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Need advice - in New England

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by bricks, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. bricks

    bricks Junior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 5

    We'll be moving to a new house (in MA), and the very first concern we have is snow plowing. The driveway to the house is uphill, about 250-300ft with a curve. Not sure about grade, maybe 10% or so?

    We have a wagon and a sedan, neither of which is suited for snow plowing, and I never liked having to depend on a snowplowing service, wondering when/whether they'd show up. My family will be able to handle snowy driveway, but my parents (in their 60's and 70's) who frequent my place wouldn't be able to negotiate the slippery driveway, on foot or in their cars. So, I'm thinking about getting my own plow.

    What do you recommend, old beat-up jeep with a light plow, and keep it as a plow-only car? What kind plow should I look at?

    Or, should I get a more recent (new?) SUV for the job, and use it as a daily commuter?

    It may come down to $$ issue, but I'd like to hear from others who have gone through the same situation.

  2. Mick

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

    If you're sure you'll only use it for that driveway, get an old beater with a used plow already on it. You should be able to find one in the Want Ads or maybe someone on PlowSite is close to you and has one to sell. If you've got a grade you're concerned with, put some sand or ice melter on it. If it's only 300', you might get by with a snowblower. I wouldn't get an SUV specifically for plowing, even a short distance can be rough on it. You could buy a whole bunch of junkers for the price of one SUV. As far as what to look for, just that the truck starts easily and runs. Make sure it is 4 wheel drive and works. Check that the transmission doesn't slip. Rust is immaterial since it's not going on the road. I wouldn't even worry about worn out front end (alignment, springs etc); Plow - mainly that it's hydraulic or electric (raise/lower, left/right). Expect the plow to be rusty. Small cracks in the moldboard (blade) is to be expected. You should be able to get the whole setup for around $1500.

    If you think it's possible that you'll want to plow a couple of neighbors, etc, then my advise would be totally different.
  3. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    do you have a suv cause you can get one of those homsteader plows by fisher or western makes one to fit smaller suv types
  4. bricks

    bricks Junior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for the responses, guys.

    Mick - I have no plan to plow for the neighbors, but that might happen for whatever reason. How would it change your suggestion? $1500 for the entire setup (including the beater?) sounds pretty good.

    PLOWMAN45 - no, I don't have an SUV. It's either get a fairly new SUV and use it for commuting and plowing, or get a beater SUV/truck as Mick suggested (not for commute).

    Another question - I have no garage space for the beater and/or plow. As long as the driveway is, I have no place to leave the beater parked (it's narrow and long) for the off-season. What do people do - rent a garage space somewhere? Is there a place where I can store just the plow (and not the truck/suv)?

    Thanks again. I think this plowing thing might turn out to be fun... especially with a helpful site like this.
  5. Mick

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

    If you are going to plow for anyone other than yourself, you would need to have it roadworthy in order to be licensed and insured. Then you really want to get professional liability (General Liability). Don't believe anyone who says the homeowner's insurance will take care of it - you will find yourself responsible for anything that happens while you are in the process of plowing (like hitting a car or sliding into a building) and for anything that may appear to happen as a result of you having plowed (someone slips, has a concussion and incurs medical expenses or in a worst case scenario - dies). Now, you will need to get even more jobs to pay for the better truck, plow, plates, vehicle insurance and General Liability insurance. More jobs lead to more maintenance. Then more jobs and so it goes. Bottom line - get a beater with the intention of doing your drive only (your homeowner insurance should cover you in this instance) or get a much better truck and plow, then aggressively go after business. Now I assume you already have another full time job so you will be severely limited in the jobs you can take on. As a result, you likely willl not show a profit. Now you just defeated the purpose of looking into plowing your own driveway in the first place.
  6. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Bricks, what town in MA?
    I would try to find an old truck with a plow on it or buy a new daily driver that you can plow with. I don't know if you would want a newer 4x4 pick up that you could plow with yet is nice enough to be your commute vehicle. If you need the space you could get a crew cab pu, it does not have to be big to have a plow especially if its for just your own driveway. Also check out some of the websites of the plow companys, if you did not know plows do not require you to have any lights or hydraulics on the front of the vehicle all year round, only when the plow is attached.
    Good Luck!