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No more Driveways? Good or Bad Idea?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Clapper&Company, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    Most of you guys know, Firday & Saturday We got over 2 feet of snow!

    The wost we have seen since 1977-78 :eek:


    We get 6" of snow thats a good snow for us.


    Well were one of the larger snow companys in town and service about 70% of town. On big snows we get alot of calls for drive ways. I have right now 4 pages full of drives todo!

    I'll be doing them for the next day LOL

    I dont mind doing them and its good cash money, but it seems like its always drives when you beak equipment !!! Then you get screw!!!

    I been thinking about just flat out drop doing drives. Or buying a truck just for drives and when it breaks we just dont do drives lol.

    Any input??

    Thanks, for letting me post my first vent, :dizzy:
     
  2. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    I would think driveways are easier on equiptment maybe you have different types than us. around here it takes like 2 minutes to do a drive 5-10 if you have to shovel the front sidewalk. Commercial lots are MUCH harder on the equiptment than the driveways. at least around here
     
  3. nicksplowing

    nicksplowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,226

    BAD IDEA CLAP ONE OF THEM DRIVEWAYS MAY TURN YA ON TO A NICE COMMERCIAL ACCOUNT.......THEY WORK SOMEWHERE RIGHT & YOUR A LANDSCAPER.......BUY ANOTHER TRUCK LIKE YOU SAID ITS FREE MONEY:drinkup:
     
  4. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I'd say if you have the extra coin to put into a nice plow truck for driveways AND have someone to plow, go for that. Then you'd be getting to those driveways sooner & maybe even doing more than you are now because of having that dedicated truck. PLUS, look at the driveway truck as a good backup for whatever happens in the commercials.
     
  5. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,552

    I think YOU should not do driveways. Leaves more for us (those that do driveways only).
     
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    If the drives are close to each other you can make alot of cash in not much time. Set up a "driveway" route and you will be amazed at the money to be made.
     
  7. riverwalkland

    riverwalkland Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    I've found I make more on driveways per hour, and I use less gas as some of the time is driving at 30-40mph instead of always going back forth, back forth, back forth. If you've got a few quick 30$ drives right near each other, you can make the 90 bucks in 30 min. I dont charge 180$ an hour for commercial, thats for sure
     
  8. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Did I read it right in that you don't have contracts for the drives you are doing and they are all just call in? People wanting you to plow because you got 2' of snow?

    You've been doing this long enough to know it is supply and demand right now. You supply the truck and demand a higher rate than normal. Why would you risk breaking equipment if your aren't going to get paid? You aren't going to upset anyone if you tell them over the phone that you are full and can't get to them. You will upset people if you say you can, break your equipment, and then can't get to them.

    How often do you get calls to do private drives? Only during the big storms? or during the 2" - 4" storms also. If it is only the big ones, then I probably would not get a dedicated truck. If it happens all the time, maybe. But I would also sign them up for a contract if it happens more than once.

    Sorry for the amount, but be glad you have some to push. I have been spoiled this season and I am upset I didn't plow last week.
     
  9. nicksplowing

    nicksplowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,226

    wtf u need a contract for get paid before you push the drive its all extra cash:confused:
     
  10. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    I get about 10 to 15 calls for driveway plows when it's a big event. It's cash money and neighbors see one being done and soon one or two want theirs done too. You need an experanced driver, driveways are not for rookies or lead foots.
    The Big Red Drain did meet a drive it could not do this weekend. It humps up right off the sidewalk 6 foot high in about 10 feet. It slopes up to past the house with rose of Sharon bushes right up to the sides.
    No matter how small a cut I took I could not push up the drive. Back dragging did not work either. I hate looking like a ******!
     
  11. AbsoluteH&L

    AbsoluteH&L Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    A contract assures you can add it as part of the route. I just signed a few today. They were unhappy with there present unreliable contractor. I LOVE landing ones like that. Makes you know that quality work is still appreciated.
     
