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new guy with question

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by jay33, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18

    Hey all!! I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Jason, and I don't currently have a plowtruck yet. I have a multi-part question for the experts here. Please keep in mind, I am aware of insurance, maintenance, time commitments, breakdowns, weather problems, and all other bad stuff. I've searched most of the board, and didn't find them answered the way I needed, but please post a link if I missed something. Here goes:

    1. Upgrading from Colorado to Silverado 1/2T in a few years, and would like a homeowner style plow for myself, as well as my parents and aunt and uncle who live three doors down. Should I spring for a more robust plow?

    2. If my main goal is really just to help out my folks, would it be worth it to try to land a few of their neighbors? What could my profit potential be per year if I land say, a half dozen residential accounts in their neighborhood? ( I pass every day to and from work)

    3. I would love to do my church (1/2 acre asphalt lot) just to help out with their $. Is a small plow going to do this job (albeit way more slowly than a bigger/better model)? Do any of you have experience with your own churches? Do you charge them or is it just for kindness?

    Thanks for any guidance you can give me. Again, please send me to a link if there is one, but I'd love to have professionals' input as I put my head int this and get ready to make it happen.


  2. MarksTLC

    MarksTLC Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    Hi Jason and Welcome. IMHO, I was in the same situation. I originally got a plow to help out my family and clear my own drive. Once my boss heard I was getting one, he signed a contract. then a year later I added the business next door and then two more up the road a bit. Word of mouth carries fast. I still hit my sisters and my Aunts on the way to work. That has been going on seven years now. The better plow is definitely paid in full several times over.

    Just my $.02
  3. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I plow several churches. They run just like any other business for the most part. I do tend to give them a break on price though. You still have to cover your costs, but if you can do your other accounts and make a profit and want to donate your services to the church, I see no problem with that, just be sure that you understand they will always want it for free and may still hold you accountable if something bad happens. GOOD LUCK
  4. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    1. Get a 3/4 ton or bigger. There are a 1000 threads claiming a 1/2 ton works just fine, and it does ! The problem is all the repairs. They just don't hold up as well. And yes i know i will get flamed by all the guys running 1/2 Tons. Also i would buy a used Western with holes rusted threw the mold board before i bought a home owner grade plow, It would be cheaper and last longer.

    2. A half dozen driveways could net you anywhere between $6 and $6,000,000,000. It all depends on what the market in your area will bare. There is really no way to answer this question. The best advise i can give is find out what others are charging to do your driveway and go from there.

    3. Reread answer 1.
    You need a bugger truck and plow if you want to move into commercial plowing. Also the Church, Don't try and save them any money. They have more of it then you do. Charge what you have to charge to cover your operating costs. If you want to make a profit, fine if not that's fine too but don't plow them at a loss.
  5. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,246

    Don't forget liability insurance.
  6. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18


    I appreciate the info about the church; I never thought about their business side of things. I understand a 3/4 is better, but I was asking is it realistic to do just one commercial property with, say, the Western Suburbanite and a 1/2T truck?

    Thanks for this great information - it's exactly the kind I couldn't figure out on my own.

  7. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    You can plow commercial lots with a 1/2 ton truck. I did and many others have as well. The problem with the smaller trucks is that the front end tends to wear out faster. They are just not designed to carry the weight of the plow. Once the plow is on the ground though, a 1/2 ton will push snow just fine. I strongly suggest at least a 3/4 ton but if your set on the 1/2 ton, get a Western 7.6 pro, or similar plow. Be prepared for some very expensive repairs though. This leads into some thing else you said ...

    Plowing snow for fun is an expensive hobby, especially if you can't repair the truck on your own. When ever you bring a truck into the shop to have it repaired, it costs a $1000 or more.
  8. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18


    Thanks for the advice. I think I'm interested in a baby plow specifically for its smaller size and (hopefully) less wear on my rig. The baby Boss is 372 lbs. (plus mount, I assume) and the Western Suburbanite is less than 300 lbs. total weight. I've done enough crazy stuff with S-10s in my time to assume that's not too much to be hanging off the front end a few days every two weeks, but this is YOUR house, so I really appreciate your help. Maybe I'll skip my church and just worry about my folks' house and whether or not it would be worth my time effort and expenses to try to land a few driveways...
  9. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    If you really want to get into plowing snow do it the right way. Buy a 3/4 ton, a nice plow and sub contract for a larger company, learn the ropes. You can even drive one of their trucks and let them worry about all the B.S that comes with maintaining a plow truck.

