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Looking to get in/kinda

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by jf781, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. jf781

    jf781 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Hello all, first post on here and probably going to be a PITA like most all other noobs but I suppose I have to start somewhere.

    I’m looking to get into this business this fall. Was hoping to start working for someone else but the few places I’ve went to all make you sign a no compete contract of up to 3 years. I was hoping to run with someone else for a year or two and then go on my own but the no compete kinda blows that outta the water.

    I don’t have the truck I’d want to put a plow on nor the 4k for a good plow so I was thinking of getting started by just doing residential with a decent snow blower and good ole’ trusty shovel. I just want to run this buy a few of you guys here and see what your thoughts are.

    Here is a list of bullet points and would like to see if they are sound in your eyes

    - Residential Only
    - Was thinking either a seasonal contract or per snow basis, up to customer. Figured $250 - 300 seasonal/ or ~$20-30 per snow depending on driveway
    - 2” trigger seems pretty normal from what I’ve seen around here
    - 24 hr removal period from when it gets be 2” of snow (work full time during day and would work around this, also would explain this to my customers as well)
    - Salt is included if they wish for an extra $5 per visit or $25 if they do seasonal – not real sure on de-icer though.
    - Advertising I was planning on using local paper, craigslist, flyers at grocery stores, and word of mouth. Ideally I’d like 10 customers or so by December

    I currently don’t have a blower or insurance, both of which I know I need. Need to talk with my insurance agent but any pointers or coverage amounts I should know about?

    For the blower I was thinking Poulan Pro 24” (linky). Seems decent price and I can pick one up locally for around $700. This sound ok to most people? I already have a reliable 4WD (only a ½ ton so hence no plow) and was just planning on use ramps to load/unload the blower.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions that I should consider? Does this sound reasonable to do this late my first year or am I going to be way over my head.

    BTW – I’m from Cedar Rapids, Iowa if that helps anyone.

    Thanks greatly in advance,
  2. Mick

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

  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Read all the other "I want to plow snow and I have NO idea what to do" posts.
    The "search" button is user friendly.
    Go talk to neighbors about cleaning their sidewalks and see what kind of response you get.
  4. nyhardscapepro

    nyhardscapepro Junior Member
    from ny
    Messages: 5

    I agree with Mick, but have a couple things to add 1st most 1/2 ton trucks can hold a 7.5' plow, my 1st truck was a 1/2 ton w/ a 7.5' fisher not ideal but it works, I would suggest if you go this route go with something lighter a western, or boss? You can usually find a used one for around 1,000 at least around my area, yours could be different but worth checking into, especially with your limited time you are going to need to be able to do them as quick and efficient as possible. As far as subbing goes it is common to sign a non-compete they want to protect themselves and the time they spent acquiring and retaining their accts. that said there are a lot more properties out there than the ones that you would be plowing for them, and working as a sub is a good way to learn the business
  5. linycctitan

    linycctitan Senior Member
    Messages: 588

    Usually the basic idea of a non-compete agreement is this: if you work for me, you legally can not solicit my accounts for said period of time. It does not mean that you can not solicit other accounts, just know full well who your employers accounts are and stay away from them. Basically, don't bite the hand that feeds you! Working for someone else would be the best way to learn.
  6. CJL

    CJL Junior Member
    from MD
    Messages: 18

    Not to thread jack by I too was planing to get started by just doing residential with a snow blower and some shovel's,based on some of the response's,Is that not a good idea?
  7. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    It is always a good idea to start small and grow.
  8. bighornjd

    bighornjd Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    You must crawl before you walk and if you try to stand up to quickly you will be in over your head and be beaten down so badly you may never walk again....

    Your equipment when starting out will be far from ideal. That said you can only do so much without needing more equipment. I think just a snowblower and shovel will get old real quick cuz your gonna have to bust balls to make money. If you have a decent 1/2 ton 4x4 then I would be looking for a good used 7.5 foot plow. I've been looking for a 10 footer for my dump and Craigslist near me is loaded with older Meyers 7.5 foot plows, some in decent shape for not much money. The less mechanically inclined you are tho the more I would look for a newer better plow. I have an older plow that I have a lot of time invested in fixing up but I still have less than 2k in it and in 5 years it has never let me down. Good luck.
  9. SnoBull

    SnoBull Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 33

    If you do decide to mount a plow to your truck, think about a few things first. What kind of tranny does your truck have? Heavy snow pushing seems to take more of a toll on auto trannys then stick. Depends on the volume of snow of course, but if you are pushing heavy, wet piles, be careful not to overload.