1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

My Plan to Kick Off My Snow Removal Biz.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by mafiaboy3, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    Alright so first of all i couldnt find any section for residential snow plowing so I'll just put it here.

    Im a 15 year old boy looking to make abit more than minimum wage here in Montreal Quebec.(8$)So I'm thinking of starting a small snow removal service around my area.

    Heres my plan:
    It snows about 10(at the most) real times here in montreal, the rest is all just little flakes that melt after 20 minutes on the ground. The guy who does some snow plowing with his truck charges 400$ per house(per year) my size. Im thinking of going up to his customers and offering 350$. I was thinking of hiring some trustworthy people i know for 10$ per garage removal. Which is great for a kid my age.

    So...
    350$....10$ per garage removal. if it snows 10 times... 10x10=100..350-100=250
    So i should be left with a profit of 250$ per customer by doing absolutely nothing. Maybe just filling in for them if some cant make it.

    They wont get taxed since they arent making over 8000$ so im fine when it comes to legal issues. I know your thinking i have school and wont have time in the morning to do it... but the guy who im stealing the clients from comes around 4:30pm on days that it snows or even later if it hasn't stopped snowing. I'm home from school at 3:00pm.

    I'll try and get over 10 houses. Heh I'm only 15, i don't have a truck with a plow on it which could bring me all around town. 10 seems doable for me considering I might have to fill in sometimes.

    Give me your thoughts.
    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2007
  2. c.t. lawn care

    c.t. lawn care Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    I think you need to find your own accounts and not go after this guys accounts. How would you like it if you worked hard to get these accounts and then all the sudden some one came and under cut you by 50.00 and now you dont have any business anymore? Also i dont think you would be able to get 350.00 for each drive if you are just shoeveling it. Just my opinion though
     
  3. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828


    Welcome to plowsite. You are going at this all wrong. First, what will you be using to remove the snow? I don't think a truck because your 15. Snow blower? shovel? Second, knocking on doors and asking a homeowner that you will do something way less then the guy they have is called " Lowballing" Not a good thing to do. Why start off cutting throats, you wont make it that long. Don't start off " steeling clients" you should act a little bit more professional then that. Why don't you advertise, with flyers or an ad in your local paper. That is a better way to get work. Third, and most important, are you insured?? If someone slips and falls what happens? If you drive in or back in to a garage door, or if you back over someone. Who is responsible for this...... you are.
    Why don't you stick to shoveling for now until you get a little older to drive and have insurance. Also if it is snowing out and you are in school, i don't think people are going to wait for you to get out.
    I would start out shoveling ( thats what i did when i was your age and I made a ton of money) Then i bought a snow blower, then 2 blowers. When you get out of school or if your home i would knock on doors or advertise. I would do it that way. I hope i didn't sound too harsh. Just my $.02
    Rich
     
  4. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Why don't you go to the local guy and ask him if he would be interested in selling you the accounts. It sounds like he is pretty busy and might like for someone else to take them. I know I have a few residential acounts, that I mow for, that I would not miss, in fact if I could find someone to do them for me for a reasonable price they could have them.

    But dont go and low ball the guy, if you expect to do this very long.
     
  5. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    i know im my area the lowballers get all there accounts filled in with snow 5' deep by the guy they stole all the accounts from...
     
  6. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Thats great!!!! Sounds alot better than what I would do. :gunsfiring: :gunsfiring:
     
  7. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    Insured?Im 15 and have not even a car because I'm not aloud to drive. I will also be using those super big shovels to shovel garages, and im also doing a path for the stairs and putting saly if they have. Everyone isn't happy with what with this guy is charging and they aren't happy with his quality. Now for low balling. I dont know about you, but when im charging 350$ , im pretty sure that's not low balling. Also here the house have pretty big garages. I live in an area where houses are worth about 380k- 400k in a VERY high market. Ud b easily able to fit 2 cars in the garage. I don't tihkn 350$ is high because some adults agree that's what they would charge. Now for stealing clients... it's like saying mcdonalds is stealing wendy's clients because they're food is better. Im providing lower prices and probably better quality. This guy would put the snow wherever he wants and my mother always had to park her car infront of my neighbors sidewalk because ours was full of snow. Again when it comes to insurance... unless a kid hits himself in the head with the shovel on purpose, i don't find a way they could get injured.
     
