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New Start Ups

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Sno4U, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Well folks what are your opinions?
    Many of us have had fantastic years for plowing.
    With that in mind and considering the economy, do you think there'll be more problems with alot of newbies out there?
    I've seen it this year already in the plowing end of my business. Single operators w/ a plow hangin' on the front of the truck and decide "well, I'm gonna do a few driveways to pay for the plow". Some decide they wanna be a business, so they get some cheap mag signs and make some simple name like "Dave's Snowplowing" and voila! They're a "professional".
    I know this is gonna start some unintended, heated argument but, I'm looking for opions-not really arguments.
  2. ahoron

    ahoron Senior Member
    from here
    Messages: 422

    Why go to all the trouble of magnetic signs??? Just spray paint your cell# on the blade. I don't think there will be many newbies with gas going to $4/gal. Just many cheap trucks that people can't afford to put gas in to drive to from the office and don't really need a truck.
  3. Plowfast9957

    Plowfast9957 Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    Around here it seems like more people are getting out of plowing. I think alot of people who did buy plows lost alot of money because the last 2 years combined I think I only plowed 3 times (not counting 07-08 we had a good year). I doubt if many even payed for their plow. I must have had 30 calls the first storm this year from people loking for someone because their guy didnt do it anymore.
  4. Blazin

    Blazin Senior Member
    Messages: 185

    I had a few calls this year because their guy didn't do it any more. But I have noticed a whole slew of new plow guys around. Also PC generated business cards on all the bulletin boards around. " SNOW PLOWING Cheapest prices around, shoveling etc. etc. " Two guys the next town over upgraded from snow blowing to plowing in the last several weeks. Both of them rusted out $500 junkers, one early 80s F150, the other same vintage a Jeep pickup! Now all of a sudden they are the crap!

    KINNCO Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    ussmileyflagI'm a newbie and damn proud of it! I :salute:all the veteran plowers out there. Not to many people want to get out of bed at 2AM and plow for 12 hours.

    Everyone has to get started somewhere...right. I found a plow at a car lot (take-off) for $100bucks. Disassembled it blasted it painted it..it looks brand new. I was in the Lawn business so why not plow?
    The Economy sucks...why not make some extra cash.

    In two years..wah-la, I'm a professional...well not really, but I do have 16 good accounts + I do some sub work and I didn't low ball one person. I'm here to make friends not enemies.

    If there only one hamburger joint, the world would be a boring place.:nod:
  6. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    not if they had a bar.....:drinkup:

    im the opposite bcuz we had a terrible year and im waitng to see the trucks for sale all over...:nod:
  7. Flipper

    Flipper PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,180

    I don't see what the problem is or why veterans bash it. That's how we all started, one truck one plow. Some people stay there and run very successfull businesses. I would say that Mick on the site is a professional. He has one truck and one plower, himself. How is he different from some guy with 20 trucks, other then revenue. Heck most single operators have a bigger profit percentage so you might say they are doing better.

    Competition is good for business, keeps everyone honest. People shop around for the best price for your plow, truck, food, fuel etc, but then get all worked up when customer shop around for services.

    Not a big deal. I know my customers get other estimates, I encourage it. Some get cheaper ones and still stay with me, some leave. I don't want to be working for someone that doesn't beleive I am their best choice.
  8. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,272

    you can't consider yourself a "real" plowman unless you have a fleet of at least 3-4 $50 grand plow rigs that you can't afford... everyone knows that! :confused:;)

    God forbid another one plow/man show with some ambition and work ethic wants to get into plowing. It's these people who run a good business with equipment they can afford that messes it up for the "professionals".....:dizzy:
  9. MB3

    MB3 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    not the real plowmen

    I think sno4u is not talking about the professional guys who have insurance and are in thier first year of plowing. I think he is talking about the joe off the street that has nothing, wants to make a few bucks, undercuts everyone, and then is too drunk to go out and plow at night. They make the rest of us look good.
  10. Blazin

    Blazin Senior Member
    Messages: 185

    (1) I am a one man show with 2 &1/2 trucks. Ones not finished being built yet!
    (2) I don't have a problem with competition, I too encourage people to shop around. When they come back and say I can get so in so to do it cheaper I tell them " Have at it " Just don't call me half way thought the season and expect my price to be the same as it is now. Or I just say ' don't call me half way through the season period ". I do have a problem with the dipstick that buys a $300 to $600 hunk of crap that is not going to make it through 3 storms, and that makes him a snow removal contractor. Just like the guy that has a junker pickup, ladder, circular saw, hammer, tape measure, & a tool belt. That dosen't make him a carpenter / contractor!
    I tell all new customers, " I am not the cheapest guy in town, but I will give you reliable service, for a fair price, and I will not leave you hanging ". " I do this for an honest profit, not for the hell of it ".
    I didn't mean any disrespect to an honest newbie. I started out with a beater too. My first truck that did my yard and my mothers yard right next door was a Willys pickup, with a Hurricane flat head six. Next one was a half ton 78 Chevy I only did my two neighbors, my mothers, and my yards. I did not Claim to be the best thing since sliced bread, or crap paper! I waited until I could afford a decent truck before I started advertising and bidding plowing. I had experience as I had been plowing since I was a teen, and at the car dealer I worked at for several years. I did not consider my self a newbie to the plowing snow aspect of the job.
  11. ducatirider944

