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interested in making the move to snow removal- suggestions?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by BP73, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. BP73

    BP73 Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 19

    I am a partner in a small landscaping business and we are looking at getting into snow removal next winter. My partner and I both have other jobs so this income is not our bread and butter.

    Here's the problem: We can't decide what specifically we need/want to get started?
    I know from this site that a 3/4 ton pickup is ideal. However, we don't necessarily need that in the summer as we have a 2WD truck that we use to haul the lawn trailer.

    A Wrangler with a plow would provide a nice, fun ride in the summer and double as a plow vehicle in winter. Plus the added mobility for those tight spots would be nice. The disadvantage over a pickup is there is no good/easy way to haul a snow blower in a Wrangler, or salt. And it's only a 6cyl. But does that matter for a company who currently has zero accounts???

    The non-plowing (currently don't have a plow) 3/4 ton trucks in our price range seem be in the 150,000 PLUS mile arena. i know it all depends on maintenance, but how many miles do these beasts go for before they have engine or tranny problems? I just don't know as I've never looked at buying a HD truck before.

    Then comes the question of getting accounts. Sure, a couple of our lawn customers will want their drives maintained, but what about stirring up new business? Should we reach out to the Nationals to get us going?

    Looking forward to some input from the pros.
  2. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    Work for a larger contractor for a few years
  3. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    Should we reach out to the Nationals to get us going?

    A big fat no to that question.

    If all you are doing is residential driveways .... A Jeep would be the machine for you. You could always sell your 2wd truck and use that money towards a 3/4 ton if you will be doing more than residential driveways.

    If you will be getting your lawn customers as snow removal customer, and do good work at reasonable prices, your phone will ring. Know your cost and stay out of low ball teritory.
  4. BP73

    BP73 Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 19

    What kind of work would the 3/4 truck be needed for?
  5. 98K3500

    98K3500 Member
    from WI
    Messages: 46

    If you find yourselves lining up more than residential driveways, you will find a P/U much more productive on the bigger jobs.

    Also - A 3/4 or 1 ton pickup will handle the abuse that plowing dishes out better than a Jeep if those bigger jobs start pouring in....
  6. BP73

    BP73 Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 19

    If money was no object I would get a Jeep and a 3/4 ton. But..... A choice needs to be made. I'm the kind of guy that likes to buy once and be done. But a decent truck is a lot of cash to put out when we don't even have any accounts. Decisions, decisions.
  7. andersman02

    andersman02 Senior Member
    Messages: 756

    If your just doing resi, A jeep would be a beast depending on your type of driveways. The only problem is the reliability of a jeep vs HD truck. I would atleast have some sort of backup truck. We ran a 350 v plow for 3 years as our only plow truck when we started. I would NEVER do that again. Didnt have any problems but there is always that What-if something breaks.

    My choice would be a jeep w/ a reliable backup that you can use when you get another route going. Once that route is 1/2 full. Time for another truck.

    For us, the best purchase was that vplow/350 combo, great for both resi and commmercial. Now we have trucks that are dedicated to one or another.
  8. mud

    mud Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    One thing to think about, is a backup plan. What happens when your truck or plow breaks down mid storm? Its gonna happen at some point and you will need to have a back up plan for when it dose. For me. I have a second truck and plow combo sitting there all ready to go but from the sounds of it that will not be an option to you at the present time.

    I would recomend either subbing for a larger company for a couple years to get some experience built up, along with making some connections in the industry and possibly getting enough cash built up to purchase a second truck and plow.

    Another option might be to stick with residential and go the blower route. There is money to be made their and a couple blowers are going to be far less costly than a truck and plow.

    In the end your rep is everything in this game. If you break down and get get your customers serviced, you wont have those customers very long. And you wont get work from their friends either.
  9. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 622

    You have a full time job. So how are you going plow and be at your job?

    There is no amount of plow trucks that are going to help you.
  10. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,978

    run forest run!.....enjoy your winters off
  11. BP73

    BP73 Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 19

    My partner and I work different shifts at our full time jobs so finding time for one of us to plow shouldn't be a big problem.

    Even if we went the snowblower route we still only have a 2WD truck to haul them around. I think a 4WD truck is what we need to get started. Maybe with blowers and then add a plow.

    How do you guys suggest getting hooked up to be a sub? I'll have to search the site and see what I can learn about being a sub.

    Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.
  12. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    My suggestions... Don't do it, and stay at your full time job.

  13. matt-max

    matt-max Member
    Messages: 55

    jeeps dont weigh enough to move much snow so plan for only small accounts with light snow falls. they are great for wider sidewalks though.
    plowing with 2wd with any hills is an exercise in frustration at best.
    most modern ish 3/4 and ton trucks are good for 250k+ miles with maybe trans rebuilds the only major drivetrain issue....but you never know. a beat-on 100k mile truck is no money saver.
    start small. don't stretch yourself too far the first year or two. help out some other guys and have them help you out. maybe subcontract (not sure if there is enough money in it though)?
    decide if you like it. some people love the anticipation and excitement of this work and the feast or famine nature.
    some just aren't into the LONG hours, stressful days, extreme conditions and lack of sleep.
    or the years without much snow when you're waking up to look out at brown grass and rain again for the fourth time in a month and the payment for your rusting snow equipment is due....
  14. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    To get started how many lawn customers are cash in your hand sighted up? If you don't have much working capital snow blower in the back of the truck you do have, turn any money from your efforts back to saving invest in your equipment. Build your customer base then invest in bigger equipment.