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In a growth phase. How to keep experienced guys going?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by PlowMan78, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. PlowMan78

    PlowMan78 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    We're currently in a growth phase, with me being the only technically skilled guy in the operation up to this point. All our other labour has been temp shovel guys. I've been ok with subbing plowing projects up to this point.
    Right now tho, with the work I have, and the work I want to sell, I need a permanent guy who can handle what I handle right now. So, a guy who knows the routes, customers, experienced with the equipment, (or able to be trained), etc.
    I know good guys are hard to find, but my question is how do I keep him busy between snowfalls?
    Where I am it can be two days between snowfalls, or two weeks. So once the routes are completed, what are you guys doing with $22+ experienced tractor/plow operators between snowfalls?
    Even $15 shovel guys?
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    what are you doing with them? They are employees? Help out on the side,part time?
  3. PlowMan78

    PlowMan78 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I am reviewing my business plan going forward to make room for my first permanent plow operator. I'm actually looking at next snow season already lol....I'm ok for this season.

    The dilemma is this. Look at the resi tractor and inversed blower model. If one tractor operator, even being conservative, can handle 1 house every 3 mins, then a full days work for this person is 20 houses per hour x 8 hours equals 160 resi contracts. The problem is that when it snows, then my operator has 8 hours of work. I need it too snow 5 days a week in order to keep him going full time! Which we all know doesn't happen. Or, do I oversell the route, with 320 houses, and lower my response time to those houses to 2 days in order to give the guy 2 days worth of work. Or something in between. like 240 houses, and he works a 12 hour day. Even still, this isn't full time work for a guy. So I was just wondering what happens between snowfalls.

    I was thinking that he can go do route cleanup and ice management where needed, but still it sort of seems like make work projects just to keep him busy. That's if it doesn't snow for a week. If it snow 2" every 2 days, then we have no problem!
  4. Advantage

    Advantage Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Don't lower response time to two days! Get someone with mechanical abilities so that he can work on equipment between storms. We all know that there's always something to work on.
  5. PlowMan78

    PlowMan78 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    haha you're right don't lower response times I can't believe I even suggested that! That's a good idea to hire someone who can be cross trained. The thought occurred to me as you guys have replied to this.......am I assuming I need to hire someone full time? Is the position of plow operator a casual/part time position?

    I wonder what neige does with his 9 tractor operators when it isn't snowing :confused:
  6. greywynd

    greywynd PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,370

    If you are looking at this for next season, here's an option. Since you're talking full time, I'm thinking you have summer work for him as well. Find someone in the spring, and put them on one year contract/salary. Figure out the number of hours they will average for the year, and the rate you would like to pay them. In the summer they get 'underpaid' when calculated hourly, but next winter they are 'overpaid' when figured hourly.
  7. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    This is what we do. In the winter when it is not snowing they are still expected to put in at least 25 hrs it may be working on equipment may be plowing it might be washing trucks the shop or working at my house on some project.
  8. PlowMan78

    PlowMan78 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I love this salary idea, and it never occurred to me that this might be an option. As usual, some top quality advice on here, I'm not surprised! Thanks a lot guys this is going to help.