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New and Could Use Advice

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by pumba02, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. pumba02

    pumba02 Junior Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2

    Hey all, I've been reading this site for the past few months and have been trying to figure a way to plan how I will be getting into the snow clearing business this season. But first a little background.

    I work a full-time job Sunday-Thursday. Sunday is 8am-4pm and during the week is 1030am-7pm. My job pays well enough for me to stay at but the stress is overbearing on occasion which is common at almost any job, I'm sure. But It's not stress from working hard to earn my living, more that it has become mundane and working at a place where I have reached my full potential there so it is my goal to slowly work myself into self-employment but do it the right way by staying at my current job but gaining the necessary skills, and knowledge. I can go on but lets get to the nitty gritty.

    It was my intention to purchase an atv about 3 months ago, purchase a plow for it and get into snowplowing residential driveways for the season as I did not want to purchase a plow for my 1500 Dodge Ram only to beat on my only transportation and future work truck over spring/summer/fall. Well I bought the 4-wheeler (1996 Honda Foreman 400) which was beat up a little bit but had a recently rebuilt engine and not it is acting up on me and know not enough about engines, yet, to be mechanically inclined enough to repair simple issues. So I have deemed the 4 wheeler unreliable and more of a start to educate myself on small engine repair.

    New plan, purchase a snowblower.. Maybe an Ariens 28". Everything I read seems to say that Ariens is reliable. I have access to a temporary back-up and funds to purchase one if need be. So with that and a couple shovels, decent sized tub of salt in my bed with a spreader and I'd be ready to hit some of them driveways full of white little snowflakes of Benjamins. Well, maybe Jacksons.

    For the past 4 seasons I've had a position with a local church to clear their sidewalks with their snowblower. They first had a smaller 1-stage that would average me about an hour and a half, but a couple years later someone had donated a larger 2-stage and cut my time in half which was really nice, so I understand the importance of more clearance, less clogging, and more throw. I feel at peace when I'm out there bundled up, listening to my frozen ipod and jammin out to my music. I do quite a few activities over the winter season, so I know how to dress warm and the cold doesn't bother me. So until I upgrade my truck so I can get a plow on it, I believe this is my best option since my full-time job is my priority for now.

    What I ask from you guys now is how to gain other clients in my situation. I know I may only get a few clients at most but it'll be something. Fortunately I start a little later than most which will give me some time in the mornings to clear before others need to work. Unfortunately I get off later so I won't be able to clear them before they get back from work. I was wondering if there would be a way to talk clients into letting me clear their drives in the morning and having it cleared by evenings end. I expect there to be faults in my theory and expect them to be pointed out or improved.

    Oh, and I promise my future posts won't be nearly this long. Thanks
     
  2. Eric B

    Eric B Junior Member
    from 64118
    Messages: 6

    I'm new too, so don't expect any special insight from me, but...

    I don't have Snow Removal experience, yet, but I do have plenty of business experience.

    I can't remember if you said how old you were, but the main thing with new clients is just meeting people. Find some networking groups, join your local Chamber of Commerce (they sometimes give discounts on yearly dues if you honestly can't afford them) and just get your name and business card out there. Pay 12 bucks a month and make an Intuit website. Market yourself, be someone people like to talk to and work with. If they like you, they WILL do business with you (if the decision is in their hands)

    Business is all about relationships. I don't care if you have the best/worst or cheapest/most expensive service out there, if people like dealing with you on a regular basis, they'll do it

    Good luck brother
    Eric
     
  3. Plow Nuts

    Plow Nuts Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    flyers/craigslist would be your best bet for gaining new business--plus see if you can put up a flyer at your church--be up front with your customers.
    As for your truck--they do make lighter duty plows for half ton trucks that work quite nicely.
     
  4. pumba02

    pumba02 Junior Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2

    Thank you for the replies. I'm also wondering how I should charge. Do to my full-time job, the amount of customer base will be very limited. Not sure if I should charge per push, or offer a flat monthly rate, let them know if will be cleared in mornings by 9:30am and evening time after 7pm.

    And I would like a plow for my truck, but it is an 8-foot bed and a lot of the roads around here would just make it difficult due the streets being shorter in width. Also I don't have plowing experience, and when it comes down to that I would like to roll with someone else first to see how it gets done efficiently. Possible, but can't justify a plow yet for a business I'm doing on the side and starting out.