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 you either love it or hate it.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by GeoffD, Dec 19, 2000.

  1. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I had an employee that used to run the Kubota 540 loader for the past 5 years. This year I moved him into a truck to plow with. He went from loving plowing to wanting to quit. He said he didn't mind sitting in his Kubota and working 3 lots all next door to each other. However running all over the place in the truck was a real pain.

    Like I have said before ya either love it or hate it, there is no middle ground. After your first winter you will no for sure.

    When I here guys that say oh you mean we are going to have to plow again. I tell them that if they don't like running the truck, I can find another spot in the snow removel opperation. I have found if ya don't like doing it, the quality goes down hill, and I don't need that.

    So for all the new guys out there. I april sit back and think about this winter, and ask yourself If you want to do it again. If you don't hang up your hat and let someone else do the accounts. I really do believe that if ya don't like doing it, the quality will go down hill. The the problems get worse, more complaints, more problems ect.

    Just some thoughts that came through my mind today.

  2. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Geoff ,I agree,and until they try it,everyone thinks its easy and that its all fun and games.I get young kids tellingm e why wont you let me plow for you at 17.These same kids have 3 tickets,wreck ed 2 cars in 9 months,and want me to put them in my truck in a snow storm?They must be nuts.
  3. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    I really enjoy plowing. As much as I've been compaining lately, I really do. I'm just getting to the point where I'm forgetting how nice it is to sleep (more than 4-hours). It's hard trying to plow, and work a full-time job. I think having to plow Motorwerks is killing it for me. It's such a pain in the @$$ dodging cars all day, and then having to move inventory cars and plow frozen snow. I've barely seen my wife and daughter these past two weeks. Oh well, I can wait till spring to sleep...


    [Edited by SlimJim Z71 on 12-20-2000 at 02:48 AM]
  4. columbiaplower

    columbiaplower Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    dont be stereotypical ive plowed since i was 15 on a tractor than truck never had an any accedints i agree thought u have to choose carefuly.
  5. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    I had a guy at work ask me what I did before I started my "new" job... I told him I have done grounds maint. for the past 15 years, and on my own for the past 5. I told him I got out of it, but I am still very active in snow plowing.

    Now I know he plows there, so I added that I have also written several articles recently on snow plowing for a trade magazine. He laughed at me, and said "How hard is it? Push switch, plow goes up, push switch, plow goes down" I replied "If only it was that easy!" He said well, it is. Then he said he was only kidding, but I know he wasn't. I didn't go on to mention my handbook.

    It's a shame, even after plowing for years (at least 5 I am told) that he thinks that's all there is to it. "Just drop the plow and go" as I often say when referring to those who have little or no experience.

    Bear in mind he plows government property, with a government truck, on OT only. This year, I am going to plow for them on OT as well, as soon as I get my gov't drivers liscense (tons of red tape). This year, I subbed out my important accounts, but next year, I will have enough time off accrued to plow myself (I've already accrued 2 days off so far). You have no idea how hard it is to be indoors when it is snowing! It kills me to look out there and see snow now. It snowed here about 2 weeks ago, and it was the first time in 17 years I was NOT out in it plowing, shoveling, or salting. I guess I can truly say I love plowing! (And that's an understatement by far!)

  6. SCL

    SCL Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    This is my third full time year of plowing and I've been wondering if I do or don't? I worry if I'll get stuck, if I'll break something, am I charging enough, should I buy extra salt today, why don't others have any consideration for you when you're plowing, can I afford to buy a newer truck, can I not afford to have a backup truck, what will my wife say when I trade the minivan in on a F450 SD, and so on. Then today one of my commercial account managers came out and told me that the owner was very pleased with our service and to keep up the excellent work. I gotta quit thinking so much and realize that providing a quality service to reasonable customers is all that any independant should hope to attain as long as the money's there. I think I like plowing. Now, if the Bears get rid of Cade and shore up that defense and...
  7. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 244

    This is my third full time year of plowing and I've been wondering if I do or don't?

    I dont do any plowing. But have had jobs where i didnt get much sleep. And it seems to me that some of you are suffering from classic signs of sleep deprivation. And those of you that do get enough sleep have been thrown off your sleep time schedules. People who work odd hours and swing shift usually have this problem. This can affect you no matter how money you are making. Just from reading this I can tell that depression and anxiety that comes along with this is setting in. Making your job seem much harder and less enjoyable to you. Making a tough job even tougher. Employees and the owner will start to suffer from this. But some can handle this type of schedule better than others. Our police dept has gone to just straight shift to combat this problem. You may not realize this is happening to you. Anxiety is a terrible thing to go through and can become so severe as to be incompacitating.
    Websters dictionary definition of anxiety: 1) a feeling of uneasy or worry about what may happen.
    Anxiety exagerates problem and you worry about things in the futer they may never even happen at all etc

    Maybe you and your employees(everyone together) can have a meeting at regular interval to talk about this and reasure them before it gets too serious

    [Edited by Charles on 12-20-2000 at 02:11 PM]
  8. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    I think that if you are a person who;
    enjoys the first sight of snow,
    enjoys preparing for winter
    gets satisfaction from seeing the situations of others who do not prepare,
    look for new winter business all year,
    look for ways to modify your rig to make your life easier,
    know the left-handed pipe wrench and can-of-steam jokes,
    have a loving, understanding family
    are a people person
    and have a reasonably long fuse,
    you have the basics needed to turn your love for winter into a business opportunity. You gotta love it.

