Considering a residential tractor snowblower service

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by HPSInc, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. HPSInc

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 38

    B071FB3D-E63E-4FC7-AEA2-849C4DCE97A9.png 6F3CAFE2-EBC2-4C01-AC3E-704B228B764E.png So I’m thinking of making a change but a little background first. Ive been in business 9 years. We mow and landscape in the growing months and plow in the winter. I do all and townhomes. I run with 8 full time guys in mowing season and used to run with 4 in winter each time it snowed. Last year I parked my snow machines, leased out my tractor, and did two small HOAs myself. I really only did the other plow accounts before to keep guys busy, since that’s no longer a concern of mine I just do what I can do now and don’t have to worry about dragging guys out of bed at 2am. I have these 2 HOAs left which I can still do myself, or drop if I want. Doesn’t really make or break me. I still have several snow machines that I’m sitting on, and a really nice tractor that’s all set up for snow. I used the tractor for 2 years after I bought it new. I leased it out last year to a friend in the plow biz who doesn’t need it this year. So my thought was to use it residentially since I can do it myself and actually use it for once. I always had a hired operator in it. I have maybe 800 homes in a 10-15 minute tractor ride in a nice loop from my shop to drop fliers to. I’m assuming it could be a slow start, but that’s ok. There’s nobody in my area doing residentials with tractor/blower setup. Commercially in HOAs you’ll see skid steers with blowers and tractors with blowers, or guys with walk behind blowers but only plow trucks do residential driveways. I’ve never seen a tractor blower setup on the road ever and if there was one in my town or the town over I would have seen it or heard about it im sure. I’m in a unique situation where I have this tractor and don’t have to use it, but would rather it pay for itself than not use it. And if I don’t use it, I feel I should probably sell it. It sits all summer as it is. But I’ve had this idea in my head of hitting the resi market with this thing and just wanted to see what the consensus would be? I live in a good middle class area, definitely some cheap skates, but people have money. Homes range from 150k-400k with the majority I would say in the 200-250k range.
    Commercially, in HOAs a driveway is anywhere from $450-$700 and that includes the roadway being plowed and all shoveling in front of garage and walkways, sidewalks if they have them. I don’t know the resi pricing but I fear it’s low. Heck I think some of the HOAs are low too. However, nobody is snow-blowing residentials, and I know I can’t make people believe me when I tell them I will be there when I need to be, but that’s a fact. I don’t sleep in, I don’t come out late. I’m usually done with all my accounts when other guys finally roll out of bed. So I don’t want to go out and do driveways for $200-300 is what I’m saying. My old commercial plow accounts were in the 20k- 45k range. I did some big places but nothing huge. A friend of mine does accounts around 90k but they look like a nightmare and I don’t want in on that. So I’ve already accepted I’m making less by possibly doing residentials solo but it won’t be nearly as frantic for me. I can keep the tractor in my heated shop, and just take off from here banging driveways. I have 3 more snow machines for backup although they aren’t as fast as the tractor would be, and two plow trucks. However if I’m selling a blower service I don’t reckon anybody would want to see a truck show up. So any idea what u can expect with being the first guy in my area to try something like this? Roughly how may people might sign up? Will people jump ship from the truck plow guy? Will they decide to leave their shovel in the garage and fork up some cash for a more high end snow service? What do you guys think? Plows as we are all aware make big piles, can damage lawn. The blower can do a real clean job. My blower pushes almost no snow against garages and I have the back blade if I need it. We had 7 foot of snow drop in 1 night a few years back. Plow trucks were useless but blowers could clear a driveway. I also have 130hp loader that’s super dependable that I purchased for around my shop and use to push back snow piles in winter. So if SHTF I have that as a backup as well to use along with my tractor. What do you guys think about trying to market the tractor blower in my area? Buffalo NY approx 26-30 plows per season on average. Buffalos average annual snowfall is 93 inches.
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,769

  3. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman Addict
    Messages: 1,306

    Overkill for residential. Why don't you become a sub for a company that does "big stuff"?
  4. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,321

    Is that a hydraulic blower or a front pto? Looks hydraulic
  5. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,769

  6. iceyman

    iceyman PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,934

    What can a machine like that get tosub up in buffalo?
  7. Green mentorship

    Green mentorship Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I got about half way thru your novel and stopped. I think the take away is this. You have that tractor and don't have work for it. Close? Seems like that leaves you two options. Get it work or sell the thing.
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,769

    I believe I said it more succinctly.
    NYH1 and DeVries like this.
  9. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,532

    NYH1 and Mark Oomkes like this.
  10. OP

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 38

    I know I tend to babble...sorry bout that. I can get commercial work for it, I dropped acounts I had it on because I didn’t want to deal with them last year. I don’t want to hire extra hands over winter. I’ve scaled back. This year im between going residential with it, selling it, or just parking it which seems like a waste of having it. Just wanted feedback on the residential tractor thing since nobody around me is doing it. Wondering how well recieved it would be compared to what everybody else does which is truck plow driveways. I know other guys out there run them on resi’s
  11. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,769

    While I'm using inverted blowers, I think your setup is a close second. Still no piles to deal with or snow to push up with a truck onto the lawn or wherever.

    It is by no means overkill, especially with the occasional lake effect you get or get frequently...not sure where in Buffalo you are.

    Tractors are more maneuverable, have better visibility and better built for this type of work.
    HadiCoop and NYH1 like this.
  12. OP

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 38

    We get blasted around here. We got that 7 footer a few years ago in 1 day. We get sloppy wet heavy snow in the beginning of the winter and also no stranger to taking a nap and waking up to a foot or more. It’s pto driven in front to answer an earlier question.
  13. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,769

    Like I said, it isn't overkill. Besides, you already own it.

    Sign up a bunch of resi's and have at it.
    HadiCoop, SHAWZER and Randall Ave like this.
  14. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,008

    if the jobs are close ...go for it, a lot of people prefer not to have the piles,
    HadiCoop likes this.
  15. HadiCoop

    HadiCoop Senior Member
    Messages: 195

    That’s a very nice setup for residential. There’s a few guys in my area that have similar setups. Lots of guys still use plow trucks though...including me.

    I’ll be looking into a tractor setup similar to yours for next season. I say go for it man!