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Midwest guy with questions!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by RangerPlowed, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. RangerPlowed

    RangerPlowed Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Hey fellow plowers, I'm new to this sort of thing. I heard about plowsite from another forum. For starters, I drive a "98 Ranger Ex-Cab, 4x4 of course. Has an Auto trans. I have been tinkering with the idea of putting a plow on my truck for the last 2 seasons. I live in Chicago so we get a good amount of snow fall each winter. I have also thought of starting my own snow removal company. Now for the questions. I am a total newbie to this plowing thing. I don't know which plow is the best, whether to buy new or used or even how to go about installing it. I have also heard that when you plow, you tend to go through trannys like nothing. Is my truck even big enough to plow? I see plenty of Ford F-Series and Cummins TD's with plows, obviously all fullsize trucks. I have heard of Western plows, and unimounts. Not sure which is best or if there are other types. Hope you guys can help me out.
  2. droptine

    droptine Member
    Messages: 43

    Welcome to this Forum. All of us started out with I was thinking of starting... and it grows from there. IMO, plowing snow to make a living from it is very unpredictable, even for Chicago. You've gotta start some where, and I suggest finding a contractor in you area that already has equipment, contracts and is looking for drivers, Ask him if you can ride along the next time he's driving / plowing and pic his brain about equipment durability, how to plow after a snow event, how to plow during a snow event, how to anticipate maintenance, what to do when you break down, insurance coverages, dealing with employees, sub contractors, and billing customers, etc... You can ask him how much these things cost but Don't ask him how much he makes. He's not likely to be 100% honest about that , and you dont need to be mislead. The first several years on your own you don't make much profit as you gow your business, the expenses exceed the income, so if you wanna get rich quick, this isn't the work for you. If you try the ride along thing, find a small, one man and a truck. Then a big operation guy. Ask him how he got to where he is. If you have a family, pets, learn how to deal with the time away from home. If it still seams appealing, dig deep in your back pocket and watch the barometer.
  3. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,719

    [thread jack] Where abouts are you in/around Chicago?[threadjack over]
  4. RangerPlowed

    RangerPlowed Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I live on the south side of the city.
  5. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,719

    Ok, I'm out in woodstock. There are at least a dozen guys with in probably an two hrs of you.

    Here is our on going thread:
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2007
  6. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,600

    droptine has a good approach. Work for someone first to see if you like it and how to learn the trade. If you decide to run your own plow consider your vehicle quality and what you want to target for accounts. Your listed truck would do well with a sno-way that has down pressure it's commercial quality and light weight. Don't bother installing yourself - that job is typically $300 bucks. You'll want insurance too. A typical policy for just yourself can run around $400 a year.
  7. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    where at in the so suburbs are you at I am in nw indiana
  8. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    ok i hate to be the bad guy but it will save you a lot of time and effort .

    first off unless you are planing on doing small driveways only your truck is to small .
    even the big F350's slow down once we start getting upwards of 10 inches ... your truck wouldn't even move 10 inches of snow once the windrows start building up ... to make things easy , you need a new truck .

    i know people will give examples of how /why / when they started ... good for them . now days you wont find a job with any respectable snow removal company with a ford ranger .

    as for what plow ... it all depends on the truck you are using but there is one plow that stand out above all others ! it's the one that you can get fixed a 3AM . for the most part the only real difference in plows is how it looks on your truck . you might want to look into V plows or wings but since your new there really is no point getting into that right now .

    just my humble opinion ... call a few plow contractors . tell them your looking for work and see if they have a truck for you . ohh and one last thing . be honest and tell them your new and never plowed before . it's really annoying when a guy says he has 14 years experiance plowing snow then go's out and pushes a 4 foot pile of ice and parking blocks up to the front door of your favorite account .
  9. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Welcome to the forum. :waving: If you do a search on "newbie" questions you will find tons of info. Do ALOT of research and reading and then you can make an informed decision. I also think your Ranger is too small. But it can be done with it. Good Luck and happy reading. :salute:
  10. RangerPlowed

    RangerPlowed Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks for the responses guys. I did a little research and found that Western has a plow for smaller vehicles called the Western Suburbanite. Any good? I am not really in the market to go all out and get an older, bigger truck with a plow already installed. I'm still pretty young and I just don't have the space or funds. Maybe further down the road I will be able to do so. Until then, if I could just do small residential jobs and maybe even small parking lots I would be happy. Also what kind of ballpark price am I looking at getting myself into for a new plow for a 98 Ranger? Are there any used ones that are worth it and where could I get one put on?
    I don't live in the suburbs, I live in the actual City of Chicago. I do know some people out your way though in the Dyer/Hammond/CP areas.
  11. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    small driveways would be fine with that truck ... i actually like the smaller trucks for driveways ! stay away from even the small parking lot's though . your truck will take to much of a beating . it could very easy end up costing you more money in the long run then just spending the money on a bigger truck now . ( believe me .i have made that mistake )

    as for the plow you mentioned , i know nothing about it but i do LOVE western plows.
    their may be better plows out there but i have found with Western you will always get a solid plow that does the job it's intended for . also Western dealers are a dime a dozen out here so parts are easy to find .
  12. RangerPlowed

    RangerPlowed Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    SnowBear plows are pretty much crap, right?
  13. smoore45

    smoore45 Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Welcom RangerPlowed, I was in a very similar situation a few years ago as you are now. I also had a mid-sized truck, Chevy S-10 ZR2. In the summer time, another guy in the concrete business with me mentioned that he had a friend that had around 200 residential snow accounts. At the time he wasn't asking me to plow, but I was aggressive and inquired about it because I had the same thoughts as you. Long story short, I ended up buying a used 6.5' plow and sub-contracting for him for 3 seasons doing driveways. I started out at $55/hr and went up to $65. This is pretty typical for smaller trucks and plows. Now I have more equipment, my own accounts and plow commericially. I haven't made a killing at this point, but have made enough to pay for my equipment and start upgrading. I think doing a couple of years of sub-contracting is a good way to get into the business.

    People may tell you that you can't plow with a small truck or will burn up transmissions, but that is all in how you operate and maintain your equipment. I have not had any transmission failures(S-10 plowed for 3 seasons and sold it with 95K) and I still have the 6.5' plow I started with.

    I would recommend buying a used plow for a couple of reasons. 1) you can usually find one in fairly good condition that will be 1/2 the cost of new 2) It forces you to learn about the plow by either installing it yourself, or by repairing/maintaining it.

    The other suggestions in this Thread are also good, but thought I would share my experience with you as well. Good Luck! :salute:
  14. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    You will get mixed opinions about SnowBear plows. They do a very good job at what there made to do which is plow your driveway. My first plow was a SnowBear and I loved it. I bought it from my boss and did my driveway and about 6 or 7 others. It was alot better to have to get out and angle it than blow or shovel the whole drive and then have to load the blower back up. I plowed with it for 2 years and never had a problem. It's still in the back of the shop to this day. Did I mention I had it on a F-350 CC LB PSD. It looked kinda funny, but worked great!
  15. RangerPlowed

    RangerPlowed Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Cool thanks guys
  16. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    You didnt seriously put one on a PSD my buddy has a PSD that were looking to put a plow on now this this did a full pull at the fair this year its a tank the guy he bought it from pull excavators with it.