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Just got licence, thing about plowing for money, what do i need to know?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by snowmore, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. snowmore

    snowmore Junior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 9

    I just got my licence and i need to start saving money for my future. PLowing looks like fun, I LOVE TRUCKS!!!! I have no clue what kind of equipment i would need. PLease help me.
     
  2. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Put a 7 1/2 blade on your truck, a set of timbrens, trans cooler, get the proper insurance on your truck and a GL insurance policy. Draw up proper contracts, keep good records and solicit accounts. Probably start with a few residential customers or find someone to sub contract for. Start small till you get the hang of it and build from there. Go slow and take your time, you will learn what you and your equipment can do. READ READ READ all the post you can on this site. There is TONS of good information here. Welcome to the world of snow plowing. Pray for snow, work 40 hours with no sleep and payup payup.
    I started when I was 16 with a 51 Willy PU and a 6.5 Meyer blade. I had 60 residential accounts. Made tons of cash, but there wasn't this kind of information available back then, so I learned the hard way.
    Good Luck
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2004
  3. Mick

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

    A truck (preferably a 4wd)
    A plow
    Insurance (Commercial Vehicle and General Liability)
    Accounts (not too many to start with and usually want to limit to driveways or similar until you get some experience)

    Read everything on this site and as many others as you can find for the rest of this year.

    If you're thinking of plowing as a way to make money to save for the immediate future (next one to two years) - forget it. The first two years I was in the red for thousands of dollars each year from equipment purchases, repairs etc.



    JMR and I were apparently replying at the same time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2004
  4. snooker

    snooker Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 77

    Do a search for the size of truck you have (1/2-ton, ¾-ton, etc.) and find the most popular kinds and sizes of plows people are using. When you’ve read several of those threads, you will only have more and more questions about things you’ve never thought of until reading about the others.

    So you’ll have to do more searching and reading about engines; transmissions; suspension; lighting; plow maintenance; mounting issues; ballast; safety; insurance; pricing; winning new accounts; where to start plowing on a large lot; how much of a bite you can take on snow that’s wet versus dry; etc. It goes on and on.

    Take your time and spend lots of time learning from some very expensive mistakes that others were generous enough to share. You may decide not to go with the most popular setup, but at least you’ll have a good reason one way or the other, based on all the valuable experience posted here.
     
  5. BushHogBoy

    BushHogBoy Senior Member
    Messages: 665

    where at in Indiana are you? I'm 16 1/2 and in Columbus.
     
  6. snowmore

    snowmore Junior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 9

    I plan on plowing as long as the snow is coming. I don't know what timbrens are. I don't know alot. What is the best manufacturer of plows. Are lift kits bad? What type and size of tires are the best?



    I live near South Bend
     
  7. 86burban

    86burban Senior Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 130

    Congrats on the license. I can tell you that plowing is definately profitable payup. Just make sure you dont waste it on the fun stuff like tv's and stereos and cool old cars that turn out to be basket cases and so on ;) .

    When looking for a truck, loo for something that is in good shape and wont leave you stranded while plowing (Im sure we've all been there). Automatic is better and easier than a stick. V8 is more powerful than a V6, but harder on gas. It is all upon you to find what you prefer or like. Full size is Ideal for plowing. Not that saying a smaller truck is bad, its just that you can get more power out of a bigger truck.

    After you've found something you like, look for a plow. When choosing a plow, basically its all upon preference of what you think you like. Look around here and look at what people have recommended in the past. For instance, I have a Western and a Meyer. Personally, I prefer Western because I have had good luck in the past with them. That may be different for others. Just remember that the more you pay, the better quality you will get.

    Check your local papers and look for plow trucks with a plow on it already. Just Remember the saying, Caveat Emptor (buyer beware). When choosing a used plow truck, look at the condition of the plow, its connections, the plow motor and hoses. Also, check out the motor and especially the tranny of the truck. Make sure the front end components are relatively tight. The asking price is definately a sign of what you're buying.

    I hope you make a good choice on a plow, and welcome to the site.

    Tony
     
  8. snowmore

    snowmore Junior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 9

    Is it possible to plow snow with a 4x4 ford f-150 with a 4.2L V6?
     
  9. 86burban

    86burban Senior Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 130

    Yes it is. Just a little underpowered. Good truck nonetheless.