  8. nickv13412

    nickv13412 Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    people dont have to find a way to get injured, most of the time it happens without them expecting it. You say 350 for the year with an average of ten storms. Thats 35 per driveway per storm, and for how big you say these driveways are, that sounds to be on the low end of the price range. Insurance is always a good idea, no matter the situation. Remember, snow is slippery...
     
  9. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828


    Thats what i thought, but i dont think your going to get that kind of money shoveling snow. The guy must have a truck with a plow. You dont go to some one and say " what is he charging? and they say "400 for the season" and you say ill do it for 350. That is not that way to do it. What if you were doing it and some one came and said they will do it for 300. It just isnt right. I know what your saying, the area i live in go from 500k to 800k. Our drive ways are either 1 or 2 car. about 30' long. As far as the insurance goes i read your first post wrong. Sorry about that. By when you do get a truck thats what youll need. Maybe that is why the charges 400 to cover his insurance, and he must pay tax on it. So he probably is only net about 300.
    Also will you be applying salt to these driveways. I think if something does happen you can still be liable. And the whole mcdonalds thing people choose to go to wendys. McD. doesnt say dont go to wendys there food sucks. (some comparison huh?) Think about what you are saying.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2007
  10. Silentroo

    Silentroo Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Couple of thing to remember,

    1. Every now and again you will get 10+inches and be VERY stuck.
    2. Even your best friend may hang you out to dry when there is money involved. I would start with 3-5 Drive that you know you can cover your first year.
    3. A lowballer is defined as someone who undercuts the market. It is what you are doing. It is the way MANY people do business. People always buy for one of three reasons, Quality Price or Personality. Lowballing is always in the mix. Most of my accounts are lowball proof. They are willing to pay extra for my reputation.
    4. Shoveling SUCKS.....
    5. Your friends and employees will be gone at the same time. Christmas, School breaks and so on.....

    Lastly YOUR friends will hang you out to dry. expecially when the realize you are making 250 off their labor. Keep them happy, or grab a shovel.
     
  11. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    ha i dont want to create enemys on my first day joining this forum so I hope u dont feel i've insulted in the past posts. Im not actually going up to them and saying that im doing it for a lower price. These are neighbors that know me very well, this guy does use his truck to plow snow but isnt a super big company thing, i thikn he has 20 max, just himself who works he's never hired anyone. I'll tell them that I'm shoveling people's garages around this area, if they are interested they'll ask me for the price and I'll say 350. I'll never mention the other guy. I'm only shoveling for people 3-6 blocks away from me , not more than that since i dont have a car. Also I know some other neighbors who've never heard of this guy which I will also be informing them that I'm shoveling houses. That's why I brought up the Mcdonalds and Wendy's example. McDonald's steals other restaurants clients by just having good food that people like better than other fast food chains. If one person is eating a one restaurant, that means all the other restos have lost a potential customer.
     
  12. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,828

    Your not creating enemy's. Everyone starts off differently. I was not trying to sound too harsh either. That is a better way to do it. Your best bet is like you said go door to door. I would get a snowblower, you can get done faster and do more. Also when i do drive ways i include the walk way shoveled. ( the small ones) I charge extra for salt and around where i live people park in the street, so sometimes they want one spot in front of the house but you wont be doing that with a shovel. ;)
    Also some areas you must clear the side walk. I think a snowblower is a good idea. Homedepot has some good deals. I would look there before the winter. You will have to lay out a couple of hundred $ but you will make that back. A 26" 2 stage GAS blower is more than enough. About $500 +/- Good luck
     
  13. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,202

    10 snowfalls in Montreal I find very hard to believe. You will also have to return after the street plow goes by. If you are planning on 10 driveways max then why would you need to hire people? This all sounds a little fishy to me. We have an averge of 18 snowfalls per winter and you are in a snowbelt compared to us. Something does not add up here. Where did you come up with 10 events and how much is your trigger?
     
