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

Residential or commercial?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MI Green, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    I am sure some of you have seen me pop in here and there on this site. I am mostly on LS with another well known name, but I have a serious question. Last year I had about 10 hrs of commercial plowing I subbed out and about 10 hrs of commercial plowing I did with another helper truck. Then I had another 10-20 hrs of residential plowing depending on the snow. I had an awesome winter but commercials were a something else to manage but payed good money and I didn't need to take another job. When we had heavy snows id be up 40+ hrs trying to stay on top the ball game, but that got old quickly....... So my question is do residentials pay more in the long run, and is it do able working a night shift for some stable income? I have 2 trucks right now and I would think getting helpers would be easier for residentals over commercials because there work hrs would be more flexible. Can a few of you help me think through this?
     
  2. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Most of us here have a supplemental income....plowing is actually the supplimental, if the truth were told. A nightshift will only work if you don't have to go out and plow 20 hours after a shift...
     
  3. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Right. I would have to limit it to 6 hrs less of me being in the seat. I could still have both trucks running while I am working or sleeping. I know enough self employed guys to do that. I just know managing commercials was pretty much a full time gig and not many people were wanting to sign up for plowing at midnight with a rigid schedule whenever I need them.
     
  4. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Bump........
     
  5. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    If you have residential drives that need to be opened before, say, 5 am, then there isn't much difference between that and commercials. If you bid to make money, then commercials are a better source of income imo. Driveways with cars in the way, street plows leaving banks 2' tall 30 minutes after you leave....at least with the commercials, you have such issues spelled out in the contract before hand.
    Return when x is on the ground, x amount charged for call backs, and you usually sand & salt regularly, where drives I find almost never...
     
  6. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    The issue more with commercial last winter was you would go expecting 1-2 ft of snow on the lot and you get there to find it was a 2ft min with snow drifts as high as the hood of the truck. So then by 10 am you have everyone calling under the sun wondering where you are. It would just seem like it would be easier to manage in larger quantities.
     
  7. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    But if there was 2 feet and drifts in the commercials....wasn't the private drives the same?
    Expand, get a wheel loader with a 10' box and have a guy run it around the closest commercials.
     
  8. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    More money to be made on Com. Salt is just as big money maker

    One lot I visit it 4 times during a 6'' snow fall and it was windy Even day after the storm wind blowing the lot needs to be cleaned
    All but 1 is a per visit contract
     
  9. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Ya I do get that. I was making 5k+ a week with one truck and 2 subs taking care if 4 small strip malls. I figured I would need 40 res to equal what I did. The thing I was thinking of doing this winter was taking a full time job ontop of plowing and hiring guys to do my route. I don't see that happening with commercial unless I can babysit.
     
  10. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Snow plowing is a full time job If Im not plowing I'm drawing employment and hunting
    Yes I'm a owner and I can draw a weekly check since My company is Inc.

    If you are on LS a lot then means you into mowing or something Don't you make extra $$ for winter time
     
  11. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Ya I mow 80ish lawns A week. That's April till Nov/Dec with leaf season. plowing is end of dec-feb. Last year was a freak season. Normally we only get 10 pushes or less.
     
  12. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Ya they were but they didn't take that much longer. I am rolling it over 2 time instead of 50 times lol. One of my customers has a Michigan 85 loader she would sell me. It has a 5yd bucket and weighs in the ball park of 40k. Quite sure it could handle a 20ft blade. I dont think my pocket is that deep to fix it if something goes wrong.
     
  13. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    How much money do you need to get through winter? It sounds like your business overhead isn't that big with 2 trucks and mowing equipment. Is that correct? Is your personal overhead (home, cars, kids, etc.) big? Both of my overhead categories are low. That is key to my success. If I need to shut off the spending faucet for a couple months for whatever reason its easy for me to do. Not everyone operates like this and I get it. For my particular situation it works but yours may be different.

    I build hardscapes for myself in the summer. Those 8-9 months of work are more than enough to carry me through the winter and I have enough to put towards retirement or my investment funds. I should mention that my wife make a good salary too so that DEFINITELY helps.

    I view my plowing income as my bonus check. I plow 60 driveways with one truck and it's all gravy. If it's a light year then it's no big deal. Heavy year then I have a smile on my face and I'm one small step closer to retirement.

    It honestly makes zero sense for me to get a "real job" during the winter months. One storm generates a month of pay after taxes for the type of winter job I could get.

    If you are pulling in 5k a week then why change anything. Work your butt off when it snows and drink beers with the boys when it doesn't. My wife loves that part!
     
  14. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    Because being up 40+ hrs to do it all isn't realistic. The other part is I don't have any of the same commercials this year. They either sold or the business is doing something different. So I am wondering my next move. I think i would need about 7k to make through the winter pretty well. I am over all a younger business and haven't got the whole cash flow thing down from summer to winter so I can't take the winter off. I have been in business 4 years now and I am 23. Still lots to learn.
     
  15. LapeerLandscape

    LapeerLandscape PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    We (my sons company and mine) plow 90% commercial lots. The residential drives we do are ones we have lawn contracts with so we are very familiar with every lot or drive. I am not backing over R/R ties in a turn around under the snow like I have in the past while the customer laughs and says I should have told you those were there. Most of the commercial lots take salt, we will salt 3 times to every time we plow. This is all we do in the winter, no supplemental income. But you have to be dedicated, going out at 9pm new years eve isn't something you want to do but sometimes you have to.
     
  16. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    I wouldn't mind talking to directly about what you do because I assume you get as much snow as we do if not a little less
     
  17. LapeerLandscape

    LapeerLandscape PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    cell # 810-969-5561
     
  18. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 553

     
  19. MI Green

    MI Green Member
    Messages: 87

    I had varying times they needed it plowed by. Some commercials needed done by 4 am, another 6 am, another 9 am, another I didn't didn't need it till mid afternoon. Unless the snow didn't start till 4 am or we had significant Amount of snow, they were done on time. The one business I did where they are doing something else. The owner bought a plow mid winter to play. He would half plow the parking lot and leave 5inch high spillovers and then I would clean up after him. He took out all the landscape mid winter in front off the office with a backhoe trying to get the snow that fell off the roof. He also broke a window, half took put a ac unit, and gutters. They then never called me for mowing and didn't now the shops lawn till mid June. I don't know what the heck is going on but I am steerng clear of them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014