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Discussion Starter · #222 ·
Looks like we may get our first snowfall of year this weekend. Curious for residentials I have my trigger set at about 4 inches. I am curious if we even do get 3-4 inches would you plow it even if it will melt fairly quickly due to temperatures? I don't want to take advantage of clients but also want to do what is standard.
 

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Looks like we may get our first snowfall of year this weekend. Curious for residentials I have my trigger set at about 4 inches. I am curious if we even do get 3-4 inches would you plow it even if it will melt fairly quickly due to temperatures? I don't want to take advantage of clients but also want to do what is standard.
Those are rather high triggers. Most of mine were 1", with a few 2" properties.
The ground temperature will affect how much snow actually accumulates.
You have to watch the hourly weather forecast to determine what might happen. You don't want it turning to ice.
Scraping it off may be necessary with that amount of snow.
 

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Curious for residentials I have my trigger set at about 4 inches.
4 inches? Seems awful deep. Did you set that or did your customers?

most of our properties we go out around .5-.75 of an inch. We have a few that are zero tolerance meaning we go out even with a skiff.

i should add those are all commercial properties, but even for residential 4" seems like a lot. I'f it were me I'd shoot for 1". Also, to make your life easier, I'd try to get all your properties to have the same trigger. If you let your customers choose their trigger, some will want 1", some will want 2", some will want 3", etc… and you'll have to change your route every storm. If you can get everyone on the same page(YOUR page) it's a lot less thinking and hassle.
 

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4 inches? Seems awful deep. Did you set that or did your customers?

most of our properties we go out around .5-.75 of an inch. We have a few that are zero tolerance meaning we go out even with a skiff.

i should add those are all commercial properties, but even for residential 4" seems like a lot. I'f it were me I'd shoot for 1". Also, to make your life easier, I'd try to get all your properties to have the same trigger. If you let your customers choose their trigger, some will want 1", some will want 2", some will want 3", etc… and you'll have to change your route every storm. If you can get everyone on the same page(YOUR page) it's a lot less thinking and hassle.
Exactly. I started with some 2" triggers. The only ones I had left after going to strictly 1" were some old customers. We'd do them at 1.5" and nobody quibbled over the 1/2" difference.
Never let your clients dictate service. it will bite you in the behind. I had 2 over the years that tried to do that. They'd call and say don't plow, then call later asking me to plow. "Sorry, we're done in your area". I immediately dropped them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #230 ·
Exactly. I started with some 2" triggers. The only ones I had left after going to strictly 1" were some old customers. We'd do them at 1.5" and nobody quibbled over the 1/2" difference.
Never let your clients dictate service. it will bite you in the behind. I had 2 over the years that tried to do that. They'd call and say don't plow, then call later asking me to plow. "Sorry, we're done in your area". I immediately dropped them.
How did you go about dropping them? I don't have contracts just agreements month to month. Would you just write an email saying hey goodbye or how did you word it?
I have 1-2 clients who are already irking me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #231 ·
I kind of was having them set it since I am only committing to the 7 clients but the 2 inch scrape makes sense to me since almost half are blacktop. I Just didnt want to take advantage of residential people but if 2 inch is normal even for resis i wont feel bad.

Thank you all!
 

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How did you go about dropping them? I don't have contracts just agreements month to month. Would you just write an email saying hey goodbye or how did you word it?
I have 1-2 clients who are already irking me.
Politely explain to them that when plowing is needed is to be decided by you, not them.
You can explain that if their property isn't cleared and they continue to drive and walk on snow, it is creating a dangerous situation. You won't be able to scape it off and they will be disappointed.
Because of liability issues, you cannot wait until there's 4 inches built up.
 

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i mean i have 2 pretty close freinds that most likely could get to them and then a couple others I know through summer business. I agree and as soon as I can i want to get a second truck. I was toying with idea of getting a used truck with plow this year to start and then putting a mount on my "new" truck so I have foot in door plus two trucks but it seems like a lot just to get going. Plus not to mention the maintenance on both a heavily used plow truck and old plow...

I dont have all the answers to your questions and its definitely trial by fire for me with fingers crossed. That is also why ive capped my route at 15 even though ive gotten other calls. Ive also stayed away from tough driveways and poor quality drives. Again i agree I need a viable backup plan but worst case Ill have some angry clients but such is life.
Why a backup truck? If you had to, you could do 15 drives with a walk behind 2-stage blower. Just put it on a rack behind your truck or rent a little uhaul trailer. That's a cheaper way to start than buying a plow. And you can charge more. And it won't ruin your truck. I did about 30-35 last year with that method and a little Toyota RAV4. Some were "2nd day" service and were told that when they signed up. After a season of that plus a season mowing lawns I saved up and invested more for growth this second year.
It might be a good idea to do this on a medium scale for a year before dumping $$ into 2 trucks and 2 plows. Then you'll see if you enjoy it, make it thru the full season, if you like the stress of it, if it doesn't interfere too much with your life (for example, last year those of us in SE Michigan worked on Xmas eve and New Years Day). Also of course to see if you can make it profitable, etc.
 

