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So you want to start a plow service?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by shovelracer, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I love running into people who are like I'm gonna get a truck and plow a few driveways and lots. I can charge X and after I make my payments...

    Here is a day in the life of a real plow service.

    Wake up, 2am again with minimal sleep for 10th of the last 14 or so days. Get dressed, go over final preparations for the day, and venture outside. Its 5*, make sure everything starts and is ready to go. Waiting for crews to arrive, wait one guy is late, apparently he forgot that it takes longer to get somewhere in the snow. Get everything moving, really would be nice if the town cleared the road before sun up for once. Get to the first account, hey what is that strange feeling. Oh well, it gonna be one of those days I can feel it. Head over to the next place, great who is the numb nut that left the car overnight right next to our stacking pile. Head over to the 3rd place boy the tranny seems to be jumping. Come to a light, please don't stall. Almost to the account, I'm not shore I'm gonna make it. 3rd is pretty much gone. Great looks like I'm manually shifting from here out. Even better, 3rd is the same as reverse and reverse is surging bad. Guess I'm babying it through this one.

    Deep Breath

    Stops snowing and the sun comes out. Wait there is at least 6-7" down and school is open. Phone starts ringing. It just stopped snowing less than an hour ago. I cant get my luxury SUV out of my flat driveway, where are you guys. Calm down ma'am. Someone will be there as soon as they can. It did just stop snowing an hour ago you know. Do you want to be on our emergency plow list. We can do that and fix this problem, but you know it will result in more plows and more money. No, we don't want that, we just want to be done by 7am. We will call you every morning from now on to make sure someone will be here by then...

    another Deep Breath

    Phone rings again, hey boss the plow wont go up. Awesome, pop the hood and check the solenoid. Ok we got it, by the way we sat around scratching lottery tickets on your time in between accounts earlier. Please dont fire me I'm late on my child support payment this week.

    Calmly put phone away, while envisioning smashing it on the dashboard.

    Plow all day, manually shifting, baby reverse. Starting to run a little behind. Great. Make a call, can you guys pick up these accounts, I don't think I will get there in time. No problem boss, consider it done. Phone rings, what the #&@% did your guys do. There is a huge pile of snow at the end of my driveway. My wife cant get out of the garage. Make another call, can you guys go freaking fix this problem, you are being paid you know, not helping the elderly lady next door. Sorry we thought maybe they used the other doors.

    Deep Breath, my blood pressure is up I can feel it.

    Coming to the end of the salting run, that's strange why did it stop spreading. I can't be out of salt. Back up, what is that noise. Oh boy I got a tire leak, what the heck did I run over. Reach in the bag, grab the plug kit and tools and run over to the tire. loosing air fast. Slap a plug in, boy that is a big hole, its not going to hold. Wrap a few plugs up and coat them as they get squeezed into the hole. It seems to be holding. Hey can you grab the compressor. Boss don't you remember you took it out the other day to fix the skid loader tire. Great at least we are holding about 10 lbs, I think we can make it to the gas station. I sure don't want to change the tire. What is that we ran over. This looks familiar. Terrific we sheared the shaft off the spinner motor. I guess we know why the spreader isn't working. Boy what are the odds I would run this thing over.

    Rubbing forehead

    OK lets go to the last account and give it the final. Hope you like shoveling salt. Boss why don't we go back and get the backup. Cause we are here now and getting the backup will take at least 2 hours. Hand the shovel up to the box. Have at it, earn your pay.

    Sigh of relief

    Get a call. We can get your tranny done Monday, most likely. Lets do it, I'd rather spend 3000 and get a warranty than spend all weekend wrestling a 400lb block of metal in the below freezing weather. Get back and verify the funds for these repairs are in the right place. Take a look at the numbers. Oh boy, I love this time of year. We have laid out 10K already in plow expenses and have another 30K in unpaid receivables. The end of the month cant come fast enough. Phone rings again. We can have the spreader motor here in the morning, but if you want to use the warranty we need to submit the photos and wait for acceptance, or you can shell out another 500 and have it done first thing.

    Deep Breath rubbing eyes

    Oh well, its part of the job. Load up the backup and get ready for the morning run. Maybe I'll get 5 hours sleep tonight. I get to sleep in till 4, that will feel good. Check weather, possible foot coming in a few days. Check email, respond to client requests. Eat food. Type my all to typical day here in hopes that somewhere a kid will read it, and decide to stay in school.

