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which is better?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by mustangsrmine, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. mustangsrmine

    mustangsrmine Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    im still not sure if im going to start out on my own next year but which customer is better commercial or residentail? which is easier to get and whats the best way to get them.
    thanks
     
  2. plowman4life

    plowman4life Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    for a 1 man show. meaning 1 truck one person. you might want to stay away from commercials unless you can get like local markets and stuff with small lots.

    residentials are your best bet. just driveways and stuff like that. much easier when your by yourself.
     
  3. mustangsrmine

    mustangsrmine Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    i would only have one truck but its a full size truck and im just worried about where to put the snow and how hard it will be to get the truck around
     
  4. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,754

    Driveways are the easiest to pick up, but are kinda tricky at first to plow. A lot of guys don't even like doing driveways, so it can be a good market. I had a hard time at first, but after all this snow this year, I'm starting to get it down. Maybe ask your customer where they want the snow put. It's kinda illegal to push it across the street, so just make sure they know that. My customers don't really care where the snow gets put. Just make sure you don't pile it too hight right at the end of the drive, otherwise they won't be able to see backing out. One really good point about driveways vs. parking lots is that they are a ton easier on you equipment. On the flip side, it takes a few drives to make as much as you could for a lot. But drives don't take a long time to plow. Maybe 15 minutes at the most when your first starting. You could probably do up to 6 in an hour, that is if they are close and if your good, and maybe evem more. A good way to make some extra payup is to offer to shovel or snowblow their sidewalks for $5-15 more.
     
  5. ChevKid03

    ChevKid03 Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    One thing that you need to remember and it is actually the reason I do residentials only is that I can't be there all day everyday that it snows at a certain time. I have a full time job other than this. All of my customers are ok with that as long as I get them out of there driveway to get to work and make it clean after. With commercials, you need to do what you state in the contract and sometimes that means, all day whenever it snows.
     
  6. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Whether commercial or residential, it's always a good idea to line up someone to handle your accounts should the need arise (you're stuck working, your truck isn't working, you're plain STUCK!). We want to keep people happy, so sometimes it means contracting out from time to time.

    If you should start with residentials, which can be your easiest way to get into it, target driveways you WANT to plow, ones that you can do easily. You will pick up the talent for it
     
  7. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    Personally I don't like the resi's. And I'll tell ya why.
    1. Usually you can't set the trigger low enough.
    Most resi's round here don't want it plowed untill 3 or more inches.
    I plow commercial if theres only an inch.
    2. So many 2 inch storms.
    If all you have are resi's that want it done at a 3 inch trigger,
    garaunteed...the guys doing commercial will be out there at a trace of snow sometimes,
    either salting, or doin the walkways, making money whille your sitting at home waiting
    for some really light snow to accumulate. (I hate that)
    3. A big P.I.T.A. Many home owners are very picky about where to put the snow, and
    won't realize there's only a couple of places you can put it.
    4. Billing. I've had major issues with resi's (in my lawn service) have major problems with either paying on time, or just thinking the bill was wrong.
    With commercial i've never had any issues to any of my invoices, they get the invoice, and they pay on time...everytime. Can't say that bout the resi's.

    I also believe that a lot of lowballers are doing resi's cause they can't get the commercial accounts. So you'll get the home owner that says...oh my guy last year was doing it for 20$ with the walkways. thats BS. Get insurance, and a business name, and some cards, and talk to a bunch of store managers and try to get some lots set up for next year in the summer. But make sure if you do commercial to get some kind of salt spreader. I've lost out on thousands and thousands not having a salt spreader on my truck this year!!

    I also believe that plowing snow is a job where you need to be able to work at any time of the day...so you can fufill your snow removal responsibilities. The normal 9-5 isn't for a snow plower.
    My business is my life...and that's what I do. I cut grass, build decks, and plow a hell a lot of snow when it's falling-no matter what time of the day or the day!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  8. rjfetz1

    rjfetz1 Senior Member
    from CT.
    Messages: 639

  9. mustangsrmine

    mustangsrmine Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    thanks for the advice every 1 but im not sure if i will b able to take all of that on with 1 person & truck
     
  10. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    You build up to a client list that becomes barely manageable; you START with a handful of driveways or a few small commercials that you can manage yourself. We all started somewhere, generally with a couple customers. Get your feet wet & see if it's what you want, and start stretching the limits of your comfort zone.
     
  11. theguynextdoor

    theguynextdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    I do 25 residential driveways and 1 small apartment lot. I can't really do commercial because I'm in college, so I can't constantly be plowing lots. I do them before people leave for work and before they get home. This is my first year, I can do the 25 houses with a few sidewalks in just over 2 hours. Next year I am going to do closer to 50 houses. You can handle it with 1 truck, just make sure you know someone else with a plow incase you break down.
     
  12. mustangsrmine

    mustangsrmine Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    since you do kind of what i was going for. how do you deal with ins. or do you go with out im afraid of just breaking even i would like to make a decent proffit
     
  13. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    It's not hard. I have 20 accounts, a mix of commercial and residential. Commercial get done first and then the residentials. One truck, one operator and a spare truck just in case. That's all I do though. I don't work for anybody else.
     
  14. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827


    That may be true, but don't sell yourself short. The way I look at it is that the snows I get can be few and far between, and that I wanna work as much as I possibly can everytime the snows flies, plus I think it's fun. You most likely will need a 2nd guy with you to do walkways and such. But you will be surprised how much you can get done in a 12 hour period. I'm kicking myself in the rear for not having more work to do when it storms. If I were you I would sub a year, and figure it out.
     
  15. mustangsrmine

    mustangsrmine Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    im still worried about the time frame because i work full time any where from 4am to 5pm on certian days it varries and i dont want to get to far in to it because the funds are short to even start with 1 truck to much less get a spare one
     
  16. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    As I see it, and not to be a butthead, but

    mustangsrmine;
    im still worried about the time frame because i work full time any where from 4am to 5pm on certian days it varries and i dont want to get to far in to it because the funds are short to even start with 1 truck to much less get a spare one

    bladescape2:
    also believe that plowing snow is a job where you need to be able to work at any time of the day...so you can fufill your snow removal responsibilities. The normal 9-5 isn't for a snow plower.

    Based on what you are saying, I don't think you're ready to make the commitment. Like bladescape2 said, you need to be available and reliable in this business. Forget the commercials with those hours. I doubt many home owners are willing to wait until after 5PM to get their driveway done either.

    Don't even think about running without insurance. If you think money is tight now, it will be a whole lot tighter if you damage something or get sued.

    You can't make a decent profit if you don't have enough accounts or the time to do it.

    Trucks, plows and breakdowns are expensive. I'd hate to see you get in over your head if you are not in the position to make somewhat of a commitment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  17. mustangsrmine

    mustangsrmine Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    i have no prob. being commited but i dont want to piss off my current employer at the same time
     
  18. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    That's a wise choice, so it may be well worth your while to hold off getting your own accounts until you can service them almost any time of day. What might work well for you is subbing for another contractor based on your available hours. Surely there will be someone out there that needs you during the hours you're out of work. I try to build up swaps & personal days to use for my fire department on days that I have to work & plow too.
     
  19. mustangsrmine

    mustangsrmine Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    so from the information that i have gatherd on here i would be better off working for some one else for awhile. but thanks again ever one