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Getting back into the snow game

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by sluggish, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. sluggish

    sluggish Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Been away from here for quite a while as I moved and got away from snow clearing. Where I have moved to, there were a couple big boys around that I just couldn't compete with on the residential side, and the commercial side was just so competitive it seemed like pricing was just a race to the bottom and see who closes their doors first, and I wanted no part of that. I started my own gig in the tourism industry for the summertime but have always just picked up whatever I could find for the winter.I was just about to apply for a full time position at a company I do some plant maintenance for, when, as luck would have it, one of the big boys around here has decided to retire and offered me his business. We struck a deal and soon I will be responsible for over 400 driveways in the area. All get done with compact tractors with blowers, which is new to me, as all my past work was commercial with skid steers and loaders. Should be an interesting venture with a bit of a steep learning curve initially. Anyone got any pointers?
  2. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    I can't give you any pointers as I am a 1 man operation ... but I do wish you good luck!!!
  3. John V D Zon

    John V D Zon Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    with the right operators and understanding how and when the municipal snow crew are going to service the community is important. How much snow do you get annually and what type of equipment did you purchase?
  4. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,478

    So, you took over his business, but that doesn't mean that his previous customers have to honor the contract that they had with him. How many of them are you sure you will have now that you're the owner?
  5. sluggish

    sluggish Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    You are correct, nobody is required to stay but we are contacting each one right now and most are staying on board. I expected that some would leave and that some will come over(I know many locals who are already on board), I am very involved in the community and that has already helped. We are anticipating that at least 80% will remain on board and that is how the purchase agreement is arranged. Price is reflected and pro rated depending on retained customer volume.

    Average snowfall in this area is approximately 100 inches spread over approximately 25-30 snowfalls. Hopefully, coordinating with the municipal roads guys won't prove to be too much of a hurdle, but we will see.

    Since I do like to plan ahead, once I get through the first winter, I will start working on getting some of these people lined up for summer maintenance as well. Baby steps.

    As far as equipment, all units are compact tractors with 7 foot blowers. Similar to this unit.
  6. John V D Zon

    John V D Zon Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    sounds like you're well on your way with that type of set up and the purchase agreement is a good one.I have bought out several companies in the past and the deal was buying the clients based on the previous year contracts.The price being 50% /contract regardless whether they singed on for the upcoming snow season.I found it to be a risk but in the end run it was 100% .Good luck!
  7. Brando55

    Brando55 Member
    Messages: 54

    How many driveways do you plan on having for each tractor? I am looking at a similar set up for this year but have no experience with the tractors & blowers.
  8. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 224

    Is it all John Deere stuff, if it is the first thing I do is start replacing it with Kubota stuff. We use to run the small deeres and had nothing but issues.
    The newest Kubota has gone 2 years with no break downs.
  9. sluggish

    sluggish Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    2 Deeres, 2 Kubotas, 1 New Holland, and a couple rentals(unkownon make yet)

    Brando55 - About 70 driveways per unit.
  10. sluggish

    sluggish Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Likely a few more storms to go for this season, and it was a tough one for sure. We are just shy of an all time record season for snowfall and will likely hit it by the end of this week, not a good year to start with season based pricing. Had a few minor issues with equipment and a few major ones. lost 4wd on one of my deere units, and blew a motor on a rental unit. That one hurt, not because I was on the hook for repairs, but because they had nothing to replace it with. This means I have been short 2 tractors for the past month, making for some long shifts.

    I definitely learned lots this winter and have decided to make a few changes moving forward. Time will tell if I make the right decisions but I feel confident about them.