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Need advice on starting to plow or not

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Bchlawns, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. Bchlawns

    Bchlawns Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 147

    Hi guys,
    I know i have been asking a lot of questions on here lately to gain more knowledge on this topic. I wanted to buy a new 2005 Chevy 2500HD 4x4 truck which would run me $35,000 and a 8' Western steel plow with ultra mount which would run me $3600. So i am talking some money. I have plowed before and my brother worked for a landscape busniess for years until i started my own so we know how to plow but i dont know if i want to spend that kind of money to get going with it. I can afford the payments just dont know if i want to do it this year. I would soley be getting a new truck for the purpose of plowing. I snowblowed 25 residential drives last year that i will have this year and i have the opportunity this year to plow the 7 apartments bulidings that i mow. The other thing is that i live in Ohio and we might only get 4-5 times a year to really make any money. So i quess i am looking for some advice on what i should do. Another option would be to look for a used truck.
    Thanks for yout time and advice!
    Bchlawns
     
  2. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,831

    i would get a new used truck with 20k to 30k miles do you really need a 2500hd you can get buy with a 1500hd
     
  3. North Country

    North Country Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    I agree - buy a used vehicle with a used plow - You could cut your current number in half and have a solid late model truck w/ a plow. I bought a '99 Dodge 2500 5.9 lt SLT CD player, bed liner Blah Blah Blah and w/ the plow package (which includes a tranny cooler) and a 8ft Fisher MM plow for $15,000 including tax a couple of years ago.

    Personally I would stay with the 3/4 ton unless you are planning on a light use plow and have very few accounts. If not you would be beating up a 1/2 ton. - michael
     
  4. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,831

    I know plenty of guys that use 1/2 tons that are set up right its just fine and in the 70s they were using cj5's cj'7
     
  5. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    I bought the truck I did because i wanted it. The plowing just is a bit extra money and makes the truck a partial write off. Should you buy 40k worth of truck just to plow snow? No. If you want a new truck anyway then go that wroute. If your just wanting to plow snow and need a truck then buying used may make sense financialy, or it may not, depends on lotsa factors.

    One nice thing about buying a new truck is the interest rates right now. I rolled the price of the plow into the truck financing(told the dealership to cut a check to the plow place for x$ basicly) so thats a definate plus.

    View the truck as a tool or peice of equipment. Every tool has its place, dont try to use the wrong too for the job or you will be inefficent/break stuff/cause other headache. Bigger truck=bigger blade. Stick a smaller truck next to mine in a big lot and I will plow cirils around it. If I were to try to stuff my porky but down a bunch of small resi drives like some of the guys with jeeps do then they would plow cirilc around me.

    Figure out what kinda plowing you will do and match your equipment to it, or match your accounts to the equipment you want.

    The way I see it with a properly set up truck to the job....If you run a tight route you can probably make more $ per hour doing resi than comercial. But Resi can be more of a PITA and you have more customers to deal with that can=more PITA customers just by volume. The Key to making big money in resi is being effiecent and having a tight route

    Comercial can require higher ins but its generaly not as tight quarters plowing and fewer customers to deal with and they generaly arnt as big of a PITA. Most times especially larger comercial(the larger it is the better I like it) you just drive around in circils and windrow the stuff, very little backing.

    I prefer plowing comercial and thats good because it really drives me nuts plowing resi with my truck because its not really set up for it. Depending especially if you get into resi a back blade can be nice, and used ones can be found that arnt beat up too bad.

    BTW a 2500HD is a one ton truck, a 2500 or a 1500HD is a 3/4. 3500 is a DRW 1 ton although now chevy is making a SRW3500. This is what they have been using for the past couple of years....an older truck will be different since they like to keep it confusing.
     
  6. North Country

    North Country Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    That is true but a lot has changed.

    I don't want to see someone invest in a 1/2 ton, then next season want a V, Blizzard etc. and run into all kinds of front end, tranny problems. Just because it used to happen doesn't mean it is correct. They are not meant to carry all of that weight for extended periods of time, once you have a plow and a loaded spreader you are over weight. There is a reason why 1/2 ton warranties are voided by plows. One of our guys plows with a 1/2 ton and spent more on repairs last season than he made.

    Not all 1/2 tons are equal either, I am not going to discuss makes because I don't want to get into a 3rd grade level Oh yeah, "chevy's better", 'No, dodge is!' "Mopar sucks!" - type conversation.

