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any MONEY in only sub-contracting?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by ConnerM, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. ConnerM

    ConnerM Member
    Messages: 62

    Hey guys haven't posted in a long time but its winter again and its got me thinking again. So im wondering if you can make decent money just doing sub-contacting work. No contracts on the side or anything. In MN im thinking $65 an hour is good rate for a sub with his own plow. After all expenses how much would someone make just as a sub at that rate per winter? Also let me put this into perspective I am hoping to sub and if all goes well just buy another truck and have 2 of em going during the season and so on until I hopefully have 4-5 trucks going during the winter. (down the road)
  2. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Well I am 4 hours north of you, I get 65 hourly for my pickups, I'm doing alright. My subs are paid $55 hourly.
  3. ConnerM

    ConnerM Member
    Messages: 62

    ok just wondering so do u only do subwork or do u have your own contracts? im asking because im doing the math for subwork and it aint panning out. THESE ARE THE NUMBER IM RUNNING :
    12HRS per push x 15 avg push per year (im not sure if this is to high or to low) =180hrs
    (-) $-3,600 ($20 per hour pay)
    (-) $-1,800 ($10 per hour gas)(probably high)
    (-) $-1,500 (1 truck basically guessing)
    $4,800 left over profit (not counting taxes)
    $?????? (maintenance and repairs)
    So doing the math if I spend 10k on truck and 3k to get plow install and everything operational for a total of 13k and if maintenance and repairs is roughly $1,000 a season ( I hope) im getting roughly $3,500 and the investment in the truck doesn't materialize until 4 seasons later if I don't have any major repairs. So this seems like a lot of work to break even after 4 seasons so im thinking my math is wrong or sub contracting alone without side contracts wont work.
  4. allagashpm

    allagashpm Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    I am sure there are lots of guys that sub only and do fine. There are other benefits to it like they don't need to worry about managing or making decisions they just get a text and show up.
    For me 65 an hour wouldn't be worth it (no I'm not one of those guys that say I won't drop my blade for less than 50 bucks!).
    Reason being I know what I average per hour is a lot more than that and my route isnt even as tight as it could be.

    I never saw the point of subbing because in my mind I have to have insurance taxes and everything else, but I'm getting paid much less.
  5. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    I'm a bit low on my trucks, going rate here is 65-75 for v plows, but I'm high on loaders/equipment, going rate is generally 120 for a payloader, I'm 150. I'd prefer to do all per push but around here I can't. Wind can make a 1/2" cleanup 8 hours and a 4" clean up 3 1/2 hours. Too flat.
  6. leigh

    leigh 2000 Club Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,342

    The subs I use are contractors who already have a truck for their contracting businesses.They don't work during or shortly after storms .This works out well for them and me.They usually pull in 8 k per season.Is it worth it to set up a truck just to sub,imho no.
  7. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    ConnerM, instead of trucks go with skid steers. Buy a good machine to start, so hopefully less in repairs. You should make more an hr than trucks, they will hold up better and retain more of their value. Much more versatile than trucks imo...which means more money making opportunities.payup

    Trucks are money pits. With plows on them they are money black holes.
  8. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    when i did it i was getting over 100 and hour i mean its your gas ins wear and tear
  9. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,481

    Where do you get your numbers from? How do you have a clue that each push will equal 12 hours????? You also don't know if 15 pushes per year is high or low. Your math is way too fuzzy to be close to accurate. Drive somebody else's truck for awhile until you are more informed. And actually, there is money to be made subbing, but you're not going to get rich doing it with one truck. Subbing is usually more of a "supplemental income" type of a situation.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  10. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,605

    Your a little high on the fuel. You will still need insurance on the truck. If you have a truck and plow already you can make some extra income. But if you are going to set up a small fleet, you better sit down and really crunch the numbers. If the trucks are used for other working income in the summer, maby. But for soley snow, you will never see a good profit subbing. Just my opinion.
  11. First Responder

    First Responder Senior Member
    from 48015
    Messages: 259

    When we first started out, we only have a few small lots,so we subbed for a large outfit. It worked out well and payed our bills. As for a good profit, not so much. We now have our "own" accounts with a nice mix of per-push & seasonals, but we still work as subs and we sub accounts out. It made more sense to have a tighter route for our company & the company we sub for. Imo and in my area, you can make 2-4 times more $ having your "own" accounts. Subs in our market range 65-85/hr,depending on efficient the plow/operator are.
  12. ConnerM