  14. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31


    Im talking about real snow fall, like over 3-4 inches.Last year i think we had 7 , and alot of adults agree with that number here in Montreal. Then In april it actually snowed on and off, but the snow would melt off after 1 hour. The streets would be visible but always wet. Also for those who said that my friends will not be happy to know im profiting 250$ for doing nothing, they also know they'd get paid minimum wage and taxed anywhere else. Im offering them 10$. If your working for a company, look at pharmacists, they get paid well, but the pharmacy gets a big profit even afterh aving paid their pharmacists. The whole point of starting a business is to profit from it passively a little. Keep in mind that global warming kicked in hard last year, and even harder probaby this year. Last year in the winter we'd have temperatures of -30 degrees, but it would rarely snow. Now in the summer it rains 4/7 days, just check the weather for montreal the past week im not joking.
    And for lowballing, people say 350$ is abit too much for a kid my age to charge with a shovel, so I don't know y you guys think im lowballing here. Also my shovel is VERY big.
     
  15. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,202

    Your age should have nothing to do with price. I would also rather have my driveway shovelled then plowed. One thing you will have to consider, it is hard to shovel a driveway if there is a crust of snow already on there from the previous small snowfalls that don't melt. In Jan. and Feb. the 1" snowfalls are not going to melt away. I do not do residential driveways and I have to say it is because of people like you that take it as a part time job. If we were to get into a price war there is no way I could work as cheap as you.

    Hiring your friends and having them earn less then a set amount has nothing to do with WSIB insurance. You are required to pay this for all emplyees unless they are subcontractors with their own equipment. I don't think a shovel would count as their own equipment. Good luck with your business.
     
  16. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    Lol trust me I'd love to charge more, but the people around here seem to think the guy who was doing it for 400$ was overpriced and were extremely mad that he raised the price by 10$ every year per customer. Like cet, I think a lot more people prefer their driveway shoveled more than plowed, but as a 15 year old it is hard to appear as professional as an adult with a plow and with experience.As a start, to get the word of mouth around until I get a truck, I'll keep my prices under value my just a bit.

    The driveways of most houses around here could fit 2 cars, and a few only 1. Their stairs have about 10 steps on average.What would you guys charge? How would you try and maximize profits and how many clients would you take?

    You've all been great so far..keep it up!xysport
     
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,608

    welcome to plowsite:waving:

    I see you are very eager to make some money in the snow bizzz.

    1st. it is not as easy as it looks.

    Not to bust your chops or throw a wet blanket on your enthusiasm.

    But you are starting a business and you plan on hiring employees/friends to do the labor.
    Do your self a big favor, not sure how you do this in Canada but you need to set up your business properly to protect yourself from liability.

    What happens if someone (customer or employee) hurts their back or slips and falls and breaks something?
    Get the proper insurance to cover your business liability.
    I know your only shoveling but sh!t still happens......
     
  18. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    i know you are paying your friends good $10 an hour but if they only work 10 times all winter they could probly make more working minimun wage at another job you might need to pay in the $15 range to get some dependable employees
     
  19. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    Of course my friends would do this once and a while and have a real job during the winter, but most of them quit their jobs in winter to focus more on school. Now when it comes to insurance...I'm not sure 15 year olds are aloud to hire people, because at 15 you can't start an official business.

    Also it would help if some people answered my question in the last post I made in this thread.
     
  20. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,608

    I thought you were starting a business?

    INSURANCE..
    Like I said sh!t happens and every business no matter how small needs it,.

    Who is going to pay for the broken window, dented garage door, scratched car or a hospital visit?

    Who is going to do the books?
    Who is going to take care of the pay role

    Your parents are.


    People (residential) probably like the look of a snowblowed drive over a shovel or plow.

    As for rates they very greatly depending on your area.