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Rookie question

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Cobra 427 SO, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. Cobra 427 SO

    Cobra 427 SO Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I'm new to this , in fact I havent started plowing yet.

    So before I get myself in a mess I thought I'd ask some questions, please bear with me, I'm sure these are silly questions to the veterans but the answers would help me out quite a bit.

    1) Why is it most of the plow truck's are F-150's or Chev Sierra's? I was thinking about buying a 1979 Ford Fullsize Bronco. I'd rather have a sport ute type of truck for the summer months to go off roading and in my experience I prefer a sport ute over a pick up. What would be the draw back's to buying the Bronco over a F-150? Is there an advantage to the longer wheel base in a pick up truck?

    2) What kind of expenses am I looking at during the plow season?

    3) What should I look for in a truck to ensure the least amout of head ache , down the road.
     
  2. Earthscapes

    Earthscapes Senior Member
    from WNY
    Messages: 577

    1. can't tell you too much about 1/2 tons cause most plow trucks around here are 3/4 or 1 tons. There are a few guys running bronco's but i personally don't like them because of visiblity reasons.

    2.Expenses: well fuel is #1,,insurance is #2,, then anything you break will all add up so there is really no given amount because anything can happen and will at some point.

    3. Headache's if you can find the perfect truck let me know and i'll go buy one. This basically goes back to question # 2.
     
  3. Highpoint

    Highpoint Senior Member
    Messages: 241

    No Play

    If you are serious about starting to plow snow there is one thing that you must understand. Play time is OVER!

    You will be a slave to the elements and your customers best friend when bad weather hits. You must be diligent in taking care of your self and your customer.

    Therefore, you must make certain that the vehicle you are commiting to use will take the abuse and provide the service.

    Unless you have an deep pocket, this means NO playing with your plow truck. Get something else to go off roading with.

    Good luck;)
     
  4. Mick

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

    1/2 tons - because that's what they have when they decided to put a plow on it. Or they didn't know better and a 1/2 ton is cheaper than a 3/4 ton.

    I see plenty of Broncos and Blazers with plows on them around here. I'd say the biggest issue would be visibility. Most guys even take the tailgate off a pickup to see better.

    Expenses - unless you have several clients to begin with, your biggest expense will be insurance, followed by fuel, then repairs (sorry to disagree, Earthscapes).
     
  5. DYNA PLOW

    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    79' bronco will make an excellent plow truck,high pinion dana 44 front axle, 9inch rear axle probably a 351m or 400 and c-6 tranny.
    had one at one time although no plow on it...i don't think visibility will be an issue as ther is a ton of glass area.
    dan
     
  6. Big Nate's Plowing

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

    I run a 78 bronco/3" lift 35" tires, good truck, pushes real well, parts are a dime a dozn, $14.99 for a starter $22.99 for a alternator exc... and yes I play with mine offroad, what fun is a 4x4 when the most offroading it sees is hopping a curb at the mall?

    ~Nate~

    broncside.jpg
     
  7. Earthscapes

    Earthscapes Senior Member
    from WNY
    Messages: 577

    Mick. I don't want to to start an argument,,but i would be happy to show you my fuel verse insurance costs for the just the snowplowing season. Even from last year when i only had 1 truck and 50 plow accounts. Our average gas price around here is $1.55 a gallon for regular unleaded,prem is about 1.62 and super $1.71.
     
  8. Cobra 427 SO

    Cobra 427 SO Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Nate what type of plow do you use?
     
  9. Big Nate's Plowing

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

    I have a 8 foot meyer - e-47 lift unit..... tempting to find a 8&1/2 foot tripedge diamond blade for it.

    oh and I can go for about 20 or so hours on 25 gallons of gas

    ~Nate~
     
  10. Cobra 427 SO

    Cobra 427 SO Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Is it worth getting into plowing?

    Gas is going through the roof, in my local area some peoples car insurance has raised 100% over the last year, insurance companies say the they need to recover losses because there have been alot of claims due to soft tissue claims....(BS if you ask me)

    I really just want to have enough customers so it will pay for the truck, repairs , gas and insurance. I don't want to quit my current job as it pays pretty good, Mon to Fri , 9 to 5 job.

    In this area operators are asking (and getting) $ 25 per driveway.

    In your experience can I break even just doing driveways?
     
  11. Big Nate's Plowing

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

    by the 10th driveway I do ($30 each )I have paid for all my expences for that event, gas, shoveler/spotter pay and 1/3 of ins for the year, after 3 events anything else is profit..... :: disclaimer :: take it with a grain of salt because my costs are pretty low low and yours may be higher:rolleyes:

    ~Nate~
     
  12. Mick

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

    Earthscapes, no argument just good-natured disagreement. Actually, you made my point. You have 50 accounts. Yes, your fuel bill is most likely higher. But just starting out, Cobra 427 SO is not likely to have that many. Heck, I don't have that many after three seasons through a combination of locality and my choice. So, my insurance is more than my fuel bill. (Come to think of it, fuel bill may be catching up).:D
     
  13. Cobra 427 SO

    Cobra 427 SO Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I really appreciate the info. It helps me out quite a bit.

    From what I can read the tranny and the engine tend to be the most common thing's to break.

    What kind of modification's do I have to do to my truck. Someone told me a long time ago the the extra weight from the plow on the front end causes alot of stress on the front shocks. Do I have to have some aftermarket heavy duty shocks installed?
     
  14. Earthscapes

    Earthscapes Senior Member
    from WNY
    Messages: 577

    Mick...... the more i think about it we are both wrong. Say you pop a tranny theres a $1500-$2500 bill. And i was wrong about last years major plow expense. I spent $1300 on a new western plow pump.

    This year i'm running 2 trucks and crossing my fingers nothing major breaks.

    My list so far this season:
    a cv joint
    back plow hose
    front rotor and pads
    battery cable and terminal
    a plow motor selinoid
    Not bad for 47" of snow so far
     
  15. OffRoadPlow

    OffRoadPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    Everyone is right, because everyone will see diffrent outcomes.

    Cobra, I would read as many of the posts on this subject as you can, one good thing you should get from all of them is that anything is possible. You can set two of the same trucks up with the same equipment and one could go 7 years without even having to put fluid in, and the other could be on 2nd trans, 3rd engine, 4th rebuild on the plow pump, and half a dozen suspension upgrades. It is better to be ready for it all, a little in the old bank as a reserve is a good idea. Also, just to put in my 2 about the truck, I have a K-1500, but started with a 2500, and from my experience, I could have saved in the long run by just getting another 2500 instead of the truck I have now. My next truck will be a 2500 for sure. Why? Well, not that I do not love my 1500, but suspension, handling, repairs, weight that can be added, I could go on... the better you get now, the more it will help you later....

    Good luck, there are many Pro's in here who will be able to answer almost any question you have, get the piece of mind before you get the piece of equipment>
    :cool:

    Hey Nate, email me on how much for the Sno-Way mount???
     
  16. Mick

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

    Earthscapes, that's for sure. It cost me $1500 for each truck this year ( half ton and one ton) just to get the maintenance needed to start the season. And that was nothing major. Now just today, I blew an angle cylinder doing a clean up. Caught a tree root, apparently it came to above the trip edge. Thought about trying to just replace the check valve kit, but I've learned from experience to just replace the major component instead of fooling around trying to tear apart an old rusted-on stuff.

    And we call this fun.:D

    (correction) figured out it wasn't the cylinder at all just the hose:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2003
  17. Big Nate's Plowing

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

    what mount? I posted a want add for a plow not the mount;)

    ~Nate~