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Starting a snow removal biz with Snow Blowers

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by let it snow!, Oct 17, 2011.

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  1. let it snow!

    let it snow! Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    My brother and I are looking to get into the snow removal business this year with snow blowers. We live in a lake community west of Chicago with about 2k residential properties. I used to work on a dairy farm and did a lot of snow removal with a skid-loader but other than that I have no experience in the business. I have a 4x4 full-size, but I am thinking of just going with blowers this year and maybe expand and get a plow next year if all goes well. I have a lot of questions but for now I’ll just start out with one. What kind of equipment should I get? 2 stage, single stage? What size (width, hp etc.)? I would like to get used equipment if possible. Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    I already do this, alot of people love this idea... A suggestion if i may... when you are going around getting driveways advertise that you use snow blowers which do a neater job and dont damage anything grass lawn ect... i picked up 10 driveways this year for that reason alone..

    If you have alot of driveways i would suggest you have more than one blower.. I use a 13 hp Ariens Pro 32" cut, A 10hp Ariens with a 32" cut and a 11 hp ariens with a 30" cut. They work awesome I have moved 19" of snow out of a 90ft driveway for a customer that only wants snowblowers no plows and it only took like 20 min.
     
    HadiCoop likes this.
  3. let it snow!

    let it snow! Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    Great info. I was planning on getting at least 2 blowers, maybe a 3rd as a back-up. Should I get all 2 stage blowers or do the single stages serve a purpose? Do you load them in and out of a pickup bed or do you have a trailer?
     
  4. kingkong0192

    kingkong0192 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Not that i know much about running businesses and what not, but i do have a 2 stage blower and i must say, there really isn't a comparison with the single stage. When you get that really slushy wet snow, the single stages don't even compete with the double stages.

    It might cost more, but it should pay off.
     
  5. ptjanis11

    ptjanis11 Junior Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 4

    what do you guys think is the most efficient way to haul snowblowers? Pull out of a truck? Use ramps? Hydraulic lift? or do you do as let it snow says and use a trailer? i'd imagine that'd be a real PITA in a storm.. maybe not?
     
  6. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    dude just buy a three way folding ramp for your pickup. like the ones for atvs and **** you dont hae to worry about making sure you go straight because its one big ramp... but make sure it has bars going across anything else like a ramp with metal mesh in the middle the snowblower will have trouble climbing trust me i know from experience. heres a link so you have an idea

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...nt=safari&sa=N&rls=en-us&tbm=isch&um=1&itbs=1

    theres the link just for an example hope this helps.... hydraulic would be nice but too much $$ for no gain with this ramp i could prob load it u faster.

    oh btw click on the pic in the top right... oh yeah and 2 stage all the way if you know how to use it, it will clean right down to the pavement. go with ariens or honda. the ariens have a 3 year warranty new so thats def a plus.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  7. kevlars

    kevlars Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    I would have a single stage Toro to use on walks and smaller areas. When you only have a few inches the single stage will blow almost as fast as you can walk. You can find the old Toros for cheap. I just picked up a S620 for $30 and put another $80 in a carb kit, scraper and a couple other parts. Runs like a champ now. And, it is alot easier to load/unload. I keep one in the back of my plow truck for walks and places the truck doesn't fit easily. Oh, and they are cheap enough, that I have a couple spares!!

    kevlars
     
  8. let it snow!

    let it snow! Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    Using a ramp sounds good to me. So should I maybe get two 2-stages and a single stage? I really can't afford $1500 per blower. I would like all three to cost that total. The problem is finding the larger blowers seems difficult when buying used. What is to small to use professional? 9 hp? 8 hp? How about cut size?
     
  9. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    i would say no smaller than a 8hp, only because of slush and ll the slop the city guys leave at the end of driveways when they go by. unclogging the chute sucks in the middle of the night. i have a nice 2 stage it the back of my truck when im plowing for walk ways and shyt.
     
