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new guy wants to plow in NY

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by joecuda71, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. joecuda71

    joecuda71 Junior Member
    from Ll NY
    Messages: 2

    I hope someone here can help me. I own/operarate a small business that is dictated by the weather and cannot be done when it snows.
    So, I am thinking of doing some snow plowing to suppliment my income on those days I cannot work. I live on Long Island. Massapequa to be exact. I would love to plow for the "town". Does anyone here do this? How do I go about getting on the "list". What kind of money can be expected?
    I am looking at trucks and I am ready to buy one this week.
    Also, I have ZERO experiance plowing snow, but I do hold a commercial drivers license. I am sure this question has been asked to death already so, I apologize for that. MANY MANY Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Mick

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

    To plow for the town, you will need what is called "municipal" liability insurance. It is a category that is more expensive than plowing residential or commercial. The town will specify what amount of coverage is needed - usually, at least two million dollars. The premium for someone with no experience would be astronomical, if they would write you a policy at all. Think about it like this - They didn't want to write me a policy at all when I started. I joined SIMA - (S)now and (I)ce (M)anagement (A)ssociation - to show credibility. That went a long way in swaying them. I still would not have gotten municipal insurance.

    I would really suggest getting some experience plowing in general before tackling municipal. It's a whole different animal and you can get in big trouble very fast. You will usually need at least a one ton truck for city work - recommended is something along the line of a 4500/5500 or similar for the State.

    Check with your town office - maybe you have a Town Clerk? You can get steered in the right direction, anyway. Some towns will have contracted out snow work to a private individual in the bidding process. You might go to work for them, then, as an employee or subcontractor. Employees usually drive company trucks; subcontractors usually provide their own equipment.

    Pay will vary greatly by area and contractor. I've seen everything from minimum wage for an employee of a contractor with a town contract on up. State rates are usually a matter of record and may be gotten from a State web site.
     
  3. joecuda71

    joecuda71 Junior Member
    from Ll NY
    Messages: 2

    Thanks for the info Mick. Never realized about the insurance. I figured my coverage liability was all that was needed.
    I called the "town" yesterday and they dont subcrontract for snow removal. Gotta keep looking.
     
  4. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    That is not true for NY. I just signed up for the Town of Islip. All as they require is standard NY coverage of 100,000, 300,000 insurance which is what most people have. The hourly pay is according to your trucks weight on its registration. I have an 89 Dodge W250 that weighs 4,115 lbs and I am getting $62 an hour and then an extra $2 an hour for an 8 footer instead of the 7.5 minimum. I plowed private for a couple of years and it really kills your truck backing up and forward and raising and lowering... pain in the butt after 14 hours. For the Town they normally give you an area and mostly you just make right turns all day... much easier on both you and the truck. Some towns pay stand by pay as well as O.T. pay. Check with your Town (Oyster Bay). You also most of the time do not have to be a resident of that Town, I reside in Islip but can plow for Brookhaven or Babylon etc. Each municipality is different so you should check with them...
     
  5. Mick

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

    What category is this coverage listed as - Residential, Commercial or Municipal? Then the question is - Will your insurance pay for a claim while you're plowing for the town? I know mine won't. I don't know what "standard NY coverage" is. The important part isn't what the town requires, it's what the insurance company requires to cover your activity.
     
  6. BobC

    BobC Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    My commercial insurance for my truck in NY covers my truck, not the act of plowing snow this is covered by an additional 2 mill. liability policy that runs about $2000 and covers all plowing except for municipal which they refuse to allow. Anyone plowing without coverage is asking to loose their shirt !
     
  7. Mick

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

    Yes, I suspected he was referring to the Commercial Vehicle insurance as "standard NY coverage" and you are quite correct in the additional liability policy which is seperate and referred to as "General Liability". My Commercial Vehicle insurance company won't even issue a policy wihout me having a General Liability policy also.

    Any municipality that will write a contract without a provision for all contractors and subcontractors having seperate Commercial and Liability insurance is also asking for trouble.
     
  8. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    I am just saying what the Town told me. They don't require addtional coverage. Even if they did how can 1 guy who is an owner/operator afford a $2,000 a year policy. Especially when they only bring in a couple grand each season. So what happens when you buy a New Ford F-250 that comes with a plow, they wont let you leave the lot without commercial insurance. Commercial insurance for pick ups is governed by its weight. My truck is registered and insured as a passenger vehicle so I can ride the parkways all year round. Commercial vehicles are not allowed on the parkways in NY. Also the 2 mill liability coverage you mentioned, is that just for property damage or personal injury. If I got into a car accident with a plow mounted to my vehicle, you are saying I won't be covered by law suits. The Town told me that because the Town is hiring me to work for them, any property damage down due to plowing is the Towns resposablilty. She said if I hit a parked car than it goes through my insurance. I wish I new all the answers, it just seems everytime I try and talk to an insurance guy, they either dont know the correct answer or they dont give you the time to ask all the questions. I dont know all the particulars about plow insurance. I get frustrated trying to get answers. My reply to the original post was stating that not all Municipalities require the insurance Mick stated. I have about 8 close friends that plow, and none of them carry addtional insurance. We all plowed for a commercially insured landscaper. If I am plowing a school for that landscaper who had to submit proof of plow insurance than any damage/injury/lawsuits will be his responsilbility especially if you work for cash like most subs...
     
