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Failing Plowing buisness

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ConnerM, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. ConnerM

    ConnerM Member
    Messages: 62

    Im just wondering if i could get a story of someyone who didnt make it in the plow buisness and went belly up? Also your opinion on why you think you failed and what I should lookout for if i were to start my own plow buisness
  2. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,069

    Well I haven't failed or quit yet. But I can give you some advice.
    You have to be a good business person and a good service provider. you're human and you're going to make mistakes, things happen employees mess up, it's just a part of a business.
    If you only live by two rules, heres two that I like. 1. The customer is always right. 2. If the customer is ever wrong, re-read rule one.
    I've made mistakes and I've learned from them. But it's good that you're looking at the business side before you just jump on a mower!
    Good luck!
  3. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    #1 Rule >>> Do not be a lowballer >>>> You will put yourself out of business.
    #2 Rule >>> Don't count on snow >>>> Baltimore, MD area had 2" this year
    #3 Rule >>> Re Read # 2
    #4 Rule >>> Because I have very low overhead, I will be okay and ready to plow next year.
    Hope this helps and good luck to you.

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    Don't over extend yourself, I normally have 4 trucks and 1.5 skid sitting not being used (one gets used for loading salt) on a 1-3"er. But guess what when we get hammered we can keep up without a problem. As someone already said never ever rely on snow for income, make sure you have money in the bank in the fall to float you through winter.
  5. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    it is an old fire dept addage that i live by:

    If you plan to suceed you will fail

    if you plan for disaster you will suceed.

    what that means is always plan for the worse case senario. make sure you have a great if not good insurance agent, don't over extend yourself on equipment or places you handle. and know you costs (ie don't low ball) it may look real good ego wise to plow the biggest places in your area but if you don't make money at it why do it ..... you may be happier ( more profitable) plowing 2 to 3 smaller places..... or one more thing... do not always think profit.... think cash... you can make 300% profit but what good is that if you can't get paid on time or at all
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Well if I failed I probably won't be here to give you a story.
  7. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    Be as informed as you can, about whatever decisions you make, and keep pushing forward. Know that there will be good times and there will be lean times. Take what you learn from the lean times, and use it to build and grow. Diversify as much as possible, and remember, no matter how good of a business man you are, there will be things that come into your life, that you have no control over. Adjust, and keep pushing forward. Good luckussmileyflag
  8. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Unless plowing snow is a natural extension of your current business, you have to do it for fun as much as business. I have a day job completely unrelated, and run my plowing operation as much for enjoyment as income which was actually started simply to help pay for the truck I bought, and the next truck I bought......and don't count on snow!

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    I have several failing business's which one do you want to hear about first?
  10. cosgo

    cosgo Member
    Messages: 63

    LMAO!!! :laughing:
  11. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,557

    The customer is not always right, that's a good thing to follow if you want to be stressed out beyond belief and just wind up wanting to give up! With that being said, that doesn't mean you tell customers openly that their wrong, or their ways sucks, or its your way or the highway....there are ways of telling a customer they are wrong that are ok AND a customer will appreciate a professional opinion that is expressed positively without shutting the person down. If they still want things their way, charge accordingly, don't guarantee things on their terms if you know they won't work out, and don't be afraid to walk away from lousy people! Learning AND applying that mentality has allowed me to enjoy what I do so much more and be a hell of a lot more successful at it!
  12. Lawn Enforcer

    Lawn Enforcer Senior Member
    Messages: 569

    Well said. Be professional about it, let them know about your experiences on other jobs and how it worked out. Always have plenty of money in the bank. I had a crappy lawn season in fall (no rain) and a crappy winter (no snow) but I made it through because of planning ahead. Problems will come about too, like a few days ago I was waiting on a big check and at one point I had $0.75 in my checkbook. Now I'm doing fine until I start getting mowing and spraying checks in. Write down experiences and problems you have encountered and remember and learn from them.
  13. Head1

    Head1 Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    Do a search here on John Allin..................

    He went BIG then went broke !
    He is/was from Erie Pa. started small and was one of the early SIMA guys, associated with SMG and Simboit? Plowed the Olympics events out west etc........................

    Real big time! It shows you anyone in the snow removal business can fail........................

    Hes a guy that could sell SNOW to the Eskimos !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    He's also a guy who had a rep for screwing his employees and not paying his subs. Pretty sure he got run out of town.
  15. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    please don't get me started on this guy.....(pretty sure my post will be deleted) :)
  16. Head1

    Head1 Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    Thats why I posted that short message.......................

    I only mentioned reading up on JA because its related to the posted topic for the sake of the newbees as we "oldtimers" remember him well !

    As I said ....He one h*ll of a saleman!
  17. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 545

    He learned from his mistakes. He can sell a sno-melter to a Arab
  18. ConnerM

    ConnerM Member
    Messages: 62

    John Allin

    I couldnt find it can u give me a link
  19. snowguys

    snowguys Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    Is it this guy? Johnallin.com
  20. andcon83

    andcon83 Senior Member
    Messages: 388

    Make sure everything can be paid for as if you dont have any snow fall at all. Start small and work your way up. Going out and taking $100k in loans on equiptment is stressful, especially if it doesn't snow.