    As for the smaller plows you mentioned, I'm not familiar with their exact specs. You will want at least a 7.6 blade on a 1/2 ton truck though. It's the smallest blade you can get that will cover the width of the truck.
  10. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Really, if you only want to do your house and your parents- a 1/2T and a homeowner plow is fine as long as you plow WITH the storm- don;t expect to be able to push 10 inches of wet snow in one pass...until you have some real experience plowing it's not going to happen without breakdowns and getting stuck at minimum.

    If you want to do for profit drives also, go bigger in truck and plow...homeowner plows and half ton trucks just don;t hold up to the riggers of plowing for profit overall as well.
  11. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,358

    The only plows that I know of that you could put on a Colarado and Silverado is a Fisher HT, Boss Sport Duty, or Western HTS.
  12. plowman4life

    plowman4life Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    #1 get a bigger plow than a suburbanite. they are great for a ranger colorado or s10 and any vehical that size. but on a half ton i would look at the western H/T its called the HT for a reason its made for half tons.

    #2 on a half dozen residetials there is money to be made. profit probobly not a lot. but that is where most people start is a few residetials.

    #3 if your going to do it as a hobby or to help the church i would say no. if you want to do it, do it right, charge them b/c its going to cost you money to do it. and i would not even think of touching a commercial property without liability insurance. IMHO, i would say at least a $250,000 liability policy. idk about your area, but most of the commercial properties we do wont even look at your bid unless you can prove a minimum of $100,000 liability insurance some are much higher than that. especally if you dont intend to salt or sand the lot. i wont even bid a property like that unless they are going to pay for salt or sand to be applied.
  13. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18


    Thanks all - this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. As a 3/4T is out of the question, it looks like the Western HTS is on my horizon when I upgrade my vehicle. I never thought of plowing WITH the storm, but that seems like an incredibly valuable concept (especially since I never would have thought of it). At this point, I'm leaning toward not bidding my church, unless I can justify the added cost of a spreader just for them, as I have no desire to do more commercial work on the side, like the rest of this will be.

    THANKS A TON!!!!!
  14. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18

    Thanks again for al the great info. I've been reading as much as I can on here and I think I've got it pretty well summed up. Please tell me if this makes good sense:

    1. Proper insurance auto/GL is a MUST
    2. No matter what brand of plow I buy, as long as I maintain it and use it properly and have good dealer support, I'll be happy with it.
    3. Start slow and take my time
    4. Plow with the storm.

    Again, I've gotten a ton of info, and I will continue reading and learning from this community!!!
  15. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

  16. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    I hope you have a good winter Jay....at least you are one of the very few that actually listens to advice and appreciates it.
  17. jay33

    jay33 Junior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 18


    Thanks for the compliment. I'll take any advice humbly; that's why I came here :salute:. This isn't going to be the winter though - I've still got at least two more with my current truck before I move up. I did however get in touch with my pastor. I'm going to be the third man in the plow rotation starting this season, using the church's plow rig. With apologies to Nekos and the rest of the 3/4 advocates, it looks like the 1/2 ton is gonna be in my future for many reasons, and after reading much here I don't think with a full time job and two young children I want to make the commitment to anything other than a handful of driveways. New question - is it a direct bolt-on swap to go from a 1500 bumper to the pre=notched 2500 bumper on a Chevy? I know I can buy them, I just don't know if the frame is similar enough.

    Thanks again!!!


    PLOWTRUCK Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    1/2 ton is plenty of truck to plow with. If you want a lightweight plow take a look at sno-way, I have had very good luck with them and you cant beat the down pressure.
  19. geer hed

    geer hed Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    Hi Jay I don't remember seeing this posted but if your getting this 1/2T truck new or newer, check with a dealer on the use of a plow. Some of them will VOID the warrenty if you install a plow. Due to the front drivetrains will not hold up. I know of 2 FORD dealers 2 GM dealers in my area who will not install a plow on a 1/2T truck.
    They would up untill the mid 90s but only if it had manual lockout hubs. (the auto hubs would not hold up).
    Sorry to add another potential problem for you, but I'd also hate to see you blow the front rear in the middle of a storm.
  20. Pinky Demon

    Pinky Demon PlowSite.com Addict
    from Ohio
    Messages: 1,121

    I'm sorry OP, but if you want to hang a decent blade, I really suggest you look at 3/4 ton and make it work somehow. With a good plow hanging off the front, and a steady 3/4 ton to back it up, you could potentially make enough to pay for the rig, and help with your church and other needs.