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Need Some Advice

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Mike3600, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Mike3600

    Mike3600 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hi Guys,
    I need some advice on how to start my plowing business. Im 18 years old and i have a 94 gmc sierra 3500 with a myers plow and an old snow blower. I helped my uncle with his plowing business, he had many commercial lots and i did all the sidewalks for him but unfortunately he just passed and i dont have the knoweldge, time, or money to take over.So im looking to do some driveways and sidewalks in my neighborhood but im not quite sure on how to start it out and what i need. So if u have any advice i would immensely appreciate it.

    Thanks Again
    Mike
     
  2. tom_mccauley

    tom_mccauley Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    First question.....Do you have commercial insurance?, if not you WILL need to get it
    second question....do you have the time? customers do not want there drives done "at your convenience" they usually want them done YESTERDAY

    If the first two questions were answered yes, then start by going door to door informing your neighbors what services you offer and how much you charge for said services (have some flyer's printed up to leave them). Because you want to start out in your own neighborhood, it should be fairly easy to get a hand full of customers to start with, then word of mouth will take over!!!.
     
  3. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    that is exactly how i started out plowing when i was younger.
    dont make plowing your only job unless you live at home with your parents. Steady income is key until you get any business you want to start off the ground.
     
  4. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762



    Mike, im very sorry to hear about your uncle.....


    the good news is you really came to a great site... im sure we can help you

    bribrius is right, dont make plowing your full time job..... but at the same time , you cant have a job that isnt gonna let you off work when it snows.... so you need to find a flexible job with hours, and short notice.... I found oil changes places when i was younger..they get slow during snow falls, and normally cut ppl to keep labor cost down... i was the first to be cut

    that aside, give us some more information, what equiptment do you currently have.... what do you plan on spending to buy more, if any? what accounts do you have , ? do you have leads to your uncles accounts?

    If i were in your shoes, i would keep your uncles accounts, and sub them out...then i following years as your able, take on one at a time, .... do what you can , sub the rest... retain the account to your company name... your not ready for it now, but in 2 yrs you might be kicking yourself that you didnt do it....
     
  5. Mike3600

    Mike3600 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    First off thanks again I really appreciate you guys answering my post. Truthfully i havent really looked into insurance so i was wondering what company is best, what type of insurance and will it be super high because I'm only eighteen. I still live with my parents and im still in high school but i only go from 7am-1pm (i can probably call someone to do them if i get in a situation) is that a huge issue. Currently i have my truck, snowblower, shovels, and some walk behing saltspreaders for sidewalks. Im trying to get my uncles 2004 chevy 2500 with a meyers V plow. Also i have some resources such as a skid loader, mack truck with salt spreader and plow, backhoe etc.. but im not going to really need that around my neighborhood. I have some people that im doing lanscaping now for that would like there driveway clean for the winter but other than that i really dont have that much business. Unfortunately under the circumstances of my uncles passing the bids were givin to other contrators and not me.

    I would really like to know the best way to advertise my business on a limited budget. Also how do i price a driveway.
     
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Insurance will be high for you being your only 18. Try and find out who your uncle plowed for and talk to them. Biggest issure I see for you is school. Most people want and need to be done by 7am. Businesses especially. Alot of snows you need to plow with the storm also. Sounds like you have the equipment available to use tho. Best of luck.
     
  7. Mick

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

    To be candid, I'd suggest not even trying for plowing with a truck and plow - stick with the snowblower and get a few sidewalks or maybe work with an outfit as their sidewalk crew. Insurance is going to be astronomical. If you have auto insurance now - maybe 4x or 5x that; if they'll write a policy for you at all. Contact about any insurance company that writes commercial policies. With no verifiable history of experience in the field and 18 yrs old ... I doubt it. On the up side, you should be considered an adult. But you have no assets (probably) to lose in case of a lawsuit. You would need insurance for a truck, but probably not for a snowblower. Start there and work up. There's still good money to be made if you're in a metropolitan area. Get working on your marketing campaign.
     
  8. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    being you lost the bids on the commercials, i would stay in touch with them for next season. and maybe for landscaping... you should be at least 6 months ahead for doing sales stuff.... I have already be doing landscape bids for next year....

    sounds like you should just stick with the blower, until you can get enough accounds to justify the commecial insurance policy... if you get 10 or so.... then really get seriuos abou the truck thing... its not worth it unless you have that many... or more

    because of school this is what i would do...

    tell your customers that you make your "rounds" at 5 am, and 5 pm... or what ever works best ... and dont give them all the same time....VERY IMPORTANT -

    then just tell them at those times if you come by , and there is more than 2 inches , you do the drive, if not you pass ..... its simple , and no one expects to see you during the day time... tell them its becasue your trying to clear drives before ppl leave for work, and prior to them coming home... have a few good friends help you out..... sounds lik eyou have the equiptment to start off larger scale, but with out accounts, experiance, and insurance , you could get into some real trouble fast.
     
  9. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    Mike once you make ten posts and can send private messages, send me one and we'll talk. Im 18 and just starting out too.
     
  10. Mike3600

    Mike3600 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    So does that mean i shouldnt even get insurance this year? Thanks elite1msmith thats a really good way to get around school that i didnt even think of. Now when it comes to advertising is fliers and word of mouth the only way to advertise for cheap? Ok chris thanks but since im new to the site can u just tell me how to do that real quick.
     
  11. tom_mccauley

    tom_mccauley Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    You can always place a small sign in the yards you plow, and offer a small discount to your customers for letting you do so....( SNOW PLOWING BY Joe Pushthesnow call (xxx)-xxx-xxxx) for an example. that way people driving by see a clean drive and say "Wow that guy does a good job honey, get out the checkbook and spend some coin you cheap sob, i'm tired of trudging through the snow!!!!!":nod::drinkup:
     
  12. Mike3600

    Mike3600 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    haha yea that sounds like a good idea, ill definitely try that out. And also i forgot to mention that i have a 2001 polaris trailblazer, would it be worth buying a plow for it and if i do that does that mean i have to get insurance. The only down fall is that i don't know if its even possible to get a plow for one and its kind of a screamer so will it be too loud for my costumers
     
  13. LawnProLandscapes

    LawnProLandscapes PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    i agree with most of what was said above. take it slow at first and get a few drives maybe a couple you can plow, and use the snowblower. maybe wait until you graduate before you try going bigger. i dont agree on the insurance issue though. my policy for my truck that i have now is 880/ year for commercial auto insurance in my own name(trucks registered in my name as well) and general liability ins. for a year was 1800 with a 1 mill. cap. for landscaping/snowplowing through Erie Insurance Co. ... i got the quote through WJ Farmers ins. co in NY when i was 20... now that im 21 im sure ill see even a bigger increase in next years auto policy... check out places and get some quotes it cant hurt .. :cool:
     
  14. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    yeh man, once u get ten posts, go to my name on this thread, right click it, and click send private message. We could also facebook it if i had ure last name
     
  15. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    if your gonna use your polaris, you need to decided are you in this for the long haul.... its nice to have toys, but if you think it would be an asset to you plowing, then you need to put the stock pipes back on it... i knwo it sucks, but at somepoint you have to be a big boy, and figure you, are you starting a real business or are just here for quick cash

    and that 5AM/5 PM thing is what a friend of mine does, its really nice, he gets very few calls, ... iv considered it myself...