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Newbies Start Here

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by ducatirider944, Oct 14, 2008.

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  1. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    Ok, it looks like it is that time of year, everyone has big dreams and sees all that gold shinning in the sunshine on the other side of the tunnel. There is nothing in the tunnel so the picture is crystal clear. There are numerous new posts with big plans, so I thought I would start a post and hopefully with a little help from guys with experience we can keep it up to the top of the forum.

    Before you start asking a bunch of questions, take a piece of paper and write down your answers to these questions:

    1: Have I ever ran a plow truck before or skidsteer with a pusher box?

    If the answer is no, go get a job running equipment for someone that is established and skip the rest of the questions

    2: This is for the guys that skipped the first question and are going to do it anyway. How about you sub for someone than? As a sub answer these questions:

    3: Do you already have a truck or skidloader designed for this work? If you are just going to do residential drives, yes you can get away with a jeep or compact truck. If your doing commercial lots 3/4 ton is a minimum. Some guys use 1/2 tons starting out but will upgrade to a 3/4 ton if they are in it for the long haul. If your equipment doesn't fit these see question #1

    4: So you don't have a truck that fits set requirements, and going to keep pushing forward? Can you afford to work for free? Because you will for the first 2-3 months. How much is that outfit going to cost before it is all set up? $5k min probably closer to $8k for something that isn't going to cost a fortune for repairs.

    5: So you skipped all the questions above and have a new truck with plow. Do you have the right insurance? If your subbing not that big of a deal, call your agent, tell him your plowing snow, have it added to your policy probably not more than a few 100 bucks. Your going all out and going on your own to start, better find a commercial agent. Granted this isn't just for plowing, I'm also a home builder and my General liability is only $16-20k per year.

    6: So you got a truck, insurance, and your own contract. How much salt do you put down? To much and your throwing money away, not enough and someone slips and falls. There is your first claim and your rates just went up!

    7: Who is going to carry the costs of salt, fuel, insurance till your client pays your bill 30, 60, 90 days latter?

    8: Where do you put snow piles, and why there? Which way does the wind blow and it blows your pile which way?

    9: How long is it going to take to clear x said lot and at what time do you go out to have it cleared before people start showing up?

    10: Is that pile of gold still there when you skipped all the other questions?

    I'm not trying to put anyone down here. Look at what I'm posting and trying to HELP you be profitable. I don't want to see you go under, I would rather have competition that is educated, makes smart business decisions, and will do the work for a fare price. I don't really care for guys that don't have a clue and go out and do it for $10 when everyone else is charging $20. You want to be cheaper so you get the work? Isn't $18 still cheaper and you just made 80% more money?

    I would tell you to go work for someone for just even 1yr and learn how to plow. It has NO risk and you will learn a lot. If you don't want to do that and you already have a truck that will work be a sub. You will have very little risk and out of pocket expense, plus you will still have someone telling you what to do and why.

    You wouldn't let someone with zero experience, do bodywork on your car, wire your house, or fix your broken arm would you? So why would you want to be the guy with no experience clearing a lot where my wife is walking to the store and slips and falls because you had no idea what you were doing? I'm not a sue happy guy, I actually hate lawyers and the court system. In this case though, I would sue not only the company that was dumb enough to hire you in the first place and you to the point where your kids will be paying your debt. If you had been plowing for years and the same thing happened, I would think **** happens. If I knew you had had no experience, I couldn't get my lawyer on the phone fast enough. It's called neglect.

    Welcome to the site and the family. I wish you the best of luck with your venture, and I'm not trying to be harsh. But, some people don't know what pain feels like till you physically smack them upside the head with a frying pan!:D There is a lot of knowledge on this forum that you can learn from and a lot of us have learned that sometimes the only way we can get our point across is with a frying pan. Watch out for Snofarmer, he sleeps with his under his pillow!:jester:
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Am wondering if being a "newbie" means you can't or don't want to read before you post??? JMO
     
  3. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    I kind need some help to keep this high up on the list. Thanks Hydro, hey what ever happened to that get together in C.R.?
     
