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New to the business

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Kwoody, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. Kwoody

    Kwoody Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I am considering plowing this season, but need some help with start up questioning. I have plowed before, & own / operate two small businesses. I understand the business aspect, and how to operate... Other than that, I am lost. I have no idea what plow to purchase, what to charge, or any idea on creating contracts to keep both the customer & I protected from any problems. I would greatly appreciate any help. Also I have a 2014 dodge 2500 crew cab short bed 6.4l hemi, and I plan to do business in central wv. Thanks again
     
  2. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,028

    If you're not already set-up, meaning plow installed and contracts in place, you're already too late. Most guys are working on contracts by July-August.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  3. Kwoody

    Kwoody Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I am lucky enough to have a hand full of commercial lots that i have been told are mine due to past business if i decide to do this within this next two weeks. This year is all about experience and learning the trade.
     
  4. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,028

    Well, you'd better get some contracts written up, get a plow, and insurance. You ARE going to get insurance, correct?
     
  5. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,032

    Since you are so new to the business, I would get a plow set up for the truck and work as a sub contractor for at least a year. Learn the ropes, the time it takes to plow a lot, and what your are getting into. There is a plethora of information on this site, and just about everyone here has been in the exact same spot you are.

    Good luck
     
  6. Kwoody

    Kwoody Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I carry my company insurance on the truck and a hefty liability. I guess my next question would be pricing and which plow to buy. I don't want to undercut my self and the compention, but I don't want to come in high because either way that screws me or the compention. Lol
     
  7. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,028

    What plow dealers do you have near you? If you're buying new, there really aren't any "bad" plows to be had. Which one gives the best support? What kind of lots will you be plowing? Wide open, or a pain in the ass with islands and stuff all over? How have the people that own these lots told you that "their yours if you get a bid in in the next two weeks" if you haven't even talked about costs? Seasonal bids, or per push? I'm not trying to be a dick, but I just don't see how these lots could be yours if you don't even have the first few steps taken care of at this point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  8. Kwoody

    Kwoody Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I think your correct, but do you think that taking on just a few to learn would be a good option?
     
  9. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,061

    You will need to also get plow insurance, along with all your other insurance you already have. Also talk with your agent, make sure you have enough to cover slip and falls. I don't have a plow on the truck, so I have no idea what it costs.

    For a plow, you'll have to do a little searching on this site. As others have said, this is a great place to learn so much information on anything. Talk to local dealers, see who offers the best maintenance, and maybe one might have 24 hour maintenance during storms.

    Charging is something you have to figure out on your own. I only do sidewalks, but because of my operation I have to charge more, or less, than others. You will have the same issue. If I told you I have to make $100/hr and your overhead is $150/hr you're losing money every minute you're in business. Just like your other businesses, every company is different.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  10. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,957

    You don't know what your doing wrong if no one trains you or tells you the correct way.
    I'm with h.j. on this one, how can they say it's "your" lot, but no prices were discussed? Or was there more to the story your not disclosing?
     
  11. Kwoody

    Kwoody Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I have boss plow dealers closest to me and western a little further out that I know of. The largest lot is gravel thats the only one that i consider a pain in the rear. Most of them are pretty well open. Two of the locations were bid last year by someone who did it by the season. They said that they would like to come up with a price by push and give them a invoice after each push. I dont mind someone being straight up honest, thats the way to be.
     
  12. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 785

    I think everyone suggesting that you sub to learn the ropes is missing where you stated you have plowed before. Exactly how much experience do you have? Plowing, and doing it well, is a fairly complex task that requires a good brain and some skills and technique to do well. As far as pricing, you'll need to figure out your costs, only then can you price. As stated, it doesn't matter what your competitors charge, you have different operations with different costs involved
     
  13. Kwoody

    Kwoody Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Subbing is probably my best option. I have plowed commercial concrete "easy areas" I feel that next year would be a better year to go completely on my own. thanks for all of the great advice guys
     
  14. pembrokeplowing

    pembrokeplowing Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    What is a decent sub split?

    I am networking with others in the area in case I have a breakdown and have an offer to work as a sub with a 60-40 split. I feel this is too low since its my equipment, insurance and time. I want to counter with 90-10 or 80-20. This will keep me happy and I wont be tempted to under bid him for the 30% next year.

    Thoughts?

    2015 GMC 2500 HD
    Fisher 8' HD
     
  15. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    Are you saying if they break down they will have a 60-40 split with you?

    And just going to point this out, but already saying that if you don't get the 90-10 or 80-20 will mean you might go underbid him isn't a good thing. Sometimes its good to let them have the accounts and not just go steal them. It is better to have a few friends in your area if you don't have your own equipment to handle everything when stuff breaks. Making enemies isn't always the best idea. Why not jus pay each other hourly for when you both need help? Then there is no one trying to screw over the other by lying about how much the account it worth?
     
  16. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    Sub for a year or two, try to learn as much as you can about the business end of it. There is a ton to learn. Also check out the resources available on here, obviously, as well as through SIMA and ASCA.

    Good luck man!
     
  17. pembrokeplowing

    pembrokeplowing Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    no, he wants me to fill in if he needs and will be accepting more jobs than he can handle and asking me to sub. I just feel paying him 40% is too high. I understand the hourly bit but we both bill by the service and on an every 4" basis. Its not that I don't trust him I just want a fair deal.

    Thanks for your advice