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To contract or not, your opinion please?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Matt400, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Matt400

    Matt400 Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    Currently we pay a seasonal contract for snow removal, have been for the past 10 years at our place of business. Lot size is about 50'x150'.
    Contracts have ranged from $550.00 to $875.00 depending on who does it and goes up each year.

    Some snow data:
    Average Snowfall Years on Record: 51
    Jan. 29.7
    Feb 23
    Mar 30.2
    Apr 16.2
    May 2.1
    Jun .2
    Jul Aug Sep 0
    Oct .5
    Nov 7.9
    Dec 21.2
    Total 131" per year

    We plan to be at this location for another 15 years and after that (retirement time) will still need removal as we own the property and it will become rental income.

    What got me to consider doing my own is more for convenience rather than the money. I could work the lot the way I want and get in there when I need to vs waiting on the contract. I have two, 4x4's that I can get a plow for. Our Jeep Liberty or Dodge Ram 2500
    An added bonus is being able to do our house.
    We can do our own maintenance & repairs on the equipment and I did plow for a season once to help out a friend back in the 90's

    So what do you all think, keep paying or do my own?
    Here is a pic at work, sometimes if they get behind their pick-ups won't do well so they bring in a loader.
  2. jkitterman

    jkitterman Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    You need to figure out what it will cost you to do you own plowing in purchase and installation of the plow, added vehicle and truck maintenance and added cost if you need to have additional insurance coverage. If your business is shielded by being a LLC or such, you may be opening yourself and personal assets to liability by plowing.
  3. Matt400

    Matt400 Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    4700 for plow on the pick up
    3100 for plow on the Jeep
    I would install myself
    Can't say what the added maintenance would be without actually doing it. I'm not hard on my stuff, the truck does 5th wheel duty so it gets required maintenance for towing duties.
    No increase in insurance, already looked into that but not concerned so much with costs as convenience.

    I have even thought about the possibility of dong both my own and a reduced contract where they come in 1/2 as many times or just if it gets too deep a time or two.
  4. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    I wouldn't consider using the Liberty with that much snow. The Dodge is your only option.

    Well you will have to spend extra money up front with the hopes of saving money in the future. What is your time worth to you? It's a gamble, but you did say it was more about convenience than money so....

    A few things (not an all encompassing list) to consider are: are you handy enough to do basic maintenance on the plow? Little things can go wrong here and there and you don't want to be dead in the water with a foot of snow on the lot when the business opens. Do you want to get up an hour earlier than normal to do this? Will you be able to / want to do this in your retirement? Do you have a place to store the plow? What happens if you want to go on vacation and can't get someone to plow? Can you bring in a loader if your truck isn't cutting it?

    Truth be told if I were you I would do it myself. I prefer to do anything I can do myself, myself.

    What kind of plow are those $'s you have posted?

    It would be too confusing as to who would be plowing when if you did a 1/2 as many times contract. Even if you went by depth, it's too unpredictable because accumulation depth can vary by 6" in places 1/2 mile away from eachother. If you wanted to have someone on retainer to call during big storms, that would be a great idea.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  5. Matt400

    Matt400 Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    Thats what I was thinking too. The one we have does have HD suspension & 6 ply tires, its 4000 lbs where the truck is 7000 lbs here is a pic of the Jeep-
    I don't think I would mind the added time to get it done. We had one bad storm where our contract was out all night and did hit us during the night but it was too deep for business at 8:30am and 3:30pm it got cleared again while I sat around so that can cost money. I felt bad for him, it was an unusual storm but I was still bummed. I went home and worked at the house with my little DR mower & blade, would have been nice to have a better plow then but its worked now for several years.

    Yes in fact our business does the service and repairs for the fella that does our plowing.
    Not sure about that one, it could go either way where I wouldn't want to or would welcome it for some part time income by doing others.
    Bummer!!! I wouldn't like that but when we are on vaca our business is closed, that leaves a small group of mini storage renters, they are hardly ever there but you never know.
    Maybe, I would have to ask our contract guy if he would do that.

    7.6 Boss-V for the truck
    6.6 Dogg for the Jeep
  6. kneedeep

    kneedeep Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Looks like there can be a lot of snow to try and find a place for. I would have someone do it with the right equipment like the loader, since it can pile it higher, and won't have to look for a place to put it early in the season with the plow, and have an ever shrinking lot.
    If you chose to do it yourself, I would use no less than a pick-up like the one you have, but are still limited the the physical piling ability of a blade in that particular yard.
    Bucket is better, but will just get by with the blade. Just from what I can see from here anyways.
    Hope it gives you a different perspective.
  7. kneedeep

    kneedeep Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    OH! One more option! If money is not the problem, I was thinking of getting my own truck mounted self-propelled truck blower from Hansen, that would solve any snow placement problems and reduce vehicle maintenance, there's only one company in the U.S. that makes them. Has its own engine and all. No extra passes to clean up, no snow placement problems, tidier job, no more snowbanks. These things are sick! I must get one some day! I think the investment is worth it even for personal use, it does a pro job, no fighting snowbanks with a walk behind blower, and will pay for itself with the ease of operation, and the time it saves.
    Yes it is more expensive than a regular plow, 35%-50% more depending on the plow you buy, so if spending $7,500 on a good plow, I would just go the distance for a better tool at $8500 when they're on sale.
    Hope that opened some options up for you!

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  8. Matt400

    Matt400 Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    What I meant was that saving the cost of the contract was not so much the issue as having a clean lot when I need it. If money were no issue I would already be retired but heck the Hansen blowers are cool!
    I would think a plow might still be needed though for the smaller storms which would make the Hansen overkill. I bet those things are heavy.
  9. kneedeep

    kneedeep Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    OH! One more option!

    I remember something about them being around 800lbs for a full size, and around 600lbs for the ones that fit a jeep. A Jeep YJ in Cornwall Ontario has one; that's what got me onto the idea of getting my own, but then I discovered the price.
    The jeep does the Irving diesel fuel station parking lot for truckers, and it works great! It's about a 3 acre lot.

  10. Matt400

    Matt400 Senior Member
    Messages: 164

    I thought the Hansen was only an 84" model. The one I seen was here

    Never heard of one made for something smaller like a Jeep. Can you find out more info?
    I was looking at a 72" Berco for a UTV and wondered if it could be retro fitted easily to a Jeep.