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PLowing in North Carolina?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by NoSnowInNC, Oct 17, 2004.

  1. NoSnowInNC

    NoSnowInNC Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I need some advice on getting a plow business started in NC. I plowed for 5 years back home in Massachusetts, but moved here 3 years ago and have not plowed since. We get a handful of plowbale storms every year, few inches or so, but if it doesnt get removed it makes a bigger head ache in the form of ice. We have gotten up to a foot before and the streets were covered for a week. There are very few plows here and even fewer qualified guys to drive them. There is not much competition here and I am sure I could find the accounts. Ice control is always needed. The only local dealer sells Meyers and I have always had Fishers. So before I drop 4 grand on a new Meyer I would like to know if it is worth it. I have a 2004 Dodge 2500 diesel 4x4 and a 2004 Honda Rancher atv 4x4. These would be my first pieces of equipment. I used to have 3 F-250's in Mass. Can I only buy insurance for the plowing season? I don't really want to pay for plowing insurance in July. Should I stick to driveways and parking lots or try to get contracted with a town? The town next to me has a fleet drive down from Michigan when they need plows!! I think they might want a local guy also. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks Guys!! Good luck this year!
     
  2. Mick

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

    My best advise would be to draw up a Business Plan. (In case you missed it, I posted an example of a simple Plan.) This would let you figure how much revenue you would need to generate. Then you could go out and see if you can line up that much business. Don't forget that for town/city/state work, you will need to purchase municipal insurance. Check with your agent for cost, it's pretty high. As you alluded, your best revenue may be from ice control. In your area, you may do better advertising for anti-icing - putting down salt or treated salt prior to snow, then coming back to make sure there is no accumulation. I've never lived in NC, but have lived in several Southern states. The thing I noticed in the "no snow" states is that the roads are not banked; people absolutely do not know how to drive in snow, so when they do get the rare snowfall, they can't/don't adjust driving habits and wind up in the first ditch. Maybe you could also offer vehicle recovery. payup

    Is this going to be a part time business or are you doing only snow & ice in the winter? If only part time, you may not be able to meet the expectations for municipal work.
     
  3. NoSnowInNC

    NoSnowInNC Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks Mick, it can only be part time, because I am a police officer full time. They can't drive down here at all. People will and I have seen it abandon their big and bag SUV's on the side of the road in a 4 inch storm. Alot of vehicles stuck in the rain run off ditches. I think I will look into vehicle recovery. Such as putting a winch on my truck that will slide right into my trailer hitch. When I plowed in Mass most of my customers were in my neighborhood and family friends. I was in high school when I started and never had business insurance before. I will have it if i should plow again or salt. If a storm gets too bad I can always rescue people with my Ski doo Formula sled that is in my shed. Where can I see that business plan?
     
  4. Mick

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

  5. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    No Snow: If you go ahead with your plan, use the closest dealer. Al plows have their +, - s and in my experience, the closest dealer to your location makes the difference if you have a mechanical problem when the snow is about to fly. Good luck.
     
  6. eng50

    eng50 Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    NoSnow..If you ever need help, let me know, we have 2 trucks, a tractor and sander, and would be willing to travel if the storm hits right!! Good luck and enjoy!

    Bill
     
  7. NoSnowInNC

    NoSnowInNC Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks guys, still not sure if it will be worth my time to try a plow business here. I know that with my luck we will get some freaky winter and get dumped on. Thanks again for the advice and I wish "ya'll" good luck this winter.
     
  8. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    No Snow: It looks like your a classic case of the open market. You are looking at a large risk, buy snow equipment, if it doesn't snow you're out the money. If it snows, you're on of the few suppliers in the area and you get a return relative to your risk. I don't have the answer for you but good luck!