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24 Hour Service/ Repair

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by NASConst_land, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. NASConst_land

    NASConst_land Member
    Messages: 54

    Been kicking around the idea of starting a 24 hour around the clock service company for snow removal equipment in my area. I was wondering how much of a need for something like this there would be.

    What i picture would be a few service trucks with all of the normal wear and tear parts available to be stocked, along with a good mechanic. Your out plowing at 2 in the morning and have something break, well you would then call us and we would dispatch a service truck out to you. I have to believe that others have atleast attempted this sort of a business before, but none in my area. We have places with extended hours, but its a 2 week wait to get things fixed.

    Ontop of the service trucks we would have a shop that would remain open 24 hours as well, and of course threw the season.. I wanted to have this be sort of a membership deal.. like Triple A except just for snow removal contractors. Depending on your fleet and how many pieces of equipment you own , you would have a monthly fee for the winter months. I have no clue how many guys would go for a monthly fee sort of deal like this, or if they would even use a 24 hour service.

    I would appreciate any feedback, im getting mixed feelings from the guys around here, some think it would be a great idea and it would take off, and others think it would bomb. Thanks ahead of time

    Also was thinking about having several different kinds of plows in stock, used plows.. and if we couldnt get the problem fixed right away we could rent them a plow if we had one available to fit their truck, as long as we had their plow in for the service.

    And my last crazy idea would be to have several trucks with drivers available, older trucks with simple plows low overhead. So say there is a company that is in a huge bind and would need 1 more plow to get the job done on time. They would call us, and we would send a truck to them and plow for them for an hourly rate. I can see many pros and cons from this, but I know my company has been stuck a few times, and we have called buddies and sometimes they can help but other times they cant.. I just would like to have a way to be able to help guys when they get into a situation
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  2. DBL

    DBL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,310

    theres a bunch of guys open 24 hrs during storms never seen one out on the road sounds like a great idea you just need to get your name out there and have business you make money and keep guys busy
  3. DugHD

    DugHD Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 420

    Nas , I think it is a good idea , and i commend you for thinking out of the box somewhat. Where theres a will theres a profit!

    Although i dont think i would need it, becuase we never get in that deep. We dont take to much work on for our equipment. So if one machine or truck broke down we would still be plenty safe .

    ............But , I do think there are alot of people out there plowing that dont have backup machines and or family to bail them out in a big storm event.

    Good luck ,
  4. Snowman19

    Snowman19 Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    Love the idea!!!! i was thinking the same thing last season and never got around to doing it but i really think this would take off into a big thing. Think of all the people that break down during a storm in the night and nothing is open.
  5. NASConst_land

    NASConst_land Member
    Messages: 54

    Another question for those of you that think it would be a good idea. If you own a company or just plow for yourself, would u pay into a monthly fee for a membership if it meant that any time you broke down or your plow was not working, we would send a truck out to fix your problem no charge other then parts.

    So say you are an independent contractor with a 2000 or newer truck with a 2000 or newer plow. Our membership would be... $35.00 a month for 5 months, to cover ur equipment all you pay for is the parts.

    Is it worth the $175 for the season to have that on call service come to where you are broke down. or is that going to be hard to talk guys into. To much $ or to little $

    For non members it would be a flat rate of $50 per service run, plus labor and parts.

    Rough ideas is all, i know i would pay that much for my company, and we have fairly new equipment, but its not worth loosing a big account because u have a truck go down and dont get the job done.
  6. Midwest BuildIt Inc

    Midwest BuildIt Inc PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,280

    With a membership fee like that i would call you to fix every thing. You would have to have something in the contract that it would be during snow storms only or some thing. And I think the membership fee would have to be a lot higher, I work with a roadside truck mechanic when he really needs extra help, and i believe he is at $95 for an hourly rate. Maybe you could do something like this...

