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

Questions for the Colorado Guys (Long Post!)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by MATREDGT, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. MATREDGT

    MATREDGT Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I found this forum by mere accident and have been doing a lot of reading the past few days. I am currently living in Michigan but next summer I will be moving to the Denver area (most likely Longmont), with my girlfriend, for both of us to go to school.

    Well a few weeks ago while driving my Jeep a line broke off the power steering pump and sprayed fluid all over the manifold. This started a small fire that has rendered the Jeep not road worthy. Now I could easily fix this and keep driving the Jeep but it has let me down so many times and it has gotten to the point where it just isn't worth it to me to fix it. So I am in the market for a new (to me) truck. All of my searching and researching is what brought me to this site.

    I am having a bit of a dilema determining what truck would suit my needs the best. As I am right now a 1/2 ton truck would suit me perfectly fine for 98% of my needs. The other 2% would mainly be the macho factor that would be attained with a 3/4 ton or larger truck. After finding this site it gave me the idea that a 3/4 ton or larger truck could have a plow attatched to it and I would be able to use it to make some extra money over the winter months. Now this is where many of my questions come in. I have come to the conclusion from reading on the forums that I will need a minimum of $1 million in general liablilty but I might need more. I also found out that my truck would have to have commercial vehicle insurance on it to be plowing. Is there anything else that I have not read about or I might be missing?

    I have only operated a plow 2 times and both of those were with an experienced driver in the truck with me. He let me mess around a bit in the last parking lot that he had to plow, so I have hardly any experience at all. For safety's sake lets just just say that I have zero experience. Now I must also state that I am no idiot and I don't drive like a maniac. I would be almost 24 come the winter of 2008 and I have to accidents of tickets on my record at this time. I have been in a few accidents a couple were due to my inexperience and the others were the other drivers fault.

    Now my biggest question is this and it really is the deal breaker. Would I have a chance of being hired as a sub-contractor without having any experience? I would fully expect to be working for less money than an experienced guy so that isn't a problem for me. Would I be better off trying to get hired as an employee for a company and use one of their trucks to gain experience? Would a company hire me as an employee and have me use my own truck (if I had the proper insurances)?

    I am very mechanically inclined so I would do all of the work on my truck/equiptment. I would also buy a newer truck and though that doesn't guarantee nothing will break it should lessen the chances.

    As a subcontractor how does the schedule work? Obviously I would only be needed when the snow flies, but am I just supposed to sit at home a wait for the snow? Would I be able to have another job and would the contractor understand and work around that or no? Would they understand me having to be in school during the day or no? How do you guys that only plow snow a second job/side job do it?

    Sorry for being so long winded and I greatly appreciate any answers that would can provide me with.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    sorry. im still on the fact that you have no tickets or accidents and your 26 and a guy?
    im 32 with three accidents and 24 or so moving violations. (only one accident my fault).

    how do you not have ANY? :confused:
     
  3. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    wouldn't be a problem
    esp. for someone as well spoken as you. (read into that what you will)

    Heck, by next year, I might have room for you.:D
    Everyone learns somewhere.

    feel free to PM me, I'm in Longmont
     
  4. MATREDGT

    MATREDGT Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    I believe you read through my post to fast. I am only 22 right now but come the winter of 2008 I will almost be 24 (birthday is Dec. 4th). I also stated that I don't have any tickets or accidents on my record at this time. I just got my first ticket about 1.5 years ago but it was zero points so it was never put on my record. I have been in my fair share of accidents and like I said the first couple were due to my stupidity and my inexperience driving. The last few accidents I have been in were due to the other drivers not paying attention (was rear ended three different times). All of my recent accidents are now off of my record. So as I said I no longer have any tickets or accidents on my record at this time.

    I can't even begin to imagine what your insurance premiums must be. My driving habits have really changed that last couple of years. I am no longer doing the stupid crap that I used to. I honestly drive like an old person over 90% of the time. It's just not worth it to me to take the risks of acting like an idiot behind the wheel anymore. Just FYI bribrius, I am not preaching to you about your driving habits or anything.

    Thanks for the very fast responses guys, keep them coming,
    Mike
     
  5. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    Wow Thats a long post!! I plow commercial lots with a 1/2 ton, and It works great. Of course I've done some mods to it though. Snow tires, 500 pounds of ballast in back, and the biggest thing Timbrens in the front-an excellent product. Of course If you can get a 3/4 or 1 ton, do it, but if all you have is 1/2 ton truck, stick a plow no larger than 7 1/2 feet, or a light 8 footer. Make sure you have 4x4LOW, Get some Timbrens, and put bout 500# of something of other in the back when you plow, and you'll move some snow.

    Subbing is so very easy out here in Colorado. To get on this year all I did was go check on Craiglist.com, and check to see if there was any guys needed to plow with there own truck, shot out a few emails, and about 5 different snow removal companies wanted to get me on a route. You must have insurance. All I have is I million$ general liability insurance that covers snow plowing. It costs me less than 800 a year and It covers everything I do in the lawn season as well. In Colorado lots of general contractors start plowing @ a 1/2 inch of snow or less, I get paid from the moment my boss calls me to come out and plow, untill I'm completely done.....usually 10 hours on a 2 inch storm. I don't do any of my own accounts yet, because they want me during the entire storm, but guys do it all the time. Theyll either just work it out sometime during the day and mark it on your hourly invoice, or they'll just have a certain time after the snow falls to get there accounts done or there screwed. I get paid 65/hr for just myself and 95/hr if I have a second guy running my snowthrower. I'm sure thats kinda the bottom of pay...but untill I can work all of my own accounts....I'll sub for 95/hr any storm.

