1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Plowing! Is this for me?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by gmack616, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    Hey Guys, i have decided to start my own plowing business this year. I was just laid off of work and was given a nice severance check from my last job. I dont really want to get a job until spring time. I was gonna move to miami and hybernate till spring then come back to the real world. I live just outside of washington d.c. in northern virginia.

    I have always been somewhat interested in plowing and i do own a 2002 silverado 1500. i know its not a heavy duty truck ideal for large scale commerical plowing, but i think itll be good for residential and light comercial work. So my other plan was to take about half the money i have on hand right now and buy a plow and try to generate good income this winter.

    For those that aren't familiar with the d.c. area, we typically get about 4 decent storms each winter and every time it snows even just a couple inches around here, people loose their minds and all hell breaks loose. From what i have observed in years past there is NOT alot of commercial competition around here for snow removal. I've seen lots go for 2 or 3 days after a snowfall w/o being plowed.

    I plan on printing flyers and putting them on as many houses and street signs as i can in my general area. I'd rather blanket an entire zip code and hope to get a small percentage of them as customer than not have enough work to make my investment and time worth it. Also plan on going around to gas stations and other small business to hand out my # during the week before the first forecasted snow... the kinda area i live in is one where as soon as the first snow forecast comes in they have tv news crews at grocery stores as the entire suburban population raids the store supply of water, milk, bread and shovels.

    so do you guys think this would be worth it for me? assuming it snows a few times this season, do you think i can make back a $3,000 plow investment as well as a nice little profit for my time?

    thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2004
  2. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Well, more knowlageable people then me will reply when it comes to the business aspect. I can tell you that general lilibility insurence should be a consideration. It *can* be hard to turn a profeit your first year. You truck will hold up fine with a 7'6" plow some Timbren load boosters, and (if you don't have one) and aux tranny cooler.
     
  3. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37


    yeah ill look into insurance, even with it though. i've heard stories of people around here making 10k-30k a season, most contractors around here pay $75-85 an hour assuming i go that route and they definetly stay busy for atleast 3 days straight after a good storm. just wondering how much of that is heresay compared to reality.
     
  4. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Welcome to plowsite. :waving:
    First off, NEVER plan on paying off your plow the first year. :nono: (unless of course you're made of money). To plow snow, insurance is a must. If hit something while plowing, you've got to be covered. Your truck will handle a 7.6 plow just fine. I've got pkenty of friends whi have them and they don't have timbrens or tranny coolers but they are helpful. One thing you've got to remember though is that it's late in the season. Alot of people already have their snow removal contractor lined up for the season.
     
  5. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    thanks for the welcome! i hate to second guess a veteran, but i just think around this area its a little different. we typically dont get our first snowfall till mid december and most places i know of dont have any kind of actual contract to remove snow, i would focus mainly on residential driveways and gas stations and such. i know most business and neighborhood assosications already have contracts. but the plow guy i talked to tells me that when the snow is real bad around here, he practically has people waving him over non stop with the plow around his truck.

    this is what i would atleast hope to do. make enough money to cover the plow and fuel and such. do you think i could make atleast 4k?

    thats just 1,000 per storm and at $80 an hour i think that would be super easy.
     
  6. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    You don't understand. Just because it doesn't snow doesn't mean that the customer doesn't already have the contractor lined up. I send out notices to all my customers in July. Alot of guys here do it in Sept. DON'T EVER plan on making alot of money your first year. It's been discussed here 100 times.
     
  7. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    You just got laid off, now you want to spend money when you dont have a regular income , hoping on the possibility that you may make enough money to pay for the plow and then some. In a business where you have no experience , contacts or jobs. I would say go for it , what do you have to lose? Seriously if you want to plow snow in the dc area find out who holds the contract for the airport parking areas and drive one of their trucks , see how it is before you jump in with both feet .
     
  8. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37


    lol, the way you put it sounds like it doesnt make alot of sense, very true. but i look at it like this.

    i've got no job right now, so i was planning on lounging on the beach for 3 months and doing nothing.

    or since ive got 4k to "invest" and a good truck, i thought plowing would be a good idea to A) give me some income, whether its minor or major, doesnt bother me, i dont even NEED to make a profit, was just hoping to make enough to pay for the equiptment and gas, that way its not like im plowing 15hours a day 3 days in a row per storm and its costing me money. id even be happy to break even.

    and B) to keep me busy and not just watching t.v. all day.

    if breaking even is not likely.. then yeah, i probably wont end up doing this. ill just find a lounge chair with my name on it somewhere in miami or key west all winter sipping malibu breezes watching topless tanned hunnies walk buy me all day.

    its not just a job im looking for, i wanted a cool oportunity to be my own boss. driving some1 elses truck around an airport lot all day for 15bucks an hour doesnt appeal to me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2004
  9. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I hope you have more then $4k to invest......

    here is a list of my beginning of season expenses:
    mind you I have been doing this for 4 years now....

