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How did YOU start out??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by RSE, Jan 3, 2013.

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  1. RSE

    RSE Member
    Messages: 90

    We all started somewhere with a beater truck, a shovel, a driveway and a dream. The winter of 2000 I had a blue1984 f250 w/ a 8' fisher painted road cone orange. I had two driveways, my own and the bakery up the street. I thought I was king because Wendy up the road would pay me $25.00 and a cookie. I would eat the cookie and put gas in old blue with the money I made.
  2. Spool it up

    Spool it up Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    shoveling .

  3. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn Member
    Messages: 87

    I was doing a fall clean up for a customer in the late 80's and he asked if I plowed driveways, I told him no and he said, if you are going to be in this biz you better start. So I got a Trading Times and found a Jeep Cherokee with a plow for $1000 and in no time had a full route. I later dropped him cause he was a dbag but he got me started.
  4. excav8ter

    excav8ter Senior Member
    Messages: 554

    When I was 15, I would follow my dad in his JD544 loader, and clean up behind him when he was stacking piles.When I turned 16, he let me take over plowing our shop and a couple driveways. When I was a junior in high school, one of my dad's friends asked if I would plow their church, it was about 4-6 hours total, I would do some before school and finish after school. After high school, I just kept plowing because I enjoy it. I still enjoy it......
  5. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,559

    I started as a ride-a-long with my dad when I was 3 or 4 in a 1979 Chevy 3/4 ton with a Meyer plow. He would let me work the controls sometimes. By junior high I was doing some neighbors drives with our tractor and blower. Once I was 16 I got my DL and the fun began. Plowed privately until 2003 and been on the municipal side since.
  6. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    An old timer saw me beating my head with a ball-pean hammer and told me I could get the job done faster if I got in the snow-removal business. So far -so good.
  7. DieselSlug

    DieselSlug PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,068

    Bought a truck with a plow for 1k. Mainly to "do it for fun" with my parents drives. But it turned into a second job. I picked up a few drives, then lost a few due to my schedule in college. Then this past year picked up almost double of what i had at the beginning. And yes, still have the 1K truck 5 years later.
  8. snowplowpro

    snowplowpro Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 926

    My dad use to do it he taught me so when I was 16 I bought my first truck a 1979 f250 and we lived at my grandmothers house and she had A big driveway and I would shovel all by myself so one two buddies of mine got a f250 for parts they were using and ask them about the plow on it they said you can have it so they cut the bolts they wanted $200 for it I gave them the money dropped my truck off at the plow place had them bolt it up and that was it .it was a 8ft Meyers rigid mount then started driving around neighborhoods I was cleaning up I was the only kid in the hood with a plow all the other's were jealous from then on I just kept enjoying it so I kept doing it.
  9. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426


    I went off on my own and started a tree service. I wanted to keep my one ton dodge dump (and myself) busy in the winter. Started subbing for a guy who ended up not paying me for six months. Recently I took a year off due to financial difficulty as a result of a debilitating car accident. Last year was a dud, and this year I am back in it. Looking to put enough cash away for a new to me bucket truck in the spring. If I had my druthers, I would do half the work load I currently have. I don't really like the stress involved in executing as many accounts as I have now. Maybe I just need to get back into the swing of things, who knows.
  10. snowcrazy

    snowcrazy Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 409

    I actually never wanted to get into snow plowing. All the long hours and crazy nights you guys put in!!! I thought all you were nuttier than squirrel turds.........

    A bunch of my mowing customers asked me for about 4 years straight if I would plow for them and I kept telling them no. Then I got married and my wife had a little problem with me sitting in front of the tv all winter so got a plow. My first year I landed a couple of strip malls and made money like mad. Wish I would have done it sooner!!! I still think were crazy for these weird hours we turn in!!!!!!!!! LOL
  11. MoreSnowPlz

    MoreSnowPlz Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Just got my truck and plow 2 years ago...1989 F350 w 45k on it...8 ft Curtis Sno Pro 3000...Did nothing with it last winter...Just this year ive gotten 15+ residentials just in the storm we had last week by showing a little initiative door to dooring it for 15 bucks a pop and putting up a 4x4ft sign in front of my grandmothers house on a busy road.
  12. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    $15 a pop????????????? Help me out everybody :eek::dizzy::mad: I,m sorry but you really need to re-evaluate your pricing in my humble opinion, but opinions are like....well you know....everybody's got one.
  13. MoreSnowPlz

    MoreSnowPlz Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Thats the beauty of it...Im charging 20$ less than anyone else..75% or better of the doors i went and knocked on they immediately said yes and 75% of the ones that said yes gave me 20$ or better..This old guy came to this one door and i did his for 5$ bc I thought he was going to pass out from the stress of opening the door..Either way i still profited over $200 in 2 days after the cost of gas and buying fresh wipers and a backdrag edge from the local shop. I work full time so at that point its just money on money..Oh and all those people wanna see me next storm : )
  14. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    Yes it is obvious that you are charging significantly lower than everyone else(look up def. of "lowballer"). The true market price for your area has been set long ago for specific reasons. Being relatively new to this business I fear you will find this out soon enough
  15. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,069

    If he's making money does it matter, there's a guy on here that charges around $7 a driveway and has a bunch of them lined up. In fact I believe he was in SIMA's snow magazine a few times.

    As for me I started with a shovel, worked up to a push snow blower, and then a walk behind, then a plow on a garden tractor.
  16. MoreSnowPlz

    MoreSnowPlz Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Hmm...I'm no economist and im positive you aren't, but I know that there is no TRUE MARKET PRICE for plowing a driveway. It is a complete variable which could be affected by many factors..In the end its what the person is willing to do it for and what the homeowner or business owner is willing to pay for the service.
  17. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    i bought a mower for 500 bucks. trimmer and hand held blower at a pawn shop. had a 4cyl truck, borrowed a trailer

    the day i got my Bankruptsy papers a year later i got approved for a nutso high rate auto loan and got a 4x4 (turns out my 4cyl blew an engine and for a couple weeks had to pull the lawn equipment with a motorcycle). started looking for a plow. then got made fun of alot on a website for having a meystern plow.
  18. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    your'e right i'm not an economist buy profession but 30+ years of business experience gives me some level of expertise. All I know is that you haven't had enough years of experience to truly understand all the overhead costs of conducting a legitimate snow removal business. If you did you wouldn't't be valuing your services so cheaply i.e business lic .- insurance- depreciation -fuel- accounting- repairs to equp and property- and the million other things that actually set the market price. Its my bet that you are leaving 1 or 2 of these things out of your cost of doing business. I'm not trying to get on any kind of "high horse" here all i'm saying is that i think you are leaving a lot of money on the table that you may/will need later. Again just my humble opinion. nuf said
  19. scottydosnntkno

    scottydosnntkno Member
    Messages: 87

    Do you have commercial auto insurance?
    liability insurance?
    workers comp?
    DOT numbers?
    etc etc?

    You are a lowballer. It costs me more than $200 to call one of my drivers in to work, since i guarantee a 4hr minimum.

    Yes, its just "extra money", but I too have a day job, and a summer (pavers) and winter (snow) seasonal business.

    If you want to make the big money, you need to play with the big boys.

    $200/day is chump change in the big picture, we billed over $25k from our 8" storm last week.
  20. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    So, in two days you only paid yourself, lets say 24 hours of work preparing the truck, doing maintenance and repairs, just a shade over 8 bucks an hour..............

    Dude, quit ruining this business for people like us who do it full time.

    There are business ethics, and some people don't have a clue as to how to abide by them.

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