    $40 a month membership per piece of equipment, gets you a guaranteed mechanic for the season and you will stock parts for their plow/truck. Also gets you a discount on hourly repair rates, or no charge for the service calls. discounted plow rental rate(maybe free for a larger company of lets say 8 trucks).

    Non-members would then pay a service call fee and full repair rates. No guarantee you will have parts for their vehicle. Members would always come first!!!! Higher plow rental rates..And maybe no plow rental, save them for members.

    Just some ideas, ive had the same thought you have. Im just to lazy to try and put it together,,,If you package it right, you could have a good number of members. Make it look like a good thing to be a member than a non member, but dont make it look like not joining would be bad either. then non members might not call you.
  7. DBL

    DBL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,310

    i would do it if it covered all my trucks and you guarenteed youd be there promptly depending on conditions.
  8. NASConst_land

    NASConst_land Member
    Messages: 54

    Well see you would obviously have to split it up I mean Fords would get the best rate of $35 a month, then you would have Dodge at $45 and it would be debateable about even covering Chevy if so it would be like $70.... :jester: Hahaha Im just messing with you guys..

    No see thats where i think i would loose alot of guys, Im working on rates right now.

    2000 and newer equipment/trucks

    1-3 trucks covered 4-7 Trucks covered 8+ Trucks covered
    $40 per truck $30 per truck $20 per truck

    So say you had 3 trucks you wanted to cover that were 2000 and newer.. You would be $120 a month for the months u wish to be a member. I think that may not fly with some guys it all depends though.

    What would you need to recieve as far as service to have that be worth it, Free labor, free service call just pay for parts or what?
  9. Midwest BuildIt Inc

    Midwest BuildIt Inc PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,280

    not trying to give you a hard time but i think you would fail. so lets say the guy with three trucks breaks down twice, you spend 9 hours between drive and repair. He pays you lets say 120 a month for 4 months. thats $480. That comes out to lets say $53 an hour for your work if you give free labor, and he has no more problems.

    How much are your mechanics going to get paid?( I wont work for less than 45 an hour for the roadside guy i work for, and he provides the truck and tools)

    How much is your insurance for roadside work?

    How much is it going to cost you to put a couple service trucks together? (there not cheap and eat a lot of fuel)

    How much is it going to cost to stock all these parts? your not going to use them all right of way so you will have a lot of money in parts and a lot of space taken up.

    There is no way you will make enough money to keep going with free labor. If that guy needs you 4 times and it comes out to lets say 13 hours. Your now down to $36 an hour.

    This service could work but it has to make money to keep going.
  10. NASConst_land

    NASConst_land Member
    Messages: 54

    I definently see where your coming from and completly agree. There is a fine line of what guys are going to pay for a service like that, and a fine line of what I would need to make to make it worth while.

    I know there is a market for this, and if you did it right, i can bet that you would make alot of money, and in turn help alot of the guys out. I think I may do it on a smaller scale for this year. Just have 1 service truck, no members just a service to call. See if it takes off.

    I have a business plan for the other 7 months as well, same type of deal with mower parts and all that good stuff. As well as a full service shop. It would be easy if I was already a dealer and had all the snow plow parts stocked, and I was just adding the service. Its really not the trucks or the labor or others that will hurt.. Like you said you would have to stock so many parts for such a long time, you would have lots of money tied up in that, that really isnt going to make you alot of money. The trucks, you can always make money with a truck doing whatever, but inventory is worth what you pay for it, no more no less.

    Please keep the feedback coming this is great
  11. jbone

    jbone Senior Member
    Messages: 154

    I would love to see a service like this but you may want to consider explaining your limitations to your customers. For instance: weather conditions relating to travel time and how hard it is actually going to be to replace certain parts w/o a lift and certain tools that arent portable.

