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Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by wannabeplowing, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. wannabeplowing

    wannabeplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    I am a college sophomore and have been thinking of buying an old truck with a plow. Do you guys think it would be worth me spending the money to do some work while I'm going to school? I go to school at NDSU and I was thinking plowing might be a good way to make some good money since I'm not in class at night...just wanted to get some advice from some experienced plowers out there!!
  2. Mick

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

    In your situation - No. Consider all the costs of equipment, probable repairs and insurance. You've got basically two winters to build your customer base and recoup your investment - on a part time basis a few months of the year. This is a "long-haul" business. Those who think they'll make some good, quick money are always disappointed (and usually quit after the first winter with a financial loss in the thousands). I see it here every year.

    For just one example of what can go wrong, read: http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=58080
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
  3. wannabeplowing

    wannabeplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    Thanks for the good thread link, I should have been more specific in my first post. This is something I woud be doing after I graduate as well. I would like to start a lawn service and then do snow removal in the winter so this isn't something I'm just thinking of doing until I graduate. Would this change your answer or would you reccommend waiting until after I graduate to start with things?
  4. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 535

    Thanks for asking

    What are you gonna do when it snows all night and you have to plow during the day?

    It is Christmas and snowing, where are you going to be Rockford, MN or Fargo ND?

    I would probably take the money you were going to spend on a old truck and buy a couple of courses on agri-business at NDSC. After a couple of break even analyis studies, you can become an consulant on Plowsite and make the big bucks. In short, this business is for the long run and even though urban myths have you making thousands overnight, careful reading here on this site will reveal to you that it takes many years and hard work to succeed in this business. You can buy an old truck and sub yourself to someone and learn the tricks of the trade but its hard work and not much money
  5. Mick

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

    Yes, that would change my answer. Plowing snow is a good fit with a lawn care service. You could offer an "all-inclusive" service, providing a year round income. Lot more potential for commercial/industrial accounts.
  6. wannabeplowing

    wannabeplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    So would you say it is something to look into now or do you think it is something that I should hold off on until I graduate...I would probably only be looking to spend between 1500-3000 on a truck and plow being the tight college budget and I'm affraid that I would have a bunch of repairs with an older truck and end up making no money. Would it make more sense to wait until I can afford a more reliable truck, I just don't know how the heck to build up money to get all of the necessary equipment to get the lawn care and plow serivce rolling...do I work doing some 9-5 job until I have a bunch of money saved up? Thanks for all of your help so far!!
  7. jkitterman

    jkitterman Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    While in college, you will not have the time to be plowing and going to school. If you get back to back storms and classes, what are you going to do. Your time commitment to plowing isn't there. If you don't get snow, you spent a lot of money on equipment and insurance, etc. The lawn care should be the better bet to start with as grass grow reliably in spring, summer and fall. Steady work and income. Have you gone over to Lawnsite.com and browsed?
  8. plowman4life

    plowman4life Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    i would have to say if you want to start a business. start with lawncare. its much easier to do on a tight schedual. you can mow on your days off from class or whatever. plowing requires you to be ready to go at any given point in time.

    think about it. it starts snowing a midnight. you have 12 accounts. 3am there is an accumulation of 2 inches. 5 am there is 6 inches on the ground. all your accounts have to be open by 7am. you are at the first one at 5:30am. plow 4 accounts (6:30am) and you truck breaks down. and you have class at 8am. what do you do?

    you should wait utill after graduation. it would be a lot easier or start with lawncare.

    you can find a reliable lawnmower for a few hundred. you cant really find a reliable plow truck for 1500-3000. and if you do its going to be beat up.

    i would start with lawncare. IMHO
  9. kashman

    kashman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    ill tell you like i tell everybody who asks . sure you can buy a truck mower plow weedwacker blower your in bizzz . but next year youll be out of bizzz. This bizz takes MONEY.................. and lots of it 2 do it right
  10. wannabeplowing

    wannabeplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    Yes I have been doing a lot of looking on lawnsite and I am getting a lot of good info there.

    Kashman, I'm getting from you that I shouldn't even waste my time and try. Yeah you hit the nail right on the head it's going to take money and a lot of it to do things right, this can also be said about starting pretty much any sort of buisness.

    The fact that it needs money and takes time and hard work does not scare me. I love hard work and look forward to work. Right now I am a full tiem student but hold a part-time job that starts at 5 in the morning...then over the summer I work for a lawn care company and I love getting up for work.

