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How are some People not finding Snow Removal Profitable?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by mafiaboy3, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    Alright so I'm a 15 year old very interested in the snow removal business. My grandfather's cousin has 10 trucks for plowing and hes has millions. That's about all I know about him.

    Although looking through this forum i see people charging 80 - 100$ an hour and still wondering if they will make a profit.

    Anybody mind listing the liabilities? I understand gas is high and also salt costs a good amount of money, but is that what really prevents some people from making a profit? I know insurance is also sometimes high ( like 1200$ a year) , but after a week of almost full time work it should pay off for itself...( shouldn't it?)

    Also is it more profitable to have many residential lots or a few commercial lots?

    ( Don't flame me because I'm a 15 year old looking at a forum where there's adults with full time plowing jobs:realmad: )

    I'd appreciate if you'd answer those questions.:D
  2. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Welcome! You presented yourself very well, and you asked legitimate questions. Don't worry about only being 15.... continue writing as you have (inquiring, not "know it all"), and you'll make a good name for yourself.

    People debate residentials versus commercials as much as Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge. Some hate residentials, some love them. Many have found the pot of gold with commercials, and others like me focus a majority of attention on high numbers of residentials. Sorry to be wishy washy, but the argument can go either way for which is more profitable.

    As for making money, commercial properties often have seasonal contracts where you're paid regardless of snowfall. Many people also do "per push" which would obviously make income dependent on weather. At least contracts give you a set amount for budgeting purposes. My commercials are season contracts, and my residentials are per push.

    For liabilities, there is the high premium for commercial snowplowing. A teen even getting car insurance today should be expecting $2000 or more in annual premiums (and people with teens or actual teens here can give better #'s). Only when you get into your mid 20's do rates start getting better, and then people venture into the commercial vehicle market, and rates are often much higher due to liability on the road.

    Fuel is expensive, but it's been my experience that it shouldn't exceed more than 10% of the daily gross of a storm. I would generally blow through $100 in a 10-12 hour event, which is easy enough to stomach when pulling in $1300 for 1 truck. Vehicle maintenance can be pricy, though many are more truck savvy than I am and do most of the stuff themselves.

    Trucks are expensive, and then there are plows. I've never run a beater truck because I've always considered older trucks liabilities when I need them to work in the worst of conditions (and needless to say I've always had newer trucks... not always NEW, but newer). New plows can run $5000 or more today, but after reading so much here I've found that we can get completely refurbished units for half of that, and they're essentially new.

    $80 to $100 per hour would probably be a tough rate for someone who has a lot of overhead, although if you consider your first paragraph (the guy running 10 trucks)... his 10 trucks operating at $100/hr are bringing in $1000/hour. Even if he's paying guys $25/hr, he's still bringing in $750/hr, which would be some pretty good coin if he has a good business set up. There's money to be had, and income varies based on region & overhead. That $80-100 would do fairly well for me, but it might not be so good for someone with lots of drivers, lots of trucks. I'm generally in the $125-$135 area, and it works out well.

    Read, watch, take notes, and don't rush into this stuff, and you could do well if you decided to get into plowing in 4 or 5 years. Take care

  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Another thing you may want to do is talk to your Grandfathers cousin in person. Maybe even try plowing for him if possible. Welcome to the site and do alot of research before you jump into the snow removal game.
  4. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    oouff that guy wakes up pretty early sometimes. He also lives pretty far from here. I don't have a car either.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,554

    Insurance is probably the hardest thing. Certain things like some malls and township/city building want you to carry 1 2 or 5 million laibility. That means your insurance will cover you up to that amount if someone were to sue you (meaning if they fell or your damaged something) $1200 a year would be for 1 truck, and that would just be the increase from a normal cost of truck insurance I would figure.

    Employees is also a hard thing. I find it very hard being young (26) and trying to manage employees at all different practices.
  6. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    DO not know about the condtions in other states that have good snowy winters to make profits but where I from it's getting harder and harder to get contracts because of the big copmanies and the real dummies out there that are low balling the heck out of it last year was getting medium size jobs for $70 to $75 an hr, this year been hearing companies going to contractors that are bidding them at $60 an less and trying to find subs that will work for less then that!!! :dizzy: U tell me then why people say its getting hard to make a profit, the funny thing is these companies that hire these dummies then cry because the get a crappy job done on there lots geee I wounder why. I not going to leave my house for less the $65 an hr I got a 3/4 Diesel with a V plow. The way gas and diesel keeps going up add insurance an wear and tear on that truck it's just not worth it!!! :mad:

    Just do not get what these dummies are thinkin, ya I going to come out and beat the snot out of my equipment for that! ya I get right on that

    Looks like u ll being see my stuffon Ebay and hear for cheep!!!payup

    Feed up with the new boy's that do not have a clue and big company low ballers:realmad:

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    Ok, so you want to make some cash. Print off some flyers stuff them in some mail boxes and purchase a inexpensive snow blower. Go around your neigbourhood and get the word out. No better time then now to get your feet white, besides by the time you are 18 with a licence you have more experience than any newbee out there.

    Be creative, at 15 you can't get a licence but you can get some work. You can shovel, blow, push with a ATV and salt your way to a richer tomorow. :rolleyes: DONT DREAM ABOUT IT GET TO WORK.payup payup

    Any one else have any ideas for this 15 year old new buisiness owner!!!!!!