    ducatirider944 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 469

    You mean I can't go out and by a $50K truck throw on a $5k plow and have it paid for in one season? You’re just lying to me so I don't do it and then you can hoard all the money. Plow guys make all the money just like home builders do. I'm jumping in to the pile of money all around you guys and gonna pack my back pack full of $100 bills.

    Ok, I'm getting out of hand and off topic. You will always see newbie’s in all fields of work. Grass is always greener on my side of the fence, till you jump over and see that I'm standing in a foot of sh1t with grass growing on it. Looked better from the other side didn't it? One of 2 things will happen at this point.
    1. You will jump back over and say keep your side of the fence it sucks! Or
    2. You wallow around in it, fall down a few times face first, learn a few things and make a good living doing it.

    I have had my construction company for 14 yrs and have been a commercial plower for 7 yrs. I went out on my own after 9/11 for plowing. I did it for the extra money since the housing market was bust. So yeah, I was one of the newbie’s that you guys were probably bashing back in 2001. I already had all the equipment from my business just had to buy a snow plow and rent a snow bucket for the skidloader. Was a pretty easy decision to make for me. If the housing market wouldn't have crashed would I be here right now? Probably not. I wouldn't have been pressured to find a different source of income.

    A professional is someone who takes care of their customers, at a reasonable fair cost, has it taken care of by scheduled time, and takes what ever action is needed to fulfill the contract. I don't think that you can say because someone is new that they can't be professional. Just like someone can have been in business for years and still not be professional. Yeah, I think we will see more guys jumping in. A lot of them will sink to the bottom and be gone. Others that are professionals will stick around. We need new professional guys every year because, every year there are guys that say "have it, I'm done, I'm too old for this sh1t, I have different priorities and don't want to do it anymore" I'm actually looking forward to when that guy is me. I fill sorry for my son when he gets to take over and has to deal with all the crap. Well I guess I need to have one to have the last statement to be true. Hopefully that will be here soon.
  12. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Ya thats pretty much who I'm talking about.
    I know someone who decided to get into mowing lawns this past season. I spoke to him to try & help but when talking about $$ he's soooo cheap-and he thinks he's doing good. Sooner or later he'll realize he's doing the "slow kill" down to the end and he'll finally say to himself, "why aren't I making any money??!!":dizzy: He'll probably quit.By then he's screwed up the market by not charging what a job 's worth!!!
    Problem is once guys like him drop out there's 10 more after him.
    They see all the nice equipment and think "oh ****, there's tons of money in it!!" They don't realize its taken many years to get what I have.Guys like me that have been in it for years and will be for years to come, just keep having to work for less & less each year b/c some newbie has decided he "can do it for less".
    That's what I'm whining about.:yow!:
    These guys start w/ the idea: Oh I'm just gonna do 1 or 2 little cheap ones-that won't hurt the market. You can't believe how many times I've heard that 1 !!!
    Problem is EVERY job which isn't paying appropriately is one less job for the guys trying to make a living out of it.ussmileyflag
    Sorry for the rant. I know there are many newer plowers here who ask questions so that they know what they're up against. Its the ones who are disillusioned that are irritating me.
    So thats why I'm wondering how many more will be out there this year that don't know WTF they're doing and just wanna make some "quick cash".:dizzy:
  13. gd8boltman

    gd8boltman Senior Member
    Messages: 328

    I have been on this business for 20 seasons

    and bar none, by far, this is our best year not only for dollar volume, but most importantly for profits earned to this point. There will CERTAINLY be more newbies in my area of service for the 08' 09'season, as one would expect. There is PLENTY of business out there for all of us, I too once was a newbie, who got into this crazy business for some extra cash, and made plenty of mistakes along the way, and I am sure ticked a few veterans off in my early days with my price structure early on. I learned many lessons, took my lumps, started to treat this outfit as a business, and set my pricing structure accordingly. I welcome newbies into our market, and wish them well. Whether a truck is $2,500 or $50 grand makes no difference period. It is all about serving your customers better than everyone else, and remembering they sign your check. I see guys with $50,000 trucks and am never jealous, I see myself with the oppurtunity to purchase 5= $10,000 trucks and bill that much more. So the next time you see someone in a truck worth 5-10 grand don't be too quick to judge him, especially if you see him in your route territory. If you see a newbie, wave to him, pay attention, and provide a very high level of service to your customers, or he will, guaranteed... Thats how newbies become veterans.

