how many accounts

turfguy

Member
Location
newtown ct
Ok this question is a little open ended.....but here goes..How many residential driveways could a one man operation handle. figure on minimal travel time no more than say a five mile radius. no sanding just plow and go.most about 150 feet long paved and averge snow fall eight inches per storm figure an eight foot plow on a f250 shortbed...10,20,30????
 

plowed

Senior Member
Location
Newtown, CT
What's the time frame to have them done by? In other words, do they all need to be done by 6 am/5pm? I know a guy who years ago had 60 drives and 3 commercial lots. He would concentrate on the commercial lots during the storms and then hit the drives. His customers were people whom did not need to be out by a certain time of the day. If your customers all need to be out be a certain time, I wouldn't take too much. I just got rid of the remainder of our residential customers last month, but on average one truck would be able to do about 30 drives in about 3 - 4 hours. Most were close to each other. We had a whole street, but the drives were all a few hundred feet long, lined with belgian block and were either fairly steep up or downhill, so they needed some extra attention.

-John
 

Mick

PlowSite.com Veteran
Location
Maine
I knew of one guy in this area who had sixty. He's dead now so his route is being split up.

I don't count in driveways since I have two private roads. Also, I market differently in that I give people times by which I'll have them plowed. I charge a little more but my customers say it's worth it knowing they'll be able to get out for work.

I think if you're just going for volume, for the size you're specifying you'd best start with no more than 15-20. Then, as you figure how much you're able to handle you can add to that. Time-wise, I think that'll translate into about three hours (5-6 an hour), not counting drive time. Figure an extra hour if you're just starting.
 
OP
T

turfguy

Member
Location
newtown ct
how many

It is my first year going out on my own. I have about 25 plus my own and my parents most of these want to be out by 7 am. My equipment is in great shape and I have several friends to back me up in case of breakdowns. Dont want to overdo it but also dont want to spend the night at dunkin doughnuts. since placing my ad I have been turning customers away.....the phone has been ringing non stop....today...sunday 17 calls. nuts just nuts
 

Earthscapes

Senior Member
Location
WNY
Last year i had 1 truck and 62 driveways and it took about 3 to 3 1/2 hrs.
3500 Chevy 7 1/2' western and 7' backplow

This year i have 71 driveways and 5 decent lots and will be using 2 trucks. Should take us about 2 1/2hrs.
 

wxmn6

PlowSite.com Addict
Location
Claverack, NY
turfguy - you are lucky that you have many people calling for you. When I started out last year I only got a few calls for snowplowing.
 

Tim C

Member
Location
acton,ma.
TurfGuy, I find if you keep your clients in a nice loop you should have know. Take on what you can handle. I have 35 drive-ways 1 fairly small garage parking lot area and drive-way in one stop. That is all I am taking.



Good luck Tim C.:waving: :drinkup:
 

Chief Plow

Senior Member
Location
upstate new york
Right now, I have 12 quick marts, and 12 drives, that is plenty. I have 2 guys, and it takes all of us about 3 hours. That is including sidewalks. When I first started I had about 30 drives, and it took about 3 hours. I always felt, in case of a whopper storm, don't bite off more than you can chew. Another factor, do you do this full time, or do you have a full time job also. 20-30, drives is not out of reach...My own opinion
Rick
 

Lawn Lad

Senior Member
Location
Cleveland
If they're close, 30 to 40 drives isn't a problem in 3 to 4 hours. I did 42 drives last winter on my route in 3 hours (2" light storm) to 4 hours (4" + or wet/heavy).

As a side note, though not your question, depending on income from the truck though, you may need to take a few more depending on what you're making and what you need to get and if your time/schedule allows. 40 drives at $250 is $10,000. Is it enough?

You might add in a couple of small parking lots that would take about an hour to complete total. During day time plows you can plow them during the storm, maybe a second time during the day depending on timing of snow fall after you've run through your residentials and then you may have to go back and clean up your lots with another plow that night. Potentially plow them two or three times for each time you hit your driveways. Each has different timing requirements and they blend nicely on your route.
 
I had 61 drives last year with one truck. Took me 4-5 hours to do them, all fairly close. This year I'm up to 74, and I think I'm maxed out. There will be some storms where I'm alittle longer getting to them all than I would like. But with the low snowfalls we have been getting the last few years, I need to increase revinue somewhere...
 

Snoworks

Senior Member
Location
Glenview
I would base this answer on the guidelines set forth in your contract. If you have set completion times, say 7:00AM, you will need to adjust your driveway totals accordingly. If you started plowing at 2:00AM, you should be able to plow 7-8 driveways an hour. Assuming that all the drives are within a reasonable proximaty. 5hr x 8 driveways per hour = 40 driveways!

If there is no time constaint in your contract, I would try and get as many as I could up to 60 total. Always leave yourself some cusion, if you get hit with 14" in 8 hours, it will take you a good 16 hours to get all of these driveway cleaned up.

CGB

Let it snow!!!
 

HD61CUIN

Senior Member
Location
Tinley Park, IL
I don't do driveways, I plow commercial trucking lots. When I was doing sidewalks with an ATV, I could do a strip mall then have to return later in the am before opening to catch what fell during the time I was at other businesses. So how do you do 75 residentials that take 6hrs? That means the first one you did hasn't seen you for 6hrs? My math 75lots + 6hrs x 2 = 12hrs. So do you bill an account twice because you started early and by the time they leave you will have had to come again?

I am inexperienced doing residentials besides my own and parents. I do those right before I go home to bed following a night or day out.
 
I start when the snow stops. If it stops at 9 am then I am done just in time for them to get into thier drivway. If it stops a 6 am, which is the worst time for it to stop for me, I will normally get 3 or 4 calls that want to know where I am. I f I am close, I will sometimes jump staight to a complaint call, if not I tell them it will be xxx long before I get there. Everone knows that I do not control the weather. Everyone expects a certain amount of hassle when ever it snows, be that from having to clean off the car, or leaving early to drive slow, or wait for the plow guy. As long as I am there in a reasonable time, most people are happy. They know I will be along and are happy to not need to worry about it. I am VERY dependable. That is soo soo important.

Tom

Ps There are always PITA's, and I will drop them fast if if I get too many complaints. Plow customers as soooo easy to find that I don't worry about the complainer that thinks my truck is a backhoe capable of moving all her snow out of her yard and across the street.
 

Snoworks

Senior Member
Location
Glenview
HD61CUIN - You may not do residential driveways, but you can spot a bad senerio when you see one. There is a fine line, on how many driveways you do, what type of contract, etc. It takes a lot of practice to get it right. Most people due understand when heavy snow falls, but they still want there driveway done, in the morning and in the evening. Lets face it, thats what they are paying us for. To plow there driveway in a reasonable amount of time.

I have had many years of expereince with this topic, and chosen to put my plowing guidelines in my contracts. When I say guidelines, I spell out when there driveways will be done in normal snow conditions. I have another set of guidelines for extreme conditions, say more that 2" and hour or heavy wet snow, etc. Now both parties know what is expected, all I have to do is keep my end of the agreement.

If you take on to many driveways, you may make money this year, but it could affect you negatively in the years to come!

CGB
 
I also try to be very clear about what a customer should expect from me. And then I ask them to please be sure and order snow falls only at night, and to make sure it stops by 3 am, and only 6 inches at a time.

You know what I'm driving at. Weather is very very unpredictable. I do not control it. (wish I did) I will always try to be as prompt as is possible, and when I get there I'm gonna do a stellar job, taking as many passes as I need to make them all look nice. With this attitude I have built a strong faithful clientel. Over 50 of my accounts have been with me for over 5 years now.

Comminication is my key. If I am running far enough behind at the wrong time of day, I have even been known to jump on the cell phone and let a few know I was on the way.(usually customers that I think likely to worry.) This will make the maddest customer happy again. Communication with a customer is like a crack hit for druggie.:D
 

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