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how much can one man handle?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by rmartin, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. rmartin

    rmartin Member
    from mass
    Messages: 68

    i am new this year to plowing on my own. I already have 4 commercial accounts and a couple driveways. I have also been offered a sub job. My real jobs hours are 3-11pm. I am wondering how much is too much. I'd like to make some good money but not over do it.
  2. ksland

    ksland Senior Member
    from ma
    Messages: 419

    I have 45-50 driveways and 7 small to med sized lots. Takes about 18 hours to do them all. Built the list in 7 years. I could use another truck but have been doing it with one truck, me and a shovel guy.
  3. smwmarc

    smwmarc Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 14

    Stay busy, but DO NOT over commit


    I understand somewhat what your are debating. I too am striking out this year to plow and make some good money but not over do it, beyond my regular job.

    The difference so far between me and you is that you have gotten some accounts and I have yet to land one:realmad:

    Maybe part of the reason I haven't gotten anything yet is because of my approach to the subject with this question in mind. I have been trying to be very selective with whom I have offered the service. i.e. close to home or work just residential or churches. The results so far have suggested to me that you must either be well established (well known) to be able to work this way, or be in an area where the demand is greater than the supply (in other words; the abundance of opportunity and lack of competition allows you to be in control) Otherwise I suppose I must try to market the service much like every other new service and take what I can and build and weed out as time goes by.

    Anyway enough about my problem. As I was saying I had to consider the same things.
    • Will I be able to properly service everyone to their satisfaction around my unchangable schedule, or will I be able to sneak away from my main job to work when the weather calls (and maybe makeup my regular time)?
    • Will I be able to handle problems and breakdowns having only one truck? (NEED BACKUP!)
    • Do I have all the necessary equipment I need, or will I be troubled with having to offer only limited services, or sub some services out?(either way maybe forcing me too spend more money upfront, or make less profit.)
    • How many clients can I afford to have before I get too busy? (seems to be your concern)
    • How few clients do I need to be able to make it worth the effort at all?
    • And probably my biggest trouble. With such a limited schedule and small client base, will I be able to find clients who will be willing enough to pay what I need to charge in exchange for excellent custom service?
    My personal feeling was, to stay away from commercial accounts because of the demand of them on your time didn't seem to go well with my somewhat unflexible schedule. Coupled with the fact that full-time plowers will probably have them all wrapped up anyway. In my opinion, residentials and churches were more forgiving on the schedule.

    Well, not knowing how much time you can commit to this effort, and what size of accounts you have, especially commercial, I am not sure where you would feel comfortable drawing the line. As for me I was hoping to get about six clients, considering all my pertinent factors. It is hard to say for someone else, but it sounds like to me you have something good started. You will soon find out how much is too much, or not enough after it starts to snow! However, at that point you are out of the frying pan in into the fire man! :yow!:
    So go for it :gunsfiring:
    make some good payup
    I am a little jealous!


    More power to you! I hope you never get in trouble with that much work and only one truck! I would definitely have at least another truck. Hey, maybe I could sub for you since I will have nothing to do, but my own driveway? lol
  4. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    What type of service are you offering ? PT / 24x7 ?
    Do you have a backup plow ?
    What if it snows and you are at work ?
    Business plan ? Insurance? bookeeping?Billing?Customer contact?

    There is more to it than just jumping in your O'l plow truck and pushing some snow. You have to be ready to provide the service you are selling to your customers on a moments notice. The weather is not going to wait on you to get off work before it snows :eek:

    Be 100% committed to the service you are going to sell or you will fail and it wont be pretty. I see too many 1man operations go out and "lowball" and get accounts, then the 1st snow comes and they are at work-cant keep up with the number of accounts etc. and then all of the sudden they have some very pissed off customers.

    Be prepared....have a plan & you just might win the battle.

    Good luck
  5. BWinkel

    BWinkel Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    This year we have 52 drives, 2 small lots and 2 private roads. We run 2 trucks and it takes us about 6 hours to do a 4" snow. Bigger storms can be as long as 24 hrs. Not sure how you can take on much unless your available 24/7. Anything over 4' and we're on the road until we're done. Having 2 trucks is nice as far as a backup goes. When I was running one truck, I had an arrangement with another plow guy for mutual aid. We bailed eachother out a number of times.
  6. Little Jay

    Little Jay Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    We send out 9 trucks and have a 10th out for salting/shoveling. Most everyone has "normal" jobs and are willing to go sleepless for a day. We have each truck do a route that is 5- 5 1/2 hrs long. Dont over schedule and include drive time. If you finsih early-good. If your truck breaks and you need two hours to fix it- your O.K.
  7. windmill

    windmill Senior Member
    Messages: 224

    I'm not sure you've got an answer yet. I'm wondering, how many hours have you commited to so far and how many do you want to commit to? I have four commercials, one adult community, three appts. and three privates. 8hrs on an easy plow, 15 on a wet, sloppy one. it's the wet sloppy one that might be the killer for you and might be the one you needto consider. IMHO.
  8. rmartin

    rmartin Member
    from mass
    Messages: 68

    Currently I have 4 parkinglots. 2 small 2 med sized. I am looking at a total of 2-3 more small apartment driveways along with a few of my lawn customers driveways. I think staying with what I have now will be good for me. I'll try this out and if I can handle more I'll just sub out for a while. I have no issues going to wirk late or getting out early. My job is flexable for that. Thats why they created sick days:D My goal is to take in $800-$1000 per storm up to 12''. More if totals are more. time is not the issue. I just want to be able to please my people and not get overwhelmed.
  9. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    dude do like me and easthavenplower.work for a sub and hold your hand on your bottom at the end of the season for the money. just kidding being part time i would say one small commercial and 20 to 30 driveways.or just do 3 good size commercial plowing only lots.:D
  10. Got Snow

    Got Snow Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    i'd personally stay away from commercial accounts if your not willing to be available 24/7. what will you do when your at work when it's snowing? there's alot of liability on your behalf involved and i certainly wouldn't risk a law suit because you couldn't service your account properly.