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New to snow plowing

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by WaterWerks, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. WaterWerks

    WaterWerks Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Hello All,
    I'm new to plowing but have been in the landscaping business for the past 10 years.
    I guess my question is, how do I get parking lots, commercial lots? Do I just walk into potential stores and ask for the manager and solicit work? Do a mailer? Drop flyers?

    I have a f150 with a 7 1/2" plow, GMC Serra with a 7 1/2" plow and going to purchase a S175 Skid Steer.

    I'm willing to work with someone with more experience or take sub contracted work.

    Thanks for any input..
  2. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    I would suggest the first thing you should do is work for someone first.
  3. andersman02

    andersman02 Senior Member
    Messages: 756

    Best to work for someone first. With the trucks you have, not sure how'd they'd hold up to commercial lots. Driveways might be better for those trucks.

    Really though, If you have no experience, look for a local contractor and ask if they need any subs kind deal.
  4. WaterWerks

    WaterWerks Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Thats what I'm thinking, just trying to get my feet wet...
  5. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    Jumping into commercial snow removal
    A) for the first time
    B) with a 1500
    Not smart for getting your feet wet IMO
  6. WaterWerks

    WaterWerks Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I usually go to florida for the winter, figured with all the snow we've been getting over the past winters might be smart to stay and make some money..It can't be that hard..

    I'm not talking about huge lots, like a home depot or walmart...I just don't want to deal with residential customers like I do all year long..
  7. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 556

    I'll leave that here, just in case anyone missed it. Thumbs Up
  8. flyguyirvin65

    flyguyirvin65 Member
    Messages: 57

  9. Diesel Dan

    Diesel Dan Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    It's not that hard. Sub contract for the first year. Thumbs Up
  10. westernmdlawn

    westernmdlawn Member
    Messages: 39

    I think commercial work is a good direction for sure. As some of the others suggested, it may be wise to sub for the first year. That's really a matter of how comfortable you feel with selling work. I personally would go for it now and skip the sub work (but keep it as a backup option if you can't sign any contracts).

    You need to learn how to identify the decision makers for commercial contracting. That is step one, you can waste a lot of time and energy if you don't figure this out early on. This will vary depending on the company. Large chain box stores for example, will likely have a corporate-level process for procuring their vendors (think Home Depot, Costco, etc.). Don't expect to walk into the store and ask the manager to sign your proposal. Ain't gonna happen.

    On the other hand, smaller commercial entities such as strip malls, banks, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, etc. will be more accessible to you in that regard.

    My advice is:
    figure out who the decision makers are
    figure out how to connect with them in some way
    figure out how to differentiate yourself from the other guys who they could hire
    figure out how to get your name / brand in front of them repeatedly
    ask for work often, don't just write them off if you don't get a contract the first time
    make friends to make money

    If you are still in the market for a skid steer, hit me up. I have several nice units for sale right now.

    PS - check out www.skidsteercabs.com if you need a cab enclosure for on that S175 or other machine.

    Good luck this winter!
  11. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    Subscribed. Let me know how this all worked out for you in April 2016
  12. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    Are you planning on towing the skid and having the operator riding with you to help with lots as you go and stack piles? That's a ton of weight on a half ton. I'd sub out for at least the first year. I don't plow so it's really the only way I can go, but it's nice only dealing with one company instead of a bunch of clients. Do homework first, don't end up with some guy that doesn't pay.
  13. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 761

    I know every single experienced guy or gal here is just reading that and shaking their head.

    Pretty much anyone can throw a plow on their truck and handle a small snow storm.

    It's when you get hit with the major ones, or snow storms back to back that is when you find out what your made of.

    Spending 36 straight hours in your truck -(taking 1-2 hour cap naps when you get tired)

    Having your lines blow on your plow or something else go wrong and being able to get it fixed and back to plowing asap.

    Being able to correctly access a site,
    knowing how long it will take to plow,
    possible trouble spots,
    where to place snow to minimize melting and refreeze black ice spots to reduce chances of slip and falls -(oh so important when dealing with commercial)
    how much product to put down if your sanding,
    just to name a few things.

    You want to get your feet wet your best bet is to sub out your first season.
  14. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,590

    I have a customer who started right off doing commercial. I no he had to buy 2 garage doors, trucks were breaking, running small trucks in a steep hill apartment complex. I don't see how he made any money. Sub for someone the first year.
  15. Freshwater

    Freshwater PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,207

    Even smarter to keep going to florida. Not trying to be an azz, most of us would jump at the opportunity.
  16. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Wow.... I got it the first time, and it's amazing how no one puts any real thought into what they have to say before they say it.:confused::confused:
  17. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Yup. I know a paving contractor that leaves here November 1, and doesn't come back until March 1. He's got such an awesome life, and doesn't even own a single snow shovel.

    :drinkup:Thumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs Up
  18. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 786

    I'm gonna agree with the you don't have a big enough truck for full time professional snow removal crowd.