  4. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    um. i want to put a snowplow on my nissan sentra. It gets really good gas mileage so i think i could charge only maybe five dollars a driveway and make thousands of dollars. My long term plan is to have all kinds of small cars with plows.
    Also. Is there a way to hook up a sander on a little trailer to pull behind the car?
    thankyou for help, im just really new and have lots of questions.


    The insurance thing i dont know much about but i dont really own anything and already have poor credit from a previous drinking and driving lawsuit involving my ride around lawnmower so im not sure if they would bother suing me at this point. I do plan on doing some commercial lots too, so if you could tell me how to get around that proof of insurance thing they are asking me for that would be great too.
    thanks again. Its very hard to be a new guy but i plan on trying very hard and im not afraid of a little elbow grease.
     
  5. tom_mccauley

    tom_mccauley Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    I thought the going rate was $2.50! (do you have any extra drives you don't want?):D:D:jester::jester:

    P.S. Would an AMC Gremlin with a 6.5 be good-nuff for maybe 1-2 drives?
     
  6. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    oh, sorry.
    one or two more questions.
    Is there a way i can get my winshield washer fluid to stop freezing? It was freezing last winter so i had to carry a bucket of warm water in my passenger seat to throw on the window. And do you recommend all season tires?:confused:
     
  7. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,529

    LOL very good:drinkup: He is right the tunnel is empty.
    That light? It's the light toy see after getting hit with the frying pan
    ( it's a nice cast iron one too);)
    Too funny.
    Anyway their is no money in the tunnel for you.
    The only way to get it is with service. Do what you said you would then do and a little more.

    "
    I can be a??? well what would call it?? I seldom candy coat things? ya ya that's it...


    About all I can add is don't lowball, Your friends and family will loose respect for you if you do and your competition will never forget..
     
  8. tom_mccauley

    tom_mccauley Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    Yea, you take off the cap (not the blinker fluid) to the windshield washer bottle, drop in 3 mothballs,pinch of salt, and ONLY 1 (one) ice cube. That should do the trick for ya!:drinkup::drinkup:


    Any 13" tires should do you JUST DANDY!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008
  9. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    My aunty is the property manager at this place and she tells me the guys did a horrible job last year and they're looking for someone new now i've been cutting lawns for a few years and have never plowed before so I guess this makes me a newbie but I'm willing to work hard and learn and they're willing to give me the job for a little less than they were paying since I'm new at this and was wondering how long it would take me to plow this place with an ATV and how many bags of salt I would need and what you would charge (ballpark?)-:blush2:Thanks.
    parking lot.jpg

    parking lot.jpg
     
  10. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Npt sure on the Iowa get together. I am too far north to make it anyway. Check the "off topic" forum for more info on it tho.
     
  11. Laminin

    Laminin Junior Member
    from MT
    Messages: 8

    1. Yes three days ago

    2. No one in area.

    3. 3/4 ton Dodge 4x4 with snoway v

    4. Truck pushes 12"+ heavy wet no problem.

    5. Insured to the hilt. I love throwing money away.

    6. No body wants salt.

    7. Company expansion so covered.

    8. Don't have to worry about piles. They blow away within a day.

    9. By 7AM. I like early.

    10. No, but it beats sitting on my keester. The only jobs with gold piles attached involve cops and picking up soap after they catch you.


    With your permission, may I proceed in this free market society. I've been in business for close to 20 years and I have no intention of not making this work.

    These sights are great for newbies like myself. If we bother you with some of our amateur questions then don't respond. These questions are in the "New to the Industry" forum for a reason.
     
  12. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    7 a.m. isnt early. that is bankers hours.
     
  13. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    I wonder who got a new account under a different name fore this post????:angel:
     
  14. Laminin

    Laminin Junior Member
    from MT
    Messages: 8

    True True, but I'm done by then. My banker loves it.
     
  15. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    ditto.

    a somewhat experienced plower who plows banks and commmercials but is asking questions like a newbie????? And the banks dont want salt? my calculator isnt adding this up.
    hmmmmmmm.
     
