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Approaching snow removal a different way this year.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by buckwheat_la, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    So I am debating changing up my role when i am doing snow removal. Normally i am one of the guys on a skidsteer, tractor, or loader, however i have been on a health kick this year, and i am thinking i should join one of my shovelling crews this year. Really want to shed about 20 lbs, and if we have a busy winter, a month or 2 on a shovel well do that quite quickly. Any thoughts? I know i am going to have to re organize how equipment work is done, and my ability to problem shoot well be serverly limited, anything else i am not seeing?
  2. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    One good thing about that is it will make your employee's respect you more. Anytime you spend time in the "trench's" with them it seems to do that. In my line of work i will help the lot tech's if they are busy, and it pays off double because they will run through a wall for me versus the other managers. Plus it shows them that your not asking or demanding them to do something that you wouldn't do.
  3. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    No disrespect to you buckwheat...and i realize your motivations, plus i dont know how big of operation you run...but what is your time really worth and at what cost can you replace yourself as a sidewalk labourer?

    If you want to shed 20 lbs cut all carbs, eat protien and avoid any vegetables grown in the ground. You'd be pleasantly suprised.
  4. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    I know what you are saying, i have a couple of good equipment operators now, retired guys who seem to know their sh!t, so i am not worried about my time not being spent on the loader/skidsteer/tractor. My operation isn't huge, but not small either, a loader (possibly another one this year), a couple skid steers, a couple sub compact tractors. we run 4 hand shovelling/snowblowing crews, that handle about 40-60 homes each, plus a crew that does 4-5condos. Im not too worried about what my time is worth, more concerned with my health, and eating good is always a priority. Im more thinking of the getting into shape aspect, why join a gym when i have perfectly good work i could be doing and making money while doing it? At the same time, at the end of my day, after shovelling, i am not going to want to return calls, or deal with repairs, physically i well be beat.
  5. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    You must be mad at yourself.............gl
  6. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i am mad at myself, lol. I used to do MMA, Judo, Kickboxing, Jujitsu etc. now i don't have time for any of it, trying to figure a way for me to get back in shape within my time constraints. Not a lot of extra time anymore in my days.
  7. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Are you the owner? Are you going to transfer those obligations to someone else? I dont know about you but I dont tend to get many calls or calls that sit unaswered to the end of the day. All of my clients have my direct cell line and if for some reason the office line gets unanswered or not forwarded they are instructed to call me directly in my office voicemail message.

    You may want to rethink your position on this idea...but thats JMO.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. :drinkup:
  8. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    I am the owner, and i have a office, with staff to take care of most phone calls, but at the end of the day, there are always calls that need addressing too, (estimates, misc other stuff). I haven't made a decission on this idea yet, and appreciate all the imput.
  9. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    You sb un replaceable.
    I wouldn't do it.
    Convert a room at your office into a dojo and stay on top of things.
  10. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Buck, one word..... Liability, its your a$$ on the line out there. IMO keep your business and personal goals separate. a slip and fall will amount to more then the cost of loosing a few lbs. HIH
  11. gkm

    gkm Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    radio headset ????
  12. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,779

    Snow shoveling is unreliable as a scheduled workout. I don't have a big operation... I wear all the hats and I can tell you that shovelling as you get older sucks. One year I caught the edge of a paver mid swing and killed my wrist worked for the next 6 months in pain, and still have problems with it. Best left to younger cheaper workers. But then I also advise not to listen to anything I say, cause I don't practice it. :)
  13. snowtech

    snowtech Member
    Messages: 66

    you are crazy, i know this b/c i did a similar move 2 years ago and had my sidewalk crew skip all the accounts i plowed and i shoveled them myself after i plowed them. long story short the sidewalk crew is back to doing all the walks on my route. good luck
  14. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 594

    I agree with the first post. Your employees will DEFINITELY respect you more. They will be twice as loyal and when employees have respect for the boss they definitely try harder for speed and quality. I think it is a good idea, although you would really have to be careful and make a judgment call after the first storm to see if it is going to really get in the way of you operating your business
  15. plowman4life

    plowman4life Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    im sure your guys will respect you more for helping them out with the most labor intensive part of snow removal but as the owner i think you need to be doing your plowing and taking care of the phone calls/plroblem/repairs. your thinking of your health and gotta loase weight. but at the same time your hurting yourself by doing that.

    your gonna deal with the physical strain of shoveling for the whole storm then go to the office and deal with all the stress of running a business. sound like a good way to cause a heart attack to me. but thats my .02
  16. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Join a gym, run your operation, it's your hard work that's gotten you where you are, think of it this way, if you took 15 years to get to this point in business, you can probably afford to take a little extra time to lose some weight.

