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New Guy/Please Evaluate this Situation

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Adam E., Nov 16, 2008.

  1. Adam E.

    Adam E. Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Hello, my name is Adam, I'm 18 and I live in a northern suburb of Detroit. From a young age I have always loved winter and all the aspects of the season. I have been involved in a residential snow removal around my neighborhood for the past 4 years doing driveways with a hand operated blower.

    This past year I have really entertained the notion of starting my own business with a truck and plow. To me the opportunity seems too ripe to not pursue; I live close to an upscale neighborhood with a median income of $85,000 and there is alot of potential. That being said there are some restrictions. I am a high school student occupied from 8-3 Monday-Friday with my studies. My questions are:

    Do you think its wise/reasonable for someone of my age to start this business venture?

    Will my school schedule hamper my business operations?

    What do you believe are the estimated startup funds required (i.e. plow, spreader)

    How early do you get up, and how often do you check weather reports?

    Is my location consistent enough with adequate snowfall?

    And finally the big question, Will the work involved pay off with a sumtous profit?
  2. lumps

    lumps Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    Plowing while going to school is tough. If you get hit with a big storm, you may not be done with your route by the time you have to head to school. Not to mention the lack of sleep. Plus, day time snow needs to be cleared before people come home from work, you'd have a very limited time frame to do it.
  3. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I'd say yes, school will be a problem what if they need you at 10 am due to snow storm ...?
  4. Ford445

    Ford445 Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 243

    I started plowing when I was in high school, but I started with a used truck and used plow, very little up front cost. I also only had customers that understood my schedule and limitations. I did it, and I loved it. I wouldn't expect to start out with 30 accounts or anything along those lines, but I think its doable...within reason.

    As usual....JMO
  5. Adam E.

    Adam E. Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    On heavy snowfalls I'm pretty sure I would be able to convince my parents of missing school (I have no problems with grades a 3.7gpa). As for my funding. I have $10,000 in available funds. I'd definitely get a used truck. Would a Ram 1500 4x4 be sufficient? What do you find to be the best truck and plow taking into consideration my situation?


    Adam E.
  6. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    well if you had a snowstorm would school close ?
  7. Adam E.

    Adam E. Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Rarely, maybe once a year. However, if big storms are anticipated I will probably be able to miss school. We don't really get big storms where I'm located. Usually just moderate amounts 2-8 inches is common.

  8. vmj

    vmj Senior Member
    from conn
    Messages: 762

    any one have any info on pro wings
  9. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    wrong section
  10. RepoMan207

    RepoMan207 PlowSite Fanatic
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,039

    VMJ check CPW .

    When piping in on a in process thread, make sure to stay on topic, this is called "Hijacking" and is impolite. I too learned the hard way. :nod:

    Welcome! :waving: :drinkup:
  11. weeman97

    weeman97 Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    my last truck was a 2001 dodge ram 1500 4x4 off road edition. with and 8ft fisher MM1 on it. and plowed all commerical! wit minimal problems. watch out for transmissions on dodges.
  12. vmj

    vmj Senior Member
    from conn
    Messages: 762

    sorry about that
  13. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    8ft is way to heavy for 1500 id stay 7.5
  14. weeman97

    weeman97 Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    ^ agreed but it was free lol!
  15. Adam E.

    Adam E. Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    If I were to pursue this how difficult and expensive is it to mount a plow? The truck would be used in the spring/summer for landscaping and I would need to take it off every year.

  16. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    most all plows are come right off i dont follow
  17. rob_cook2001

    rob_cook2001 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,192

    Hey Adam
    I started my own business when i was 14, by the time i was a junior in highschool I was working 40+hours and going to school. It is hard but can be done i graduated with a 3.4gpa and am glad I did it.
    I don't know much about plowing but i would say start small but not to small.
    In my openion a lil bigger truck would be better, again not sure about plowing but for a good used work truck i would look for a 89-93 dodge 2500 with a Cummins. They can be found in good shape for 5500-7000 and that should still leave you with enough money for a plow on misc stuff.
    Best of luck to you, there will be hard times in any business but work hard and it will all be worth it in the end.
  18. WetChicken

    WetChicken Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    Adam, this is really good advice here. Make sure your customers know you are a student. Be sure you don't take on too many accounts, start with 10 or so and see how that goes for this season.
    Hold the phone!! DO NOT put your work in front of school. You have plenty of years ahead of you to become a successful entrepreneur, and only a short time to get high school in properly. I wouldn't want your grades to slip, and blame it on us here at Plowsite!!:jester:
    I find the best trucks and plows to be reliable ones. Find a good truck/plow that you know of, such as from a trusted friend. Go through it with a fine tooth comb as if you were going to drive children around to and from daycare. Listen when it's running, going down the road, etc. along with a good visual inspection.
    Look for leaks, oddly wearing tires, excessive rust, check the brakes, ball joints, tie rod ends, u-joints, play in the drive line, wheel/axle bearings, etc. Taking your time now can save a lot of headaches in the near future. Breaking during a storm is really bad for you and the service your business isn't offering. Optionally, you can take it to a reputable mom and pop garage and tell them what you are doing and ask them to inspect it for you. Plan on $75-$100 for this. Don't let the seller tell you it's ok and you don't need to take it for inspection. If this happens, it's time to move to another seller.
    Personally I like GM's, and my first plow is a Meyer ST7.5, E57 pump, and a touch pad controller. HIGHLY recommend the handheld controller when plowing, you can keep it in your hand and still shift. VERY convenient.
    As far as a budget, check out Dave Ramsey. He turned me around with my money, and his plan is great for just about everyone. You can't build a good business with a poor foundation, so be sure to keep $3000-4000 in the bank as the emergency fund.
    I would say $4-5k will get you a truck to run for a couple of years. That Dodge 1500 will work for you, but keep in mind that it is light duty. Go easy with it, and it will be good to you. If you start slamming into bankings consistently, push frozen ice filled banks back, or run into stuff all the time, it won't last.
    Oh, Dave Ramsey also has a plan for free vehicles, and this can be applied to personal or commercial vehicles so be sure to look into that.

  19. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    I agree, start out small so you know you can do it, make sure the people that you plow, know you are a student. School is way more important than xbox money (notice I didn't say beer money, lol) Good luck and welcome to the site. At least you aren't trying to plow say a super target or something like that :jester:
  20. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I plowed in high school and it worked just fine. I got up real early and plwoed and then went to class with the plow. Then after class I went back and cleaned up again. Sometimes I just skipped a class or two all together. I don't recommend it, but I did it. Prepare to be up at crazy hours and sacrafice sleep.

    As far as trucks, I had an '86 F250 with a Fisher. I paid $3500 cash for it in '96. It plowed great and paid for itself over and over and over. DO NOT GO BUY A REAL EXPENSIVE TRUCK!! Insurance will be more and you need to learn with a reliable beater. You will hit something, pole, mail box, big snow bank or whatever. I suggest a short box 1/2 ton or even a Jeep for your first truck since driveways will be your thing. Don't go overboard, keep it simple. Simple truck, simple accounts, simple billing plan and reliable service. Profit depends on how good you are and how much it snows. Good luck.