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New to plowing.... need some pointers

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Emeraldturf1013, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Emeraldturf1013

    Emeraldturf1013 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    I am a lawn care business owner that does fertilizing and landscaping and looking to get into the snow plowing gig, but I really don't know a"lot about it, or what to expect (hidden expenses).
    I have a 2003 GMC 2500 HD, and so far I have interest from customers in plowing for them. Probably about 50/50 residential, commercial. Here's my first issue. What to do for a plow. I am short on cash, so I was going to buy used, and/or trade some equipment for a plow setup. I have a person interested in trading my spray tank (worth around 2000) for a 97 western unimount 7'6". Is this too small for my truck? What else should I look for? I was looking in the 2000- 2500 dollar range for the entire plow set up then another 400 for mounting. Any other advice would be appreciated as well.
     
  2. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    I believe a 7'6 is too small, but you can put wings on it so you are able to clear your wheel wells. I think you need 8'
     
  3. KMBertog

    KMBertog PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    7'6" is too small for that truck... Either go bigger straight blade or maybe invest a little more in a "V" setup of some kind. Best of luck!

    Keith

    www.bertoglandscape.com
     
  4. TF123456

    TF123456 Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    What everyone else said 7'6" is way small and where you are located you guys get a decent amount of snow you can pick up a used on for not to much we have 2 western ultras i belive that we got last year and paid 1500 for both one of them needed a new cutting edge but other than that they work great.... like i told the company i work for now if you wanna run with the big boys you gotta spend some money. Did you call other plow companys to see if they had anything? Or did you try the business loan option? If you do go look at them used people might tell you they are broke but i could be as simple as a 3 dollor fitting.
     
  5. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    As everyone else said, 7'6" is too small. I'd go 8' 6" on that truck. You may be low on figuring mounting. I'd call Truck Utilities and see if they have anything used laying around and get some rough quotes on mounting. They also have a board where people post used equipment for sale in the lobby of their parts department. You could also try L-Z, Crysteel, and Stonebrook, but your best bet is probably Truck Utilities.
     
  6. shelvie

    shelvie Junior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 22

    I would say work for someone first. and learn the ropes before you go out on your own
     
  7. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    I was debating whether or not to say this. Because he does already own his own bussiness.
     
  8. shelvie

    shelvie Junior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 22

    yeah, then he has alot more on the line owning his own business, crashing into things, braking things, braking his truck. all to learn? he will make more money and less wear on his equipment if he works for someone and learns first. then go out and do it on his own.


    Also only having 1 truck and buying used plow, what happens if he brakes down and cant plow out his accounts? they will be ticked off.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  9. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Best advice is to wait till next year and do ALOT of research in what accounts you can line up for then and the price on a used plow will go down after this winter
     
  10. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    x2. Nothing worse than a broke truck and paying someone to do your accounts. Have a backup contingency, or sub for someone else for a year.
     
  11. BlizzardBuster3

    BlizzardBuster3 Junior Member
    from SW PA
    Messages: 7

    I'm pretty much with all of the other post's offering advice, try searching the"Trader"magazines and Auto sections for sale ad's in local papers, craigslist, even ebay for a plow. Try and take someone with you that knows what to look for, it's easy to damage and many are abused. I've been plowing for 30+ years and could offer some suggestions, but honestly, nothing beats experience. The only way to learn it is drop your blade and rack up the hours. I would suggest taking a good look at the places you will be plowing in good weather and make notes of the obstacles, curbs, speed bumps, etc. Nothing sucks more than breaking something at 3 AM, even worse with one Truck. Been there. Hope for a few 3" or 4" inch snows, rather than "learning" with a wet 10 or 12 inch snowfall.
     
  12. Emeraldturf1013

    Emeraldturf1013 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Hey thanks guys for the good advice, I am already learning ALOT just by putting myself in the line of action a little. I have already told some of my lawn customers I would plow for them, and I dont really want to back out and look unprofessional and lose business with them in the summer. And I wouldn't have the money issue, but just spent it all on my wedding!! So now making it is even more important. Keep the advise coming in all areas, but here's another specific question... better to buy a plow for like 2500 and put it on my truck, or another truck with a plow for 3000. I know that the truck will be rough and I know these options aren't the best, but they're the only ones I have!
     
  13. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    Rent a skid
     
  14. hosenfeffer

    hosenfeffer Senior Member
    from nh
    Messages: 124

    I would assume you know friends/competitors that do the same thing ie lawn/plow. Be upfront and tell him that you want to get into the plow business but need to familiarize yourself with the business and you will also bring some new accounts to his business with the understanding that they are your accounts and as such are portable. Complicated I know but fifteen years ago I did the same and have passed it on since with excellent results. I have found these type of owner oriented employees are conscientious and are usually good for their word but get it in writing anyway to avoid any misunderstanding!
    I deliberately keep my accounts to a minimum as it is a property maint. sideline to keep my guys employed year round so my situation is a little different.
     
  15. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Buy a plow for your truck. Any $3000 plow truck will be beat to death, on its last leg. If your worried about how you'll look in front of your customers, think about an old plow truck broken down in their driveway. Keep it simple and buy a used plow for your '03 HD.
     
  16. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Hidden Expenses

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    Go to www.profitsareus.com or call us at 800-845-0499 to order. Feel free to call us with any questions you might have as well. Being a full-service lawn & landscaping business myself since 1979, I know what a contractor is looking for; something simple, accurate and professional. This package is it.
     
  17. buddy4781

    buddy4781 Senior Member
    Messages: 114

    Plowing for someone else for a year is a good idea. Look around at places that are not getting good service this year and target them as prospects for next year. You only have one vehicle, you need a back up plan for break downs. Network with someone that you can trust and cover each other when you get in a bind. You're going to get stuck, run out of salt, beak down, stuff just happens. Get into the forums on plowsite annd you can learn alot from these guys. Wish you well.
     
  18. suzuki0702

    suzuki0702 Senior Member
    Messages: 649

    buy the plow and put it on your truck...dont buy some p.o.s. truck and expect it to work. If you have any common sense you will do just fine plowing bud, i say go for it.
     
  19. Emeraldturf1013

    Emeraldturf1013 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks guys! Well I will trust your experienced words of wisdom and buy a nice plow and put it on my truck. I have found a 8 foot western unimount with wings that has the correct mounting for my truck. I looked at a couple pics on here to be sure because I have seen on here that can be a problem with Westerns with the ultra mount/ unimount issue. He had it listed for 3200, and I talked him down to 2500. Plow comes with the mount, controller, and wiring. Sound good? I am going to pick it up in the morning.