    I too have seen (and have experienced) being put in the wrong position. A really good person may do a really poor job when put into an environment that they don't like. They may try just as hard as usual, and fail, and they may try even harder, and fail or not achieve. Been there. Good thread Geoff.
  9. guido

    guido PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 261


    I think it could be both! With everything else I love doing the work, but a lot of times hating putting up with all the bs that comes with it. Always a challenge and fun at the same time though, so I'm biased on the love side!
  10. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    From the frying pan to the fire...

    I have only been out a few times myself. This is my first season. Thanks to SIMA, the many helpful people at this forum, and a little good judgement on my part, in 11 days I have grossed 1/3 of what it took me seven months to gross doing lawn maintenance.

    When I started the lawn maintenance division, I was adamantly opposed to snow removal. My father helped with the financial end of things and generally encouraged me to do what seemed nuts at the time.

    I understand others that advise if this business is looked at as a viable profit center, it will be profitable. Ask and ye shall recieve. I'm in a "terrible" location as far as normal snowfall and perceptions of need for snow removal. Half the commercial lots here aren't plowed, even when we get a 5" snowfall. This tells me that some of those are just uneducated customers waiting to be signed.

    The work isn't bad. It would be nice to grow to the point that I don't have to be out during every storm, all of the storm. Additionally, I want to shorten the time employees are behind the wheel of a truck (once I am running more trucks), since I see what it does to me. Lots of potential for accidents after so long behind the wheel. I notice I'm more careless and mishaps are easier at this point. Other than that, I don't have many complaints. If I made $1,000,000 a year, I'd still have complaints.
  11. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266


    What are you doing for a new job?

  12. bdemir

    bdemir Member
    Messages: 89

    I have plowed for one year and i can say I love it as long as im not in a position of having to get something fixed and the clock is ticking. I dont like pressure ecspecially when it means pissing off a customer of losing a big job. I like it when everything is running smooth. I dont mind plowing long hours as long as i know im not screwed when something goes wrong. A lot of people plow with one truck. I just cant see myself in that position. I would like to plow with the older truck and have a brand new one ready toi turn the key when anything goes wrong.
    I dont mind staying up all night as long as i can get enough relaxing time and some sleep when its over.
  13. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317


    I am a Boiler Plant Operator. I work for the US Army, in a civillian position. My paychecks come from the Dept. of Defense. I run high pressure boilers on an Army base. Generally, we put out about 100,000 psi of steam per hour.
    I can actually say that plowing had a lot to do with my getting out of year round grounds maint. As was mentioned by Greenman, the profits from plowing far exceeded the profits from lawncare (at least for me they did). The competition here for business is tough in such a saturated market. Plowing is much less worrysome for me. Now with this job, I have benefits, and a pension, whether it snows or not. When it snows, I earn more, but I still get the same decent check each week, and don't have to sell to do it. Plowing I love like I said, lawn care had me tearing my hair out, and I <B>used</B> to love that too, when I worked for someone else doing it. I think I fell in a rut. I know a lot of guys around here who used to have what appeared to be successful companies, that had all new equipment, new trucks, 120+ weekly maint. stops, and barely squeaked by with a profit each year. In fact, one sold his business when he tried to buy a house after getting married, and was turned down, because of all the leases and loan payments he had. He owned nothing. Had too many obligations. He sold it all, and got out. I think I got out just in time. I think (I KNOW!) I will always plow, but I am done with lawns. Five years of lawns on my own is enough for me. I still have plowing customers from my first year, and I will keep them all as long as I can. Like I said, I can't imagine myself not plowing.

    Sorry to ramble.....

  14. Lanelle

    Lanelle Member
    Messages: 32

    We just had our first plowable snow of the season yesterday and for the first time in many years, I don't have to plow or participate in the snow removal operations. It just doesn't seem right to sit at home but I went for a walk in the falling snow with my 11-yr old daughter for the first time. I miss plowing but I've missed some other important things in previous years. I think I may need my own sled!
  15. yardsmith

    yardsmith Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    I love the snow, but only if it's 2" or more!!!! :)
    I used to ski (not enuf time anymore), so that's why I loved snow. Now the white stuff turns into greenbacks, so let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
    I guess I inherited/developed a good work ethic, because I can't stand sitting around at home, not making money!
    I always look for things to turn a profit on, whether it be my biz, buying a good used car or truck for cheap & reselling it, or whatever. I gotta be busy so the money will come in for the bills!
    I love my job; wish I had a little more biz this winter to keep out of the red :).
  16. GrassGoddess

    GrassGoddess Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    The hills are awaiting your sled Lanelle!

    I love plowing despite the aches afterward. If possible,we do most of our plowing at night, when the idiots are off the roads. :)
  17. slplow

    slplow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 594

    I love to plow and the money is great. I just hate when the weather man say's were going to get a decent storm and we end up with only 1-2 inchs.
  18. litle green guy

    litle green guy Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    I love it but I hate it. I'm stuck on the stupid sidewalk crew this year which completly sucks. Next year I know I am in a truck though which makes me happy. I did it last year too and didn't mind it though. The company I work for does several schools and we have to do the sidewalks even at a dusting. We got our first storm tuesday night (almost a whole inch!). My crew was the first to go out at 12:00am and I worked till 7:00am. Then I had to go to school. I didn't sleep for 36 hours straight. I hate sidewalks. We do have quads and tractors and stuff but we didn't even get to use them this storm, only shovesls.

    I have messed around a little in the plow trucks and love that. In a couple years I am going to plow for myself anyway but I want to get the experience before I do.

    But I still love it anyway.
  19. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Your job on the sidewalk crew is incredibly important, even though you might not perceive it that way. Don't ever think your not important on that crew. I understand about your wanting into a plow truck, but that doesn't diminish your importance on that crew.
  20. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Mentor, Angel
    from Chicago
    Messages: 239

    After plowing for 25 years, I guess you could say I sort of like this job. :D