    ConnerM Member
    Messages: 62


    ya seems like there aint a lot of money in subcontracting at least for $65 an hour. if it was 75-85 it would probably be worth it to only sub but since that not reasonable considering the truck ill have and the lack of experience im thinking ill try to get my own contracts just driveways and whatever if I don't fill up all my time with my own contracts I can sub after that. Then once I save up maybe buy a bobcat and sub that since rates are much higher and would be decent for just sub-contracting work. That's if I don't end up jumping all in and running my own show all year round. Im just trying to find a way to get in the business while still holding a full time job
  13. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    You'll want to stick to resi if your staying full time.
  14. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    Bud, you are missing so many items here, I hate to blow your idea apart, but I did what you are trying to do and here is the real truth.

    When you are talking about sub contracting more that one truck, you are going to have to form your own company to cover your a$$. Here is where the rest of your profit goes to. There is not typically much residential work in subcontracting. It typically is found on commercial properties. Most commercial plowing companies will not even give you the time of day if you are not a Corp with G/L and Work Comp Insurance.

    Since you cannot drive 4-5 trucks at once, this is where it goes to hell.

    You will want to Incorporate - this will protect you if one of your drivers makes a big mistake. Your corporate vail creates a form of a wall so that if you are sued they will go after your corp's insurance money and assets before your personal items.

    You will have to have General Liability Insurance - Again, one of your trucks backs into a light pole, falls on a car parked in front of a store front and knocks out the front window, hitting a person walking out the door and puts them on life support for the rest of their life... just saying, it can and has happened.

    You now have employees - They will need to be covered by Workers Compensation Insurance - That is where the profit can be gone.

    The big thing that you are missing on your $20 an hour payroll is that is $20 an hour in cash. The government does not care for that. You will have to pay Fed and State Withholding, Medicare, and Social Security also. That comes from your pocket if your man power's take home is $20 an hour.

    Then, as you said, if you make money, there will be taxes, so you will need an accountant to tell you have to reinvest or "dump" the profits back into your company to attempt to avoid loosing all your profit to taxes.

    Sorry to be the burden of bad new, but this is nasty side of real world of business.
  15. brianbrich1

    brianbrich1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,102

    When working as a subcontractor it is best to get paid "x" amount to complete a job instead of hourly.

    What many fail to realize and even small companies is that just because you don't use a companies equipment but your own, paid by the hour their are fine line laws that state that you are actually an employee.
  16. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    Don't sub for a company if you're working a full time job. I'm a sub and I get called out in all hours of the night and day. I only do walks, so no plow here, but the plow guys who sub are the same way. It differs a little between who has a spreader and who has only a plow, but you get my point. As far a making good money, it depends on the contractor. With all the companies I've worked for I don't have watch the weather (usually I do so I can let my guys know what's going on) and I don't have to spend time trying to get the customer, or dealing with the 900 phone calls every storm. I like not having to deal with that headache. I also wouldn't do a set hourly rate, I feel like the more experience you have the more $$ you leave on the table. Get a set amount per job. Get out early enough in the year that you can walk if they don't pay enough. I will also say from experience, if you sign with them early, but don't get a route with what they're paying you for months to RUN! I screwed myself this year and am making less and working more. Do you homework. Good luck
  17. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,926

    We have 2 trucks that we sub out. My brother and i drive each truck. We make 85$ an hour plus we have smaller lots of our own so we make a little extra. We have a business in place so its really no extra cost to us except for the plow and wear and tear.
  18. ConnerM

    ConnerM Member
    Messages: 62


    Hey guess I goofed the $1500 I subtracted was for insurance for the season on 1 truck. That's to cover the truck and property insurance. I did put I was guessing so if $1500 for insurance for both of tose thing seems low feel free to give me a more accurate number
  19. ConnerM

    ConnerM Member
    Messages: 62

    Hey a question on here for the guys saying they are getting $75-85 an hour. Do you guys have it in the contract for that set rate or are you getting a set rate per lot and your just getting it done fast enough for the 75-85 an hour. Or it could be again your own contracts but like others have said then u have to deal with 900 phone calls on top of that full-time job sounds like a stretch which Is why im asking about subcontracting
  20. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Hourly contract.