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My First Snow - What I learned

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Lawn Care Plus, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. Lawn Care Plus

    Lawn Care Plus Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    And what I learned has little to do with Snow itself.

    This was my first event and it was ice, not snow. I did not write a contingency for ice. Oops! I will next year.

    I have a mix of different properties and contracts. Some by the hour, some by the job. I have 4-5 that are clear the sidewalks only. As I viewed these properties for bidding, I did not think of six inches of ice. Next year will I not only have an ice rate in there for chipping sidewalks, I will also have a (every so many inches clause) for removing snow from the sidewalks. These jobs were bid by the job and not by the hour. Oops!

    Then come the fun part. Employees. I have two guys (young) that want to work for me. Ok, no problem. They want to work for me for the summer also, at lest they did.

    I bought my ATV Suzuki KingQuad 450 with a plow for removing snow on large sidewalks and around buildings. My driver was told specifically to use that to remove snow from the buildings into the parking lots where the truck can then plow it away. I told that driver 3-4 times to stop piling snow up against the door and building. He then proceeded to plow in the parking lot instead of around the building. Why you ask?!!!!! Because my OTHER driver had decided to plow the county road in low gear at full speed and boiled all of the anifreeze out of my 84 junk dump truck. The truck had to sit for awhile - while I nursed the temp back down. So my atv guy thought he could plow the whole parking lot with an atv, after I told him no. The I turned around an he is on top of a 4ft pile of snow just a hammering the throttle. So, either knock it off or you can go home.

    So we work for the rest of the day, and it all freezes up. I am not a happy camper by any stretch. I tell them, we will be back at it as soon as the sun hits the ice in the morning.

    Its morning. Sun is out nice and bright. No shows. No calls, except from customers - you can imagine! 4PM I get a call. Whacht ya doing? Working! Oh, we will call you right back. No call until the next day at 5pm. You got our checks ready!?!?!?! NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

    So I proceed to continue to work on my contracts alone. My old truck is not doing so well. I see this, and start the process for a new truck - of which I now have. Day before yesterday I was going back to one property to do some clean-up where cars where parked. I go to get gas, and am on my way back, and the passenger side dually falls completely off. One tire & wheel goes past me to the right, the other across traffic to the left. I drag my rear end off the road and wait for a tow truck. The week before I lost my tail lights on this truck, and was waiting for the sun to come up, so I could get the truck home, and some stupid lady was doing 35-45 mph on ice and slammed into me.

    What a season. One moderate event and all of that.

    Life is interesting and fun.

    I will say also, during all of this, I was in constant contact with my POC's and so far I have managed to keep everyone.

    Next event I will work by myself and have new and better equipment on the truck.

  2. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,511

    WOW! you are learning a lot in a short time! One thing I learned to have a service business that requires more than one person (YOU) you need good employee's. Now this doesn't work with everybody, I found at seven dollars an hour a lot of people would rather sleep then get up at four in the morning to go shovel snow. That also happened to a friend of mine he finally started paying a decent wage and suddenly people were showing up for work when they were supposed to. I'm sure there were other factors involved, especially with a guy playing King of the hill with your ATV.

    Keep going work out your problems and good luck.
  3. Lawn Care Plus

    Lawn Care Plus Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    I was paying both of these guys 10.00 per hour. That is more than what family guys start out in the shops around here for, and the other landscape companies pay $8.00 per hour.

    Oh well.


    WALKERS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,138

    Hey it is hard to find good walk guys eventually you will it just takes time and patience. You will be glad when your in the truck and all your walks are being taking care of.payup
  5. Lawn Care Plus

    Lawn Care Plus Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    Ya, actually I was letting them run the machines and trucks, and I was covering the manual labor stuff. They were just duds.

  6. LHK2

    LHK2 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    Welcome to the world of employees:gunsfiring: We have found out after 19 years in business, no matter what you pay them, they still have an excuse. Stupid ***** is what I call them.:dizzy:

    WALKERS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,138

    I know its hard to be different places at different times Everyone here knows that You need to find a good foreman with another truck to do your walks that you can fall in behind. Were they friends of yours? We use Quads too you ever try sub out for the bigger COs They can make some money also.
  8. Lawn Care Plus

    Lawn Care Plus Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    There were not friends per sey, but kids that wanted a job and to grow into the business, yada yada. ter one wanted to be a foreman next year as he will be 18 in two months and so on.

    Ys I know, they are young, but for crying out loud, I was young and not screwing up like that. I had 14 people under me at one point when I was 19. It can't be that hard these days to take on a little responsibility.

    Anyway, I know I am preaching to the choir, these are just some thoughts.

  9. cod8825

    cod8825 Member
    Messages: 91

    You only pay 10 dollars an hour holy cow. I have a couple of college kids going out hitting sidewalks on commercial/retail stores making 20 an hour each I need to change some things.
  10. Antnee77

    Antnee77 PlowSite.com Addict
    from RI
    Messages: 1,056

    College kids? Pay em 15 an hour!
  11. Lawn Care Plus

    Lawn Care Plus Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    Neither are out of high school. One will be eighteen in a couple of months. The other will be sixteen who knows when. They are making better than anyone else around here in their age bracket.

    I know family men, and plenty of them not making that in the shop.

    I also buy them the things they need such as Carhart bibs, steel toe work boots etc, give the one gas for his now totaled truck, the other has played on the atv, etc.

    I would not pay anyone $20.00 without a running history with them for a couple of years. Good night, I don't think guys around here retire at that rate, and I would never make any money, nor get any contracts.

    Now below is for lawn maintenance. Same area, same realm of industry so to speak, in the fact that it is usually the same guys in the company that work the summer and winter.

    I just bid on another apartment complex and got thrown to the street. The current company Ifound out is charging them $32.50 per hour, and if they paid 4 of their guys $20.00 per hour for 4 hours to work that contract they would be out of business.

  12. rgrimes945

    rgrimes945 Senior Member
    Messages: 134

    New year

    When your thinking of next year keep me in mind for some magic salt. I carry tons of it and its great to pretreat areas your going to have to shovel also keeps the Ice from sticking to the ground.

    Ray Grimes
  13. Lawn Care Plus

    Lawn Care Plus Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    Ray How far do you think you are from me in Martinsburg WV straight up 81 about 3 1/2 - 4 hours from Roenoke VA?

    Does that magic salt harden up quickly or will it do good with my Snow Ex1075 if I do not use it right away?