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Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by HereToLearn, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. HereToLearn

    HereToLearn Member
    Messages: 93

    Hey guys I'm in the lawncare business and would like to plow next winter as well. I'm trying to educate myself as best as possible before diving into it. I have a few questions:

    1. How easy is it to get a plow on and off? What does it entail?

    2. How do spreaders work? Are they controled from the cab of the truck?

    Any up close and detailed pictures of plows and spreaders would be helpful too. Thanks
  2. lawnmedic

    lawnmedic Senior Member
    Messages: 703

    Welcome to "The Site"... Plows are getting easier to put on/off every year. As far as spreaders, all of mine have in cab controls, remind me of a CB radio...Chuck
  3. ProEnterprises

    ProEnterprises Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 379

    putting plows on and taking them off are no longer the task that they used to be.

    most are on and off in around 45 seconds! spreaders are controlled from the cab.

  4. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407


    Plows attach and remove very easily! The lights and hydraulics come off with the plow so its one piece. For example with my curtis all you see on the front of the truck is a small bar right under the front bumper and the mount itself sits a little further back and you can't see it unless you really look. As far as attaching and removing it takes me about 45 seconds drive in and hit the plow (slowly) the hardest part is getting alligned but the jack stand built in to the plow keeps it at the right height. If i hit it right two "arms" grab the bar and pull the plow into place. All i have to do is plug in the connections which is as easy as plugging in a television and lock in the spring loaded pins and iam off. Reverse the procedure to remove and return the truck to its original appearance. All new plows attach and remove in a short amount of time and everything comes off the truck when youre not plowing. I suggest you visit the websites of the major plow companys (links at the top of the page) also some that are not mentioned are curtis, boss, and snoway. Detailed photos and explaination of mounting systems on all sites also some videos of how the plows mount. Use a search engine and type in the company name ie. snoway snowplows you will find there sites.

    Don't know much about spreaders but plenty of people on this site do. I have used 1 only once and i can tell you thet the controls are insise the truck and are easy to operate. I think they have a separate motor for them that you have to start up from inside the truck but i don't really know.
  5. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    maybe these will help i would take some pictures of my plow and truck but i can't find the usb for my digitional camera:(
    You can see that the plow and lights are all one piece nothing stays on the truck.

  6. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    you can also see the truck mount. These pictures are off the curtis website.

  7. HereToLearn

    HereToLearn Member
    Messages: 93

    Great posts guys. Very helpful. Now the annoying question that you have answered a million times:

    A good used plow costs how much?
    A brand new top of the line plow costs how much?

    I just want to see price ranges. I will check out their websites (the sponsors) when I'm at school. My computer at home is way too slow to handle that much activity. Thanks again for your input.
  8. Landscaper 70

    Landscaper 70 Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Hey Heretolearn

    Where about in MI are you from? If i am close you are more than welcome to take a ride along when it snows....I would be happy to show you how things work...
  9. hot_raud

    hot_raud Member
    Messages: 39


    I am new to plowing this year. I recently bought my first plow, an older Meyer ST90...not sure exactly how old it is...I have the Meyer e47 pump. I bought it for $200. I thought this was a great price and doubted whether the thing would work at all.

    I mounted it myself (with a lot of help from folks here) including the motor and lights wiring. I was pleasantly surprised when the thing actually worked!

    I'm getting better at take the plow on and off the front of the truck..since mine is older, it isn't the quick mount type. There is a frame that stays attached to the truck, but the blade and A frame come off pretty easily...just 2 pins, the chain, and 2 hydraulic lines. With the help of a strong steel bar, I can get the plow on or off in 3 or 4 minutes.
  10. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    new top of the line plow installed (bring truck into dealer they do it all in one day usually) costs around $3500 total. You can find a good used plow for around $1500 but you will need to find the proper mount for your truck and make sure it works with the plow. You will also need to make some modifications to the truck if it soes not have plow prep. aux trans. cooler, maybe some timbrens to help out with the load in front, and a bigger alternator those are some basic things you might need depende on the truck and plow though.
  11. HereToLearn

    HereToLearn Member
    Messages: 93

    Re: Hey Heretolearn

    I'm in the Flint area. That would be great if you could show me the ropes!

    thanks for the rest of the posts guys. I have learned more about plows just by reading this thread than i have in my whole life.

