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Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Rhinohd, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Rhinohd

    Rhinohd Member
    Messages: 71

    Hello,
    I am looking to get a plow for my Dodge ram. I have an 04 2500 cumins quad cab SWB 4x4 and am thinking of getting an 8 foot blade. I plan on going to work for someone I know, and was wondering a few thing.

    What plow do you recommend for my Truck?
    Steel or Poly Blade?
    If my connection falls thru how hard will it be for me to find work. I have plowed before but it's been years.
    I am looking to at least make my money back for the plow in the first year. Would this be a problem?
    I was quoted $3400 installed for a Western 8' plow installed (before taxes). Is this a good deal?

    Any help would be great!
    Mark
     
  2. Mick

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

    On the price, I'd say it's good enough. On your question about making your money back in the first year, I'd say "not likely". I didn't make any profit for the first two years. My wife was supportive, or I'd have had a real problem as I spent money on a plow, insurance, truck repairs, tires etc (I already had the truck) and didn't even make enough to pay for the insurance the first year. The next year, I bought a used one ton and a new two yard sander ($20,000). Just kept spending money. So I'd say if you intend to make a profit the first year, you really need to sit down and make up a formal Business Plan - list all potential expenses, determine how much business you'll need in order to pay expenses, including your salary. Don't forget advertising as an expense. Once you have your income needs, set about lining up that much plowing.

    Simple, right? :rolleyes:
     
  3. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    Mick:

    I have been reading your posts for some time now.
    You give very good advice, no flowers, now rose colored glasses, no BS.

    You probably are saving a lot of would be, I'm gonna clean up when I start my snow removal business people, their personal savings,
    cars, houses, wifes, family's etc. Keep up the good work. I'll try to back you up.

    Dave.
     
  4. Mick

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

    Dave, thank you for the compliment and the vote of confidence.
     
  5. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    Hey Mick:

    If you don't live in the north woods, You ain't LIVING.
     
  6. Mick

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

    :drinkup: I built my house in the middle of a 60 acre woods I bought seven years ago. Been picking a ton of blackberries the past few days. :nod:
     
  7. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    Maine, Nova Scotia, The Way Life is meant to be.

    Sound familiar?
     
  8. Rhinohd

    Rhinohd Member
    Messages: 71

    Wow I think my thread has been hijacked! :cool:

    First off I am not one of these get rich quick guys. I know it takes hard work and perseverance. I do find it hard to believe that if we do get snow, making 4 grand would be a difficult thing (how do you guys eat on less then that lol). But then again I could be wrong let me know.

    I plan on being a subcontractor so insurance wouldn't be an issue and I have a brand new truck so maintenance costs would be minimal.

    I know I don't know it all just looking for some feedback on what I hope turns into a successful plan. Thanks for any advice!
     
  9. Mick

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

    Sorry, but I think you're going to find that you will need proof of vehicle and General Liability insurance and give the general contractor a copy of each.
     
  10. Rhinohd

    Rhinohd Member
    Messages: 71

    In IL it's the law to have insurance that so I guess I took it for granted thinking everyone does...
     
  11. ZamboniHDB

    ZamboniHDB Senior Member
    Messages: 335

    Hey Mark -

    If we have another Chicago winter like last years 6 plowable events by me, it will be very tough to make back your money that you put out for the plow unless you have some of your own side jobs.

    As for insurance in Illinois, I know a handful of contractors that require you to carry a commercial vehicle insurance policy, not a standard policy that Joe citizen carries for his car. You won't have to worry about a General Liability business policy if you are a subcontractor.

    $3400 isn't that far out of line for a Western Ultra-Mount. Are you getting any extras i.e. deflector, cab command handheld plow controller, etc.?

    Rick
     
  12. Rhinohd

    Rhinohd Member
    Messages: 71

    Hey Rick!
    Thats the kind of input I was looking for. As far as the Western goes, that was including a deflector and handheld control. Yea last winter was a bit weak. I do have a day job so this would be my own side business (something I have always wanted to do).

    Now the "commercial vehicle insurance policy" whats something like that cost?
     
  13. ZamboniHDB

    ZamboniHDB Senior Member
    Messages: 335

    Mark -

    With all the extra goodies on that Western I'd jump on it right away!

