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sad but expected.

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by bribrius, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    ran into a acquaintance with a construction company the other day. he didnt survive last winter. out of three new trucks f350 , f350 dump, chevy 2500 the only one the bank hasnt taken yet is the dump. guess the contracts werent enough to pay the bills. filed bk.
    perhaps he shouldnt taken on so many truck payments????????
    im kind of wondering why he didnt keep the payments up on the extended cab since he has four kids but i guess the dump he could work more.
    whats even worse is i had to evict his company from the office space for not paying rent and employees causing too many problems in the neighborhood last october. yes. i was the owner of the building. i hate to evict but i could see his money problems getting worse not better. to much debt. to fast.

    all good. he already has another company opened under a different name. this will be is fourth company in seven years........
     
  2. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,202

    Sounds like ne needs some business management courses or something! Best of luck to him!
     
  3. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    perhaps i could use some classes too. seems like no matter how i do the math when i get out my calculator im not going to make money plowing. which isnt so bad since im not counting on the cash i have the plow to do my own property but it is rather annoying. accounting for initial costs, maintenance, fuel, insurance, and my time it just doesnt seem feasible..

    seems like by the time i do enough residential accounts to go positive either the truck will be junk or it will be time for a new plow.

    this is based on doing residential drives at twenty five a piece average.
    maybe the key is only commerical drives with full services because the calculator is looking dismal as of now. i really didnt want to put the time and energy into doing this that seriously to have a bunch of commerical accounts.
     
  4. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    that and if you do comerical accounts you will more than likely need a backup truck
     
  5. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    too funny. i had this discussion with someone i know with a property maintanence company early today. he said he plowed and wasnt sure if he made money at it or not. but did it just to make sure someone else wasnt stealing his regular season landscape mowing customers away when they were over there plowing. he would rather keep others away from his customers by offering winter services.
     
  6. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    That can be true. A foot in the door is worth a lot of money. I make it a point to go to accounts I have just to put my face in front of them. It is harder to say no when you are standing right there.

    Making money plowing can be hard. First off it has to snow. Which you have no control over. Then you need the equipment and the back up equipment to do the job. Then you need the insurance, gas, extra parts etc to keep going. You have to get out of a warm bed to go out into the cold weather. Before all that you have to go out and ask strangers if you can work for them and then ask for money either before or after you do the work. Then there is the paper work.

    In my opinon, you have to love it. You can make very good money or you can go broke. But if you are not enjoying your self (most of the time) than there are other things to do at 4 am on a freezing morning.

    bribrius: There are a bunch of things we all could tell you about how to make more money. Like getting more accounts closer together. Droping the hard to do or the farthest to drive accounts. Adding a rate increase due to fuel cost. (customers love that hahaha) Change the way you actually plow. Maybe adding a back blade. Change your route. etc.

    I wish you luck. No one should loose money doing any thing that is suppose to make them money.
     
  7. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    well, im on track this year to do well. setting up the zones close together. got to remember i work two other jobs so my expectations for making money in plowing may be a little uncalled for. i also have the same expenses of a truck and plow as any one else but much less time and in maine we really only have five or six real plow storms a year. i figure if i do 30 drives 5 times at 25 a piece (some are 35) ill be in the 4k range. maybe. thing is that is before the cost of the plow, gas , insurance, wear and tear, my time, so what am i really making?
    and the next question would be can i realistically do 25 drives working two other jobs? chances are some of them ill be subbing out depending on what is going on for me the day it snows. now out of 4k what am i really making?
     
  8. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    I see guys every day that have tons of landscaping trucks, equipment ect and I dont know how they do it! I just bought a new truck last year and a new 10k mower this year and its scary!
     
  9. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    some time they dont do it. i think we are at the point when there are too many landscapers in my area. too many people with plows. it is still possible to make money but probably not as easy as it once was.
    on the other hand. i do know a landscaper that doesnt plow who makes really good money. but he doesnt really mow lawns either (though he has a worker do some lawn mowing). he does cobble stone walkways and slate walls and plantings, the upper end things. with only the best materials. and he drives a junk truck and doesnt even have his name on the side of it. but his kubota and some of his equipment more than make up for the junk truck. :)
    another difference probably. his work is time consuming, but perfection or very close to perfection. and hes always booked solid with people waiting in line.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  10. lawnMaster5000

    lawnMaster5000 Senior Member
    Messages: 105

    how long does it take you to do your $25 properties?

