Bwhite I know what you mean . I don't think its a sign of a bad economy since most of the trucks I see are fairly new. I think it has more to do with not having had a very good year last year and not being use to seeing the trucks out. In this area guys have left the plows on since the pre-thanksgiving storm, even though the next potential snow isn't forecasted until next Tuesday!? I do agree this winter might be bad for guys who have been doing this for a while, since as you say more people will have more time to plow now that the day job just went bust. That coupled with what might be a strong year for snow (giving people the idea its easy to make money in this business) might make for some serious lowballing come next year especially. The worst/best example I can think of is the 92/93 winter when the economy was much worse than it is now (I think unemployment was at 8.something%) and we had a great year for snow (90"). The following year this area was inundated with lowballers and we still are suffering price lags from that winter.
Take advantage of the situation. If there's an excess of private plowers, I'm willing to bet they don't all own their own snow removal company...use them to expand your business. Let them work their equipment plowing and you show up to salt and make sure they did a good job. They make the payment on their truck and you grow twice what you could buying your own equipment.
You're right though every other truck going down the road seems like it has a plow frame on it sometimes.
yup i`ve seen a ton of plows this year.alot of meyer light duties and fishers.i didn`t get much in the way of accounts this year.only 12.hope that i can sub for another company in order to pay my bills.i feel alot of these guys that got plows for doing there driveway got laid off and they took all the plow biz in this area away.im use to having 20+ with at least 5 commercial.i only got one commercial and 11 res.
I know several people who do not do any kind of work in this industry and have plow trucks. The people who I know that do this have a couple things in common... 1) high amounts of CASH coming in that most likely goes unreported. 2) they only plow their own homes, their businesses that they own, and a couple of friends and family members. They don't get into doing it for money.
No, it's not rocket science but I've seen alot of BIG time screw-ups from guys who think plowing is easy. Ever see a plow truck "roll" down the side of a embankment , slid thru a garage door & smash into a $65,000 Benz I could go on & on. I've seen it & laughed at them oh yea anybody can plow.
warning: I have oversimplified some things here because it was starting to get REALLY long, so take everything with a grain of salt. I know that other situations do exist but I just wanted to throw out another point of view.
Well, granted my view of things are skewed cuz I grew up on a farm and would feel pretty comfortable doing about any kind of work except for public speaking and male prostitution. There are also people out there who have run over their children with riding lawn mowers, run over small trees and wrecked fences. Morons are everywhere, and I don't think we can attribute it to mowing your own lawn being "tricky".
I look at it this way: they're hiring it because they don't wanna do it themselves. They either don't want to spend the money to buy the equipment ot do it themselves, or they don't want to spend the time it takes to do it properly. That's where the snow professional comes in. I think the cases are rare when it becomes a "wow, I don't have the skill to clear my own driveway, I better hire a pro or I might hurt someone". Just about anyone can plow/shovel/snowblow, but not everyone can be good enough at it (meaning quality x efficiency) to make a living at it. I'm a capable guy who would never think about paying someone my hard earned cash to do somethgin that I could do. So if I had a commercial property and owned a truck, I'd prolly be one of those guys you'd see with a plow. And if I could do a friend or family member's business to help pay for my plow in a win-win deal, I'd prolly do it (as long as the time frames worked out) The capable really aren't the target market, I suppose. Crosses over into other areas, also. Hell that's probably true for any service or labor intensive business. You're only gonna get business from people who are either too busy or too lazy to do it themselves.
Just like anybody can finish their own basement. Construction isn't rocket science either, but the majority of people will choose not to spend the money on the proper tools and the time to learn (and then do) it right. And so that's why home remodelers exist. Nothing wrong with that, the vast majority of the time the end result will be a higher quality job in less time. It makes the money paid worth it. My two cents.
Totally agree with NoStockBikes!!'s example of the home remodeler. I have the know-how and the tools (air compressor, air nailer, saws etc). I just don't want to take the time and the PROFESSIONAL remodeler I've hired can do a better job in much less time. I even hired him last weekend for simple things like garage door openers (which turned out to be not so simple), and storm doors.
Plowing snow isn't rocket science. But how many people want to buy a truck (if they don't have one) buy a plow, then get up at 4:00 in the morning to clear their driveway so they can go to work at 7:00.
For what it would cost just for the plow, a person with an average drive around here could pay me for the next ten years.
I'm reminded of the one customer I have who has a very high level of service. But he wants me to leave it if conditions are right - no more than two inches of light snow or one inch of wet snow and it's nice, sunny and warm out. He likes to get out with his John Deere and push snow. But he wants me if it's too deep, too cold or ice. Or he just doesn't feel like it.
"plowing snow isn't rocket science" huh, maybe for you because you don't understand the implications of what you are doing. Maybe you don't understand how vital snow plowing is to this country's infrastructure. Maybe you don't understand that your fire truck driver can't get to your house on fire if the road isn't plowed. Maybe you don't realize that the ambulance driver cannot save your grandfather from his heart attack shoveling his driveway because the amubulance can't make it up your hill. Maybe you never jerked a car with a mother and children out of a snow bank in the middle of the night. Maybe you didn't know the rockets and bombs don't get to the base if the road is closed due to snow. And maybe you didn't know that national defense is dependant on free movement on our interstate highway system which was developed during the era of "I like Ike" in the 1950's.
And maybe you never had a major screw up and landed sideways on a 30 degree slope at 3 am and had to haul your truck up the hill all by your own wits with a come along, chain and snatch block.
Maybe you don't know that PLOWMEN are the most honorable profession in the free world, entreprenuers and self reliant people who brave the worst cold and wet weather usually by themselves so some silly rocket scientist can drive to Dunkin Donuts in the middle of a blinding snowstorm for a buy one get one free plain donut and coffee. Who do you think opened the roads in North Carolina three weeks ago so the power crews could get in to re-wire the power lines so people wouldn't freeze in their homes? Certainly not some rocket scientist.
You are right, it isn't rocket science, cuz plowmen are doing some good in the world right in our own hometowns.
Yes I too see alot of private trucks with plows! But the way I see it those same trucks are doing landscaping,carpentry, roofing etc, with the possible exception of painters. I think you start noticing them when you start thinking of them as your compettion. We are all trying to make a buck! I know one guy here says something like (Work smarter not harder) I agree. Just my weird sence of things.