    I haven't added my '04 PSD Super Duty to my commercial policy yet, but with talking to my insurance agent he is figuring around $1350.00 for a full year. That is a full coverage 1 million dollar insurance policy.

    Remember that a General Liability business policy will cover you after you have left the customers property from slip and fall type of accidents. Commonly referred as a 24 hour policy. Commercial vehicle insurance policy covers you if you happen to knock down a light pole or open up someone's car like a tin can.

    FYI, if you are going to work on your own, some business might require your insurance carrier to be A.M. Best rated to weed out the fly by night insurance companies and contractors.

    Rick
     
  14. snoluvr

    snoluvr Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 266

    As far as I can tell, that is a great price on that western. Especially considering a hand held control and foil. I was a little nervous with making money to pay expenses, but I can tell you first hand. I am in RI, and last winter we seemed to have the large storm in december where I made $3980 in four days!! my insurance costs are $545 per year for 2 mill. in coverage.not badd when you break it up. I think people can make good money by doing a good job and not trying to get rich quick. For example I pick up accounts by calling them for an appt. and meeting with them. One new account I got was being charged the typical 1-3, 4-7 price.the only problem was every time the driver pulled into the lot they were being charged that fee. I charge one price for 1-3..no matter if i am there once or twice.goo dluck with the new plow
     
  15. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    Rhinohd,
    I think that is a great price on the western. Just for your own safety check on that insurance issue, every state & agent seems to have a different set of rules. I would try and determine the length of my subcontractor route and then see if you could have time to do a few driveways on the way home. An extra $45.00 here & there really adds up over the winter payup .
    BOAST
     
  16. Rhinohd

    Rhinohd Member
    Messages: 71

    Rick: I will give State Farm a call today and get a price. Thanks for the help!

    snoluvr: My buddy who plows does fairly well. He has a few of commercial lots very close together (factory lots right next to one another) and has made the same kind of money you talk about.
    So you're saying if it only snows 4" but you show up 2x's you still only charge the 4-7" price. That makes sense and seems fair.

    BOAST: Driveways are a done deal. I already have a few driveways lined up in my neighborhood. I noticed you have a quad in your signature. I also have a utility quad and thought about using it for walkways. How's that work out for you? Did you have to put some sort of light bar on it?
     
  17. ZamboniHDB

    ZamboniHDB Senior Member
    Messages: 335

    Mark -

    If State Farm doesn't work out try calling your local American Family agent. I have all my commercial insurance through them. If I recall it correctly, the costs for my business liability it's around $500.00 a year with 2 million in general coverage and an umbrella coverage of an additional 2 million. Keep in mind that doesn't include vehicles or workman's comp insurance.

    As an owner of a company, you can exempt yourself from carrying workers comp due to the statutory requirements in Illinois. Down the road if you have employees or subcontractors you will have to carry the statutory limits. If a potential client requires you to have workers comp and you are the only person doing all the work for them, you do not have to legally carry workers comp and make them aware of that. If you need additional advice on this issue, call the Illinois Industrial Commission.

    I hope this doesn't scare you away from working on your own. I worked for years without one of my commercial customers asking about any insurance what so ever, but in my bids to them I always stated that they can request proof of insurance at anytime.

    Rick
     
  18. snoluvr

    snoluvr Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 266

    hey RhinoHD

    Yes, if I show up a couple times I still only charge the quoted price. As long as you price it figuring how many times it will take. This new customer was asking why we all had fees by the inch, when it is plowed every couple..I was confused. He said that in the Dec storm when we had 19" he was charged a 12+ price of $1175 every time the guy came through..He was very upset to hear that is not how it works. I try to keep my accts within a few miles.makes for more money.you dont bill for time between jobs. Driveways can be good given the right snowfall.Big storms you can make more money and people are willing to hire you on the spot..good luck.
     
  19. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,830

    i think its a good price 3450 for 8ft
     
  20. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    Rhinohd,
    Yep, use the heck out of the ATV on heavy snowfall years. Mostly sidewalks & residential work. No I don't have a light bar on it, just a work light on the back to see behind you & salt pattern. In the past I haven't had any trouble with anybody running over me (YET) :dizzy: , but I mostly have it on the trailer or on a sidewalk. I don't drive it down the road. Good Luck :nod:
    BOAST