    $2.0 million in general insurance $2200
    Inland Marine coverage on equipment $850
    New plow pump $900
    misc repairs $500
    spare parts for the plows $350
    Western Pro-Flow Spreader ( if the deal goes through) $1200

    right there is $6k and I already have a plow... $3500 might get you a nice snoway that will get-er-done and have some $$ left over for fuel, whether or not you will make a profit depends on how cheap you decide to work for.

    I am in the middle price bracket for Toledo and it will take me 2-3 storms to break even.... :rolleyes:

    cunningplan.jpg
     
  10. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    sweeet, yall have talked me out of it. i think i'll go to tahiti, i hear its nice this time of year.
     
  11. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Myrtle Beach SC is nice pumpkin:

    dont let us stop you from getting a rig and plowing, it will be another cheap plow on ebay in the spring :rolleyes:
     
  12. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Break Even

    I here alot of guys on here talk about not breaking even your first year. Well this is my first year, so far I've spent $720 on a $500k commercial liability policy,$3500 on a new Boss plow, and maybe a few hundred here and there for contracts and driveway stakes. So far I've gotten 14 contracts at $200-$400 each all but one paid in full. I've made my money back and more as far as equipment goes. Now I think I'm going to take another ten driveways which would be nice so then I could even pocket some money. I work fulltime as a Life Safety engineer and I'm hoping that plowing will interfere enough with my fulltime job so I'll be let go then I'll have more motivation to start my Life Safety company, and more time to plow. Additionally I can now write off part of my 04'2500HD, gas, and plow as a business expense. Goodluck to anyone who is trying to start on their own with anything the feeling of making your own money and reporting to yourself is a great one.
     
  13. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    i think ill talk to my dads friend about it again. he does it just part time during the bad storms and makes a few grand a winter. thats all my goal was. to drop 3k on a fisher 7.5RD (thats what i was quoted locally) sign up as a subcontractor for $80 an hour, try to get some driveways in my neighborhood for 20 bucks a pop and try to make my 3k back. thats it.. not trying to get rich quick over here.
     
  14. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    This ain't for the faint of heart. Or for bullsh!tters talking about drinking booze and looking at t!ts in tahiti when they are out of work!
     
  15. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    thanks, finally a voice of reason on this site. ive been to alot of various internet boards and wether its car/truck enthusiasts or general chat and kids trying to scoop up porn. its all the same, alot haters and people who have ***** envy. i dont know why i thought for a second a board dedicated to plowing would have people saying how much they loved it and how profitable it has been for them.

    for those who think im just some punk underestimating this, then sure, i guess ill learn the hard way, loose the 3k i put into this this hair brained scheme.

    thanks for the words of support and discouragement. and have a good plow season everyone!
     
  16. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I tried explaining things to you out of experience but you wouldn't listen.
     
  17. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    yes BIG NATE. pushing snow around with a battering ram on the front of a truck is NOT for the faint of heart. you are the man! i dont know why i thought for a second i could be as good at life as you are. my mistake sir!

    bottom line is, there are different scales of business's not everyone is out to start a company equal to yours. wether you like to admit or not there are guys out there with a beater truck and 10 year old rig who call in sick to work on days it snows and make 1,000 bucks or more a storm. it may not be your way or even your competition, but yeah.. it does go down like that in some places.

    and sure, ive thought about the expenses of insurance and repairs and such, but like i said its not like ive got kids and mortgage.. just wanna plow enough so that it doesnt cost me anything. ill give it a shot, if it doesnt work out. like i said, i wont be in a bread line. C U N Toledo!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2004
  18. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    do whatever you want, I could care less...

    if you have more bread then a prision meatloaf then go ahead and buy a plow and try and make money, dont let me stop you :rolleyes:
     
  19. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    If you are looking into making money , logically you should look into something that has a longer season ans is a bit more guarenteed. In the Dc metro area we can get hammered or we can get little or no snow. Its a gamble , you could buy a plow and be working it next week, or you could buy a plow and listen to it rust in the drive this season , you realy dont know. I have had years I make great money and years I have broke even , and even a year with a loss. Right now if I had a choice , I would be lying on a beach instead of getting ready to plow .