    Deep Breath, yawn

    Time for Bed
  2. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,248

    You forgot the feeling of wanting to throw up for the next hour after waking up at 2 AM because your body is not made to take this type of abuse. And the thing about staying is school is a good one, but I stayed in school and graduated college and for some reason I enjoy the torture of running a snow plowing business. Other then that you are right on the spot and the sigh of relief at end of the day takes the cake.
  3. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Good job man. I like reading other peoples misery, so mine feels justified.Thumbs Up

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,286

    You forgot the forecast calling for 2-4" by morning so you get up at 2am-nothing check radar, 3am-nothing check radar, 4am-nothing check radar, you say F it because you only half slept all night and go to bed. Phone rings at 6am you FLY out of bed to answer the phone just to have a customer on the other end asking why the lot isn't done? You look outside and there is 1" on the ground it isn't snowing and the sun is out:confused:.
  5. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    You forgot the person standing outside with their cup of coffee looking at you and saying under your breath, yet you can still hear it with your engine running "next year I am just going to do this myself. They get paid too much money to just sit in their warm trucks and push snow around"
  6. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Or your plow hose fitting breaks (EAZY OUT NEEDED) fluid everywhere it's 6AM everthing is closed and your back up truck is 25 miles away ..And you still have 5 stops left before 8AM....
  7. jblatti13

    jblatti13 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    or its 4am on christmas morning.. people are coming to dinner at 2, and we have to get home to open presents with the family before that. got 14 stops left and u back up a drive to throw some salt. but the trucks revving like a maniac and its not slipping on ice. nope, pull out in forward and boom tranny starts to go. time to call the tow buddy. tow to shop, go pick up backup, fill backup with salt, put plow back on, get back to route. 10am comes fast and ur just getting home, on no sleep. do the whole xmas thing, over the weekend replace the trans on the garage floor, luckily i have some heat. yeah, no one udnerstands the S#iT we go thru at all.$30 is wayyy too much to come plow my driveway, k, then have fun!
  8. D&E

    D&E Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    Love it.

    "I don't know if I really want to pay $35 for you to plow it. I could just have the neighbor boy shovel it for $10."

    Or my personal favorite. It's 4:30 AM, been on the road since 1, get to client's house, he's out shoveling the driveway so he can leave by 7, even though you show up every stinking storm at 4:30 to do his drive. He said he didn't know if you were coming or not, so he decided to do it and only wants to pay $15 for this one since he shoveled some of it already. Tell him no, and he clearly doesn't like it, but that's just too bad. Oh, and he's going to do this almost every time you come out, too.

    We all must be crazy or something. :dizzy:

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,286

    I would encourage someone to start plowing, preferably with new equipment (so I can buy it from him when he calls it quits)Thumbs Up
  10. deere615

    deere615 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,919

    Subscribing to this thread because its all to true!
  11. indplstim

    indplstim Senior Member
    Messages: 195

    Yea plowing sucks so bad, maybe u should quit!! :'(
  12. spaceman12321

    spaceman12321 Junior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 20

    Oh so true, very good story.

    I was in the auto parts store at 8:55pm getting a solenoid for a plow that broke for a plow that I needed working for the next 20 hours and the guy behind the counter was boasting that he couldn't beleived they pay $90 for some guy to spend 30 minutes plowing their lot.

    I told him if he had to get out at 2:00am in the morning when it is 5 below zero to check properties, fix his plow, pop a tire on the curb and sleep in a couple days he might want $90 to plow a parking lot too. Funny thing was he thought it must be the greatest thing in the world and people must make a killing... yet he doesn't do it.

    (some parts guy is standing behind the counter saying those plow guys have no idea how hard our job is, first some guy wants a solenoid for his plow, then he can't tell me what amperage rating he needs or if it is a 3 or 4 post, I pull 12 of them from the shelf and he says none of them will work, then he picks one because he says he needs it, only to bring it back tomorrow to return it because it wont work)

    Everybody elses job is easier than your own.
  13. KMBertog

    KMBertog PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    you forgot about when calling your guys to come in at a certain time..... i.e., 2 or 3 or 4 a.m. and you can't get a hold of about half of them..... either phone is turned off or they're too :drinkup: to answer.... been there, done that :eek:
  14. EvenCutLawnCare

    EvenCutLawnCare Senior Member
    Messages: 207

    One of my subs slept through a storm last year. He just moved in a house about a mile down the highway from me. I cant wait till he doesnt answer his phone and I pull up along side his bedroom window with my straight pipe Cummins!
  15. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    My favorite....."when are you going to plow? you were never here" Yes we we sir, we were there at 430am, have you looked outside yet? Its snowing 2"/hr and blowing 25mph, look for the pile of snow at the end of your lot!"
  16. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    I never did understand why you went to school and pickd this job.
  17. GTL Inc.

    GTL Inc. Member
    Messages: 30


    True that, is all the same. We hear the same stuff in the landscape arena. It just different words to say what is going on. Every on in Florida has a mower in their truck and they will mow so cheap................... Great story to read..............Some lady told me one time , that she thought she could teach a monkey to cut her grass. But i told her he could not fill out the invoice................ o here is your bill for the clean up.

    Well you guys in joy that snow................. Florida was seen temps at 78 , the last few days...........with a lot of pouring down rain.:cool:
  18. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    preach it brother

    too true
  19. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I vote to make this a sticky. Can you nominate yourself? I need some sleep.
  20. dforbes

    dforbes Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    I have had 8 hours sleep since Wednesday, my transfer case blew apart Thursday night $1700 will be here Monday morning. 6 more inches comming in after midnight tonight through 10 am Monday. When I wind down here gonna try to get a little sleep. Been doing it since 1994 and if I have any regrets, it would be that I didn't start sooner. With all the bull I put up with, there is absolutly nothing I would rather do.