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Looking for a little help

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Tommy Clifton, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Tommy Clifton

    Tommy Clifton Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I am new to the idea of snow removal, I live in southern middle Tennessee and in 12 years we have had about 15 to 20 snows that last over a day or two . Typical snow fall is 1'' per fall and we average about 5 of these a season . most of these occurances will melt away by the end of the second day .
    This month Tennessee was hit by alot of snow and it affected everyone we got 5-8'' we typically get this type of snow storm once a year as a state whole and every 3 years in my specific county . In the past we have always used snow shovels and leaf blowers to get through the small storms as they come. The problems we faced and must now learn from now is We were unable to provide services to our regular coustomer base and i dont know where to go to for help.
    we recieved near 1600 phone calls in a 48 hour period and were unable to provide services to them all and now i am unsure of the damages done . Looking for help on where to go now ,
  2. Lugnut

    Lugnut Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    sounds like it might be worth investing in a plow so you can handle these events with a truck
  3. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    You have to be realistic. I doubt very much you want to spend 10 or 20 grand to pick up a used plow truck or two, just to have them sit for 10 more years before you need them again. It's a tough call. Live with a few customers that get upset that you can't service them 1 time every few years, or tie up a bunch of cash in equipment you can't use but 1 every few years. I honestly don't know the correct answer, but if it were me, I would look for alternative ways of purchasing equipment that is useable throughout the whole year. Maybe mowers with blades, and or blowers, 4 wheelers, blades for a bobcat or backhoe? You are going to have to do some thinking, and planning to see what is useable or not.
  4. JB1

    JB1 Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    try renting a skid steer or two.
  5. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Well actually i think you came to the right place. This would be the perfect place to network with people who may not be affectd buy a certain storm that are crazy enough to travel for cash. Obviously it would be ill advised to jump in to plowing snow or adding snow service. I know the weather channel keeps saying theres no business like snow business dont believe that crap. Its a terrible job and not something to do if its not in ur blood.
  6. bhmjwp

    bhmjwp Senior Member
    from kcmo
    Messages: 309

    In all reality the only way to approach yhis is with your customer base, Send out a letter outlining services and have a yearly minimum. I would guess $200 at sign up. See how many are really interested before you make the investment. Lets say you have 50=well then you may justify a $15,000 investment spread over 3 yrs. Anything less and there is no money. Also a good way to handle existing customer base when the complain-just say sign up!
  7. Jacobsmovinsnow

    Jacobsmovinsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    This is a odd year cuz of La Nina, your just not North enough to have a viable snow removal business, If your handy with a wrench get yourself a used 4x4 thats never plowed and in the summer hook a plow to it and go from there. Ya cant be all things to all people. Concentrate on your customers.
  8. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I would say wait till summer buy a POS truck with a plow on it, you can find them for 2-3k ready to plow (excluding repairs). Drop the plow, use it to haul firewood in the summer or what ever else you want or just let it sit, but be sure to keep the plow clean and greased to heck as the humidity will kill them if they have salt on them.

    what County/city are you in/near?

    Like others have said, rent a bobcat, make a killing. The rental stores up here will not rent you a bobcat in the winter to push snow, they got mad a few years ago when the people renting the equipment made more money then the rental people did....
  9. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    dont go buy a POS...it will break down when you need it the most
    a freak year for you this year and maynot happen again for 10 years......unless you can afford to invest some cash and let it sit your better off renting
  10. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Are rental places up here actually like snow contractors because we can rent them during the winter we keep money in there pockets and come summer they go back to renting them to normal contractors. Its a win win because then they dont sit around all winter costing them money
  11. JB1

    JB1 Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    I've never heard of a rental place that wouldn't rent you equipment like he said, around here they would rent you the plunger in the bathroom if they could make money on it.
  12. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    What business are you in Tommy?
    The thing is, this year is a 1 in 7 to 1 in 10 year occurrence, you can;t make a business plan for that and expect to make money, which has been detailed in so many ways already in the responses. Last winter like this I remember up here was back around 1996... not going to invest in a snow removal system based on that and 1 inch snow fall that's gone in 48 hours.