    $3500 is a lot of money to invest in snow removal. but with the winter we've had so far here, it seems worth it.
  12. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    top of the line plow depends on what truck its going onto. If you have a bigger truck like a 1 ton or maybe a 3/4 ton a top of the line plow would be a V plow or a blizzard power plow. These plows are heavier and require a bigger truck to cary them but move much more snow much quicker. I have a 9'6" fisher V on my truck and love it.
    For your first blade I would recomend new. In the snow removal buissnes its all about service. There are some guys that try to sell cheap but they ussually dont last long. People want thier place plowed. They dont want to hear about how your truck broke down or what ever, they will find someone else. They want it cleared on time every time. Starting out it is critical to gain a reputation for great service. If you have a break down and miss some stuff it will be hard to get over the bad rep. This also goes into starting small! And also having a back up plan, either being a back up truck or having another guy that will sub for you. Even if you have to sub your lots out and break even(the sub will probably charge out the rear to save your rear on short notice) you have to do it to keep your customers happy and have em come back.
    I'm not saying an older rig can be productive but it you are new you wont really know what to look for and such. You also wont be as wise about how to fix stuff when it dies.
    My advise on buying a blade. Go local and buy the blade based on service! You need that thing to work and if it breaks down you need to be able to get parts for it ASAP or get it fixed ASAP. This is were a good plow dealer will save your butt! They will fix it as the snow is flying and get you back out there. If buy a blade non local because you saved a few bucks you may find yourself at the bottom of the list to get it fixed if need be. Or driving 70 miles to get it fixed. The best blade in the world isnt worth a darn if you cant get it taken care of localy in a pinch. JMO but that means you have to buy a blade that the good local dealer sells. Its like what you are trying to sell, premium service not the cheapest price. You should be picking a dealer based on premium service. You may find a good dealer local and they may hook you up with a used blade that they have went through or know of one. Yes you will pay more but its worth the price for the peice of mind IMO. If you get to the point were you have a few trucks and know about fixing plows a bit more its not such a bad idea to get a cheap used plow but not when you are starting out IMO.
    Also the local co will probably ding you for 300$ or so to install. Talk to them and if you have the place to install it I would do it myself. More than likely they will be happy to help if you run into problems and/or do a final once over(maybe you should even tip the guy;) ). You really learn about your plow that way and save a few $$$. Building a good realtionship with these guys can really save your rear. More than likely you will pay more from these guys but its worth it!
    I personally really like Fisher/western. Check out thier website. Blizzard makes some cool stuff and Boss makes good stuff too I just realy dont like Boss's V-s because of thier trip mechanisim.
    Do a shearch and some reading here and most importantly do a search on insurance!!!

    If you have any other q's fire away or feel free to PM me or email me at pblackburn @ ameren.com

    and doing a ride along with some differnt guys would be an excellent idea. check out sima's web site too. Chuck Smith has a good book for beginers out there and there are a couple of nify videos by sima out there.
  13. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    Heres a detailed picture of a 12V tailgate salt spreader.

    This is where the REAL money is at!

  14. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    not trying to start anything but what do you mean by "this is were the real money is"?
  15. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    What I mean by that is,........

    I make more money with the salt spreader than doing ANYTHING else!

    I can drop 700lbs in say 15 minutes, and that includes loading. From that one hopper load, I net $125. Here's how..... 700lbs salt x .25/lb = $175 Then minus out the cost of the product $50.

    That's $500/hr if thats all I did. Cant come close to that plowing.

    Sure theres other little expenses like getting the product, etc. but STILL way more than plowing ever could!
  16. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    Absolutely, and that is a cheap price at $.25#. Try $.37#. Plowing is like mowing, you can't make alot of money mowing, you make the money in mulch, pruning, fert and weed control in beds. Plowing get's you in the door, for the sidewalks, salting the sidewalks, salting the lot. Plus the initial investment is about a 1/4 of what a new plow costs. It's basic math. or general math depending on how old a person is. Plus plowing may get you the mowing in the spring and mowing may get you the plowing and salting in the winter. When it works right, it's a great cycle. Plus it's minimal wear and tear on your vehicle.
  17. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    .25 a pound or .37 a pound......am I reading right on what you guys charge a ton to spread? Your not using rock salt I assume?

    I love salt! Makes my life much easier......just trying to see what you guys are getting away with charging and what you guys normaly apply and how much of it.

    Salting is much faster/and easier on equipment, I will agree on that.

    And if you dont mind......side walks are your high profit area also?
  18. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    No sidewalk clearing is not a big profit item, but the triple melt is.
  19. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425


    37 cents a pound!!!! I'd love to get that! Seems a bit too high though. What are you paying for a 50 or 80lb bag?

    My lots take between 500 and 900 lbs a shot.

    Driveways, I'll usually drop 100 lbs.

    I do know that I make more per lb than some of the bulk salt guys, plus I have less invested in equipment.

    Sidewalks .......I try like mad to avoid any hand work.
  20. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    what size lot? what material?

    yeah the shoveling seems to be a do it to keep the rest of it deal. Getting deccent shovlers seems to be a major PITA as well.

    Do you guys presalt and then apply as necisary? And still charge at the .25 or .37

    no real resi for me........