  10. let it snow!

    let it snow! Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    How about a 11 hp Craftsman 30"? $1300 new, used for times. The guy wants $750 OBO. Sound like a good deal or not? How are the Craftsman's?
     
  11. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    Personally the only thing that doesn't bog on me is above ten if you want to be able to do the driveways quickly which is a must when using snowblowers you want the most powerfull engine.... Don't get the any width bigger than 32 because the 36 inch blower actually has the same engine options as the 32 and the 32" with the bigger motor is way more productive. My ariens can eat up 1 1/2 feet of snow no problem and chuck it 50 feet.. You can buy whatever you would like I'm am just giving you my honest opinion an if your going to do more than 5 driveways don't buy a craftsman they aren't anywhere close to ariens or honda. If you are serious about doing this and dont want to spend time fixing your blowers instead using them buy Honda or ariens but for your price range you going to have trouble buying a honda
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  12. NaturesEnemy1

    NaturesEnemy1 Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 26

    I like this thread. I am in the same position this year. Looking to expand into snow removal, but I'm not ready to put a plow on my truck. I'm looking at a new Ariens deluxe 28 and still looking for a good backup unit. Subscribed to this thread, i want to learn more. Thanks guys.
     
  13. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,428

    there is nothing wrong with the older ariens....i like them better as they are better built and you can buy 6 for the price of a new on......biggest thing to remember silcone is your best friend..... spray the machines inside and out to improve performance...no matter what you buy!
     
  14. let it snow!

    let it snow! Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    I'll take your advice on the Craftsman. Everything I've ever used that is a Craftsman other than their wrenches is junk.
     
  15. let it snow!

    let it snow! Junior Member
    Messages: 26


    When you say "older" what year range do you mean? How often do you apply the silicone?

    I like the thought of getting an older Ariens after seeing the prices of the new ones. But most of the older stuff that I am seeing for sale are in the 5-8hp and 24-28".
    What size do you personally think is to small for commercial use?

    I know the smaller ones aren't as ideal, but for starting out it might not be a bad idea to wait and see how much business is out there before blowing a bunch of money on expensive machines.
     
  16. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    The older ariens are great machines just keep in mind they don't throw nearly as far on big driveways you could wind up throwing the snow twice. I agree with the post above they are made with better metal and are a little sturdier but nothing throws like a new ariens expect for a Honda.. Keep that in mind buy a used one that's older an by one relatively new one but get the platinum or pro and no tracks they are a pain I'm the a$$
     
  17. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    i run 2 single stg toros ran them all winter last year. i have had no issues with them at all went through everything i can throw at it. sure it was tough on them sometimes.
    make sure you get a back up no matter what you do.
    i am still debating on putting a plow on my truck this year or waiting for next year and just running blowers this year
     
  18. bdlawncare

    bdlawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    They aren't bad but IMO ariens and Honda are far superior.... If I'm not mistaken they have PLASTIC discharge shoots. You are free to purchase whatever equipment you want that's just my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  19. kevlars

    kevlars Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    I have a John Deere 1032, 10 horse 32 inch. It is a beast. It will go through anything. I actually just used it as a partial trade for a pull plow to go along with my 8 1/2' Hiniker V plow. Should be a driveway machine. But if you are gonna use blowers, I would want a 2 stage and a single stage to go along with it for the sidewalks and smaller areas.

    kevlars
     
  20. let it snow!

    let it snow! Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    You guys aren't going to believe this, but I just bought a Craftsman this morning.

    A 30" with 11 hp For $650. I figure it will get me started and if I get a lot of business I can get a better blower and use this as a backup. I was actually surprised with the quality for a Craftsman, the chute is all metal and for the most part the only plastic on it is the big shroud up by the controls.

    All I need now is a single stage. Any tips on buying those?

    Also what do you charge for a 17'x65' driveway with a small walk up to the house? How about for one half that size? I know it depends upon a lot of things, but I'd just like to get an idea of what you guys charge.
     
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