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Working FT and plowing...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by SlimJim Z71, Jul 18, 2001.

  1. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    I know this has been brought up before, but there have been a lot of new members since then so I figured I'd bring it back to life.

    How many of you work full-time jobs and plow on the side? I work at an auto dealership 40+ hours a week, and also plow snow. I'm not anywhere near the point where I can give up my job to focus strictly on plowing, so my options are limited. For those of you in a similar situation, what types of accounts do you pursue? Last year, I plowed the dealership I work for (which took a very long time), as well as a few residential drives and condo's. I would really like to start shifting my focus more towards small commercial, but I don't want to get myself into a bind. Anyone have any thoughts on this subject?

  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    you said that you dont want to get yourself in a bind, so i would think residentials would be the least binding account to have. your not obligated to be there multi number of times during the day to sand and your risk of lawsuits is less. basically you can plow in the morning and after you get out of work. just my two cents.
  3. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Timely post Tim, because I've been giving a lot of thought to the subject lately.

    Up till now, my plowing has been "in-house" looking after a shop which I rent and my workplace. Plan was to take on some snow accounts of my own this coming winter. I'm thinking more & more of looking at either working as a subcontractor instead - mainly weekends - or possibly a combination, if a suitable account(s) can be found. An ideal one would be a lot or two in the same industrial park my work is located in, since I'm there clearing work's lot anyway.

    The main reason for not wanting to get t-o-o committed to contracts is the fact that my job's hours tend to be open-ended & often fairly long. Start time is 7:00 am, but finish time can be anywhere from 4:30 pm on, like the 7:00 pm I rolled in tonight. As a general rule of thumb in the winter, weekends are free 99% of the time.

    What I'm worried about in taking on my own accounts is not being able to provide the level of service a customer expects/deserves, since the white stuff rarely conforms to a weekend schedule!

    This is the sort of question that will likely get a different answer (all of them valid) from everyone!

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    I have a full time job, and I will always keep it. It isn't my goal to grow to any particular size so I can go full time. My goals are different. If I can produce a large chunk of change, once a year, by really pushing myself (and others) for a few months, it is really worth it. Small amounts of money just get used up and never noticed, but with this side business, I can come up with some "xtra" income which can actually make a difference. We like to set our goals using that philosophy.

    For instance- if I would like to produce an extra $20,000 this year, to pay off this bill, or to buy "this" item. That becomes our goal, and we grow enough each year to meet our needs.

    This puts you in a different mindset when bidding on jobs, also. I don't take just any job, only the ones I really want. I bid much higher than some in our area, since I can afford to lose a few of those contracts. Its not my livelyhood I'm bidding on. That also makes higher dollar commercials a better match for us. That way we can have fewer customers, with higher profits. Fewer customers means less time and paperwork . I have one big church which I would need 20 drives or more to make the same money! No comparison though in the hassle factor. Churches are the best!! 10 am plow deadline, not even then if there is not an activity that day. I just try to avoid bidding on customers who want frequent daytime visits. If I do have those, then they need to go to subs.

    However, you need to really enjoy plowing, which I do. I love the hours, I love the planning, plotting and scheming that goes into it all year. If it is your full time job, then you leave the office at night and forget about it for a few hours, such as we do with our regular jobs. I can't do that with my side business, though. I get home from working all day now, and sit down at night and take care of business for snow removal. Contracts are going out right now,new bids opportunities are coming up daily. Soon I will be adding a couple extra subs, but I wont be doing it from 9-5 during the day. I will be doing it after my other job is done. You need to expect a lot of time devoted to this business to make it worth doing.

    --Wow, that was a long post. Sorry! Can you tell I enjoy it? :)
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2001
  5. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Take a personal day if it looks like you must be out late.

    Any employer who would give you heck for a personal day isnt worth working for anyway, IMO.
  6. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    I work full time in forestry, that's no secret. I am available all other hours for snow. The second truck is 24/7 dedicated to snow. Biggest challenge for me is meeting daytime committments (meetings in particular) while looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed. My wife is very understanding when it snows - she knows we don't get much snow in July.

    We cover all types of plowing with the exception of industrial. I want to focus more on private roads and light traffic/high priority commercial in the future, and delete some outward bound residential accounts.