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Should I Plow

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MstChief, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. MstChief

    MstChief Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Love the site, everyone is filled with wisdom and willing to assist where they can.

    Last winter rocked us hard forcing me to buy a snow blower. After blowing my driveway, neighbors and parents, everybody wanted me to blow their driveway. I never thought about this being a business opportunity till I heard local horror stories.

    The residential clients were abandoned by the plowing contractors for the larger commercial contracts. Regardless of contracts/proposals.

    In the neighborhood my folks lived (30 homes with 10 having a plowing contract) nobody got plowed all season. I used my snowblower to cut paths to mailboxes, entrance doors and infront of garages.

    Having NO plowing experience, yet see that all of the homes in the development would hire me, caused me to investigate the option.

    I can afford the plow, GL insurance, and the wear and tear, should this be something I should take on, or refer to someone else?

    These folks have already been contacting my parents to have me clear their driveways this coming winter.

    Financially: driveways are about 250' - 500' long and the guys who offered contracts and didn't show up quoted ($100.00). No shoveling, garage clearing, or salt.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Welcome to Plowsite :waving:

    If you see a valid profitable business opportunity,then by all means go for it.I'd start asking people who are interested and see what all you can drum up.Then you'll know what all you will have,and can do the math to see if it's viable.

    You've come to the right place,so browse around,and use the search feature,there is a ton of good info here.
     
  3. meyer22288

    meyer22288 Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    yea a snowplow is the best way to go in your case. You already have accounts and you will grow as people recommend you. Plowing is much better then snowblowing and more profitable.pumpkin:
     
  4. Mick

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

    $100 per push for 250-500' driveway? Sounds like a good opportunity. You have a good truck, just need to put a plow on it.
    Realize you may not get your full investment back the first year. Just make sure you buy quality - it'll pay off.

    I'd say if you could get ten of those drives locked in - it would be worth the cost of a good plow (about $3500 - $4000)
     
  5. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    Yes, I would definitely get a snowplow for your truck as long as your truck is 4wd and will take the abuse. I see your profile says you have a Chevy 2500. What year is it, what motor and transmission is in it and is it 4wd?? I know I would much rather be in a truck plowing than outside the truck using a snowblower getting hit in the face with the blowing snow. :eek: Maybe its an idea to go around and lock in as many people as you can before you buy the plow. Either way, you will make your money back doing snowplowing, even if its not the first year. I agree with Mick above, buy a good quality snowplow, its something you are only going to buy once, buy a good one. Welcome to PlowSite! Mike :waving:
     
  6. MstChief

    MstChief Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    My Truck

    My Truck is a 99 Silverado equipped with the plow package. Just put on some BF Goodrich 285/75's A/T.

    About signing up the driveways. 20 people in the development are waiting to see if I am going to get a plow. After reading through many posts, I certainly will need to create a comprehensive contract. In the higher end homes ($2M and up) people are willing to pay for a service, and at the same time willing to litigate.

    If I am going to do driveways only, would it be better to get a V plow. Some of the turnarounds are a bit tight.
     
  7. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    I think a straight blade snowplow would work well if you plan on just doing driveways. Where you are located, do you get blizzards at all, and if so, often? V plows are more useful in doing parking lots it seems but I think they are great for breaking through high snows at the end of a driveway. The apron part can get really high when there is a huge snowfall and the town truck goes by plowing the street and everyones driveway gets plowed in big time. The V plow can break through that nicely in the V position, thats the V plows strong suit and also being used in parking lots. Me personally, I never used a V plow, but I can understand how good they would work and can see how they would save time and also do the things I named better than a straight blade. So, really only you can answer if you want the V plow or not, they are more costly than a straight blade plow. What snowplow dealers do you have locally to you? Hope I helped somewhat, or did I just confuse you more? :D Mike
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2003
  8. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Most driveways can be done easily with just a straight blade.If there are any places where you have to push snow into a small area,or push it back past the house with little spillage,then a v-blade may be better.
     