    Usually guys in this business can plow snow @ any time. I have my own lawn service that keeps me busy enough to mow lawns straight from april to the end of october, and from october to about the end of november I'm blowing out sprinklers, doing fall aeration, leaf cleanup, for most of my lawn service accounts, and anytime the snow is about to come down, I'll mount my plow, get my thrower ready, pack up my truck, call my helper to let him know he might be needed soon, go get a bunch of red bull, and try to relax and wait for the phonecall.

    If you do snow removal on your own for residential accounts, sometimes it can be frustrating. Because some people don't care about an inch or two of snow, and you wanna plow every 1 or 2 inches you can get, so if you do residential make sure you set your trigger point very very low, and that people understand that if they want your service, your gonna give it to em @ an inch!! If not, it'll be snowing and all the commercial guys will be plowing/deicing/throwing @ a 1/4 inch of snow and you'll be sitting waiting for accumulation. Also if you do resedential, price it per push, so at a 1 inch trigger you can come back a couple of times through the day and hit em with the big bill. My boss prices all of his commercial accounts by the hour, he figures his guys can take their time, do a better job, be nicer to there trucks, and get paid more for it!!! Pretty cool.


    98 Ford F150 4x4 w/timbrens
    Meyer St 7'5"
    Troy Bilt Storm 1130
     
  6. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Ok
    where are ya?
    I could put you to work today. :nod:

    Been a busy couple of days.
    I'd buy the 3/4 ton BTW, a 1/2 ton would do 70% of the snows we get, but it won't last real long and those 30% (monsters) are where you really make the money and if you can't move it, well, you're out of luck.
     
  7. MATREDGT

    MATREDGT Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    As much as I would like to take you up on your offer, I think it is a few to many miles to commute. I am currently living in Michigan until the end of June 2008. From July 1st on I will be a new Colorado resident. So hopefully I will be able to get a job plowing snow for the 2008-09 winter.

    FYI, I was asking these question so far in advance so I can decide what truck would suit me the best in the coming years. I don't want to buy something, only to have to sell it soon after to get something bigger, newer, etc....

    Thanks for all of your replys. They have helped me make my decision about what size truck I'm going to get. Now I just have to decide which make, and whether gas or diesel.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  8. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    remember, we're at 5000feet up here.
    20% off your power right off the bat.
    Turbo diesels (actually any turbo) help get rid of a lot of that power loss (just shoves more oxygen in)
    JMHO
     
  9. aweyeneth

    aweyeneth Junior Member
    from Denver
    Messages: 4

    I was in your shoes only 6 months ago READ THIS

    I would encourage you to strongly consider a different part time job. Waiting tables or Valet parking will provide you with much more stability and consistant income. I had only plowed a few times before this year (so basically no experience). I went out and bought a truck and a plow and now I'm in debt and it sucks and it's 70 degrees out and we haven't had more than a dusting since beginning 2009. Save your money, buy a smaller truck, etc Your payment as sub will be 60-70/hr. IF you get a good route you'll plow for 3-4 hours max. per snowfall. Most accounts are 2" minimum. So if its and inch you doen't even start the truck. Denver/Longmont/Front rand gets MAYBE 7-8 plowable events per season (but less this year) So your looking at MAYBE 1500 gross revenue, your liability ins. will be ABOUT 1000/year, Gas, additional maintnence, Plow 2000?? You MIGHT break even as a sub. If you want to hustle and get your own accounts (unlikely since your new), you'll do better but take it from me it's a lot of time and energy and money just to break even. Your better bet is to even plow FOR someone make 15-25/hour but with ZERO expenses. Get some experience and the following year get some of your own contracts. Not trying to snow on your parade but want you not to do what I did.

    Andrew
    303-564-3031
    call if you want to chat more.
     
  10. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,544

    this advice may have helped more a year and a half ago:D
     
  11. aweyeneth

    aweyeneth Junior Member
    from Denver
    Messages: 4

    Oops

    I didn't even look at the date!

    Andrew
     
  12. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    hmmm. my liability insurance runs 564.00 a year.

    I've went out to service my lots 8 times this season. Longest shift was 17 hours...shortest was 4.

    A good sub shift is not 3 or 4 hours...that's pretty bad. How do you make money like that?

    I bill out 100/hr. 75 for the truck...and 25 for the shoveler. I also charge 25 bucks for every 50 pounds of melt layed on sidewalks. I lay 4 to 12 bags a night.

    A half inch of snow for me = 4 hours. 2-4 inches = 10 hours. 5 or more and I'm banking.

    Keep in mind I'm plowing commercial in Lakewood and Golden.
     
  13. aweyeneth

    aweyeneth Junior Member
    from Denver
    Messages: 4

    Hey, all I'm sharing is my opinion and my experience. I don't make any money, I'm trying to sell my rig and plow currently. If you want to take me under your wing and teach me how to get accounts of my own I would be forever grateful. I can clear pretty darn good, I'm detail oriented and not a complete idiot around people but I'm kind of lost trying to make some real money.