  9. Mick

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

    Like I have said before - each person can run his business as he wants; whether that is legal or illegal. It's just that when I give advice or respond to a question here, I give as accurate and legal information as I know. How can you afford a $2,000 policy? My response would be that you can't afford NOT to have it. You might as well not have any insurance at all. As with any business venture, run the numbers and if they don't work out, don't do it.

    "If I got into a car accident with a plow mounted to my vehicle, you are saying I won't be covered by law suits. The Town told me that because the Town is hiring me to work for them, any property damage down due to plowing is the Towns resposablilty. She said if I hit a parked car than it goes through my insurance." These two belong together. The first is true - you MAY not be covered by your "personal use" policy; particularly if the insurance investigator determines that you are getting any reimbursement for plowing. My policy would cover a truck with a plow mounted on it under a personal use policy only between my residence and the nearest gas station.

    Read your policy, especially the section pertaining to "business use of vehicle" and the exclusions. I imagine you'll get quite a jolt.

    " Also the 2 mill liability coverage you mentioned, is that just for property damage or personal injury." Yes, that is for General Liabilitiy or "completed operations". This is what causes most of the big lawsuits - when someone is injured and may bring a lawsuit even years later.

    "If I am plowing a school for that landscaper who had to submit proof of plow insurance than any damage/injury/lawsuits will be his responsilbility especially if you work for cash like most subs". Not necessarily. You'd be surprised at the finger-pointing when the lawsuits start flying.

    But in the end - do what you want to do. I'm not the one who's going to be responsible.
     
  10. bubajuk

    bubajuk Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    "town plowing"

    you guys are making too big a deal out of this. I also plow for" The town" on long island and am not required to carry anything more than a standard 100-50 300 policy though I do carry a bit more. My advice is, get a truck-get in touch with the highway dept. asap. They will tell you everything you need to do. It's not brain surgery to push snow with a plow. Take it slow at first and you'll be fine. Do it now it takes a couple weeks to do all the running around. post here again if you need more info.
     
  11. Mick

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

    Well, I won't argue about it. If you want more information regarding starting/operating a snowplowing business in New York State, here is a link. I put in marks for a sole proprietor without employees: http://www.nys-permits.org/

    Start under "type of business" and "s" for snowplowing.
     
  12. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    Thanks Mick for the link... I agree with you Bubajuck... It really all boils down to how society has become so sue happy it puts guys like us in fear... And this business isn't as cut and dry as it should be. I just do it so I can make my wife happy and remodel a bathroom or get a new entertainment system or maybe pay off a credit card or two... I actually had a guy approach me the other day who heard I plow in the winter. He asked me to give him an estimate on his office building in an industrial park. I went there and scoped it out and gave him a fair price which would have made me an easy account that I could plow a couple of hours and then go home and spend time with my family. But then my brain started thinking way to much getting nervous about insurance. He has 10 different tenants including an insurance company and all as I kept thinking is what if someone slips and falls and tries to sue me... I didn't want that added pressure so I gave the job to a landscaper with insurance that has tons of accounts... Thats when I decided to plow for the Town, less aggravation in my opinion... Just my 2 cents... Good luck this season guys........
     
  13. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613


    I agree that plowing is not brain surgery. But running a business and keeping it profitable IS brain surgery. A new guy can run a new snow removal business in the ground in a 4 month winter season.I have seen it done time after time.I know my insurance does not cover municipal plowing in Indianapolis.

    RCGM
    Brad
     
  14. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613


    I don't get it you didn't want to plow for this guy because of insurance slip and falls.So you decided you wanted to plow for the town.So are you saying the town doesn't make you have insurance:dizzy: ?
    Me personally I would be more worried about plowing for the town than a small business.
    I do know I wouldn't even put my snow plow on my truck without insurance.

    But what do I know:waving:
    RCGM
    Brad
     
  15. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    If you are plowing for a Town, especially a Town like Isip with lots of cash. A person is gonna sue the TOWN not their sub. As a sub you are technically an employee of the Town.
     
  16. Mick

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

    No, the plaintiff's lawyer will name anyone who is remotely involved. The judge or jury will determine guilt and compensation. Then determine how much each defendent will be responsible for the award. This is where the insurance company comes in as they will pay to the limits of liability coverage and the defendant will be responsible for the balance.

    A sub and employee are not the same. A sub is a (sub)contractor or in the case where you work directly for the town - a contractor. An employee is someone who is directed by the employer, paid a wage etc. The two are defined by IRS standards.

    http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99921,00.html

    There is also more risk in plowing for a town than plowing for residential or commercial customers. Insurance companies agree and that is why municipal insurance is a much higher rate than either of the others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
  17. BobC

    BobC Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Never mind what someone gets away with. Never mind about hearsay. Ask your insurance company (not your agent) if you are covered for liability when you plow for hire(commercial) and that you plan on doing public roads. Regular coverage will pay for damage in personal use like on the way to coffee with the plow up. And yes insurance does cut into profits but without coverage things can come out of your pocket