    Just my two cents. - michael
     
  7. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    BTW if you are planning on doing comercial and some resi and the resi is a bit more open, BIGGER IS BETTER! If I got stuck with an 8' blade I would be in tears in most of the lots i do, altough the big V makse me unable to go through bank drivthroughs even with it fully V-ed so I have to do a bit of back draging witch sucks and let the salt blast the remainder in the drives. Oh and its JMO that I could care less what anyone else does but a Vbox in a 1/2 is nuts and tailgate spreaders are a PITA to lay down any amount of material(they are workable for small stuff if you have to spread material and you cant swing the cost of the bigger stuff).
     
  8. Bchlawns

    Bchlawns Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 147

    Thanks for everyones 2 cents. I really appreciate it. I want a new truck and an use one for many other ways thatn just to plow. I have a 2002 1500 Cheve. which doesnt do nething for me. I cant plow, hard pulling big items and others. I think i want to get a new one now rather then wait and get nothing for trade in. For plowing resi drives and commercial lots would a 7.5' blade be better or would an 8' blade be better?
    Thanks
    Bchlawns
     
  9. Mick

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

    This will depend more on the size of the truck than anything. A 7.5' will usually go on a 1/2 ton/1500/150 and an 8' will usually go on a 3/4 ton/2500/250. 9' usually on a one ton.

    The 8' will usually be too heavy for a 1/2 ton, and so on.

    For residential drives, a 7.5' should be fine. You would angle to one side on the way in and the other on the way out. Two passes will usually cover it. For commercial lots, again the size of the lot will determine the equipment you need. You can do any lot with a 7.5' that you could do with an 8', it will just take a little longer.
     
  10. Bchlawns

    Bchlawns Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 147

    thanks mick, yeh i figured i could plow anything with a 7.5 just will take a little longer. I think becasue of the residential side of plowing that i will have, i think my best bet is to get a 7.5. I was going to get a poly plow and now people are telling me know. Mick u seem u have pushed some snow now what do you use? I quess nothing can beat a pro metal plow. No chance or cracking that steel.
     
  11. Mick

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

    All Fisher - '90 Dodge 1/2 ton with Fisher 7.5' straight blade. '96 Chevy 3500 with 9' Fisher and 2 yard Fisher V-box. Pretty much the same as Western as they are both made on the same assy line. It's just that in this area Fisher rules and Western is more common in the Midwest.
     
  12. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    if you are going with a 7.5 make sure you get a pro plow or what ever the comercial line is called with what you chose. In 7.5 you can get a LD or a comercial series. You can always add some pro wings or the like latter.
     
  13. Bchlawns

    Bchlawns Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 147

    ratlover,
    im my case of trying to decide to plow in Ohio or not. I would need to get a truck and plow. Do you think this is something i should do or should i maybe wait another year? I want to do it but i am having second thoughts about doing it this year.
    Thanks
    Bchlawns
     
  14. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    I think for anyone thinking of getting into plowing that its best to sub for another contractor for the first year or so. This kinda lets you "apprentice" with someone else, you kinda learn the ropes a bit and get paid by the hour and you dont have to worry about the biz side of things. You just have to worry about pushing snow. You also dont have to worry about building a bad rep the first year and it will give you a better idea on how much time things will take so when it becomes bid time(one of the hradest parts of the snow biz I think to get a feel for).

    If you can afford a new truck with plowing outa the picture and you want a new truck regardless then plowing can be great! It lets you have a nice wite off. You can rite off the plow 100% and then wite off part of the truck depending on how much of it gets used for the plowing biz. Talk to a tax man about whats best for your situation but in my case I figure the total milage for the year and how many miles of that is for plowing. Then that becomes the percent I write off. Not just miles behind the wheel plowing but also that trip to the part store, if you go to a SIMA convention ect. I would sugest you get your mile % up for the first year becuase thats how they generally figure it out for your depreication. Also if you are figuring actual cost and your milage turns out to be 25% say for buisness then that means 25% of your tires and your oil filters ect is deducatable. Fuel you burn while plowing is fair game too, I dont figure on the %, I figure the actual amount of fuel I burn while plowing. Hey, you needed a few tools to work on your plow too right? ;)

    You gota decide for you but I would say if you can afford the truck any way and you want the truck any way go for it. I wouldnt go out on my own though the first year.

    You may be able to find some guys that would let you tag along on a plowing event ot just cruise around on a dry run if you buy em dinner ;) Most guys here will do anything for the chance to BS and get a free meal LOL
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2004
  15. Bchlawns

    Bchlawns Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 147

    thanks ratlover