    Thanks to everybody for the great advice...maybe I will focus my attention more to the lawnsite and get info there about starting up a small lawn service comapny and then add plowing later.
  11. kashman

    kashman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    By no means am i telling you not 2 try just have all your ducks in a row
  12. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    stay in school spend ur time studying learning more and u can never know to much. when u get out then worry about starting it. my first truck was when i was 13 and a half and i still dont have a foot in the door around here. by no means am i not telling u not to try i am just saying learn everything u can befor u try and break the bank
  13. theguynextdoor

    theguynextdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    I'm going to go against what everyone else has said lol. I am a freshman in college. All through high school I mowed lawns in the neighborhood and worked for another landscape company. This is my first winter with my own plow truck. I have 25 driveways, 5 with sidewalks, and 1 small parking lot. I can do them all in under 4 hours with heavy ice snow, and i've done them all at about 2.5 hours with light snow. I manage it just fine with school. If i have to plow at 3 am I stay up and do homework, go out and plow till 6:30, then go to bed or to an early class adn then sleep. So far, no problems with managing it with class. I took out an 8,000 dollar loan for my truck and plow. I bought the truck for 6000 and the plow installed for 2500. So far the only repairs I have had are $280 for a bearing in the driveshaft (which was broken before plowing started) and an $12 solenoid. KNOCK ON WOOD. I made enough money to pay my loan, gas, repairs, and still have a good amount left over to buy landscaping equipment. By next fall the loan will be paid off and I will have my landscaping/mowing equipment. I love doing it. Make way more money that a normal job and I own my own company. People are impressed to say the least. But anyways, I would not spend 1500-3000 on a truck, unless you're getting a really good deal. YOU NEED SOMETHING RELIABLE. And a decent used plow. And always have a backup guy incase you break down. If you do it right, you'll have no problem managing plowing and school, just don't take on more than you can handle. With a 3 hour route I can do it mid day and still make it to my late afternoon classes.

    Good Luck
  14. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,030

    Well like the others have said, $1500 to 3000 aint gonna get you much of a truck and will be probably on its last leg.
    I purchased a 91 Chev 1500 4x4 with a Fisher minute mount for $1800 early in this season for a backup this winter but for heavy use it might last but the frame might not. But thats OK for me because I didnt spend alot and if she breaks I know the local junk yard will give me a fair price.

    Break downs are the worst part of plowing, you need to know how to fix something when in a bind and it happens often and never at a good time.

    I would say you should graduate first, after all do you realy want the stress of school and snow removal at the same time? I know I wouldnt.
  15. NBI Lawn

    NBI Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,797

    I did the same thing in college. I started with mowing and it worked out very well for me. I went to school at SCSU (St.Cloud State) and did mowing in St.Paul so it was a drive every week. Be sure you have someone that would be able to take care of your customers should they call and need something done on an odd day.

    I always lucked out with not having class on Friday so I would cruise home Thursday nights and be ready for Fridays. I would only mow one day a week and made enough money to get through the winters without working.

    Now to your plowing question. IMO it is not worth trying. Snow removel is too chaotic. It could snow at any time and you have to go out. You could be sleeping :)dizzy: that never happens), in class, getting ready for a big test or _____... IMO it just isnt worth it. I did it for a year and had to stop. There were too many times were I would be up all night plowing and then have to go to class all day :help:. Didnt work out too well.

    With mowing you always know what day you are going out, how much money you can count on by the end of the week and grass only grows so fast so you can be sure what to expect. With snow it could be 1" or 3' then you have to go back and salt/clean up etc.
  16. wannabeplowing

    wannabeplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    Hey thanks everybody for the GREAT advice. It has really helped me out. I am thinking that I might try to start something this summer but to me it sounds like it would be best to wait until after I graduate. Then I have more time and less stress with no school, plus working for the guy I do now for a few more summers will help me gain more knowledege about the business. Thanks again everybody for the awesome advice I really appreciate it!!
  17. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    I would recommend holding off. Believe me, snow removal is not all fun and games. Take the time to enjoy your youth and concentrate on school while not having to worry about plowing, break downs, pissed off customers ect. ect. Start with the lawn and landscape work if that is what you are interested in, and then move into the snow work.. Just my 2 cents.
  18. Krieger91

    Krieger91 Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    I'm going against the majority of advice, and yet I'm going with it.

    I don't run my own, but I work for a company, and for random people, mowing lawns, and do summer landscaping work.

    The truck I own was bought as a work truck (since I'm training to be a plumber/carpenter), it just happened to have a plow blade on it, so I'm thinking I might just use it to clear my own stuff, and use the truck as a truck!
  19. wannabeplowing

    wannabeplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    Thanks to everyone for the great advice...I just still don't know what to do. I am just thinking that I will wait until I get out of school and then look into starting up a lawn care business and then move into the plowing. I just don't see how I will be able to get the money to start anything being nobody will give a loan to somebody without some kind of income...
  20. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo Senior Member
    from nw ohio
    Messages: 115

    what are you going to school for...

    why dont you go into the feild you are studying in school..... makes no sence..