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Newbie advice

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by gwhunter, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. gwhunter

    gwhunter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I posted this in another thread and was directed here. So here we go.

    Not to hijack this thread but I live in Plainfield CT and I'm thinking of adding a 8.5 extreme v
    and a poly caster (or the blizzard or western unit). What kind of money can I make doing this part time. I already have the truck and own a TLB I could use for stacking. Would 15k a season be realistic for part time small account? It seems there's alot of guys here plowing but not too many with sanders. So I was thinking of keeping it small and buying the plow and sander this spring in hopes for next year.

    Matt
     
  2. gwhunter

    gwhunter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Anyone?

    Matt
     
  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    15K before operating costs are taken out or after???
    If it is after then you may be dreaming for a "part time small account"
    You CAN'T be a "part time" snow removal company anyway. When it snow you have to work.
     
  4. gwhunter

    gwhunter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Ideally after, is that realistic? I was planning on subing first year and then pick up a few small accounts. I know not every years will be the same but is that a real goal? I do know how to plow as I run the trucks at work. I don't know much about using the sander but I'm familar with ice melt. I have read most of the threads of this type and just wanted some real world figures.

    Thanks
    Matt
     
  5. Mick

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

    Really depends on your location, but I'd say "No, $15,000 is not realistic for a part timer". If you're in a good suburb and can get a good market share - maybe $5,000.
     
  6. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I would think you would have to be full time for two reasons. 1 No matter what time of day or night, when the snow falls you must be ready to plow. 2 If you are expecting 15 grand a season you had better have several accounts. I have 8 accounts, that are all commercial, and I will be lucky to gross 20 grand this season. After expenses I would guesstimate about 9 grand for me. I am sure your gonna say that you get more snow than I do in Ohio. Thats most likely a true statement, but even with my 8 accounts to your 1 account, it will even it's self out pretty quickly. So 15 grand in profit for part time work on a small account is very un-realistic. Of course this is just my opinion.
     
  7. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    I cleared over 15k my FIRST season on about 38 inches of plowable snow...22 less than average.

    But get this...I was handling 4 commercial accounts with sidewalks and ice melt on walks.
     
  8. I do residential and grossed almost $40,000 (Seasonal Contracts) with one plow truck and a snow blower crew. We work dang hard for that money though let me tell ya.

    Forget becoming a sub. Get the plow truck and post your advertisement with the free online sites like craigslist and kijjii.

    Be in business for yourself not someone else...
     
  9. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Ok guys but he is looking to profit 15 grand. Gross is easy as long as it snows, or you can sell seasonals. But he is looking to profit 15 grand on Quote a part time small account. That is the point I am making.
     
  10. gwhunter

    gwhunter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    The main issue for me is that my full time job is very demanding. I have to deal with oncall schedules and emergency work. So I'd love to go into this head on but to pay the bills I really need my day job. So I was thinking if I was a sub I could work around my schedule. I'm under the impression that if you sub the insurance is cheaper is this correct? If in one season the plow and sander pay for itself I'll be happy. Call it a learning expericance. The guy that we contract at work shows up where ever and does a poor job but seems to have more work that he knows what to do with. My biggest concern is these jokers with the 1985 gmc one tons with the bodies rotting off and beach sand in there spreaders. I know those guys are going to under cut me as much as they can. But there work speaks volumes. It's been very cold here and all the snow and slush turned to ridges of ice. If I were doing the job the lots would have been down to bare pavement before I left for the next account. What about subing for the town is there any money in that?

    Matt
     
  11. Kunker

    Kunker Member
    Messages: 96

    Totally depends on the area. I'm looking at starting next year part time as well. Since I'm working a full time job, I have to stay away from commercials because I just can't leave work every time it snows. I'm also in a rural setting with a lot of idle farmers driving prices down.

    Depending on seasonal versus per event, number of events, etc, I'm estimating that I'd GROSS between $6K and $18K (I know I'm dreaming on the upper end...$6K-$9K is the likely outcome). Like you, I already have the truck, most of the insurance for another venture, etc, etc, and even with a used plow and small salter, I'd only take home $1K-$12K (again, $1K-$4K is reasonable) with some modest estimates on repairs and the like. Move me a 20 miles east into the city, and those numbers would be a whole lot higher.

    Reasonably, I'd expect to take home $3K-5K a season with the plow paid off, but I'm doing this for fun and an excuse for the wife to buy a plow, and maybe a new truck in a year or two :)
     
  12. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Right ON!!
     
  13. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    If your job is so "demanding" then you better stay out of snow removal.
    You can do part time work if your customers will let you plow when you have "time" but most people want the snow plowed soon after it stops snowing.
    NO commercial accounts will let you plow when it's convenient for you. The liabilty will kill them.
    If you want "part time" snow removal....buy a shovel or snowblower and save money.
     