    Take Care,
  14. Firemanfive0

    Firemanfive0 Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 38

    Do a good job and they'll come to you

    I started out 7 years ago with a 1980 Dodge Ramcharger w/ a blade that my Dad gave me. Started doing driveways and 1 business. Word got around of good job and dependabillity and started getting more accounts as the years pass. I now have 2004 Chevy Silverado w/ Boss 8' blade and I have 8 commercial accounts and 10 driveways. I never undercut the other guys, matter of fact we all talk about rates and customers. The "flash in the pan" guys will always come and go but the guys that take care of their customers will always be there as long as they want. Just my $.02.
  15. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    There is a general conception that we all have lots of money and all we do is jump in the truck and drive and 'plow snow', its so easy. Thats why some customers resent paying our prices, and also why there are so many lowballers out there.

    Case in point, a guy I know actually has the balls to tell me the above. So he figures he can do it too, because I'm obviously just an idiot and I make money. So he buys the ugliest conventional mount western straight blade on this side of the moon (bent, rotted, welded, broken, etc. you name it) for $300 and is shocked when it doesn't fit his truck (They fit everything, don't they? {can't get thru to him that trucks don't all use the same frame})

    He partners up with another guy of the same mentality and they cobble this thing 60% of the way together on a 1988 Ford F250 diesel 2wd that is held together with duct tape and bailing string and figures they're going out to make millions. Even took it to a shop when they couldn't figure out how to make it work.... and the shop refused to work on it because it was such a pile of junk.

    But this is again how a lot of these guys get started--on the notion of getting rich quick because if we can do it, anyone can do it.

    I don't think that Ford ever was made functional.
  16. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    im sure there will be plenty of newbies here.......not really woried about the new guys, because they usually don't have the equiptment that it takes to do the commercial end of things.....they usually do the drives, which is fine with me....
  17. jglandscaping

    jglandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 271

    Started 5 years ago doing driveways with my tractor
    First year 6 accounts (driveways) (upgraded to plow on truck)
    Second year 20 accounts (driveways) 1 truck
    Third year 45 accounts (driveways) 2 trucks
    Fourth year 55 accounts (driveways, condos, couple small lots) 3 trucks
    Fifth year 150 accounts (driveways, condos, small-large lots, private roads up to 1 mile in length) 6-7 trucks

    About 90% of my accounts have been obtained by word of mouth and referrals like real estate agents and residents of condos and such. I had 40 given to me from a friend that was downsizing and just knew we did quality work. I don't under cut but I can price aggressively because 95% of my accounts are within 5-10 miles of each other. DO NOT call me a low baller; I just can go to any part of my town and have 50 accounts within 2-3 miles from where I am.
  18. plowman4life

    plowman4life Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    im not going to come on here and complain about all those people who think they can do it. sure you have the people just starting off that want to do good and will do good. but its the people (as stated above) see nice equipmant and say man there must be a lot of money in that. they go out and take out massive loans for nice equipment. but dont realize that if the equipment isntgetting used its not paying for itself. if it sits for a month thats a monthly paymeny your out of b/c you dont have work for it.

    we may have 100s of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and vehicals at our desposal but this was started by my grandfather 50+ years ago. now my dad and uncle run it. and i also help run it. soon it will be my generations turn to run it. and thats how it works. you cant start a business at the same scale as ours. you have to work up to it. yes we do construction excavating plowing building. we do everything we can to make money. but let me tell you. you dont keep all the money you make. we are lucky to keep half of what we make.
  19. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    i just went looking at trucks and the one i bought had this thing on the front.
    when i put it on the ground i noticed it pushed things.
    so i used it to help level my back yard and guys in trucks dumped dirt for me.
    then it snowed and i thought it would push the snow too.
    then the guy next door asked me to push some snow over there so i did.
    then someone else asked.
    then someone else
    then someone else.
    then someone gave me five bucks to push the snow.
    and i thought WOW. five bucks!!!! i can buy something on the dollar menu at mcdonalds!
    then someone else gave me five.
    then another five.
    pushing things with the metal thing on the truck is SO COOL.
    i cant wait until the snow is gone i want to push some dirt with it again. think the guy down the street wants his yard leveled too. He will probably give me at least five bucks for that.:D
  20. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    That's good,but why not go one step better and cut out the phone number in the moldboard---that way the number is ''etched'':) in every last stacking in the snow!!!purplebou---Here's one or 2 to dwell on regarding being a ''professional''---How come the doctor who called me 5 days after the big snowfall in Dec.,didn't think of hiring a plower for the season back in Oct. or Nov?How come he couldn't understand a truck can't push frozen snow? He's a professional,ya know,after all.And why do lawyers and doctors ''practice'',and not just ''work'' like the rest of us?Maybe because they are the ''professionals'' and they are so,so above us intellectually and doing a lobotomy or defending O.J. Simpson is mere child's play for them.I would just like to see in my lifetime,job classifications as either everybody is a ''professional'' OR don't use that term at all,which might be more accurate.