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What happens when you break down?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by buffalonick, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. buffalonick

    buffalonick Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Just wondering for you guys that have small independent businesses, what happens if your plow truck breaks down. Or if you have a problem while plowing? Do you guys have a friend with a truck or a back up truck? What is your emergency plan?
  2. dingybigfoot

    dingybigfoot Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    i have a 1/2 ton that backs up my 3/4 ton.
    i've got all resi accounts and one church. works well for me.
    last year i only had one truck. i was fortunate enough to not
    go through anything that would've put me in a jam.
  3. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I had no back-up and my plow did break fittings from hose swinging, other then that I made it through with no breakdowns...

    This year I added another truck with gets fitted for a plow mid Nov. Don't want to be not prepared if something major occurs...

    If you do break down making friends or knowing someone who can bail you out is nice...
  4. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    I always had friends for backup, & now we still have those same friends & subs that come in some regularly, some for hours here & there. When we have a break down I send any applicable resources to help as they become available, I've sent 4 trucks to one site that we plowed with a Bobcat that had brokedown, it was large enough (122 houses & some roadways) where they weren't in each others way, somthing to be said when that much equipment shows up, they had it done in an hour.
  5. DellDoug

    DellDoug Senior Member
    Messages: 425

    We build areas that overlap on a 4 hour work frame. This allows us to cover any break downs. We also run a mobile service truck with mechanic and have 2 outside mobile repair companies that come fully equiped with welders and hoses, etc..... We also tend to up date to new equipment every 36-48 months so as to avoid any serious problems. As well a good maintance program is your best friend.
  6. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    welcome to plowsite DellDoug, sounds like you have quite the opperation:bluebounc word of warning, most wives don't like it though, quite time addictive.:p
  7. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Definately don't jump without a buddy or two, and if you do keep your route to 4-6 hours and have a problem, it shouldn't be too bad for the customers. It's not like they will be waiting 30 hours after the storm for help.
  8. DellDoug

    DellDoug Senior Member
    Messages: 425

    LOL! Thanks for the welcome. I'll keep the wife in mind but generally i have found as long as you can afford to let them keep shopping they never bother you!! Just a tip from a long time,couple of times married guy.
  9. dingybigfoot

    dingybigfoot Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    i like your set up delldoug. that mobile mechanic
    sounds sweet!
  10. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,358

    I call up a freind of mine and he plows my driveways until I get upu and running again.
  11. zerolatency

    zerolatency Member
    Messages: 81

    Best setup for i've found for breakdowns: i worked for a towing company for 6 years, the owner has a truck he uses to do his lot, if i breakdown a flatbed with an entire replacement truck (his) is only a phone call away, my truck will (usually) be back up and running by the time i finish the route and return his... only thing that sucks is that his doesn't have a spreader...
  12. DellDoug

    DellDoug Senior Member
    Messages: 425

    Thanks, We try and do everything we can to avoid any breakdown. We spend allot of time going over and checking and rechecking anything. Including between storms by visiting each machine every week and starting it and doing a full run check and warm up. Breakdowns to us are the worst thing that can happen...and the most expensive breakdown happens on the job. Maintance is the key and be super anal about it. IMHO.

    The mechanic on the road is there primarily to do the onsite maintance grease and fuel. Whatever can will go wrong during a storm but my biggest hope for him is that he sleeps all night in the shop waiting for a problem to happen. Last year we ploughed 29 times and he had a total of 8 calls all season. Not bad when you think we had 57 vehicles working each time we ploughed snow.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  13. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    What's with the jix already?
  14. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Carry spare parts so you can fix minor things.
  15. towpro570

    towpro570 Senior Member
    Messages: 241

    i have friends to do back up also have a back up truck and i have a wrecker that carries a western 8 1/2 pro so no big deal can we get it done:)
  16. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Make friends who plow, network with other companies and preventative maintenance goes a long, long way. When I first started I had a 94 F150 heavy half ton. Luckily it was in good condition but started showing signs of wear and tare. Instead of patching rusted brake lines we replaced all of them along with new calipers and hoses. We got the plow fully serviced even though the guy said he just did that. We replaced all axle and u joints...you get the point,lol. But just remember its a machine anything can happen. Now we own newer equipment and I think we're going to be looking into leasing trucks in the next year or two.
  17. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    Mobiles are the way to go. If you cannot hire your own, find a young hungry new guy who is just getting in the business. Even in the summer we use them. We've had trucks break down (alternators, fuel pumps, BS stuff ) and while the guys are mowing a property or continue landscaping the mobile guy gets the truck/bobcat back on the road and you dont skip a beet.

    New younger guys can be in the $45 pr/hr range but better ones can be in the $65-85 range. Some peopel will tell me that well they can do it for ### amount but they dont realize the production loss and down time costs. Fix the problem and keep making the $$$$$$$
  18. me!

    me! Member
    Messages: 31

    Know how to fix your stuff.

    Carry a trouble shooting guide for the plow at all times. no matter what age the equipment.

    If you can pick up an extra property or 2 sub them out and that will start your network.
    A network is key. We will be running 4 or 5 trucks this season, and will have 2-3 subs min. In addition to that there are 10-15 other plows i can call to help. You can never have enough freinds in this bussiness.

    I had a problem come up last year and i can't even remember what it was. Called a freind who plowes, he couldn't help so he called one of his subs, they couldn't help but they had a freind who was more then willing to take my money. At some point you will need something so amke sure you have back-up.
  19. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    I would either take it to one of the mechanic's that I use. Hopefully they can get it in and fix it. If it is something small I have a guy on my staff that can fix a lot of things. Same guy also has a truck & plow of his own,we could use his as a back-up. Of course he would get paid a whole lot more then. This year I bought a new truck and will have a back-up truck for the first time.
  20. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Backup truck, friends I can call. Spare parts in the truck.