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Making a Living

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mikemat31, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Mikemat31

    Mikemat31 Member
    Messages: 72

    Hey all hope everyones having a good winter. I am a high schooler and I was wondering I see all these posts about people go under, and I was just wondering if you have a halfway decent fleet maybe 2 skids and a plow or two can you make a living in the winter. I know that it depends on all the variables, but I hope one day i can have a job that will let me a run a business on the side and I was wondering would this be a decent income.

    thanks
     
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Don't put all your eggs in one basket,especially in NJ.
     
  3. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    Things get tight, but I'm getting by so far...this is my full time job
     
  4. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    You can make money in just about any business. It all comes down to business structure, and how the business is ran and managed.
     
  5. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,246

    I make a great living with two skids and a truck.
     
  6. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    DING, DING, DING......WE HAVE A WINNER! Stay in school and better yet, excel in school. Take MANY business courses and you'll be surprised how well you can do!
     
  7. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. Senior Member
    Messages: 513

    There's no substitution for hard work. W/ a break here and there you can make a damn good living. There are a lot of nay sayers out there but if you can see past them and stick to what works for you then you can do alright. I find it boils down to really how hard you want to work and how you spend your money.
     
  8. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,132

    Wrong answer. He wants to go out and be a snow plower NOW and make BIG money right off the bat. Business courses? What's that? :laughing:
     
  9. Mikemat31

    Mikemat31 Member
    Messages: 72

    Just wondering what is all of your day jobs. Is it landscaping or do any of you have another type of job that lets you work with plowing. I love the snow if i could do it for free i would. But getting paid is even better
     
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Another lowballer!:rolleyes:
     
  11. Mikemat31

    Mikemat31 Member
    Messages: 72

    I know what you mean, but often when starting out when you have neither a good or bad reputation you have to start low on the chain and the only way to beat out competitors is by the price and the service you provide. Treat your customers right form the beginning they will be a long lasting client. The first impression is always the best impression and if lowering the price is what you have to do to get there first impression then thats what you have to do
     
  12. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    Starting low and proving yourself, may sound good at first but consider this. How low is low? Are you paying all the bills? Are you still making profit to expand? So you plow a driveway for 10 bucks. You do a great job. Then you try to get it to where it should be, like maye 40 bucks. raising your price that much and doing the same "great" job? If you raised my prices that much in a season you'd better offer me something more. Maybe shoveling all that snow in the back of your truck and taking it home with you. Point is, raising prices gradually over time to compensate for cost of living is expected, but drastic changes all of sudden...fast track to unemployment.
     
  13. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157


    You are VERY WRONG my young friend.... Like I stated in my earlier post STAY IN SCHOOL and take as many business classes as you can (if running a business is what you truely want to do in life)...... Once you understand how economics works (I have a degree in Busness/Economics) you'll see the error of your mindset (and your not alone on this site). Feel free to pm me any specific questions you may have......
     
  14. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    Become proficient in Excel and be your own accountant.
     
  15. Jacobsmovinsnow

    Jacobsmovinsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    You need the equipment to get the work and then keep the work to keep the equipment. Now hows that for motivation. And if ya got the cash to go out and get the equipment why would you spend it on snow removal equipment ???????????????????????????????????????/
     
  16. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    Why not- make some money.
     
  17. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 231

    For sure stay in school and start out working as a sub to get the feel of how things work. I too have a business management bachelors degree with a minor in economics. The snow business can be a great business but I don't think your idea of starting out by trying to beat everyone on price is going to work out too well for you.
     
  18. Mikemat31

    Mikemat31 Member
    Messages: 72

    i haven't thought about that its very true I should sub. Thanks... How much does a sub get an hour. I heard lowballers get payed lk 50 bucks but pros get paid 130+ is this true?
     
  19. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 231

    Sub rates are all over the board depending on your area and experience, equipment, who you work for, and so many more variables. You just need to look at your costs and figure out what kind of margin you are willing to make as a sub. I would work for a few years as a sub and slowly try and get some jobs on your own. Also remember that you need to gross much more on your own jobs as you would doing sub work because there are many hours of office and administration work that go on behind the scenes that you don't realize until you actually have to deal with the accounts on your own. It isn't nearly as easy as just getting the jobs and going out and plowing. Take your time, learn the ropes, and don't beat down the prices. Prices should be going up and some will. Costs are only climbing each and every year and with the liability and risks you take on as a snow removal professional, you should make a descent margin. Good luck!
     
  20. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Great way to not only put yourself out of business before you get a chance AND to become another lowballer in your area - such a proud thing it is too.

    You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT stay afloat if your costs are more than your income. If you're just in this for beer money- have fun with $10/drive and be prepared to loose all your hard work when you have a breakdown since you'll have ZERO money banked for expenses and repairs.

    How often do you thing you can raise your rates on the same customers before they get annoyed? Start at $10 and do that for a few years and see- just THINK how little money you have earned for your time and work. Can't even pay for gas and insurance for that. Figure your limited to 25 drives to start with - the first few years that's more then enough to get the swing of things and establish a route - any more and you will seriously risk providing low quality service. (I'm at 17 this season, down from averaging 30 - route has taken from 7 hours up to 14 hours).

    I have heard alot of "my last guy did it for $20" - 5 years later and they're STILL referring me to everyone they know who asks about a plow guy and thrilled with my service... and as you can guess I don't even drop the blade for $20 (Unless she's cute and it's just the bank from the municipal plows :D)
    I have raised rates 1 time - yes, ONCE in all my plowing and that was when diesel fuel broke $3/gal. I raised enough to cover the added fuel expenses, and left it that I would only raise prices when fuel costs dictated it.
    With the economy and so many people loosing their homes (that cost me some customers as did old age - plow seniors) I am doing my part to help my loyal clients by eating the extra fuel costs and modifying my plowing route and service to be more efficient rather then raise rates and risk being more then they can afford.

    It's nearly impossible to run a snow business while in school - snow doesn't wait for 2PM- and it's nearly impossible to run a snow business that will sustain you for the whole year. If you want to get in, don;t take on more than you can handle, and make sure you figure out what your costs are before you figure out the rates to charge.