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Nobody wants to plow snow anymore!!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Woodland, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I don't plow alot of properties, had 12 accounts last winter. After looking at the numbers this summer, I decided that it wasn't cost effective for me to plow as much as I do. To much wear and tear on the truck and if something catastrophic happens, the whole season is shot.

    The plan was, dump my big commercial property and 4 residentials (two on the outskirts of my service area and one that was just a beast to plow). I called the three residentials and gave them a few names to call. The commercial account however, I am trying to help find a replacement. He donsn't want some schmuck that he can't count on so I offered to call a few colleagues to find a replacement. I called four other "commercial operators" and all said the same thing..."thanks for thinking of me, but I'm cutting back this year".

    Why?? the same reason I am. It is very difficult to make money as a commercial (i.e. insured) plow operator in this area. Everybody with a pickup truck has a snow plow and has no idea what that service is worth. I actually had people laugh at me last year when I quoted a price to plow.

    This winter I'm down to 7 residential and light commercial properties. They are all straight forward accounts that pay "reasonable" and I can have the whole route done in about 4 hours. I won't make as much money but the stress level will be soooooo much lower!
  2. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609


    theoretic person named FRED goes to buy a truck to haul trash to the dump. given fred has a child too he gets a quad cab. given fred likes a little luxury he opts for the upper model. given fred has a lake cottage with a road that never has been washed out but possibly could be he decides to get the off road package. now the salesman asks FRED about towing. FRED doesnt tow anything. but you never know what if i have to tow something FRED asks himself? the sales man tells FRED he should get the three quarter ton. just in case.
    FRED leaves the dealership with a thirty six thousand dollar loan. now FRED goes out that winter to shovel his truck and his wifes car out from the snow. he has to be to work asap. he is late and he borrows his neighbors snowblower. the next week FRED decides he should have a snowblower too. the week after FRED is snowblowing but running late again. he asks a person driving by with a plow to make a quick pass just to let him go to work. the man charges FRED twenty five dollars. FRED doesnt like the price. but he doesnt want to snowblow and be late either. now FRED has the driveway plowed every storm and pays a hundred seventy five the year for plowing. One day FRED is drinking a latte and reading the morning paper and is distracted by the plow guy plowing his driveway. he starts watching the plow guy plow the drive. when its done he will leave to go to work. he isnt late for work though. the driveway is always plowed out on time. Strangley though FRED thinks. I wonder if i can plow the driveway myself and save time and money? he talks to his wife and she has no opinion so the next week FRED starts looking at snowplows. After a lengthy conversation with the sales guy fred comes home five thousand dollars poorer with a nice shiny snow plow on his truck. FRED'S wife gets mad. he spent too much money. she didnt know a snowplow cost THAT much. The next time it snows fred is driving to work with his snowplow. hes runnning late. he thought because he could just plow the driveway he could take a lot longer reading the paper and took too long. FRED is a hourly employee who gets paid fairly well just HOURLY. On the way to work someone flags down FRED who drives around wiith the snowplow on the truck all winter. They want a quick pass done so they can go to work too. they are also running late. FRED does it for them. when hes done they give him a ten dollar bill.
    That night after work FRED plows another driveway for a neighbor. FRED tells the neighbor he wants TEN dollars. the neighbor pays FRED. when fred goes home he tells his wife how his day went. he tells her he made twenty dollars plowing. his wife says "THATS GREAT HUNNY!" and gives FRED a hug and kiss.
    The next year FRED buys a saab. but FRED keeps the truck to to plow out his driveway. and three others for ten dollars a piece and two people he knows he plows for free. sometimes he plows out other people for free too or ten dollars if hes driving by. he still drives the truck in the winter and leaves the snowplow on ALL WINTER. Soon Fred is thinking of trading the truck in for a new truck with a new snowplow. He stopped and talked to the sales guy at the dealership last week when they were changing the oil in the saab. but he told the sales guy he needs to have a new snowplow. his plow is working really slow and the truck or plow doesnt look new anymore. and the truck doesnt have a dvd player. He also saw a vplow the guy down the steet has (FRED plowed the guys driveway last year for ten dollars) and thinks a vplow would save a lot of time when hes plowing.
  3. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    If you can swing it, do it! I wish I could dump a few accounts and just keep a handful of customer's. We mowed a few customer's last year and they were a PITA! finally I dropped them and it felt like a 10 ton weight was lifted of my chest. Its getting bad in my opinion, either no one wants to work or the prices are from the 1980's or every swinging d!ck has a plow but no ins. This is what I might do...yeah, get a wrap on my truck (like vinyl lettering) wrap it up like a rusted piece of crap, spray paint my new blade all rusty like and use the excuse I'm poor and I cant afford insurance and I'll plow your driveway for 10 bucks but I wont have any ounce of responsibility when it comes to turf or other property damage. Sorry for the rant, we're doing really well this year so far, we've grown probably 40%. But now the fun part...finding more quality help.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2007
  4. 6feetdeep

    6feetdeep Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Two words that seldom go together in the same sentence.... Quality and Help:cry: :cry:
  5. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Why don't you hire Fred?
  6. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    Anybody have Freds number, sounds like he might be interested in that commercial account.
  7. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    Correct me if I am wrong. But didn't most of us start out like fred?
  8. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    I started as power angle, "get out and move the plow"
  9. Chris-R

    Chris-R Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    I know a guy just like Fred. He lives in an upscale subdivision and has a BMW and a brand new GMC 2500HD w/Fisher plow. I asked him who he plows for and he said he does ALL of his neighbors driveways for FREE!!!! He said it's fun. I tried to hire him to do the 50 acre condo complex that I am responsible for. Then I could just sit around and watch him work. He said no. Too bad.
  10. cjasonbr

    cjasonbr Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 635

    Dealers are 'bundeling' those fishers with every other new truck these days it seems. If you want the truck without the plow - then it's like paying them to take the thing back, cause i guarantee you they'll give you peanuts for credit for it.

    Joe Schmo Ford bolts Fisher blades on 1/3 of his inventory. 1/3 of the truck buyers turn into Fred. All Fred really wanted was a nice truck.
  11. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    For better or worse, yes. I'm not really saying that what is happening is wrong, just bad, with one caveat - most of the Freds out their are not insured to plow snow for anyone other than their own driveway for any amount of money.
  12. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    every year ive been scaling back and this year i am 90% sure im outta the snow business, unless an amazing contract comes my way but i doubt it. i look forward to sleeping in and not worrying about fixing stuff at 3 in the morning when the guys break something!