    But to play the devils advocate, if you have a number 2 that you feel is ready, maybe a good test for him, as you could always take over if you have to.

    As to the guys having more respect for you, true......BUT in my opinion you should be leading from the front anyway. First to the shop/office everyday you don't have an appointment/meeting, first one to step in and educate if you see something wrong, and for that they should RESPECT you. It really doesn't matter if they like you. There are a few schools of thought on this, many say to have a personal relationship with an employee is a mistake, and that friday happy hour beers with your guys is a bad idea, others disagree. But here's the thing of it. And this is how I think of it for whatever it's worth.

    If you're too friendly with your guys, and one of them really screws the pooch and you have to let him go, the rest of the guys will take another look at the relationship and will wonder how you could fire a buddy.......

    Relationships are complicated, and it MAY be best to keep business about business and be sure the guys respect you as a leader and not a buddy.

    I got a little off topic here, but hey............
  17. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    You will get a better workout and less back pain loading bags of salt by hand.

    Get 2 pallets of bagged. Everyday go into work a half hour early and transfer those 2 skids to another skid next to it. Repeat daily.

    That 20lbs will be gone in no time.
  18. Mr.Freezzz

    Mr.Freezzz Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 81

    Are you trying to get layed or married? Who do you need to impress? Join a gym or make some personal time and get out and get your blood pumping! I'm a huge outdoors man and can't gain a pound if I wanted too. My business keeps me moving on my feet all day also so that should do it. Watch the snacking and rockstars etc.:redbounce
  19. mrsnowman

    mrsnowman Senior Member
    Messages: 126

    That is sure one way to look at it! Now do it for a month and realize it sucks as it does and stop. Now those employees that you just built up such a good repor with are thinking that this work is too hard for them too and they need more money. Long story short. You just killed their attitudes.
    I don't ever run my operations to try to get my employees to like or respect me more. That should happen out of running a quality and successful business no matter what position that you place yourself in. I have found that the more lobor positions that I put myself back into, the more the employees get use to it. Just my two cents!
  20. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    I like the idea of the salt bag pallets, although we don't use salt, we do fill sand bags for all the local gas stations, etc so i could most definetly do that. As far as to shovel or to drive a skid steer/tractor/loader, i have many guys who are competent driving the machines. We do trade off often, however, i find myself in the machines more often then not, as the guy driving the heavy equipment is usually the guy putting in the most hours. I find myself in a unique postion this year in that i have landed a couple of part time employees, who are competent driving the equipment, but not able to shovel. The other part of the equation mentioned on here, is how my guys well respond to this, and i am also of two schools of thought. I do lead from the front so to speak, and i won't ask any of my guys to do something i am not willing to do, I have a good working relationship with my guys as a whole, and sometimes even take them out for beers (actually i make a point of taking all the guys at some point or another for lunch at least once in the summer). That being said, i also have a reputation of being a hard @ss, i expect things done, my way, and if someone has a problem with it, there is a door, don't let it hit you on the way out. All my employees are pretty loyal, all work hard, and we follow a pretty strict sense of respect for, the employees, management, jobs, and customers.

    My brother is my 2nd, and a great guy. He is more then able to take on the role if i ask him to. Also he has been running the hand shovelling crews for the last few years, so he might like a change in venue himself. I well still be able to deal with phone calls and stuff while i do the shovelling, and in some ways it may work out better as i don't like to stop mid push on a parking lot to take a call, i well always have the drive time from one place to another to fit in a phone call. Also i won't be working as many nights either, as we normally start 4-5am and work til noon or so.

    The biggest problem i forsee has to do with my ability to work the longer hours; in a piece of equipment, if you need to you can pull a 24-36-48 hr stint no problem ( i well point out that i have never asked a employee to do this, they run on 12 hr shifts, but if "I" have to , well that comes with "being the boss") If we get a heavy snow fall and have to run those longer shifts I won't be up to it if i have shoveled all day.

    My desire for doing this goes back to a time when myself (and my brother) did this by ourselves, i was in awesome shape. Hand shovelling, good work out for the back, arms, and cardio. I have tried the gym, but it never seems to work out, always too much on the go to have time to schedule it regularly. I really do like the idea of moving a couple of pallets of sand bags every day.

    Thanks everyone for the great comments