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Is the economy pushing people toward snowblowers?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by coolgreen, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. coolgreen

    coolgreen Member
    Messages: 53

    I was in Lowes yesterday, and I've never seen so many people buying snowblowers. They were literally flying out of the store. One guy walked in, looked at a snowblower and said to the guy working there "I'll take two."

    They must have sold about 10 blowers in about a half hour.

    One of the mower shops I frequent said the same thing. I was looking at getting another Toro Powerlite for walkways, and the dealer said I had better grab it before the end of October because they will be probably be sold out by November.

    I've lost at least four customers to snowblowers this year, which has never happened before.

    With the economy going downhill, I guess some people are cutting back - on my services!

    Anyone else losing ground to these terrible machines?
  2. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    yep i lost a Sams club and two Home Depots. I guess the store manager is going to snow blow the lots !
  3. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,371

    Snow blowers are going to take away alot of buisnes in suberban areas. But in rural areas it won't efect us becouse most of the driveways are to big to snow blow, and it's cheaper to higher someone becuose when iron prices went sky high all the old plow trucks got hauled in for scrap metal.
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Don't worry about it. You'll get some back in January when they decide blowing 16' of snow is slow and cold. You'll get some more back next year after they've sold the darn thing next fall. I just picked up two big 70s blowers yesterday as part of a guy's scrap metal pile. Took two of us to get them loaded and that was using the floor of the trailer as leverage to tip them in. I cheated and used the forks on the tractor to unload them. Even though the newer ones are lighter, people will get tired of pushing them around.
  5. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    yep what mick said. its fun to snow blow at first, but after a month of 10 or below temps, along with dealing with the windrow left by the plow truck and they will soon get sick of it. i know i am and i only snowblow my own place.
  6. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I've spoken to many homeowners over the years about purchasing snowblowers. I say it's like seasonal contracts: sometimes you make out well, and sometimes not so much. It can take a few seasons MINIMUM to pay for a decent snowblower. I also say they get what they pay for, and by that I mean when they buy a cheap snowblower to save money, they will likely have trouble doing what they want to do with it. I then ask what their time is worth. With people working a couple jobs sometimes or commuting a lot, they have very seldom wanted or been able to find the time to clear their own driveways. I don't think I've lost more than 3 driveways in 15 years to a spendthrift consumer thinking they were going to change their personal economy
  7. coolgreen

    coolgreen Member
    Messages: 53

    Over the years I've only lost a few contracts to people who "wanted to take care of it themselves."

    But four customers already this season? That's an anomaly.

    Maybe you are right. The price of a big blower has come down over the past few years, making it look attractive. Too bad they are complete junk and probably won't last the winter.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,556

    Just hope for wet and heavy the first few falls. The phone will ring. Don't burn your bridge, you want them to call you first. They will already be embarassed so thats the time to hook them on again, and maybe even multiyear. You don't want them to feel as though just because they did buy the blower that they should now avoid you cause you will rub it in, cause then they willl just call someone else.
    One guy and I got talking about what kind of blower he bought, I had to hold my breath I wanted to say, 8hp aint going to cut it on your place buddy, but instead... alright well keep the fridge magnet and our number handy if you need us just call.

    Im in the computer retail business, I love when an old customer shows up and says, I got my neighbor to help me out... They dont want to talk about the neighbor anymore, or want to really talk about your price, they just want to have your service back whatever it takes.

    Dont forget when they have a blower, their neightbor will want to have them do theirs too, and they cant say no, so after a few times it will feel like WORK to them, imagine that, WORK. I lost 6 residentials this year already.
    Remember WET AND HEAVY WET AND HEAVY, chant it and stomp around :drinkup:
  9. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Not losing any account here due to snowblowers.
    Quality work pays off.
  10. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    I lost a couple this year to them saying they were doing it themselves or buying snowblowers. I said no problem, good luck, and if anything changes, you know how to get a hold of me. All we need is a couple 9" storms or better, and they will be back, forever this time.....Its almost a given. Like someone said, big shot working in the city with a 6 figure income is going to see real fast an hour of his time wasnt worth $40.
  11. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    You just need a couple of daytime snowfalls or even overnight and the street plows don't make it until noon. They come home to find the end of their drive 2' high. The snowblower will become old real fast.

    It's like a new truck, after 6 months it's just another payment.

    Maybe it was snowplowing contractors buying the blowers for walks. I have been looking for some 20" Toro single stage and can't find any.
  12. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    And if your doing 25 driveways an hour, who cares about losing 1.;)
  13. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    And I thought we had put this to bed.:drinkup:

    If I was paying $40/push I would be buying a blower also.
  14. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I wish I could find someone to do my driveway for $40, imagine coming home after plowing a 6" storm and all you had to do was go to bed.
  15. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    I'm sure your's isn't in the $40 bracket and with the winter door you must get a lot of snow.;)
  16. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    Been slowly happening for years. But yes, the box stores are selling more and more of them every year. And there are more and more box stores every year. Less snowblowers for sale in less stores in 1990, and a lot less stores in 1990 too. I think they sell more snowplows now too.

    completley agree. some drives are just too long, and time consuming. Snowblowing would make them late for work in the morning, and late for bed at night.

    Agree. People with more wealth dont have to have the headache of dealing with a snowy driveway. They can just hire it out. One less headache or concern. People with less may not have as much of a choice. Will always have the percentage that will snowblow anyway because of the "fear" of not being able to get out or not wanting to rely on someone else. Small percentage though. If they can trust you to get them out though so they arent stuck and late for where they are going your more likley to keep them from buying a snowblower.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  17. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    Bri......until they get too old to shovel and snowblow of course........than we get em right up until the end......thats probably the most depressing part of this business,....seeing your best customers pass on......
  18. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    What would be even sweeter is watching someone plow your driveway on your blackberry connected to your internet ready home surveilance system while vacationing in sunny FLA during the winter. :drinkup:
  19. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Wake up John it's a dream!
  20. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    I know...I'm failing miserably at trying to get out. Added a loader, tractor and two new plows to the roundup this year. Done spending for 08 I think.