  16. ColliganLands

    ColliganLands PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,854

    bribrius all your posts in here are hillarious.
     
  17. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    Ok, this has gotten way off track, I want the newbies and yes, I have only been a member for the last 9 months or so, so I could be a newbie to the forum, but I have owned my business for the last 14 going on 15 yrs so NO I'M NOT A NEWBIE, to think about things. This stuff isn't rocket science. Feel free to ask questions, and I will answer to my best ability what I think you should do. What throws me over the edge is that these newbies probably haven't had to deal with real life business decisions and ignore what people that have been making these decisions for years have to say, like we have no clear picture. There is a lot of knowledge on this forum, I have learned things from here. I just wanted to start a thread for people to do just a little thinking on their own!

    Things will always work better on paper than real life. You want proof look at the gov't bail out and the state that the stock market is in. Going out on a limb will give you great reward if you do it safely. Do it with the grand illusion that it is easy money and that limb will break like a twig and there you are laying on your butt thinking this hurts and sucks. Lets try and not repost the same question in a different forum than was just discussed yesterday. If the guy yesterday asked a bunch of questions about plowing with his f-150 but you have a dodge 1500 so you re ask the same question, you should have the common sense that these are the same truck just different manufacturers so the answers will APPLY TO YOU as well! I guess I'm asking for common sense to apply and that might be just too much to ask! We as a group do want to help you, it is in our best interest to inform you so you will be a like minded competitor. Sure beats the hell out of competing against a lowballer.

    The general rule of thumb is if you make it through 2-3yrs, you probably have the business sense to make it for the long haul. Ask questions, if it wasn't the question that was just asked 15 hours ago you will get true answers. Ask the one that was just answered 15 minutes ago, you will get some smart a**ed commit and wonder why? Ok, I'm stepping off the soapbox, someone want to take my spot??
     
  18. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,598

    Sure, I'll chime in. I think what gets forgotten when responding to the new guy's posts is that there was a point where all of us had to say "I've never done this before, where do I start?".

    There are definitely a lot of people who are going to be getting in way over their head but sometimes baptism by fire is the best way to learn.

    For me, I was lucky enough to have a father who was heavily involved with snow removal so it's been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Not everyone who wants to plow is as fortunate.

    Regardless of how much any of us prepare and how much knowledge we possess we're still going to face a lot of the same problems new guys face. We're all in this together so let's cut each other some slack when dealing with the newbies.

    ussmileyflag tymusic
     
  19. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    This is why I asked them to answer the questions at the begining of this thread!:help:
     
  20. Laminin

    Laminin Junior Member
    from MT
    Messages: 8

    Ducati, Camden and all other "Seniors", I truly value most of your opinions. I value forums related to the particular industries we are in. There is tons of free info available. I've been in business for close to 20 years. I'm getting into this one because after researching what I needed I bought the truck and plow to plow myself out. ATV was not cutting it. People found out what I did and came to me and now I have another aspect to my business. I usually did not work when it was snowing out, so now I can be busy then too. I admit that I made one of those bone-head moves. I researched one of my questions for numerous hours and nobody answered my specific question to my satisfaction, so I joined and posted my question. Little did I know that someone asked a similar question earlier that day. Such is life. The thing that grates at me, though, is when someone does ask a cheesy question or one that has just been asked and someone either rips them a new one or gives them some smart A remark. Neither help. They should just ignore the post if this bothers them. This is afterall the New to Industry Post.

    Again thanks to the more experienced guys who take the time to answer our "dumb, stupid and repetitive" questions without giving some smart arse remark. I appreciate the helpful answers you have given me and others. I do appreciate some of the humor, but some of it is of no use especially when guys are asking legit questions. ( It's a pain when you are searching and have to wade through all the crap posts to find your answer.) I realize this will offend someone, but that is life and they are the ones who are of no help to us "newbies" anyway. Thanks again to you helpful "seniors"
     
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