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Small residential accounts (equipment?)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by WilliamThomas, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. WilliamThomas

    WilliamThomas Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 6

    I have owned a small landscape maintenance company now for about 8 years. I Decided to ask a few clients if they would be interested in snow removal. About 90% of those I asked jumped on it. I have about 14-15 driveways / walks that I will be clearing this winter.

    For Equipment I was thinking about either purchasing a new Toro 726oe, or putting a plow onto one of the Bobcat Ztr's.

    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
  2. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    2 years ago i did 15-20 residentials with a snowblower... they are great because you can put the snow wherever you want... I have an pickup with a 8ft plow and still use the blowers on many sites just because space and no place to push the snow.. if you are doing it by yourself have a backup blower incase you suck a newspaper and cant get it out... trust me this sucks! anyway good luck and i would recommend the blower
  3. WilliamThomas

    WilliamThomas Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 6

    Thanks for the quick reply, I was thinking the blower would be a little easier. Im glad to hear that it worked for you.
  4. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,246

    Depending on how much snow you let accumulate on the driveway, I would recommend a single stage snow blower.

    They are very light, quick and easy to use. My guys like them because they can easily load them in and out of the trucks without having to use ramps. They don't throw snow as far as a big two stage but you also won't have to wrestle them around all night either.
  5. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    np make sure you tell your customers to pick up the paper if its snowing... or just in general ( hate people that just leave them in piles for me to suck up) and inform them if you suck one up there will be a fee! works good and you can avoid the hassle... good luck
  6. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    I use blowers. Normally have a 2 man crew for it at each job, in and out quick and on to the next one. I did a small apartment building last year fairly quick, until some big storm hit, then called in a favor from a friend. haha
  7. WilliamThomas

    WilliamThomas Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 6

    thanks for all the replys, sounds like everyone has had good experiences using blowers. Also , thanks for the heads up on the newspaper issue, it's the little details such as that, which could really cause some problems. Thanks again !
  8. A.M.Canfora

    A.M.Canfora Member
    Messages: 46

    yea I'm with cold and tired on the single stage blower, or at least a small dual stage.I had a friend who bought a Aries professional 32" to put in the back of his Ford Ranger so he could do sidewalks. He found out the hard way that icy and wet wooden ramps and a heavy thrower don't mix well.
  9. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    Yeah well if you have the right ramps theres no issue I love my ariens 2 stage and wouldn't trade it for a single especially when doing whole driveways with them
  10. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    I put wooden tracks on the wooden ramps and works better now. Not ideal yet but thats another project.
  11. WilliamThomas

    WilliamThomas Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 6

    I currently have a single stage which I will be bringing out for every snow event. We will also be utiliizing one of the landscape trailers. That should prevent any problems with slippery, steep ramps.

    This is great information, thanks for everything. Please continue to post a reply if you can give me any other helpful suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again
  12. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    I don't bring the blowers out during storms because then I'm just plowing, might be good for the blower not being in the thick of storm. Small single stage I lift into back of truck and tie to a short cut 2x4 t-nutted and bolted onto stake pocket. Never know when you may want to plow so no trailers allowed.
  13. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 617

    I do residential with a 24" and 28" two stages.

    I would definitely get a second blower in case as pointed out you suck up a newspaper. Customers may not care if your mower breaks down and you can't get to them for a day or two. Doesn't work that way with snow removal.

    Also I would bring out a second man with you. One guy is always on the blower. The other guy to run the second blower and shovel work when needed.

    And at 15 customers to do you will take to long going solo.

    If I had the money right now I would go out and by a 36" Ariens WB or 38" JD WB because time is money. Maybe even a 44" for the front of my JD 170 mower. At this point we get more people call us then we can get to in time. Were up front and tell them where they are on the list when they call. What happens sometimes before we can get there someone knocks on their door and they go with them. But these are first time callers so I don't worry about them.

    This year a person was referred to me to do their commercial property. A private home used for a professional practice. 80' drive with a 50' x 50' lot in the back of the house.

    Not much room to plow and no place to push. This can turn out to be a nice niche market but without a larger blower I'm reluctant to seek out more of this type of work. Maybe next year.
  14. svaleko

    svaleko Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    For 14 - 15 driveways - single stage would be good
    I personally like toro ccr 3650 the older model with a manual crank to turn the spout
    they are light, very easy to maintain, last long time - the only thing you would have to replace occasionally - scraper, paddles and maybe the housing (sometimes it could get busted when you hit a piece of ice or a rock). You could easily do all this maintenance yourself
    They don't make them anymore but you could still buy them used online
    there is a model called toro power clear 221 QR that they make instead - it is a good blower as well but i think the older model was better
    I've used them for more then 10 years, can't complain
  15. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    IMHO if you are doing 14-15 resi's you want a 2 stage... if you get alot of snow have fun blowing that with a single stage... the 2 stages are a little bigger but they peform much better and nvm they are wider than the single stages... idk just my opinion.. wouldnt want to do my 15 resi's that i cant plow with only single stages just my 2Cents its not that im biased toward 2 stages as i have both single stages are great when you only have to do a couple areas and do them every couple inches... if you have 2 larger 2 stages then you would struggle less... just a thought
  16. svaleko

    svaleko Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I guess with 14 - 15 residential accounts you could do with what you got or could get at less expanse and then go from there. Have to consider some factors of course - the size of the driveways, if you are planning to work by yourself or with some help - loading - unloading. You will see how it goes first year. The most important thing is to make sure you are charging enough for it and it is definitely worth doing - the rest will be fine - you will figure the best and most efficient way to do it as you go
    It is good that these accounts are your lawn accounts as well - it is definitely to your advantage
    It does matter how you do it - but the most important what you make out of it $$$$ - whatever works
  17. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    My Toro I picked up last year would say otherwise. I've never had a single stage blower that potentially could throw a rock through a window, 40 feet away!

  18. WilliamThomas

    WilliamThomas Junior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 6

    Excellent advice everyone, thank you very much. It looks as though I'm going to purchase a 2 stage blower and bring along the single stage every time we go out.

    I also have an employee who can go out with me if needed, 7 of the 15 customers are on a block together (side by side) as 6 are lawn clients. The remaining accounts are also mostly grouped together. I'm also expecting some 1 timers as well, most likely more than I would want. (Neighbor sees me blowing and asks to do theirs as well)

    THanks again for all of your input, as I expected, everyone is bringing up issues that I would not have anticipated on my own.

    Although I've been in the grren business for awhile now, the snow removal business is entirely new to me, starting small and seeing how this year goes.

    If anyone has additional advice or input, I would greatly appreciate it.
  19. greatdanenick

    greatdanenick Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    I use snowblowers and shovels myself and four other guys works great and only do residential.
  20. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    Look out for welcome mats...I get one caught in my single stage at least twice every storm