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Using employees truck?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by JMHConstruction, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    Okay, most of you know I run a relatively small sidewalk crew or two. Well this year I'm thinking about expanding the snow/winter side of the business.

    I drive a half ton 3rd Gen dodge, and I'm looking to put a plow on it. Please save the "you need a heavier truck" comments, because I feel with our light amounts of snow here my truck can handle it. The truck is in great condition with just under 100k miles, and the the price of trucks I have no interest in getting rid of her. If I do just plowing however, I feel like I'm leaving money on the table without salting. I feel my truck can handle a 700 lb plow up front, but there's no way it can handle a spreader on the back. Maybe a small tailgate spreader, but I feel like those not only look unprofessional, but also are a huge expense (bagged salt) and a time waster.

    What are your guys' thoughts on using an employees truck (good friend and has help on sidewalks in the past) for just salting. I would buy the spreader, pay his expenses, and also pay hourly. I would have to make sure I could add his truck to my commercial auto insurance of course, but what are some pros and cons of that idea?

    I have a place to store the spreader so he doesn't have to keep it on his truck all winter. I more than likely would be subbing, so he could even do other places that we aren't plowing, and bring in more work that way (around here it seems that only 1 out of 10 guys have spreaders).

    Now if I find a good "package deal" I may get a winter truck that's only used for plowing and salting, but as of right now I don't have a budget to spend 20k+ on a new truck, plow, and spreader.
  2. plowboy87

    plowboy87 Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    I think you should start off with a tailgate spreader this first year, and then maybe ( if it snows ) upgrade next year. What if your friend gets sick? Can't drive both trucks.
  3. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    Keep the 1/2 ton as a back up and get a 3/4 or a one ton. ( its what a PRO would do)

    Its time to grow, why are you fighting it?

    Using an employs truck is just a band-aid.
    what happens if your employee quits, gets fired, sick , dies, doesn't maintain his truck and you can't service the lot(s) that is unprofessional.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  4. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,394

    A PRO'r would use a one ton.....lol

    U need to replace the word "friend" with "subcontractor'
  5. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,027

    I don't like having friends work for me. :nono:
  6. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    good'en point,:rolleyes: now, put your hat back on.
  7. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 6,746

    uh..... Yep better as a sub.
  8. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,394

    My buddy or "friend" Ron (push to please) has asked me to check the entrances and exits (after citys last pass) of his commercial jobs by where I live and plow. Sure, no problem cause we are friends. Now if he asked me to perform regular maintenance on them (IE: plow or salt) I would be his paid subcontractor and paid as such (lots of wings). He'll also check on my dad's since he plows the lot one driveway over from him.

    My point is friends are friends.

    I get what ur saying and understand where ur coming from but as others have pointed out, it's not a good idea.
  9. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    Some friends trucks carry the proper insurance just say'en

    He will have to put his friends truck on his ins or lease the truck from him
    And fire him as the operator or the friend needs a business of his own ans subs.

    The rub is when you fire them or they quit . The truck is gone and so is the friend.

    Can it work out, sure.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  10. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,426

    Does it really matter if your dad's driveway is plowed?
  11. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,394

    No, nor does he care if the traffic light is red.
  12. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    Stop sign, stop light.

  13. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    Good points guys. Thanks. I figured not the best idea, but thought I'd ask others on their thoughts. Maybe it's just time to bite the bullet on a bigger truck
  14. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    One more question. What do you think of the 1 cubic foot v box vs a tailgate for a half ton? Am I living in a dream world that I can use my truck, or what? I just hate to invest in all this snow equipment (especially a new truck, since mine does fine for me any other time of year) with the way our last two years have been.

    There's a lot of companies selling their equipment off, and I don't want that to be me. I just have to keep reminding myself I've had good years in the past.
  15. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,394

    Mmmmmm, let's roll play this.

    How are you going to fill the V?

    Let's assume ur local landscape.... end of run, where do you empty it out at? How do you refill it?

    Just a thought.
  16. JustJeff

    JustJeff PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,935

    You can use your truck for both. Although it's not an ideal set-up. You could put a 1 yard or a 1.5 yard spreader in your truck with air bags in the rear. Couple of hundred bucks for air bags and you should handle the weight just fine. I'd still buy a 1.5 yard spreader, even if you don't fill it all the way up (for now). If/when you get bigger you could transfer the spreader over to a larger truck. As stated above, do you have a means to fill a v box?
  17. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    Filling/emptying won't be an issue. I will, for at least a few years, be subcontracting. I run a deck business for residential customers, so for now I wouldn't even know how to approach commercial accounts. The company I'd sub for has a few salt depots setup throughout the city, and they have a guy there on a skid steer during the storm. They're also there for a few hours after. Once/if I get my own accounts I have access to some land where I could store bulk. I just wasn't sure if the 1 cu ft would be worth it. Even if I used thextensively tailgate I'd probably build something in the bed (covered) to hold bulk and just shovel it in the spreader.
  18. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,402

    Well if you do primary sidewalks how much bagged salt do you go through? Maybe you can buy a larger order before winter kicks off and get a cost reduction?

    I know of several multi million dollar companies that only use bagged salt. I wouldn't do it, but it works for them
  19. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    8-10 pallets, sometimes more, sometimes less. I don't buy the ice melt though, the company I subcontract for does.
  20. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    I have never put down salt on a parking lot though. Maybe a tailgate spreader would be best, just to get my feet wet. Even my plow experience is minimum. How many bags of salt would say an averge gas station (not that I'd be doing it, but they're all about the same size) use?

    My biggest worry is wasting time with refilling the tailgate spreader all the time. There is a guy here selling a boss 600 (something like that) for $450. All controls and wiring included. Maybe I'll check that out.