1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

New to the Business and need Pointers

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by pinnplow, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. pinnplow

    pinnplow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I run a painting company in the summer but since things slow down so much in the winter, I have decided to plow. Residential clients ONLY!

    To be honest, I don't know how to plow. I have an 04 Ram 1500 with the 5.7L and am planning on using a 7.5' plow. How do you guys like the Blizzard Plows? Any recommendations for a quality rig that wont cost me $5000? Being that this is going to be my first time plowing, any way for me to practice before the first snow to figure the thing out and get a feel for the plow? Also, what should I know about residential plowing? I've got the basics, staking, salting, snow blowing walk ways. I just have never actually dropped the plow and made that first sweep. I know I am green and probably sound like an idiot to you guys, but your help is appreciated.
     
  2. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    Have you ever ran a skidsteer? It is nothing like that. seriously If I can do it any one can.
     
  3. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    srry i dont get the skidsteer comment...?? joke?


    umm, well, id say the bes tthing for you to honestly do , is hook upi your plow, find a friend, who is willing to show you the proper way... doing drive ways theres really not too much to them like earl said...commecial theres a few things to consider... but drives are easy
     
  4. tls22

    tls22 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,263

    If your just going to do residential i dont see the need for a blizzard plow, go with a 7.5 straight blade. You always can put the blade on the truck and move it around a bit for extra practice. I dont kno how ur driveways are set-up, but you want to back blade in front of the garage Doors and push the snow away from the house. Do not push the snow across the street, they give tickets out for that. Make sure you have insurance!

    Here is a driveway a member on ps plowed out!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. pinnplow

    pinnplow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I figure residential work is pretty straight forward but is there anything in particular that I need to know how to do or not to do?


    One question I had was this - It is my understanding that proper removal starts at the street and goes towards the garage. If you do that, you'll have a huge mound of snow in front of the garage in many instances. What do you do at that point?

    Again, I am sorry about the basic questions but I am new to this.
     
  6. pinnplow

    pinnplow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I am insured because as I said, I own a painting company. I have contacted them about my intentions and they bumped up my liability. I think I am all set as far as thats concerned.
     
  7. pinnplow

    pinnplow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    TLS 22, can I ask what you charged for that particular driveway. I am not looking for you to give away your pricing structure, just trying to get an idea of whether I am thinking way high or way low.
     
  8. pinnplow

    pinnplow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    What's a decent plow that runs between $2500-$3500 that will last me a few seasons and do a decent job on a residential application?
     
  9. Mick

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

    Best way is to get the plow and practise mounting/dismounting, up/down, left right and so on. DON'T TRY PLOWING DIRT OR SAND. First winter, plow your own driveway and a couple small, straight driveways. Don't worry about getting contracts. Take the one-time plows. It won't take much to get the basics, but longer to get good at it. Be VERY careful of what you can't see under the snow. Make sure you know where the edges of the driveway are. Up here, you want to be SURE of where wellheads are located. You're going to make a ton of mistakes; make the first winter a learning experience even if you need to take notes. Just try to limit the actual damage you do. Usually, the first thing new people ask is "What should I charge?". The learning is more important than what you charge. If you take 1/2 hour for something you said you'd do for $20, don't worry about it. It was a good lesson. Learn from it - what went wrong?

    As far as the plow cost - You get what you pay for. A decent plow will give good service for many years with minimal upkeep and minor repairs.
     
  10. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

     
  11. pinnplow

    pinnplow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks Mick. I would like to get some easy contracts but don't pan on taking on anything complicated. I am thinking my prices are comparatively low which is ok because my quality might also be (I want to do a good job and keep people happy but like I said, I don't know what I am doing - just being honest). Worst case scenario, I make a couple hundred bucks and learn for next year. At least I'll keep busy instead of sitting in my house doing nothing.
     
  12. tls22

    tls22 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,263

    If i could tell you i would, but i have no idea what the driveways by you look like. If you can get a pic of a avg driveway, perhaps i can help you out!
     
  13. pinnplow

    pinnplow Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    The pic of the driveway above
     
  14. tls22

    tls22 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,263

    I dont kno how the market is in ur area, but by me i would say around 35-40 per push!
     
  15. Mick

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

    As far as technique - do not push snow against buildings or block line-of-site of driveways and th street. Do not push across streets. Plan where and how you'll push before the snow falls. You'll need to locate areas where you can push back to allow for future pushes. Usually, you'll start pushing from the street to avoid running over unplowed snow, but not always. Learn how to back-blade - raise the plow and drive up to the structure (usually the garage), drop the plow and pull th snow back about two truck lengths, Turn around and back over the snow you just plowed so you can push it forward. Other methods may work, but that's the basic. Plow "with the storm" rather than "waiting till it's over" and wind up trying to plow 20" of snow. You may be able to push 20", but you need experience to judge when it'll be "light and fluffy" or "wet and heavy".
     
  16. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Always assume your gonna rip up the grass it will keep you on ur toes. Second always watch the street dont back out in front of anybody. Take your time and if u have it in ur blood it should be easy
     
  17. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    less to consider with drives, yes. (loaders, dumtruck, ss, etc.)
    plowing drives i think is harder than plowing a commercial lot though. I have done both and going back and forth on a lot i didnt think was too complicated. Plowing drives i kind of wish i was still plowing lots.

    is this thread a joke or is this guy serious? Has he never operated any equipment?
     
  18. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    Just a suggestion, Why not sub for someone that does commercial lots? It might be a little less money than doing drives on your own, but liability goes down, you don't have to worry about billing and you can learn how to plow? I started by subbing and will probably remain a sub for quite some time. There would be more money if I went out on my own, but I don't want the headaches.
     
  19. scitown

    scitown Senior Member
    Messages: 422

    I put in for the town subbing last year and they never called. I ended up plowing 8 drives for $ and also my grandmothers and parents for experience. I bought my plow a few days before Christmas. This year I am pushing for 30 customers. Just start small. I figured out the basics by the end of the first storm. Sloooow and steady. The good thing is the only startup will be the plow since you already have the insurance. Think of it as a long term investmen.
     
  20. Mick

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

    Not neccessarily. He has a painting company. He needs to contact his insurance company to have "snowplowing" added to both the Commercial Vehicle and General Liability.