Mix of lots and driveways? ...

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by JRMtheYoungBuck, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. JRMtheYoungBuck

    JRMtheYoungBuck Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hello everyone, have been watching but am new here. I’m curious on this strategy. Many people in Upstate NY stick to just commercial or just driveways. I’m 21 and am very small potatoes compared to most of y’all, it’s my first year plowing for myself & my LLC (but have doing commercial snow since 14 running skidsteers, trucks, loaders etc.) I have 9 commercial which are Walgreens and small businesses lots nothing big (which are virtually all zero tolerance) but also looking to do about 20-25 driveways which are some of my good landscape/lawn customers. Is that too much? I have really only had to plow/salt commercial so far this year and everything is real tight within 8/9 mile radius. Most driveways I do are per push at a 3 inch trigger. I’m getting calls still but a). I don’t think subcontracting driveways would be worth it because many driveways get bid low and making $5-10 on top or whatever doesn’t seem worth the extra stress b). Seem to have enough rods in the fire as is right now. Also, I estimate them pretty much at a take it or leave it price already. Sorry for the paragraph but was wondering if doing a healthy mix is a long term sustainable business for any of you or just veer into the direction of commercial only. All advice welcome. Thank you very much. -John
     
  2. cjames808

    cjames808 Senior Member
    from SE WI
    Messages: 627

    Stick to commercial then. Less people involved, better money. They actually budget money to pay you unlike homeowners.
     
    JRMtheYoungBuck likes this.
  3. jonniesmooth

    jonniesmooth PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,880

    Is it just you? If so, I think you will be plenty busy with 9 zero tolerance businesses.
     
    Hydromaster and JRMtheYoungBuck like this.
  4. OP
    OP
    JRMtheYoungBuck

    JRMtheYoungBuck Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks. I think sometimes I try and do too much. I’m a one truck shop with one employee that will be doing the walks. I don’t want to run another truck at this time. Too much to worry about.
     
  5. Hydromaster

    Hydromaster PlowSite Veteran
    from 406
    Messages: 3,765

    Are you saying all of your wallgreens and or your commercials are zero tolerance? how are you going to service them when it’s snowing?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    JRMtheYoungBuck

    JRMtheYoungBuck Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    maybe zero tolerance was wrong term. I mean if there is slush I even have to scrape. We have gotten 2 1.5 inch storms so far this year and serviced all commercial as well with pre treats. Have to meet certain time window for service and scope is more stringent on Walgreens, others like locals aren’t, if that makes sense.
     
  7. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,449

    Do you have a back up plan if the truck breaks down? I would get another truck set up, Even if it was a cheapo beater for the season. Just my thoughts.
     
  8. agurdo17

    agurdo17 Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    I do commercial and residential . Split for each truck I have. Allows me to run my equiptment for longer period of time and still keep my customers happy. Plow commercial first and then do resis and if we are getting pounded I have a truck that mostly salts that can shift to plowing. I agree there is more hassle in driveways but I can do close to 10 driveways an hr at 450 to 900 a season. A McDonald's in my area goes for 1600 to 2200 a season and takes 30 minutes to do. I'll take as many driveways that are on my routes as I can. That's just me.
     
    Cam15 and JRMtheYoungBuck like this.
  9. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,192

    only take residential that can be plowed anytime during the day, no time constraints, nothing where people have to be out for work,
     
  10. OP
    OP
    JRMtheYoungBuck

    JRMtheYoungBuck Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I’m doing 8 easy going driveways. Gave rest and all calls to some friends in business. We got 2 feet early this week so I’m glad I wasnt tied up with all those driveways, which would of been a shizshow. Thank you for advice.
     
  11. leigh

    leigh PlowSite Veteran
    from CT
    Messages: 3,915

    I stay away from drives because of the trigger issue. I plow/salt my commercial accounts at a dusting. Drives are usually higher trigger. I'd rather fill my route with low trigger accounts than drives, but that's just my area strategy.
     
  12. agurdo17

    agurdo17 Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    90 percent contracts here. 10 percent pays labor fuel and repairs
     
  13. leigh

    leigh PlowSite Veteran
    from CT
    Messages: 3,915

    Gotcha ,noticed your location,you get 4 times the snow we get here on ct coast.Drives aren't worth doing here.
     
  14. agurdo17

    agurdo17 Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    Ah. I get you. 250x50 per truck definatly wont cut it. sorry for the irrelevant comment then.
     
    leigh likes this.
  15. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,188

    How many of your commercial places are through national service providers? Be careful with them, especially just starting out. Most new business don't have the capital to wait as long as most of them take to pay (if at all). I've never personally dealt with them, but there are a lot of stories on here.

    As far as your route, stick with the 8 and keep them happy. Then grow from there.
     
  16. The Snow Punishers

    The Snow Punishers Senior Member
    Messages: 154

    Hey man,
    Seems like you're an honest guy trying to make a name for himself so I'm going to try to help you out.
    Well I'm less experienced Plowing but more business wise.
    I wish I started doing it years ago. My 3rd year but really first serious attempt, legit business. Fewer health problems (just broke my femur smh)

    So this is called a few things because few factors make the decision. Never go on 1 v 1.

    I'll explain short.

    So Commercial Property, yes nice, higher liability = higher risk. But after sliding down a sealcoated driveway into a garage door last week then blowing a hydraulic line Actually 2. Lift and the ... The left one idk.
    But lift chain snapped too which I think caused the pressure surge to blow a weak point. Weren't Fisher hoses.

    ★0if buying equipment bring a pdf cad type blowup and note any difference in parts or for me? Use OEM hoses. Not much more and with hydraulic systems, you're dealing with high pressure. Enough to lift your plow then some. So little Wang pings Amazon store sees oh "hose break we sell now"
    And doesn't care to match carefully selected thickness or tubing breaking strength.

    ★ Write down you're time limits for each in a notebook grid or something and figure time to complete, then see if you can't get to more Commercial jobs as your max without subbing or new equipment.

    ★ Consider salting or sanding:
    I know a guy by me he just salts lots as a sub and he has a route just like anyone but my point is he makes bank and that's also a good mix in. Half a bite instead of a full

    ★ if you don't have insurance, go into the bathroom, you'll probably have it under sink, drain cleaner.
    Go to your plow and say I'm sorry for ruining us and drink half the bottle. JK

    ★ you can easily get a rig together under 5k
    IF you really see what parts may go and as , dude I'm sorry I forget you're name the guy with the gorilla pic. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN.

    ★ make friends with plowmen not enemies you never know when you need a pull
     
    Cam15 likes this.