy Silverado 2500HD with a 8' 6" Western UltraMount and am in the process of applying for an EIN, setting up an LLC, writing up contracts, etc.

    To answer a few questions before they are asked:
    • I am setting it up as an LLC to protect my personal assets.
    • I WILL have proper insurance before I drop the plow in anyone's driveway.
    • My brother-in-law is part owner of a large ($7mm+ gross/yr) commercial snow removal company and has been in business since the 70's so I have lots of support.
    • I will be doing 10-20 resi's and hopefully one small commercial.
    • I want as much advice/input as possible from members of PS b/c I have learned more on this website than I ever imagined I would from when I first stumbled into the site and spent 3 hours looking at pics of plow trucks :nod:.
    • Right now I am approaching snow removal as a hobby, with the intention of turning it into a profitable company so I realize I probably won't make any 'real' money for the next 2-5 years.

    Thanks for taking the time to read all of this and I look forward to getting to know people on here.
     
  2. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,495

    Welcome to Plowsite! I like everything you stated in your intro except the last statement. You should see "real money" the first year if you priced your accounts correctly. Also don't ever think of it as a hobby if you intend to try to make a profit, your mindset will be off the mark. Just my thoughts.
     
  3. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,495

    Primo, if you're redoing your current plow make sure you have a backup plan. Sounds like the brother in law could help, but I'm sure he's busy as well when the snow flys.
     
  4. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    I knew I was going to hear that from somebody. I think I just phrased it incorrectly, what I am trying to say is that I have realistic expectations for starting a new business.

    As for a back up I haven't figured that out yet, right now my first thought is that I have a neighbor who also does snow removal and hopefully we can work out a plan to back up each other. I am also thinking if I get a snow blower I could at least make a dent in most of the resi's if I my plow/truck were out of commission and I had no other option. Also I have a brother who is going to school to be a firefighter and is very interested in joining forces with me (as an employee/sub, not a partner/owner) and hopefully we can get him a truck with a plow sooner than later.
     
  5. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,553

    Welcome to PS, and snowplowing in general. Check the off-topic, there's a GTG that a local in planning, that may be a great networking and learning opportunity for you. Backup can be as simple as getting to know others in the area that you can call on if you get in trouble. I'm in the Plymouth/New Hope/Golden Valley area, so just north and east of where you're at, and I know of a couple others on this forum who are also nearby, as well as a handful of locals who would be happy to help a guy out in a pinch who aren't on this forum.

    If you plan to get into commercial work, you should start learning about ice control as well. If you want good paying work around here, you need to have top notch service, be efficient, and offer everything from shoveling to ice control. The guys who "just plow" typically end up "just subs" if you know what I mean. :nod:

    7 mil on snow is huge, who's your brother in law? Just curious.
     
  6. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Thanks for the advice wizardsr. Neither the church and grocery store that I am going to try to land salt (part of the reason I am trying to get them specifically). Like you said I am going to have to learn sooner than later if I want to expand.

    I should have clarified; they did $7mm with snow and landscaping combined. They do commercial only and that was about 5 years ago well before "The Great Recession", I am sure it was lower last year.
     
  7. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,553

    When it's a skating rink, they'll want salt, so have a plan in mind of how you're going to do them when that call comes. All it takes is one ice storm for you to get caught with your pants down. ;) Even if it's just a few bags through a fertilizer spreader, just have something in mind just in case. Nothing worse than telling a customer you "cant".

    That's still pretty good size, should I start guessing? :jester:

    Lawn prices are in the crapper this year, or so I've found just from the minimal lawn work I've taken on this year. No doubt everyone has been stung by the poor economy... Doesn't help that every other unemployed kook thinks they're a lawn contractor with their rolling payment book of a truck and push mower... :rolleyes:
     
  8. Deershack

    Deershack Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    Welcome to PS. If your interested in a get together to meet onter locals, let me know. I trying to get one going on July 10th on the E.side of St.Paul. Let me know.
     
  9. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    That is exactly what I was planning for this winter, thanks for the advice.
     
  10. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Thanks - I would be interested in something like that (if I am not at the cabin)!
     
  11. Deershack

    Deershack Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    Give me a call at 651-895-9233 for info. That's my buss cell.

    Lee
     
  12. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Another question for those reading this...

    One time when I was surfing PS I found a thread about some one who keeps a plowing log (of course now I can't find it), date, time, snow amount, miles, etc. It seems like something that would be useful/smart to do and I am about to make a spreadsheet for it. But I am wondering how many other people do the same thing and/or how many people take before and after pics of every plow site?
     
  13. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Also I am making a three-ring binder to keep in my truck with extra contracts, a folder for gas receipts, business cards, fliers/advertisement... Does anyone else do this as well or am I OCD?
     
  14. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,598

    I should do the same thing but I just stuff my center console with all my papers. I unload it every few months after it gets too full to shut.
     
  15. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,553

    LOL. This sounds more familiar than I'd like to admit. :laughing:

    Primo. A log of weather conditions and what you did and when is a must, from a liability standpoint. I'm in the process of going largely paperless, everything is online accessible by the crews with their iphones/blackberries. We don't take much for pics unless there's a problem that needs to be documented. We do however do a site survey of every new property we take on to document pre-existing conditions such as curb damage, etc.

    Having a book of site plans, specs, contact info, etc. is also a good idea, something we've done from time to time but always seem to have a hard time keeping it updated. If you get sick or something and can't work, the binder will be a lifesaver for your business.
     
  16. Deershack

    Deershack Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    For those interested, I have rescheduled the Meet Up for Sept 25 th at my house on the E. side of St.Paul. Still waiting to hear from anyone who is planning on coming. Have one commitment so far. Perhaps we should both be committed for trying this.

    Give me a call
    Lee
    651-774-5864 Home
    651-895-9233 Cell ( if you call and I don't get to the call, you will get my message. Just press 1 to skip it and leave your message)
     
  17. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    I am going to be up at the cabin taking out docks - otherwise I would definitely be there.
     
  18. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Thanks, that is good to know. I thought I was being to OCD and over thinking everything. I sent you a PM as well.
     
  19. PrimoSR

    PrimoSR Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Dropped off the plow last weekend to get it refinished. I was going to do it myself but not having any of the equipment or experience I decided just to pay someone. I actually found someone in central WI who does really good work and quoted me $425 (takes apart the plow, replaces the bolts, sandblasts and repaints the frame and plow, a couple of minor welds) which I thought was a very good deal, about half the price of a local shop. I am really excited to pick it up and I already have my free replacement stickers from Western.

    IMG00010-20101001-0925.jpg

    IMG00011-20101001-0925.jpg
     
  20. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Nice truck. I love the strap protector on the plow. Wouldn't want to damage the finish now......, or maybe you were protecting the strap. LOL. Welcome to the site!