  14. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,752

    Depends on the type of jobs you have. It will take you a while to actually make $15,000. You need to pay off your equipment first. Then you can start talking profit.
     
  15. Kunker

    Kunker Member
    Messages: 96

    As stated, are you being realistic about this? If you're on-call and deal with emergency work, then subbing probably won't work out too well for you. You get a call to work a lot because they need someone who is good and reliable, you say yes and are on your way. 5 minutes into the drive you get called into your day job and have to back out...do you really think the guy you are subbing for is going to call you back?

    And some of those guys running the 85 rust bucket make a good buck at this...it might be old, but it still pushes snow. And being paid for, you have less overhead allowing you to bid more competitively They aren't all doing bad jobs. Hell, someone in a brand new truck with huge payments to make would seem to be more likely to be in a hurry to do more jobs, right? New or old, it's the driver and their attitude that either does a quality job or not.

    Have you thought about who would help out on some of the larger lots? What about a loader driver to help with stacking or removal in a heavy winter? Back up truck for when (not if) something breaks? Salt supply (have you seen all the threads this)?

    I'm not trying to discourage you, I just hope that you go into this with open eyes and do a lot of research first. I have much the same idea for starting next year and as long as I can break even (or close to it), I'll be happy. But I'm on here regularly (day job is computer related) reading as much as I can and trying to be as realistic as I can.
     
  16. gwhunter

    gwhunter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Alright since the replys are all heading towards my impending doom I'll come at it another way.Is it possible with several small residential accounts and good snow fall realistic to pay for the plow and sander in one season? I'm starting to get the vibe that no one here has ever started out and have the idea setup and lifstyle. I realize alot of guys here are really serious into this as a livelyhood and I completely respect that. I just feel there must be some middle ground on my plans.

    Matt
     
  17. jg244888

    jg244888 Senior Member
    Messages: 100

    you cant pick when it snows if its falling you need to be there if your a sub and want to make money you need to be there. a snowplower is always full time watching for the storm. and you'd need to have quite a few small res to net $15k. o and to keep those res ...................... you need to be there!!!
     
  18. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    gw... I am not trying to make you meet you impending doom, I just want you to realize that there is a ton of work involved in being a snow plowing business. If you are that busy with your full time day job, maybe you should think of just looking at a small used plow, and do a few homes, and forget about it. I know the illusion is that snow plowers have it easy and make alot of money, but truth be told, it's 10 times the work of a normal 8 to 5 job. You have to buy the equipment, the sand / salt, sell the jobs, stake the lots, sign contracts, take pictures of all the lots before the first snow fall, the be on call 24/7 for 4 to 5 months of the year, bill every account, take time to go to the bank, pay insurance, workers comp, the list is never ending. I haven't even mentioned fixing equipment, you know the only time it breaks is when you need it the most, or all the clean up at the end of the snow season. I know this is turning into a novel of a reply, but to state you want to be a part time snow plow business is just about an inpossibility. Then to say you want to profit 15 k is way more than any part time job. Very few people on here want to see someone fail. Thats why we are all here to give advice, and guide newbies in the right direction. At least as far as I am concerned, I would rather help out, and let people know the truth about things, then to sit here just to get a good laugh, and watch them dig a hole.
     
  19. Kunker

    Kunker Member
    Messages: 96

    GW, I'm in the exact same boat that you are, and really do want to give this a try too. I'm not trying to be doom and gloom, just realistic. Depending on what you can charge for your area, you can easily have the plow pay for itself in a year. The problem you'll find starting so late, though, is that most everyone will have found a plow service already and isn't looking to change.

    If you're serious about this, wait for the spring/summer to look for a good deal on either a new or used plow, do a lot of research on here, figure out your contracts, how you want to price, etc and start advertising next fall. You might decide that with your regular work schedule, commericial accounts won't work and the sander isn't necessary (that's where I'm heading). Or you might decide you don't want the hassle of tracking down non-paying customers and decide just to sub for someone.

    As you said, everyone started the same way, with an idea (sometimes crazy)...and everyone on here is just trying to help you out and prevent some of the mistakes they made along the way.
     
  20. rpainetfd

    rpainetfd Member
    Messages: 44

    I have one convenience store lot and 15 residentials. It took me better than one year to pay off my Boss V. Probably 2 full seasons to pay off my plow and a used spreader. I already owned the truck, and I use a second truck for salting (already owned) and use my fathers loader and store salt on his lot. So 2 seasons to pay off all purchases and now I make a profit. (2 years to pay off purchases and also pay for ins, etc.) I do this "part time" also. I am able to leave my job to mantain my comercial lot, residents wait until after 5pm or before 6 am. Works ok, can be stressfull on snow days. Good luck