    The thing to do is look at what equipment you can use multi purpose, as others have said, and consider those solutions. A skid steer, or a larger backhoe loader with a box blade, or straight blade for example.
    Depending on what business you're in I'm sure we could give you suggestions.
  13. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Skid Steer, backhoe other equipment are high priced, unless you have a use for it in your business during the summer months its a waist of money.

    I do not see anything wrong with buying an old beater truck with a plow, doing all the repairs on it and let it sit until you have a call for it. I have seen new trucks broke down, everything breaks, its just all in how you take care of it.
    I would much rather spend 1,000 on repairs on a old pos truck then have to spend 1,000 in repairs on that new truck that just went off warranty and still owe twice as much as its worth.

    It may sit for 10 years before you get another snow like this, so why go spend several thousand when you can spend 1 or 2 thousand will get you a plow truck, and maybe spend another thousand on it to get anything/everything repaired or exactly the way you want it.

    not everyone has 10-20g to lay down for a piece of equipment, or 8-10g on a used plow truck that you may never use again...

    if you were going to buy anything that was not a old beater truck, then buy a atv and put a plow on it. at least you could use the atv during hunting season to run that deer over....
  14. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    and you think you can find an old POS for 2 grand and put 1 grand in it and have a reliable truck?
    must be kidding yourself
    plus if it just sits for 7-10 years it WILL be more of a POS then it was to begin with
    I still say to rent next year and go from there

    Dr. Who....if you type your contracts as badly as you type on here there is NO way I would hire you to do anything JMO
    yes we all make typing mistakes but come on guy......read your post before you post it
  15. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Contracts are important so I write them in blue crayon.

    Thread posts, I look them over fast; run the spell check and go.

    I am not trying to get anyone to hire me here, just giving my 2c worth.
    So in short, y'all are not important enough to type perfect :)

    Would you rather spend three grand and it sit in the field and rot down or spend 10 grand and it do the same? I was giving my opinion only, this is what I do and I like to rebuild things. I owned a repair shop and I rebuilt wrecks, so it is the way to go for me, but not for everyone.

    Well, as for having 3g in a plow truck that is reliable, yes it can be done. I am running one now, I have about 3500-4000 in it, plow and all (plow I took off my wagoneer) and it is just as reliable as a 10k truck. Now I stole this truck, the person needed money bad, sold it cheap as it needed four ball joints, tires, exhaust and the rear spring shackles.
    did the ball joints myself, parts (motorcraft) were about 100-125 bucks, exhaust cost me about 50 bucks in parts, did it myself, rear spring shackles (doorman) were about 150 bucks for all 4 parts, paid a local shop 100 bucks to switch them as I could not get the truck off the ground high enough in a safe manner, and tires cost me about 450 bucks. I installed them at my fathers repair shop at the same time I did the exhaust.

    Now I did all the work myself, I used to own an auto repair shop and still have my shop accounts at the different parts stores,exhaust and tire warehouses. Therefore, parts cost me less,(jobber discount) doing the work myself and knowing what to look for when I buy a truck helps.

    I would almost bet that I could pick up a pos truck and with in a few months of tinkering with it and maybe about a grand of parts I would have a truck that would be just as reliable as anything new on the lot,and have less the 5g total in the setup. IN ADDITION, I could charge less for my service, because my stuff is paid for.

    My plow that I run, I gave 500 for it off eBay, (Meyers, e-47) bought new angle cylinders (80.00 total), new fittings and hoses(25.00total), rebuilt the pump (20.00 in parts, did it myself), replaced all the c-valves (forgot what I gave for them, 15-20 each?). Now I did break the hinge pins, picked up another plow setup for 500.00, sold the E60 pump for 500 kept the blade and went plowing. Broke the hinge pins on it, fixed both plows for less then 100.00, sold the old blade for 250, and been plowing ever since. All the break downs Lucky happen at the end of the day, so I never lost any of my accounts. I now have a back up plan with another plow company just in case.