  9. Mick

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

    Ok, let me see if I've got this right. You've got 20 accounts just waiting for you - $100 each. I would imagine you'll push maybe 5 times for the season. That's $10,000. Not counting potential salting. Agreed with Mike 97 SS and Wyldman that you only need a straight blade - I recommend an 8'. Quality 8' straight plow - approx $4500 (probably high) installed. Commercial Liability insurance - maybe $1500. Commercial Vehicle Insurance - $1500. Expenses (gas etc) $100. Total first season expenses - $7600. That's leaves $2400 plus what ever else you pick up.

    What are you waiting for?
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2003
  10. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    If those numbers are correct,then get on it.Good money,and it only gets better as the equipment is paid for or you add more customers. :D
     
  11. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    There's a couple recent driveway threads running, take a look at them. There's also some material in FAQs, there's a link at the top of this forum.

    I've been servicing driveways for over 20 years, dependability and quality will be your best sales tool. I used an 8' straight blade for most of those years, it was adequate, but a V or a Blizzard 810 will make you more productive. I bought the 810 2 seasons ago and shaved 2 hours off my route the first time out.

    Just a clarification, please. Are these drives $100 per service or a seasonal contract of $100? If the former, this is a very lucrative business opportunity!
     
  12. Jerre Heyer

    Jerre Heyer Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    MstChief, Welcome aboard:salute:

    You've got some juices flowing here now. I didn't grab the map or hit map quest to locate Kimberton but agree with the theory if this is $100 per time your looking good.

    If these are high end driveways and properties like you said you may want to look into Urethane edges for the plow you choose. This will do less damage to the surface and help show your desire to provide a quality service. By this I mean youve already shown you want to minimize damage. This goes a long way if they do want to litigate.

    I'd be looking for a plow and signing them up.

    Just my .02 but sounds like your sitting in a payup situation.

    Jerre
     
  13. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    $100 for 250'-500' driveway? Wow, that's a very generous amount of money for this easy service. Around here I would get around 1/3 to 1/2 of that amount for similar driveways. You have a great opportunity waiting in front of you. At least 20 accounts to start with, not a bad way to start! Right now after my second season, I have around 10 accounts and I still am looking for more to take on.

    I agree with Mike and Wyldman, get a good high quality 8' straight plow. In my area, a 8' Fisher MM2 HD straight plow would sell for around $3300 to $3700 installed. But Wester and Boss are also good manufacturers too so I would look into them too. It all depends on what brand(s) your local dealer sells. If something break during the storm, you need to be able to get to your local dealer in a reasonable amount of travel time to get the parts you need.

    Don't be afraid to check out the FAQ page on the top of screen that Chuck created. He also sell Snowplowing Handbook. I have a copy of his and it really helped me alot get prepared and get started in snowplowing. You could contact him for furthur info. on how to order it.

    Also, Welcome to Plowsite! :waving:
     
  14. Toby

    Toby Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 132

    All we do are res. drives & all we use are snowblowers.

    They are faster for most res. ending w/ a garage.

    Purchase an eXmark TT tractor 23hp, add a Rad snowblower attach & go nuts.
     
  15. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    I'm assuming approximately 25-35% of plowsites customers , from the Buffalo blizzard to the Philly Presidents Day Storm, had customers dispose of their contracts because of non-compliance and abandonement. They should not be ashamed of this.
     
  16. Mick

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

    ???
     
  17. beherit316

    beherit316 Banned
    Messages: 78

    All we do are res. drives & all we use are snowblowers.

    They are faster for most res. ending w/ a garage


    What more could you possibly do with a tractor?I did the same thing when I was 9 years old.If you want to make money you need a plow and a truck, also you can do more accounts and increase your income.Why would you want to be confined to doing only a limited amount of accounts? Plus it must take you 3 times as long.
     
  18. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    Original thread response.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2003
  19. Toby

    Toby Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 132

    First I don't think you realize what an eXmark TT tractor is.

    Second, we do well over 400 accounts w/blowers, granted they are small but they could not be done as fast w/ a plow.
     
  20. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Toby, he states these drives are 250 - 500' long. I'm sorry, you are not going to clear them as fast with your Exmark as a truck and plow. I've got a 6' snowblower powered by 76hp, my plow is faster than that unit.