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No.
it's true I don't know why your friends would come and quickly bail you out, when they have their own work to
I'm not being condescending at all.
Just being a realist and posting from experience.

you have responsibilities to get your clients drives clear and you have no clear plan of doing this if you become injured/sick or your truck breaks down.

not everyone started with a fleet of trucks and loaders so check the attitude.
A lot of us started out with one truck and a snowblower.
You have guys given you opinions and ideas from real life experiences.

I started with one truck but I got a couple dozen more driveways so I could hire someone with another truck to plow with me. that way if my truck or his truck broke down we could cover it. then I brought a second truck then a third truck and hired A subcontractor with his own trucks.

PS
in a big snow you won't be able to snow blow them out in time so they can get to work or if they have an emergency.
And how would you get your snowblower to all your clients without a truck?
Hitch receiver cargo rack, plus sumo springs. Can do this with any small suv or maybe a car. And I think anybody living in a snow climate who needs help getting out of their driveway for a work emergency is either driving the wrong car, or will get stuck on the road a mile away. But anyway, I agree with everything you're saying here.
 

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Lol
Man can only snowblow for so long.

Every time you you get in and drive to the next account your going to be a wet sweaty mess.

then let's not even discuss multi day events.

Ha you'd be surprised how many rich folks think a Porsche Cayenne will get them to where they need to go…
All very true. I was a sweaty mess. And I was lucky last year was light on snow. Hah.
 

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If you have a snow blower and vehicle to transport it, you have another backup plan.
I would not say a snowblower is a back up plan, at least in many cases. Small driveways, light snow, short event, yea you could get by. I relied on a snowblower my first breakdown and it was a **** show. I found a guy to give my route to incase of emergency. I pay him the full cost just to cover my ass so I don't have worry about my customers being serviced. You will have a breakdown at some point. Last year I had a breakdown during a big event due to a faulty BRAND NEW cv axle. I scouted out the LAST uhaul truck, borrowed a snowblower, told my buddy id pay him 50/hr to shovel and we went at it all night. I never had a clue how damn slow snowblowing is. if its heavy snow, good luck! The snowblower went down with like 3 customers left late at night. Ended up flagging down some kids in a plow truck, followed them around, ended up jumping in their truck myself lol. Horrible, stressful, tiring, stressful, horrible night, lost lots of $$. Didn't lose 1 customer or let anyone down. This year Ive made it a priority to NETWORK!! Find some guys that need the same thing, there are probably some new guys plowing that could use the same backup. Sorry to hijack, just giving you some perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #238 ·
I would not say a snowblower is a back up plan, at least in many cases. Small driveways, light snow, short event, yea you could get by. I relied on a snowblower my first breakdown and it was a **** show. I found a guy to give my route to incase of emergency. I pay him the full cost just to cover my ass so I don't have worry about my customers being serviced. You will have a breakdown at some point. Last year I had a breakdown during a big event due to a faulty BRAND NEW cv axle. I scouted out the LAST uhaul truck, borrowed a snowblower, told my buddy id pay him 50/hr to shovel and we went at it all night. I never had a clue how damn slow snowblowing is. if its heavy snow, good luck! The snowblower went down with like 3 customers left late at night. Ended up flagging down some kids in a plow truck, followed them around, ended up jumping in their truck myself lol. Horrible, stressful, tiring, stressful, horrible night, lost lots of $$. Didn't lose 1 customer or let anyone down. This year Ive made it a priority to NETWORK!! Find some guys that need the same thing, there are probably some new guys plowing that could use the same backup. Sorry to hijack, just giving you some perspective.
Excellent points and thank you. I am keeping it small time this year. Capped it only at 10 driveways and not really going to be picking up extras even during large snow events unless its a super easy driveway because I dont want to damage my truck, plow, or their property. Hoping my truck and plow treat me well and next year i plan to get a second truck for sure.
 

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Excellent points and thank you. I am keeping it small time this year. Capped it only at 10 driveways and not really going to be picking up extras even during large snow events unless its a super easy driveway because I dont want to damage my truck, plow, or their property. Hoping my truck and plow treat me well and next year i plan to get a second truck for sure.
Good luck brother! Keep doin what you're doing, I'll be praying to the Snow Gods for us
 

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Excellent points and thank you. I am keeping it small time this year. Capped it only at 10 driveways and not really going to be picking up extras even during large snow events unless its a super easy driveway because I dont want to damage my truck, plow, or their property. Hoping my truck and plow treat me well and next year i plan to get a second truck for sure.
Yes good luck. And if you do any one-time trips for non-clients, make it worth your while. Give them a wide ballpark price and then an exact rate once you actually see the property.
 
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