    Oh how I got hooked up with them? Well there new truck broke down, one of the other trucks had the plow stolen off it, new truck broke? huh.

    I think I may have 700 in a totally new plow set up, since everything is new or rebuilt.
    Oh I forgot that I had bought a snoway for 150 bucks, sold it for 350 bucks, keep the controller, which powers my Meyer plow now., so I guess the Meyer only cost me 250 bucks, since I made 250 off the snowway.

    Now I understand that if you cannot find the parts, cannot get a good deal on them, or do not know how to do the work, then no you cannot use a POS truck/plow and Make money. However, if you are like me and work for a month straight, then are home for 2 weeks with nothing to do, then you can take a pos and make it good as new in a few months during the summer.

    See you all seem to forget that down this way we may have 10 plow events per winter, that is a bad winter and we hardly ever get more then 3-4 inches of snow at a time. We are not running our trucks every other day for 6 months, we have 2.5 months of winter here. Heck its the end of Jan, we have about 3 weeks of winter weather left, at worst 4 weeks, then its spring.

  16. Tommy Clifton

    Tommy Clifton Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I know this is odd but we are really looking for driveway services for the most part . this is more to do with our current situation as a company .We are a Lawn care provider for the state making this very hard to adjust on the fly . As for a plow truck setups- we do have a few (4) 6500 seriesflatbed trucks and (1) 6500 dump if I come to need an actual truck for plowing , Also as posted above by many of you guys a beater 4x4 can be grabed here for $1500 if it was a better route.
    Since My initial post We have went over our inventory and determined we had alot of opperating platforms we are just lacking the attachments and knowledge. we have 15 Walker mowers we could use with blades . but have also become courious if single stage Toro snow blowers would be easier to store and maintain overall considering alot of times our mowers fail to start when it gets cold due to low battery CCA when the temp drops
  17. Tommy Clifton

    Tommy Clifton Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I personally am located 80 miles South of nashville in a much to hot for good snow type place but as a company we have locations based all over Tennessee and generally we will end up doing Leaf cleanups until the time comes to start preping for lawn care then this year we got snowed in and noticed with our customer base if we could provide SOMETHING it would help fight the bordom of regualar January's our snow service indever will start next year as the spring is comming fast with a few cool days left . But with such little knowledge it will take next year comming to even know if we can hang in durring the mess .Most years we just wait it out and we are good ,this year we were locked down a week and i went crazy not including what everyone else did most years each location is simply snow shovel as their location needed it this year every one snow shoveled and we were slaughtered .

    As for coustomer base we have approximatly 2200 residential homes we offer full service maintenace to durring the regular seasons ( lawn,landscape,maintenance even pool cleaning ) and only a few who specificly ask for snow when they signed up .We have currently 120 clients who ask for removal services across the state In our contracts we have a clause for AS needed services and we also do monthly visits in the winter to take care of odd maintenance,storm damage so i assume an odd SNOW CLEAN UP would'nt be a hard sell to begin with if we were able to keep the fees at the clients regular $25-75.00 per visit fee. ???
  18. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    If you have that many clients, I would try to pick up some [plows for your trucks, buy them in the summer as they are cheaper (usually).
    Get the plows set up, talk to your 2000+ clients, see if you can get half signed up for snow removal and if it snows, you might do A-OK....
    as for the rates, all depends on the area, I am up in Lexington Ky, I charge 25.00 per drive on residential, but there are a lot of people with shovels doing it cheaper. But you have have to have a minimum price that you would still make some money on..

    If you locate a beater, let me know I am looking for 1-2 to tinker with for next year. Iwould much rather pick one up from you area then up in the rust belt....
  19. Tommy Clifton

    Tommy Clifton Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    one fear i have with a plow is how do you remove the snow to the asphalt/concrete ? when you have a straight driveway..... how do you pull it back off the house or is plows only really for driveways with in and out enterances
  20. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    You pull up to the garage and drop the blade and backdrag it?? And for clearing walk ways and sidewalks or even driveways toro single stages would be all that you would ever need down there. Heck the ones we have will throw 15 inchs of snow