  12. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 890

    Clapper I feel yr pain, just finished a 20" today with up to 48" drifts. 164" so far :help:. I'm 70/30 resi/comm and what I'm switching to is more comm, bigger equipment and therefore less pickups. Plowing is hard on trucks jeeps etc. Because of all the snow I had to do 50+ resi's with a backhoe. My guy is still hoeing even tho the side window got smashed :realmad:, but since he was driving....... Side streets have snow piles 8' off both curbs and 5+ ft high , my 8.5' blade scrapes both banks as I drive merrily along so if there isn't a dbl driveway opposite my site its near impossibl to turn in. Gonna try tractor/blower for resi next season. If you have 4 pages of drives to do every storm imo get another truck which then becomes backup for main fleet. jmo So u get a new toy and shuffle the vehicles /drivers around and yr driving a newer/more reliable vehicle :eek:
     
  13. Plowfast9957

    Plowfast9957 Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    I was thinking about doing the opposite. Going all residential and dropping the commercials. I make more per hour and am very picky about what I do. People aroud here know I do good work and am reliable, and they are all on referrals. My basic drive now is $50 and go up from there. People dont really care as long as they do not have to shovel. Insurance is about half with no ice control (salt, shoveling, etc.). If you are a commercial base though it is just extra CASH so why not.....
     
  14. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    we plow about 4-5 drives and it is about enough $$ to pay for most our fuel for 1 day.......
     
  15. slappysdump

    slappysdump Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Give me a parking lot over a driveway anyday--driveways suck. Nowhere to put the snow, always a car in the way, messing up the lawn...the list goes on. Yeah they can be done quick and make money but if you are making money doing all com. lots stick w/ that and leave the driveways for somebody else to break down in. JMO.
     
  16. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Driveways suck. I have a couple must do drives. If your going to do only drives invest in back plow. PULL,PULL,SCOOP and GO!
     
  17. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Well the crappy driveways DO suck, but you can often groom good customers over a couple storms to where things work in your favor (like putting cars where they're out of the way). If there isn't a lot of backdragging & moving snow to different parts of the property, they can be awesome (like others have said, a bunch in a neighborhood work great! I have 11 in one part of town, all within a 1/4 mile of each other). I like the small number of commercials I have with the larger number of driveways.
     
  18. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    $50 for a driveway WTF!!!. I can't get/keep a driveway for $35/push!!!
    My point is, its all market. In my area it would NOT be worth it to have a"driveway rig".
    Besides we have a big assortment of drives in our area everything from country drives (thru the middle of open fields to city drives where the neigbor's drives is 2 ft. away from the one your working. What a PITA! So, it would be difficult to set up the "perfect" driveway rig.

    Clap: If it where my decision: No I wouldn't drop drives all together. I would take them on IF you get a signed contract-not just call ins AND the equipment you have on that route is appropriate to the size of the driveway.

    I'm sure everyone already realizes this but driveways have more risk for damage than commercial does-so sure your not risking slip & fall but damage is a concern.
    Ya always got the idiots that think RR ties are great driveway borders, "Oh, lets put a boulder @ the ends for a snowplow to find in deep snow!", "lets build a planter @ the head of the driveway so there's no place to push". All kinds of risk. I will, but I hate doing it, take care of a call in if I have time. They only call if theres a ton of snow, they've usually already got their car stuck in the drive, and you don't know what you'll hit. Driveways SUCK!!!!
    At least w/ true commercial there is generally a standard to parking lot design. Ei: yellow concrete posts on the corners of buildings, curbs, pavement and wider driving lanes.
     
  19. John from OH

    John from OH Member
    Messages: 35

    Ron, I'm about 40 miles west of you and we got dumped on too. We got out of drives because they only want you on the big snows, once every 3-4 years. There is very little potential for signing any of them up for a regular plowing. Your commercials want you everytime it snows for salting and then plowing at 2". We don't risk equipment damage and we don't want to wear out our drivers to chase driveways all over town for a one time event. When we stopped plowing drives, our complaints dropped off to virtually zero. We haven't seen any drop on landscape sales either. The one time driveway is usually not your ideal landscape client.
     
  20. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,198

    I love them. You are right commercial lots are easier. But if you organize it well, and concentrate your residential drives, they become good money makers. After this winter we are looking at a $35 - $50 increase, so things are looking up for next season.