    Tony
     
  10. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Most anything that's 4x4 will work. (Ford, Chevy, Dodge):waving:
     
  11. GripTruk

    GripTruk Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    like people have said.... READ!
    don't just ask questions, they've all been asked before, just read all the posts, and you can search specifiically, all the main topics you are asking about have been convered numerous times in the past week or two, which brings me to my next point..... be patient! The worst thing you can do is jump into things and then find out later that you should have done something differently, do the legwork, and make informed decisions.

    -Jer
     
  12. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    If you're thinking of plowing as a way to make money to save for the immediate future (next one to two years) - forget it. The first two years I was in the red for thousands of dollars each year from equipment purchases, repairs etc.

    i payed for my truck the first year!....be smart about it.
     
  13. Mick

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

    I would agree with that if you're going to use some old truck and maybe a used plow, no backup vehicle and no insurance. However, if you're going to use good equipment, have a full range of equipment to offer services such as sanding, carry adequate insurance etc, you need a solid Business Plan for the next several years.

    I guess it depends on what you call being smart about it.
     
  14. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    You should go with Mick on this one. Most people fail because they do not have a business plan from the start and stick to it or are under funded. Starting with cheap equipment is rolling the dice and you might end up with a bad name such as poor work and not reliable. Then your toast. It is easy to replace equipment but not a bad name.
     
  15. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    try working for someone else this year, if you can find someone that will give a new driver the keys to a plow truck. I have done it
    and had good results , but they didnt drive the roads , I put them on a church lot and let them learn. then you can figure out if you like plowing
     
  16. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    snowmore,

    Looks like you already have the truck. Guess some of the other guys didn't read your signature line. I'd go with an 8' Western or Meyer, or whatever is real popular in your area. Have any "handy" friends? Maybe pay him to install it for you as YOU help/watch. You will learn a LOT installing it yourself.

    If your just 16 or 17, and only plan on plowing residential driveways, and don't know for sure if your gonna like doing this, (Flame suit on) .

    I wouldn't get GL insurance, and your never gonna get your OWN Commercial Auto ins. Just stick with your parents' insurance, stick with plowing all relatives, friends. And word will spread.

    I don't know ANYBODY that started plowing with Commercial Auto, GL, etc. I sure didn't right away, and my Dad plowed 40 years with just normal auto insurance and never had any GL insurance.

    I don't like to tell people to "just scrub it", but thats the way almost ALL of us started (scrubing it), so why tell a newbie to go TOTALLY legit, when its not the way 95% of us started.

    You gotta start somewhere, and relatives, friends and neighbors are the key. Then let them start talking, soon you'll have more than you can handle.
     
  17. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Being a new driver there are absolute truths about 4x4 trucks:

    1. It's still a truck does not handle or drive like a car.

    2. You can go like the wind in 4x4 in snow but, it can follow deep ruts right into the side of the car you are passing or worse.

    3. You don't stop any better then a 2 wheel drive vehicle.

    4. It will always burn lot's of gas ,stuff breaks and truck parts are more expensive then car parts.

    Just use your brain that's what it's for.
     
  18. Mick

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

    Snowmore, I'm not picking on you but I'm not sure anyone will give a 16 year old who just got a license the keys to their plow truck. I also doubt that you could get liability insurance. What I'd suggest is that you get a plow for your truck and do your own driveway and maybe the driveway of some family members or friends. Supposing that you're already had some experience driving in general, now you need some experience driving with a plow on the front. This changes how your trucks steers, brakes and handles in general. Remember that yor back end is really light. You'll also need to pay attn to the moldboard (blade) which is now sticking out several feet in front of you and to the sides. If you drive with it angled, you have the additional problems it possibly dragging the pavement from driving on uneven pavement and when turning corners. Be sure and plan your stops as it will take 2-3 times as long. Also, you can't step on the brake as hard, as you are more liable to skid. The best way is if you can practice driving in an empty lot or your driveway.

    Throw something in the bed for ballast to even out the weight on the front end. Around 300-500 pounds, depending on the weight of the plow.

    I really don't know what else to tell you at this point, except I would really advise against trying to get any plowing for pay this winter.

    Good luck.

    But if your going to do any commercial plowing, my advise above still stands (including the insurance).
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2004
  19. Mick

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

    I did. Contacted the insurance company before I pushed any snow for pay. Fully covered with GL and Commercial Vehicle.
     
  20. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    I think you'd be the exception Mick.

    At what age did you get the insurances'?

    Certainly NOT 16 !