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new here...need some help

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Moose's Mowing, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 198

    I'm new to PlowSite. I just came over from Lawnsite. I started a small property maintenance company this past year. I'm a school teacher and do this part time but I'm legit with licensing and insurance. This summer was a little slower than I had hoped, but being brand new, I got all of my mowers and other equipment paid for and I'm hoping to break even this year after all my other expenses. That means next year will show me a much higher profit. But I'm trying to gain more customers and it's not so easy. I'm up to about 10 mowing customers.

    A few have approached me about plowing this winter. I told them probably not, but I'd consider getting set up for it. I have a 2004 Chevy 2500 as my work/personal truck and I'm considering putting a used plow on it. The main reason is to keep my current customers satisfied and not allow some larger company come in to plow, then steal my mowing contracts from me. Also, I see plowing as a potential to gain more mowing customers for next season. Not to mention give me some added cash flow to my little business venture over the winter.

    I'm looking at a used Meyer set up that came off a 1990 Ford pickup, but the plow set up is newer than the truck was. Everything is there but ti make it work on my Chevy I understand I'll need a lighting wiring harness and a truck mount for a chevy. So my first question is...is 7'6" wide enough for residential driveways and does Meyer make decent equipment? Any suggestions on installing?

    My second, more important question is, am I opening myself up to ungodly amounts of liability by plowing? I don't have any interest in doing commercial properties, just residential. I'm already insured for 1 million gen. liability. Will I need additional coverage or do you think I'll be OK?

    Also, I'm probably going to charge per push this first season Seems to be the most fair and simplest way. Next year I might consider doing yearly service contracts including mowing, snow etc. but for now per push should work for me. Any suggestions on what to include in my service contract? Mainly I'm thinking of different price points for different depths of snow, a clause saying "don't park crap in my way when I come to plow", and that I'm not responsible for ice/slippery conditions should somebody fall or slide their car down their driveway. That's my biggest concern is getting sued. I'm not willing to offer salting, just plowing, maybe shoveling a walk and @ garage doors, then leaving. Will a contract with a liability release clause/sentence hold up in court?
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    What's this Lawsite thing? Keep looking for a plow you might be able to find a whole setup for your truck instead of cobbing it together. Check with your insurance agent to see if your covered for snowplowing.Fair price is good if your on top ! Your pricing in your area has been taking a beating the past few years. There always a chance of being sued,its the nature of this business.
  3. SullivanSeptic

    SullivanSeptic PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,419

    Plowing and not salting does open u up for lawsuits. But anyone can sue for anything at any time. As far as ur truck and plow, it all depends on price and what you're using it for. Since its a few driveways, durability and size doesn't mean much. So the key is finding a plow with tbe truckside mounts and wiring to fit yours. Installing isn't hard as long as you have a little mechanical ability. Or find a dealer to install for you.
  4. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,536


    Are you talking about your regular landscaping policy, or have you purchased a separate snow policy ? They're not the same thing. Read your policy, and I'll bet you $$ that your policy excludes you from doing any snow clearing / removal. All NJ policies do have this exclusion, and you're required to have a separate policy just for snow / ice removal / plowing / slip and fall. Your regular policy won't do.

    If you need to purchase it, LMK, and I'll hook you up with my ins agent. Your limits aren't high enough, IMO

    Yup, it is. Right now, most folks aren't willing to sign seasonals, but if you can.... that's great. Otherwise, just do your current lawn customers and gain the experience plowing. It's not as simple as some think, and depending on your actual plowing experience, you will find it challenging...... yet fun !
    I tell people, I plow, and I don't want anything to do with de-icing, but if they're willing to pay, I will de-ice, but it's a lot more expensive due to the risk / reward factor.

    The answer is NO, you're not completely protected from liability. The releases are just words on paper. Talk to a local lawyer, and you will find that any good one will tell you that the courts override written contracts if they feel that there is negligence upon the part of the contractor, who is supposed to be the "professional" in the relationship. If you get sued, your insurance covers your defending and end payout. Someone dying due to your negligence is what you have to worry about. Keep your jobs simple and use due diligence as your guide. Keep your customers cleared, happy and make sure they understand that you're not providing a "perfect / hazard free surface" and just clearing snow, and you should be fine..... hopefully