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Too much work for one truck?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by awddsm1, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. awddsm1

    awddsm1 Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    Second year plowing, things are really starting to take off for me, to the point that I'm starting to wonder if I can handle all the work myself. I'm running my truck with a 7.5 Meyer, and will be adding pro-wings shortly. Also set up for bagged ice-melt with a small tailgate spreader.

    Here's the accounts I have lined up as of now:
    - 2 grade schools, 50-60 parking spaces each, and a 1/2-3/4 acre playground Need cleared out by 6:30-7am
    - a 25-30 space daycare - opens at 6:30
    - a 50-60 space strip mall - opens at 8
    - a 15-20 space office lot - open at 8
    - a 70-80 space church lot - office opens at 8, also has a pre-school that starts at 8:30
    - about 6-8 drives - mostly retired folks, but a few will want out by 7-7:30

    also got a lead on a gas station, but I haven't heard anything back on that one yet.

    So, am I in over my head? Time to get a second truck? Only saving grace may be that if we get a really bad storm, most of these places will close down for the day (school, daycare, church) giving me time to get caught up.
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Yep. All those places need to be cleared out an hour before they open up. Don't forget employees come in early and if they all need to be done at the same time you could be in trouble. So if you have to pick out a few that you really want to keep and make sure they are always done on time. Who knows you may squeak them all out.
  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Another though would to plow out a few parking spots and then come back for a final push.
    They would need to be somewhat close to each other tho.
    But like GV said "you could be in trouble"
  4. maelawncare

    maelawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    Thats the biggest point right there. How close are they. If they are within a quarter mile from each other with easy few min drive. Maybe. Otherwhys i would have to say your hosed.

    Thats why i always turn down a few each year. I have a few that open at 5 am. some at 6am. some at 8am and a few at 11 am. Stagger the times so that way you can just go down the list. And everyone will be happy.
  5. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I plow alot more than that. And it's really spread out. It's tough, and can be real nervewracking if the storm ends at 4 am. Fortunately, my biggest lots are three schools. So snow days are the saving grace. But i still have to have the buildings accessable. Your biggest risk right now is if you breakdown. I can tell you from experience that losing your transmission in the middle of the biggest storm of the year is very very mulch bad. You really need to get a sub or two lined up. I have two or three guys that I can call who plow for pretty cheap. I will (yes Mike, I WILL) have at least two plows on the road this year. Probably three by New Years.
  6. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    The problem is also that you yourself won't know until an hour before if the schools or daycare will be closed. Might want to have a second unit for the storms that are still going strong @ 5am. If it stops snowing around midnight though you'll be laughing.
  7. IHI

    IHI Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 245

    Great point and one i was going to really lean on!! Your flirting with disaster with that much relestate and opening times so close to eachother, esspecially if you get hit with a big storm since everything will take twice as long. Personally i like to run our route on the ragged edge for packing as many in as possible, BUT THE KEY is being able to service the accounts you have like a pro, i've helped clean up some messes with buddies of mine that are in too deep every season and they wonder every season why they lose accounts...they just cant provide a professional service, they're running around ragged trying to make money by quantity vs quality...and just like any other profession, once folks hear you suck, it's hard to overcome that reputation.

    There is that fine line we walk with lining up accounts, but just dont get in too deep, i think you may be a lil over booked based on opening times and the fact big snows always happen when you dont want them LOL!! BUT...if you do add a second truck, then your in that canundrum of having to line up/sell more jobs to make it worth the investment...so adding another truck to this route would be great since you could service them with the quickness, BUT by 8am your out of work LOL!! Solining up more would be a good thing, but you'd best commit either way so you know what to do SOON:)
  8. awddsm1

    awddsm1 Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    Everything's within about 10 miles of each other as the crow flies, but it'll be 20-25 miles on the road all together. Anywhere from 1-5 miles between accounts, so not really ideal, but not bad for around here.

    Sounds like a good sub or a second truck is gonna be needed...

    Here's another question for you experts... if I did have 2 trucks, could I actually take on more work? Or would I still be pushing it?

  9. IHI

    IHI Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 245

    You could easily take on more work with a second truck if that's all you got thus far, but it's just a bit of a stretch right now being a single truck plus all your ride time between lots.
  10. f250man

    f250man PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,124

    I do alot more then that and they are all spread out around town. You need to set up the easiest and fastiest route to take and just have a back up guy you can call if you get in a jam or get that second truck and take on some more work.
  11. awddsm1

    awddsm1 Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    How econmical would it be to get say a compact tractor with a loader to keep at the schools to help out vs a 2nd truck or sub? I run a lawn service during the warmer months, so I could probably keep it busy all year round. Are the compact tractors any decent for moving snow?
  12. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Just get a second truck. With the work you have lined up it will be perfect. You don't need to add accounts, that way if you run into problems you have some time to regroup. If it works out this year you will know how many you can add for the next year.
  13. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    you could look at spreading your work out a little more too, agree to do the strip malls at 2-3 in the morning, with the agreement being that if it snows more you well come back in the afternoon, and that well leave you with a little more time to get around to your other contracts, we do quite a bit starting the night before on the industrial plant, but the deal is that we aim it do be done by 4-5am, then we hit the banks at 5-7am, then the strip malls and gas station 7-9am then the condos for the rest of the morning, and if it snows more we do another circuit around. doesn't sound like you need another truck, it sounds like you need to find a way to spread your contracts out more, example, drop a school, pick up a condo.
  14. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    AND compact tractors are the cats ass for small snow removal, we have a massey gc2300 we use, it is great, cant push as much, but can push it pretty fast, and go into very tight areas
  15. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    A school is going to be far more forgiving than a condo. They will be closed for big storms.
  16. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,246

    I would keep the accounts that you have and try to add a second truck. If you have no problem, count on adding a few more next year.

    I wouldnt count on having one sub lined up. They will have accounts that they need to service also. During any storm, I have atleast three subs lined up for that "just in case" moment.
  17. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    That is the smartest move ever. What are the chances of 4 companies not able to make it.
  18. albhb3

    albhb3 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,505

    didnt you know the GV has a time machine he can go back in time while leaving the plowed areas plowed and do it all in 20 mins
  19. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    maybe, but if you show up at a condo at 6 am, chances are some old man is going to come out in his bathrob and kick your ass, you can do the condo at 8-10 am usually ,this is just my opinion, in my area of the world if we have are condos done by 11 am people are happy
  20. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    OMG! If someone isn't beginning to plow condo's around here by 5-6 a.m. you can forget that account.