    Good Luck

  8. Ole Tower

    Ole Tower Senior Member
    from MAINE
    Messages: 210

    Not finding Snow Removal Profitable?

    Kevin gave a great detailed explanation of Problems starting Out to ME the Biggest $$ problems in any Business Is the Un-Seen $$ problems your $$ going Out before any Comes In --Truck--Plow--Double--Insurance--Liability on the Truck & Liability for Plowing--Registration--Exsise Tax--Sales Tax & Don*t forget Dealer Documentaion FEE! even On Used--as Kevin stated Fuel Prices Rising every Day--most?? Customers can Understand that!--& theres All that other Necessary Equipment to DO any JOB right--Blowers--Shovels Ect & keeping your Workers Happy? when? You Do Expand--I personally think? its the Chalange of Meeting what ever? Mother Nature can Throw at US? as it Takes a Special Type of MAN to Get UP in the Wee hours & GO Fight especially a really Bad Snow Storm w/the Phone Ringing Off of Your WALL! as every Body wants to Be Plowed First--& Your Doing the Best Job you Can!--I*D suggest any New Bee to locate another Plower as a Back Up just in Case You Do have a Problem? YOU Help Him & He YOU! as We all Need Help at one Time or Another! I Dono? as I have been Plowing since I was a Young Feller & I Guess? I*M like an Ole Fire Horse? when It Snows I look Out & when it Gets 3 inches Deep! I just Gotta GO! jump in My Truck & GO PLOW--I assume? Plowing SNOW gets in a Plowers Blood? as the Deeper it Gets the Better I ilke It--& I know theres others Here that Feel the Same WAY!--so New Bee don*t be Bashful--Ask? ALL Your Questions? as theres a Lot of the BEST Plowers on Here!--OleTower--
  9. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    My opinion, its long uncertain hours, help seems to be near impossible to find (any one decent), fuel costs are high, equipment costs are high and probably one of the biggest things is, every one (customer's) thinks "its just snow" and there is always some one out there that is willing to cut your throat on pricing whether its driveways or a commercial lot. I've networked with a lot of guys in the past couple of years and they ALL say its not what it used to be. In my area the "supply" of trucks is by far more than the demand for plowing so the price is lower, plus it seems there have been tons of lay-offs and every guy with any type of plow truck goes out to try to make a buck and they all have the "its just snow" mentality because they were a customer last year before he was laid off so they have an almost 0 idea about pricing or how to run this type of business because they've had a plow truck for years and its paid off so they think 30 bucks an hour is great! when in reality they are chopping their own legs out from under them as well as every one else.
  10. rfed32

    rfed32 Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    i dunno i guess once everything is paid off u make ur money...but right now i still have my truck payment...my plow is paid for, and salt box....this year all i have to pay for is salt so after that cost ill make a profit...and my insurance is cheap...so i should make some cash this year
  11. mafiaboy3

    mafiaboy3 Member
    Messages: 31

    plowing sounds cool. So it seems over the year more and more people get into the business, and low ballers are cutting the good quality plowers throats until the shopping mall realized how much their service sucks.

    I don't think i'd get a snowblower. Ill just get a big shovel:rolleyes
  12. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    good post. you hit a couple key points there. the mentality being one. the supply and demand being the other. course the layoffs are realistic in itself. seems that a business plowing can be turned into a expensive hobby all to easily. i myself am guilty of the mentality. i would never say it to a customer but in my mind i think "its just snow".
    like i said. good post.
  13. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    You'll do some great business with a good snowblower, and should you decide to get into snowplowing later on, your snowblower will travel with you anyway. It's a great investment, probably one of about $700 for a decent machine.
  14. Nada's snow

    Nada's snow Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I am 16 and started

    Hello, I am 16 years old and just got my own truck (1999 Ford ranger with a straight plow) snow plowing is not as easy as it sounds I can spend hours at a time in the truck plowing. But it can be very profitable when done right. It is my first year plowing but I am building up my customer base pretty fast.

    Thank god for everything

    Nada's Snow removal
    Dearborn, MI
  15. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,122

    Ask him if plowing is the only enterprise he's pulling money from. Most people don't get rich from providing services, but rather from the investments that you fund from the profit of those services.
  16. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    Is your grandfather's cousin name Neige?
  17. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    lol, he said trucks not tractors, all though Paul does own more then one truck too, could it be....maybe.
  18. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 622

    Money can be had when costs are kept low and jobs are price right.

    Too many people buy a truck and or plow and must make money or they will not be able to pay off the loans.

    That leads them to low ball or take on work from National Maintenance companies.

    You need to figure a fair price for your area and walk away when the cheap customers will not pay your price.

    I would say get a shovel and save your money for a snow blower. Then after the blower you save for a truck, Then a plow. Take advantage of your youth and work your way into business.
  19. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    I see we took a trip back in time to the year 2007.

    Search button is working I must say.
  20. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    Good catch, so we will never find out who mafiaboy's grampas cousin is the drama. However good to see Nada snow service post 16 earning your cash from your on enterprise, it is the right stuff keep shovelling the fluff. Sorry.