    Maybe ( I dont know how much $$ you have to start this up) you could have a tow truck of some sorts (capable of carrying trucks w/ plows, spreaders + salt/sand) If one of your customers breaks down and it would be faster to tow the truck to your 24 hour shop and fix it than doing it in the roadway, meantime, one of your guys goes out and plows for him or you rent the truck/plow to him. Then when the truck is fixed while its still needed by the customer you could drive it out there and make the switch. thats awfully low of a monthly membership fee. I would def. suggest somewhere around $100 and maybe deduct $ if they register more than one truck w/ you. Also if you lend/rent equipment to customers cover your a$$ with some type of release of liability form. This way any damage that is done to property is not your responsibility or the responsibility of your insurance company. I would also charge an hourly rate to customers even if they are registered members. I would simply charge less of an hourly rate to members. Remember you have to make $ too! This is only my opinion do what works best for you. It sounds like a great idea you have best of luck!!!!
  12. Midwest BuildIt Inc

    Midwest BuildIt Inc PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,280

    Yea im not tryin to talk your idea down or anything just trying to make you see everything. Like i said , i think its a great idea and could benifit a lot of people. if i think of anything else i will post it....
  13. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    You could be making money with those trucks, You would have trucks insure and preped just setting there waiting. would the income justify the cost?

    Just my opinion, would be glad to discuss this further, PM me f you want.:waving:
  14. Nascar24

    Nascar24 Senior Member
    Messages: 645


    I would look at an Extended warranty plan for used trucks, use it as a guide for types of coverages and exclusions,look at the language in they're contracts for some ways to limit your financial exposures for providing such services. They do it and they're making money! Don't reinvent the wheel use thier boiler plate, nothing worse is to struggle trying to offer good honest service and have a few bad clients put you under by taking advantage of your good will so put written limits on your services.

    Most of these warranty plans put caps on the amount of money they will pay out per year and life of the contract, you could put similar language in your mobile service contracts.
    For example limited too two service calls per storm, limited to five hours of service per season calls included, maximum road service call one hour, after that tow into garage and then you can offer discounted labor charges. Not responsible for down time or lost revenue type clauses will also be needed.

    The one thing you don't want to do is to promote neglect ion of equipment for the client, if you don't limit your services there is no incentive for the client to take good care of their equipment, they won't need to if you offer unlimited services. I would also require an inspection of all equipment prior to issuing any service contracts, 10-15 minute pre inspection with a check list of pre existing conditions that will have to be addressed prior to issuing any contract, you don't want to own a money pit for $35 a month. Maybe offer a Free service clinic where you provide instruction on surveying equipment for needed repairs and maintence and offer a professional 30 minute survey for a flat $25 fee, helps pay for the free instructional clinic, Some professionals may consider these gimics, but for the Joe Homeowner who plows a couple of driveways ( the guy you'll be selling most of your services to) it's a valuable souce of info, from someone who can help him in his or her time of need.

    I would also offer different levels of service contracts from soup to nuts plans or just quick minor repairs, with parameters pre listed.

    Another benefit you may want to get into is towing service, if you have a reliable provider in your area that you can partner with you maybe able to buy a standard local rate to hook disabled trucks and tow them to your shop or your designated sublet shop for repairs that you don't provide, another way to guarantee your getting more work to help enhance some of your service contract revenues.

    I have found after 20 years in the Body Shop and welding business that you can only do so much yourself and if you don't want a huge payroll, overhead and headaches, it's best to partner with good sublet shops and just get a small piece of the pie, in the long run you can come out farther ahead.

    After having 7-12 employees, commercial property, equipment leases, insurance, taxes and fee's , the best way is just to be low key, doing minor repairs at home. When needed solicit another plow buddy when you need the extra help and return the favor by helping him when he needs it, offer friendly advice and guidance, then you can pick and choose what repairs you want to take on, make some bucks and best of all have fun, just too much stress in our short lives to deal with, without adding any more. JMHO
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2006
  15. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    I think it has its pro's and con's. Pro's: someone coming to you, less down time (depending on the repair) convenience is a big part. Con's: A lot of guys I know already carry the quick fix items such as hoses, fluid etc. And the 2 companies I used to sub for had a 24/7 garage already open and waiting with a mechanic and parts if needed when it was snowing. But if plow companies elsewhere dont have that option in place the I think its a great idea. Good luck!
  16. NASConst_land

    NASConst_land Member
    Messages: 54

    Being we are located in Toledo we dont recieve a ton of snow, but we have over 250 companies who plow snow, and when they do they dont have equipment that is properly maintained.

