New here...How did you expand?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Letitsnow1990, May 8, 2020.

  1. Letitsnow1990

    Letitsnow1990 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    1. I have a snow clearing / salting business in Vancouver BC. Yes, we only get about 4.5 days of snow per year, not much. I manage 12 lots, some strata and some commercial. Have access to expand at ease as I have an amazing partnership with another company.
      Right now for equipment, I have :
      Truck w/plow & slater (1.5yrd)
      UTV
      RTV
      (3) ATVs
      MIni wheel loader

      My crew is mostly new every year as this is all I have for the company.
    2. Looking for suggestions and ideas on how you have expanded?
      Was it hiring subs?
      Was it front heavy capital investment and acquiring more machinery/equipment?

      Would love to hear your thoughts, advice and suggestions.

      Have been doing this for 3 years now.
      Year over year we have doubled, I know it’s still early.....

      Thanks in advance :)

      cheers
     
  2. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    Do you guys really salt anytime the temp reaches below 0° Centigrade or 32° Fahrenheit even if there’s no precipitation at all?
    Do you do summer work too? I know turnover is high in this industry, but having summer work will prevent guys from having to find new jobs over the summer and you don’t risk losing them.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Letitsnow1990

    Letitsnow1990 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Hey BossPlow2010!

    That’s a negative my friend, we do not. In the case it calls for a possibility of freezing with some precipitation, then yes we will salt.
    We don’t get many salting events compared to the East coast or as much snow. Efficiency is key in any business but I feel like in our location, it’s paramount. We have 4.5 days of clearing snow/yr for the past three years and an average of 16 salting events (nights). I have a full time career so I only focus on winter. Tried the excavation works for a few years, didn’t mind it but was making far more money at my career so I didn’t see a point after a few years. I have the ability to remain competitive with pricing and expend year over year due to my relationship/partnership with another company.
     
  4. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,537

    I worked hard and not smart then i didn't expand...
     
    Mark Oomkes and the Suburbanite like this.
  5. SHAWZER

    SHAWZER PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,812

    You and your boss still talk to each other ?
     
  6. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    Just wondering, there was a fella that used to come here that said they salted everyday.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Letitsnow1990

    Letitsnow1990 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Oh? Haha I would be swimming in $$ if that’s the case. Just a guess...he’s no longer in business?
    Contracts of course vary a little from one to the next but in the area I’m servicing we don’t get many nights, average 16 per winter for the past three years. We service too close to the water, slowly working my way out into the valley where they get double everything it seems.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Letitsnow1990

    Letitsnow1990 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    This was meant for me I’m guessing?
    I don’t have a boss, we work for many companies at any given time. I work at the docks. Trying to build up my winter business and make sure it doesn’t fall into the category of a “Hobby”.
     
  9. Fourteen Contracting Inc.

    Fourteen Contracting Inc. Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    That was meant for Markus. He's the boss and employee of his company. There are lots of jokes you'll catch on to if you stick around. Most guys will bend over backwards to help you.
     
    512high, Avalanche 2500 and SHAWZER like this.
  10. OP
    OP
    Letitsnow1990

    Letitsnow1990 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Well mind my response !
     
  11. Fourteen Contracting Inc.

    Fourteen Contracting Inc. Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    No worries amigo, I was in the process of editing it... you guys got quite a bit of snow in those 4.5 days if I remember correctly
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Letitsnow1990

    Letitsnow1990 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    For out here, we did get a nice little dump. Our area was about 5-6” the first day then that turned into 9” in some places....3.5 days straight then 1 random day In Feb!

    Thinking about adding a back drag plow to the one truck for our flat rate properties. Do you use them yourself? Any recommendations or thoughts on this?
    Ideally I’d like to add a bobcat with a box plow to hammer out the sites but not sure I can pull the trigger this year.
     
  13. Fourteen Contracting Inc.

    Fourteen Contracting Inc. Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    I don't use a back drag plow myself, I have salters in the beds of my trucks... though I think I've seen guys run them even with salters in the bed.
    The bobcat would be a good idea, you could trailer it from site to site with the truck and keep the salter in the bed.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Letitsnow1990

    Letitsnow1990 Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Yeah we did the bobcat (no box plow) with my other company....I’ve started my own with no partners this time :)
    What a headache....
     
  15. plow4beer

    plow4beer Senior Member
    Messages: 853

    In the beginning, we did a lot more subbing than handling accounts of our own. Established a very good working relationship with one contractor, and found the rest to be crap. Next yr, only subbed for the one good one, & picked up a few more accounts of our own...as well as invested into a little more tools/equip. The following yr after this, we did the same thing, but got enough work to begin hiring some of our own subs. For several years continued down this path, continuing to sub for the one company & picked up more of our own accounts/subs. 3 yrs ago the Contractor (who really became a good friend to me) passed away. We absorbed some of his best work, picked up more subs/bought a couple more things, and rolled that way for 2 yrs, not subbing out regularly anymore (occasionally we help some of our subs out, if they get in a pinch). This last winter we down sized, my stress levels dropped drastically, margins are higher, and I’m looking at getting out slowly over the next +/-5yrs.

    Sounds like you need to maintain what you already have...but need to hire more subs and/or figure out a way to retain a few really good yr round employees. Hard to expand without more help. You can only do so much yourself. Buying equipment/tools only needs to happen when you secure work to justify it.
     
  16. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,850


    Good reading here

    https://www.plowsite.com/threads/ethical-salting.177947/
     
  17. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,070

    This is very similar to my run in the snow biz. All except the guy passing away.

    Started subbing with just one truck. Bought another, then more, then machines and stuff... Kept subbing sum stuff for one contractor while finding own work for other stuff. Gradual went to all our own, then had a better opportunity and got out entirely out of snow except a couple really good accounts as a backup when they cannot handle with their own equipment.

    I can honestly say that if the sub pay would have been there like it was when I first started subbing, I would have just stayed there and just kept subbing. The issue came when every year the rate went down, but the costs to operate went up.
     
  18. Fourteen Contracting Inc.

    Fourteen Contracting Inc. Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    Phil, did you always do the plumbing thing even when you were plowing? Or was it the better opportunity that you took to get out minus the few good accounts?
     
  19. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,070

    I started as a laborer the plumbing trade when I was in high school working for the plumbing shop that plumbed my high school building trades house.

    As for working plumbing trade and plowing... yes did both. I had good bosses up until I started my own shop. I have always been on the new construction side of the trade, so work was often spotty in the winter, so I would work my 8, run home and sleep a bit, then plow till I had to go back to work in the AM. If it was possible that I did not have to go to do plumbing, then I would stay out plowing.

    I started my plumbing shop when the last plumbing company let me go overnight due to them filing bankruptcy. So that was the better opportunity that made me pretty much quit chasing the plow money.
     
  20. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 33,187

    Not me, I'm not that flexible.