    Around here I am able to get $25 for a short double width front entry drive. Takes literally about 4 minutes from when I approach the property to when I am leaving.
     
  11. Silentroo

    Silentroo Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    We get subs who think they can rent loaders and make a mint in the winter. Last year I had one almost convince me. He went to a competitor After I would not meet his price. We had no events until Jan and then a couple. He was so far upside down on the loaders rent he had to end up paying for the privilege to plow the lots. It's one thing if you can use it durring the summers and it would sit otherwise, but if not watch out.
     
  12. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609




    well, more than four minutes. figure back dragging garage. waiting for people to move cars out of the way. waiting for them to come up to my window and give me money. HAHA. its five am now. i get up at three thirty anyway normally. i figure if i get up at two thirty i can do my own driveways, walkways (snowblower) by three thirty then plow from three thirty until five thirty. go to job. get out of job at three in afternoon. go back and hit accounts again. (hopefully no vehicles in way) . depending on storm i may be doing a third or fourth round. i have a back up driver/sub on board in case i dont make it. my girlfriend is also volunteering to plow this year so that will help i can leave the truck with her and take the car, or maybe ill have her jeep in the yard mounted with a plow by then. . my main concern is not being available during the day and plowing to early so when the town trucks go by the customers cant get out of there driveway anyway. four minutes sounds good. thing is when you actually do the work nothing comes out as planned.
    then i have a chance for a couple real difficult driveways but they are paying a hundred a piece give or take. time with them is questionable. depending on whether the truck makes it back up the hill. none of this accounts for shoveling old ladies doors or sanding, shoveling out oil tank pathways which some customers want, plowing a space around the mail box, or like i said about vehicles in the way, getting paid etc.. of course the more time i spend there, the more money im going to ask for.
     
  13. CrazyCooter

    CrazyCooter Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    I don't shovel out the old ladies, I leave them there. If they're young, then I pick em up ;)

    I too have a "regular" job but balance it out with tractor work in spring/fall and plowing in the winter. I take only accounts I want (read: very close by) and have a mix of hard/easy ones. Simplest is a two shot no garage for $20; I do the hard one (1/2 mile, $85-250 per storm) next to them and when the see me cleaning up the end of that drive they move their cars and I plow theirs. Simple. Takes me two-minutes and I'm done and back home in one for breakfast :)
     
  14. murray83

    murray83 Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    I plow my own accounts on my own time and plow my other job's accounts once I'm finished I have no desire to do more than 40 accounts and I keep my route as tight as I possibly can.

    They only way plowing can be profitable on a medium to large scale is when you already outright own / use the equipment year round not just seasonal for example renting a loader or skid in my on opinion that makes no sence but to an excavating contractor its the best way to keep an operator and machine going year round since that machine is most likely paid off and earning money just in summer work so plowing is just extra cash.
     
  15. repo_man62

    repo_man62 Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    WOW!!! We're supposed to charge to plow?!
     
  16. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I have a regular job which has nothing to do with landscaping or anything similar. I am in law enforcement, so I got good benny's and a nice steady pay check. We hardly get plowable snow down here, but when we do it's a freaking gold mine waiting to be blown up. I have talked to two different contractors here who pay $100 an hour to use your own truck and nobody plows here. Plowing can start here at just an inch of snow. In January of 2001 they had 20 inches here and it shut everything down for a week or more. You definately can't live off our winters, but you could make a nice bonus for yourself. I just wish I kept one or two of my plow trucks from Massachusetts when I moved here. :rolleyes:
     
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,483

    We have been taking you to class all summer:dizzy:

    You are right you will not make money plowing for $20. I'll stay in bed before I get up to plow a drive for $20 bucks
    You need a minimum price, try $35 and up, a push no matter how small the drive is.
    Shoot to make for around $130 to $200 an hr minn.
    Next, do not be sweet talked by the old lady to shovel for no added cost.
    Charge an additional $25 to $30 to shovel a path.
    Better yet, do not shovel, leave it in the back of your truck.
    Keep the truck moving you will make more money.

