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Getting Started Early/Ontime this year.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by 1BadHawk, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. 1BadHawk

    1BadHawk Member
    Messages: 68

    Last year was my first year with snow plowing, and although I did prety well I got started late in the season. I picked up a few loser accounts, and a few keepers. This year Im looking to expand, getting another truck/plow/spreader and wanting to pick up some more work.

    Whens a good time to start hitting the businesses up for service? and what do you think is the best way to go about it? Im looking for small to med size businesses, bowling alleys, MD offices, Small strip malls, thats sort of stuff.
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Hi, 1BadHawk. What you're going through is pretty typical. The good part is that it keeps getting better. Now is the time to start. Contact the businesses you want. You'll want to talk to the owner/manager or decision-maker. I'd suggest making up a little flyer or "fact sheet" to leave with your card. Malls will be kind of tough cause they'll usually be looking for bigger outfits with more equipment/personnel so maybe start with a smaller "mall" or if there are individual businesses who hire contractors.

    I've had some success talking to small business owners by stopping in appearing to want their services (for instance a glass store I visited when I needed to fix a broken window). I used my truck with the lettering on the door and took some literature and samples of Magic Salt. Then, when the owner said "of, you plow snow" - that was all I needed to discuss plowing his parking lot and using Magic Salt to keep his walkway clear. We spent a lot more time talking about my business than we did arranging to repair my broken window. Before I left I got a request to bid the lot and a tentative order for salt.

    I now do all residential and still "sell" all year. I just picked up two more last week for next winter and confirmed three that were new last winter who want to keep me for next winter. Now that the basic route is set, I've dropped two to tighten the route and concentrate on more within that area.

    As always, make sure your insurance will cover the accounts you're going after. Be prepared to show Proof of Insurance with your bids for commercial accounts.
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Just a followup to this post:

    I was at a garage sale an hour ago picking up something my wife bought. A couple of houses are being built on speculation across the street. The agent happened to be there getting ready to show one of them so I stopped over and talked to her for awhile. Introduced myself, what I do and the services I offer. Then gave her some cards to put in houses she's sellling. Worked out real good since this is an agency from out-of-town that's moving into this area and this woman will be the salesperson for this area. She was real receptive, especially since I emphasized that I was always available and have a sander ( both are rarities in this area). It helped, too, that since I wasn't driving the truck I plow with, that I could describe it. What she could recall was the lettering on the doors.

    There I was, sweating in 80s degree heat, talking about plowing snow :dizzy: , but there is a lot of potential benefit payup .
  4. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    Mick,I think your marketing ideas are great.In fact prior to reading the comments in relation to this thread I considered Real Estate Agents as a possible source to tap into.I canvassed 10 Agencies in my area and was only able to give one card out for both lawn care/snow.All of the replies were, we already have someone.Anyway, I was able to submit three bids to business's.I think in my area alot of the territory has been covered quite well.If it turns out, that we get closer to winter OCTOBER I will run some ads in 2 papers and seek out more residential accounts, as close to my home as possible.It is alot more difficult to obtain winter work, (plowing) than it ever was to obtain summer work(lawn cutting).If anything I will turn work away in the summer, to busy, I am looking to build that good base for the winter.Keep the thoughts going. The bottom line for me at this point is to try to generate as much good work as possible. I think to some degree it is out my hands, don't have the proper connections , equipment, to late on scene but at the same time I have not given it the time I need to let the growth occur.Dave.
  5. spiviter

    spiviter Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 74

    The Time is now, I just went thru 2 large industrial parks in my area, Wrote down the name and address, called the next day saying I was in the are quoting several other buildings and could discount there plowing if they also join on. I have 40 bids going out this week for fast and easy lots. I have 3 pickups, And can hire 4 more if needed. but we are all going to be in a 3 square mile area. There must be 500+ other companies in these parks to approach yet. Most say submit my best price. If they say they are happy with there current company, I ask who they are. Know what most of the bigger guys in my area charge then I write it up with an optional break of contract if not happy with the work after the first snow. They have jumped on that deal fast.. Hope they stay on for the season.... Good luck :gunsfiring:
  6. Flipper

    Flipper PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,180

    One of my best business moves, was hooking up with a couple of very porductive, real estate offices in town. They want us to tale care of empty houses they have listed and pass our name along to new owners. From lawn mowing and snowplowing to sprucing up the gardens for an open house, we have gotten a lot of work from them.
  7. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    I have not had the kind of opportunity that you have had.Like I said,I was only able to hook up with on realtor so far the rest declined, "they were happy with the past plower", which I am ok with.Fair market as it should be.I have submitted bids only to business local within 5 miles I found last year I spent more time driving than plowing.I think the difference I am finding here is I am flying solo.I do have people I know who could assist if I break down but I need smaller lots to med ium size.