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Beginner Help

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by PresidentPMG, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. PresidentPMG

    PresidentPMG Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I am currently in building and facilities maintenance. We do some management of a few buildings, that receive normal plowing. problem is, I've never done that work myself, and I'm looking to bring the service itself in house. I am of the understanding that, snow plow, and lawn care go hand in hand and I'm comfortable enough with lawn care, but am completely lost when it comes to snow plow. I am basically a guy who has the money and means to get the jobs done, but don't really know where to start.

    Insurance is a huge cost, as is fuel. I have the ability to pick up a brand new truck with whatever plow I want, and I'm wondering what would be the best bang for my buck. 3/4 ton with 9' V? What would you get, and where would you start?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    What's the sizes of the properties?
  3. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    Also, do you have the means to get up at all hours of the night to service these properties?

    Weather it be your staff or yourself... you have to be able to man it, day in day out no matter the conditions.

    What do you do if your truck or plow breaks?

    Just food for thought.
  4. PresidentPMG

    PresidentPMG Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Sizes of the properties are mostly .5-.80 acre. Maybe two that are between 1-1.5 acres. I'd also like to do some residential, as I understand how difficult it is to get to property managers or owners being in facilities maintenance.

    I have the means, and available labor to staff these jobs, at all hours of the day and night.(plenty cleaning technicians and maintenance techs who like and look for extra money. I also have a recruitment team, to continually staff my buildings.

    Never thought too much about a breakdown, I'm more than mechanically inclined, so I'm sure I can figure it out. This would be my reason for a new rig. But what would be the safest preparation for break downs. Also, what are the most common breakdowns, maybe we can have a complete plow set-up minus truck available as back-up? Or strap a smaller plow to a half ton fleet truck as a back-up?

    Thanks in advance, I'm a complete novice!
  5. Sawboy

    Sawboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,700

    A new truck will obviously lower the chances of a breakdown. Most common breakdowns on a plow are probably busted hoses. Again, a new plow greatly limits that chance, but a couple spare hoses are cheap and a 10 minute replacement.

    As for truck and plow? Yes, a 3/4 or 1 ton and a 9.5' Vee is great. Especially if your also looking to do residentials. Whatever you do......please don't ask brand of truck or plow. World War 753257898632 just finished up on those subjects. Lol. Find the truck you are most comfortable in, and get the plow brand that offers the best and most convenient service department.

    Backup plan? You're on the right track. Find a second truck with a straight blade for cheap and have it ready, or develop a relationship with someone in a similar situation.

    Oh......and before you ask, get a set of dedicated snow tires. Search here, that subject has been beaten to death even more than the two aformentioned brand war So! Lol
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
    BUFF, ktfbgb and Dogplow Dodge like this.
  6. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Great advice
  7. PresidentPMG

    PresidentPMG Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Where can the hose be purchased from? Will it depend on what brand of plow I get?

    What are standard production times?
    How much will my truck cost me per hour? What are reasonable wages?
    How do you account for maintenance?

    I have an ok idea in terms of different pricing options, I'm just trying to find my loaded costs. I'd like to take on additional residential and commercial jobs, but I need to know how to price them, so I can turn a profit.
  8. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    Your not going to turn a profit for a a few years. Also ask about backup plans,,,,,I saw no mention of that. Sure you can wrench, but what happens when parts are 2 days away? Need to know your triggers, when you go out when not.
  9. PresidentPMG

    PresidentPMG Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    We've established that a backup truck, with a straight blade would be best back-plan. But, to also keep hoses on hand, as this is the most common break-down.

    The profit, isn't the largest concern, being cash flow positive is. Overall break-even point, is also based on lawn care equipment investment, as well as labor cost. As long as we're on the right track cash flow wise, everything else will fall in place.

    I'll refer to my previous set of questions again, being:

    1. What are standard production times
    2. How much will my truck cost me per hour, to run
    3. What are reasonable hourly wages
    4. How do you account for Maintenance
    5. What are standard or most common/desirable triggers
  10. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,564

    Standard production times vary based on the experience of the operator, the type of plow and truck you have, the type of lots you are doing where snow is to be stacked how many obstacles there are, what your trigger is, etc.

    Only you will know how much your truck will cost per hour. We have no idea what your truck and plow payment will be, how much fuel will cost you, maintenance, insurance, work comp, etc. it's different for everyone.

    Hourly wages depend on where you are. I don't live in your city. You have to find that out. Triggers are from zero tolerance to 4" typically. It depends on what is traditional in your area and what the needs of the individual customer are.
    dieselss likes this.
  11. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,589

    Your statement that your not worried about profit, just positive cash flow, lumping it in with summer maintenance. Grass grows every day. Snow not so much. Last year here one day it snowed. It was a big storm. But that's not going to put you over the top for the year. Run a complete set of logs keeping track of all expenses. Then you will no how your doing.
  12. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,589

    Where are you? I'm in Jersey, costs here are much higher. Driver's here are paid 25-30 an hour.
  13. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    1) 5 minutes to 24+hours. . 2) no clue, depends upon YOUR payment.....3). Reasonable, that's a loaded question but typically 20_30 an hour is about average in MY area. 4) not sure of this but I do my own and did the fleets when I worked at the company. 5)...as said 0_4" but that's agreed upon by you and your customers
    Dogplow Dodge and Randall Ave like this.
  14. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,564

    Your probably too late anyway for this year. At my plow shop if there are any new plows left for the year, which I doubt, they are usually 3-4 weeks out on new installs. You might be able to fudge it for your own properties maybe, but it's too late to try to get a route together in my opinion. And yes extra hoses will depend on what plow you get. I know you are talking about doing it for properties you already manage but also want to take on other snow clients. You would be smart to sub as plow truck driver for someone else for a few years before going out on your own. If you don't have at least a good working knowledge of the industry, and what standard snow and ice management practices are, you are going to open yourself up to gross negligence law suits.
  15. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 761

    You never know what your going to run into too.
    I broke my drive shaft on my truck one year.
    Was pushing snow over a curb, snow packed and I drove over the curb and didn't know and it was a small drop down and there was a big rock.
    I hit it just right and snapped my shaft at 2am in the morning in the middle of the storm.
    Talk about sucking having to crawl under the truck to replace that -(I was lucky had a spare shaft)
    Only had one thing go wrong on my plows, a hose let go my second year plowing-(that's why I replace my hoses every two years with new ones)

    So either have a back up truck or someone you know that plows that can help you out just in case.
    Dogplow Dodge likes this.