    It takes less energy to service and keep an commercial account.

    For a warehouse worker/ loan officer/ landlord etc etc... you have a hard time figuring out your costs and what you need to make a profit/living.

    It sounds like plowing is a hobby for you, not a means of additional income.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2007
  18. Mick

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

    bribrius, I'm in Central Maine. I haven't been on here for several months, but just get caught up with this thread. First, your seasonal income from any account should average about 12 times your rate for plowing a 3" snowfall (assuming your trigger is 3"). To do this, you charge more for plowing snow based on a graduated scale - For instance, $30 for 3" to 6"; $45 for over 6" to 9"; $60 for over 9" to 12" and so on. You also have to account for the time spent performing chores such as clearing sidewalks, cleaning off cars etc. At one point, you mentioned "depending on whether the truck makes it back up the hill" - this indicates a problem. Possibly you do not have the equipment for the job? Maybe you need appropriate tires? Ballast?

    You will also need to keep financial records. If you do not know how, consult an account - it'll be worth it. Are you including plowing expenses and income on your income taxes? Are you taking the full deductions available for this field?

    Since you also have a full time job, making money plowing will be more challenging. But, if you are not profitable after a couple years, it's time to find another endeavor.
     
  19. Ole Tower

    Ole Tower Senior Member
    from MAINE
    Messages: 210

    Sad but Expected

    I Dono? but as an Ole GUY I see a lot of People here Locally over Extending themselves Fininacally I assume? its every One attempting to Keep UP or Out DO! their Neighbors in Material things I have a neighbor that works at a local REPO yard We were chating & He told ME 1/3 of New Vehicles SOLD locally End Up being REPOED according to HIM the New Vehicle market has & Is Now Flooded & w/$300 Down any One can just Sign & drive OFF w/ a New Vehicle & NOW w/ all the Computerized Vehicles that the back yard mechanic can NOT Repair! People are Buying NEW thats under Warrantee Due to the High Cost of Repair {Labor} & when the Warrantees UP their Forced to Trade! Due to the Above! & NEW & late Model Vehicles are NOW being REPOED at a very High Rate! & the Finance Cos send them to vehicle Auctions to Get as much Money as they Can? BACK! & the Auctions serves Two main Purposes ONE stated above & that Also keeps All the Repoed Vehicles Moving from ONE Dealer to another so the Vehicle Buying Public Don*t Notice! the Stagnation of Vehicle Sales as Much! {Hes QUOTE!} & as an Ole GUY the Basic Rule of All Business Came to my MIND! as ITS NOT how much MONEY You Handel {High Cash Flow} the Bottom Line IS? How much of IT YOU can Keep? as Here on the Snow Site I read a lot of Complaints in referance to LOW BALLERS Guys w/ Older Model Trucks under Cutting Prices & taking away Customers from Guys w/ New Equipment which GUYS is a Fact of LIFE so All You Guys w/ new equipment better get Used to the Above Fact! as I have chatted w/ Home Owners & Businesses & they Tell ME they could Care Less! if? its NEW? or an Older Model as they Just Want their Area Plowed as Inexpensive as Possible! the MAIN Fact in any Business! & Please Don*t give ME the Story of New equipment does a Better Job? & in Reading Plowing by DEPTH as though Your Customer has control? over the Depth of any Snow storm? so YOU can Charge More? & another Point from the Customers View! Your NEW Truck should Low Better? & Faster? So Your Price should be Cheaper!! than the GUY useing an Older Equipment as Its Prettyer so lets tell it like it Really IS! Snow locally is Plowed by the STORM 3 inches or 2 Feet same PRICE!--Ole Tower--
     
  20. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    Aaaahhhhhhh.....my eyes! :dizzy: