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How many hours to do a single route?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by 1BadHawk, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. 1BadHawk

    1BadHawk Member
    Messages: 68

    Im trying to slowly increase my work load to a manageable amount. Right now it takes me about 4-5 hours to do all my customers once. This includes a a few commercial lots and a couple residentials. Also includes travel time. Im not sure if I should take on more work or not. I look at it as if a big storm comes through, will I be able to keep up with it? I'd like to get about 2 or three more customers increasing my route time to 6 or 7 hours, but I think that might be too much.

    How many hours would you all consider a safe and manageable schedule?
  2. SCSIndust

    SCSIndust Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    This past storm where we got 5", it took us 14 hours to just plow everyplace. Grant it, a lot of the places were first timers for us, so our times will go down naturally. But 14 hours is pushing it, especially since we had to go back out and salt. 14 hours with salting would be ideal for me, but I like those crazy hours.
  3. Vaughn Schultz

    Vaughn Schultz PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,565

    Takes me 10-14 hours on a good snow.
  4. Makndust

    Makndust Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    Takes us about 12 hours when we get about 1" snow to complete one round. Then we go back and sand if needed. At 3-4" its gonna take us about 20% longer. Most of my customers understand when we are running a little late. My biggest fear is a breakdown. Last time we were finished up and the reverse in the pickup went out. In the shop for about 3-4 days. I guess we lucked out. I want to find an old beater for a backup. My wife wants me to go into debt farther and buy a backup with all the bells and whistles that our blade pickup now has.
  5. Mark Witcher

    Mark Witcher Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    It depends on your customer base. It takes us 12 hours to do our route on an average snow fall. We do our large comercial lots first , then small commercial , apartment complexes, and res are last. Got to keep the big payers happy. Luckily or maybe just smart on our part, we have everything lined up and start with the furthest away from the shop and work our way back.No traveling back and forth. It really helps to keep your plow route in a general area and not take on any jobs that would require more than 10 minutes of drive time out of your route.
  6. badranman

    badranman Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    I agree with Mark. If you have 6 drives in 2 miles vs 6 drives each 2 miles apart the time is going to vary. Try and condense your route to maximize your plowing/hr. How long they can wait will vary with each customer. Some don't care if it's 10 hrs as long as you come and they don't have to shovel.
  7. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Rite now Im doing some work for a buddy of mine and on my route I have 54 drives and 5 commercial properties, and on a 2 inch snow it takes me about 6 hours to finish....Rob
  8. 1BadHawk

    1BadHawk Member
    Messages: 68

    Right now I have about 9 customers and 10 sites, a funeral home I do has me doing 2 of their properties, a third if I want it , but its about 10 miles out of the area I cover. Otherwise it takes me about 5 hours to do everyone once, on a light snowfall of 2-3 inches. Which works out good when we get a heavy snowfall over several hours, because by the time Im finished, I can return and start over without an excess of accumulation.

    Id like to take on a few more accounts, perhaps ad another 2 or 3 hours to the route, but im afraid if I do that, then if we get a heavy storm the first guy will have 4 maybe more of snow by the time I get back to him. Id hate to make the customers mad so Im kinda undecided as to what I should do. Granted, it doesnt snow a lot for a long period of time here too often, so maybe I would be better taking on a few more customers and lengthening my route a couple hours.

    I thought I'd ask to see what you all do, and since some of you run 12 or more hours, i think i may be a little over cautious at 5 hours.
  9. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 324

    41 Residentials, 2 parking lots and a private road take me about 8 hours, a little less if I really get moving.
  10. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251


    22 drives and 2 parking lots takes 3-4 hours depending on time of day. Three right next to each other on a main road can take 45min. if traffic is heavy.
  11. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 481


    I have 11 customers in a 6 mile loop that take 5-6 hours depending on the storm. I wouldn't recomend a customer base that would take any longer. When I first started my route was 18 miles long,7-8 hours, and on a heavy storm I had a mess at the end of the run and a few unhappy customers.

  12. Mark F

    Mark F Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I have 72 commercial accounts, 7 residential accounts.
    Out of those accounts I plow/sand 23 commercial, 3 residential, the rest are just sanding accounts that other guys plow. My normal route takes about 18-21 hours. If I do everything it takes about 38-46 hours. I sleep in my truck alot. The last storm, I didn't turn of the truck for 4 1/2 days, used 240 gallons of fuel. Only went home to make coffee, eat, feed the copilot [dog].
  13. Strongmd

    Strongmd Member
    Messages: 43

    We aim to have our whole route done in 4-6 hours in a single visit, 4-5" storm. We plow 400 driveways and a few commercials.
  14. tessdad

    tessdad Member
    from S.E. MA
    Messages: 71

    I plow 37 residential drives, takes about 4 1/2- 5 hours for a 4" snowfall. During the blizzard we had a week ago, it took me more than 8 hours for the first run and more than ten for the second time. If I had maxed myself out with an 8-10 hours 4" run time, I would not have been able to handle my route. The phone was busy enough toward the end, wondering " where is my plow guy?"

    The person I bought my route from groomed the customers to a one plow cleaning, done near the end of a storm. The minimum amount of snow was set at " if the town plows are out, we will plow your drive." my customers do not want to be plowed at 1" or even 2". We charge per plow (average $30) with 1/2 charged for a clean up. For the blizzard, it is being charged as two FULL plows. I don't have any prepaid or contracts. I do a good job, they pay, nice deal. Often they refer others, I gain a customer or two, nice deal.One or two get upset, leave, NICER DEAL.
  15. SGLC

    SGLC Senior Member
    Messages: 132


    You're not a single operator are you?
  16. jhook

    jhook Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Takes us (us being me and one driver - 2 pickups) about 35 hours between us. I do about 2/3 of it.
  17. Strongmd

    Strongmd Member
    Messages: 43

    Hi Jeff,
    I'm not a solo operator, we run 10-11 trucks each storm.
  18. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    Seems like you are a solo operation. Have you considered employees or subcontracting? Or subcontracting yourself when you are done with your route?
  19. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    You have to consider the area you live in. I have about 28 drives- takes me from 6-9 hours depending on time of day, traffic, road conditions, etc. When the city calls the plows in and I am driving through 8 inches of snow on the roads between drives it get's longer, as does trying to get around at 5:30 am when all the " I gotta get to work early" people are making nusenses of themselves.

    My route time has dropped from 12 hours to the current and my route hasn;t changed much over the past couple of years (call it experiance I guess).
    I personally don't want more than about 30 customers or less than 26 based on my past years plowing. If you regularly have heavy snow falls you may not be able to keep up- 2 inches/hour is very unusual here- noone can keep up. 1 inch/ hour happens often enough that I keep it in mind. Keep in mind to that many times you'll have to do your route more than 1 time per storm back to back- I am often doing my route 2x straight- then I am on call for the rest of the day for customers who the city cleans up the street and blocks them back in and such.

    It's important to diferentiate the 1 man/1 truck people from the 5 man 5 truck and 10/10 guys and their route times. 400 customers with 10 guys in 4 hours is irelevent in comparison to 1 guy 1 truck for example. Each man/truck combination per route is the important answer.
  20. Strongmd

    Strongmd Member
    Messages: 43

    I don't think it's quite as different as you think. If you wanted to break it down to a common denominator, it would be driveways per truck-hour or dollars per truck-hour. If 6-9 hours is acceptable to your customers, that is great! I like to shoot for 4-6 hours so that if it's a big storm, we can get to everyone in a reasonable amount of time and still be able to begin a second rotation. I add or subtract accts. from each driver's route to do what's necessary to have everyone finish in that time frame. Some guys do 40 drives in 6 hours while some do 50 in 4 hours. Everyone is doing between 6 to 16 driveways per hour. My goal is to continue making my routes as dense as possible. We don't make money if our plow isn't on the ground so I try to connect the dots if I have any accounts with significant drive time in between.