    So every year it never fails we will get 4 inches of snow, and you cant drive 1/4 mile without seeing guys out wrenching on equipment in the lot or in the road. So they take their truck to the one shop that services plows around here with "extended" hours and they tell them that its going to be 2 weeks. This shop is so over whelmed it isnt even funny, and they are huge. They install plows and right now you cant get a plow put on till mid december.

    Obviously there is a huge cost of starting this, but this would not be the only thing the company would do. Other things would be, Installing plows, spreaders, lightbars, strobes, timbren kits, other suspension parts, exhaust systems. Kind of like an all around truck shop. And the 24/hr service really is just a benifit to the customers, yea make a little money on it. But you know if you send a truck out to fix a guys truck, and a month later he wants to put a lightbar on, or exhaust system you have his business for sure.

    We have corner strobe kits in all of our trucks, put them in all ourselves first one took 4 hours 2 guys (over 2 years ago) Now i think we have done probably 15 trucks, we just did one in 1 hour 2 guys. The kit costs $189.00 To get that same exact kit installed at the local truck shop:dizzy: $625.00

    That is outrageous if you ask me, not to mention they do a dirty install inside the cab mounting switches.

    I like the towing service idea, I will definently be out talking to some of them to see what we can work together. Also working with the local Car dealerships, most of them are overwhelmed with plow trucks as well. I even had a gentleman from the city say they would be interested in a roadside service like that
  17. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    I am not trying to discourage you, nor do I disagree with your intent. I have spent to many 36 hour days in the repair bays over the last 35 years to not see the pitfalls. I have discussed the service plan idea this with my customers and local contemporaries for years, and still have not found a business plan that "clears the mountain." My customers are the best for finding pitfalls, I've heard the phrase "well,I be pissed if I'd paid and " many times. They have followed it with "If I had to wait for hours" "you're out of the part" and many others. I think the 24/7 is good and we've made it work but I'm leary about the service plan idea. Keep working on it though and keep us informed, I'll steal any good ideas for my own use.:rolleyes:
  18. ibelee

    ibelee Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    WOW! Good Information!

    As a New Dealer this year we are trying some of what has been suggested.
    Like Basher we are open 24/7 when it snows. Like has been said before, most plows don't break down when their not working. They usually break down when you are using them.
    We DO offer loaner plows and pumps if we can not fix yours within the 1st 1/2 hour. Our loaner Plows and Pumps, however, require a lease agreement which includes responsibility for damages and a set return date and time.
    All the above is for Meyer Equipment only.
    I was going to put a service truck on the road this year, but decided against it. May still do it next year, but only for customers who have purchased our equipment or who have had their equipment serviced by us. This would not include spreaders. You would need to bring your spreader to the shop. No road service.
    Parts inventory and being open when it snows seems to be the most important thing to the contractors and municipalities in my area.
    Very few people down here run anything but Meyer Equipment so it is easier for me to keep the needed inventory.
    Will see how it goes this year and will go from there.
    Great topic, and great input. Would love to hear more input on this.
  19. emayer23

    emayer23 Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    realistically how many times are there major problems that occur and do you want to get down and get wet every time it snows constantly maybe 20 times a storm or not at all and fix things"AAA" can do this cause they have hundreds of tow companys to respond you probably dont i think the only one benefiting from this is the cust. not the business owner your cheap insurance thats my 2 cent.. best of luck
  20. emayer23

    emayer23 Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    i do thinks a great idea for your cust. not you