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Ok time to destroy the dreams of a rookie plower

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by coopdogg725, May 24, 2008.

  1. coopdogg725

    coopdogg725 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Hello, have only posted a few times in here and lawnsites...but long time forum troll. I have a small landscaping company in upstate New York and need a little help on if I am getting over my head in my business. I decided this summer to off load all my residential and a few of my smaller commercial contracts to one of my competitors in a near by town. Sold them for a nice profit and was planning on getting out of the business except for 4 small commercial contracts that make enough money to pay for my family's health insurance through our local chamber of commerce. Now just as I was planning to streamline my business into something smaller a new Walmart that is going to open August 12 contacted me to put a bid in on the property. I am the only landscaper in the area in the chamber of commerce and one of the only ones to carry enough insurance for the job.

    My equipment is as written below and I also have two 2500's with 8'Hiniker V-Plows on them and a late model John Deer tractor with a bucket and backhoe on it. My equipment isn't the issue its, am I biting more off than I can chew?

    I just invested about 1/6 of $300,000 that My family recived from a relative that just passed away in my company. Also My wife has a great job that pays top dollar, so money is not a problem in the long run. It just happens that I am losing my job as a cook in a restaurant on June 1st. Been doing the landscaping part time for about 4 yrs now. Love the work just scared about going full time.

    They want me to be responsible for Lawn mowing, Line trimming, brush the parking lot 3 nights a week, any garbage and debris clean up outside the store, Snow plowing, and salting. Big job, but sounds like it could be worth the $$. I have two experienced landscaping buddies who are good workers and love this kind of stuff so I wouldn't be doing this alone. Should I take the plunge? Biggest property I have ever been responsible for is a 40 unit apartment complex with about 100 spot parking lot. Big difference lol. So what do you guys think...take a chance...or lay over and play dead and let my wife make all the money for my family:(.

    Thxs for your input, be it good or bad.
  2. coopdogg725

    coopdogg725 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    ugh 38 views and no help.....
  3. farmerkev

    farmerkev Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    Do you mean thay want you to sweep the lot also?
  4. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Sounds to me like you could make a hell of a living off of just this property alone! If you're not scared to buy the equipment you need and have good workers, then dive in! Don't be afraid! This is called opportunity knocking at your door. I wish our local walmart would contact me.

    We have faith in you. Do you have faith in yourself?

  5. plowman4life

    plowman4life Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    i would say go for it. but in the snowplowing aspect you may want to add another vehical. like a dumptruck with a plow and salter. b/c they will want that lot cleared fast and salted. doing it with 2 pickups will take a while.
  6. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    You certainly can do very well with one big contract.
    You can also get seriously screwed if you mis-bid it or if you invest in all the equipment and then next year they drop you, you have nothing else to fall back on. Just a thought.

    China Mart is going to be about lowest price. Oh sure, they'll demand the service that top dollar clients get, but they won't pay for it.
  7. coopdogg725

    coopdogg725 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Yes they want me to sweep/brush the parking lot and sidewalks 3 times a week. Thxs for the input people.
  8. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    more than 6 lines and im zoning out bud.....you gota spend $ to make $ .... i say go for it :salute::nod::D
  9. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    If you can figure out a reasonable way of sweeping it the rest is just normal bidding.
  10. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    I would price it for sure. If this is your only property then you can give them great service. I would price it high enough to make it worth while seeing you don't really care if you have the work or not. I would buy a loader or tractor with a bucket to help the trucks out. I would most likely sub out the sweeping.
  11. AndyTblc

    AndyTblc Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    Instead of "sweeping" can you use one of those tractors that have the big blowers on the front, and go up and down the lot with that? You know what I'm talking about?
  12. coopdogg725

    coopdogg725 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Subbing out for the sweeping might get pretty costly but willing to look into it. Also not shure about blowing the parking lot off, do any of you guys doing anything similar to this on any of your property's?
  13. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    Subbing out the sweeping can't be more then you would be making. If it is then you are not charging enough. I don't think they would go for the blowing. It would be pretty messy and I think the idea is to pick it up and take it away.
  14. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    Cowboy up there guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you like money? I do and so do contractors from other towns. They will sweep in and take this account like it was nothing. Then this fall we will have to listen to you complaining how you should have taken that new walmart job that you were offered since the Big contractor doesn't do a very good job.

  15. coopdogg725

    coopdogg725 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Ok lol after doing the math and reading what you guys have said I am going for it. Also thinking about investing in a BoBcat Toolcat with an angle broon for parking lot sweeping, Frontscoop for debris removal and help stacking snow, a 82' snowblower attachment for the days that I can just blow the snow away lol. Any of you guys use a Toolcat?
  16. Mike S

    Mike S PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    A pull behind sweeper for a pickup truck might be a good investment. One that picks up the dirt and trash.
  17. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    A Toolcat? Are you kidding me? You are thinking about using a "Sidewalk machine" to do a Walmart parking lot? What are you thinking? Get at least a skidloader, large compact tractor or a small loader. Your trucks are going to push way more snow than a toolcat. And stacking? Once again trucks are going to push it up just as high.

    If you are getting into "Large Production Snow Removal" you need to have production machines. Stop thinking about the little lots you are doing now, and how you do them now because its all going to have to change when you take on this account.

    Start thinking big!!
  18. coopdogg725

    coopdogg725 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    LOL dude....your a riot, laugh my head off everytime I read something from you Pete, ok changed my mind, going to look for something larger than the toolcat.....what would you suggest?
  19. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    I can see where a toolcat might work out for you on the landscape maintanence end of things. But as for the snow removal end you are going about it all wrong.

    Walmarts and all other large customers for that matter want to see fast results. If they look outside and see a couple of plowtrucks and a "Golfcart with a snow plow" Plowing thier lot. Chances are you are going to get laughed out of a contract. Since they won't feel that you are doing an effieienct job.

    It is my understanding that most Walmarts in the snow belt, Have a clause writen into thier contracts that require a plowing company to have a Large box pusher to be used on-site during all snows. Not only that but also require continuous plowing during snows. thus tieing up at least one of you
    plow trucks for an entire plowing event.

    I would look at (Since you are looking at losing your real job) Taking the plunge. Bid a few bigger accounts that can be serviced by a single tuck in a a light snow and 2 in any other snow. Go and look into a small to mid sized wheel loader. Get a 12ft box (So you can still go down a city street) and be able to use it on multiple accounts, Figure 3 to 5 account for this machine.


    Look at a skid loader. But be ready to use it only on 1 account (Unless you have multiple accounts within a short distance) Depending on size of machine, Brand of box, and weight of snow. You can run any where from an 8ft to a 12ft box. Not to mention be able to operate a parking lot sweeper or be used in landscape maintance.

    Now I am not a big time plow contractor here, But I was in the same position last year that you are in now, I can tell you from experience that the big plunge isn't all that great unless it snows and you make some money right away off your investment.

    I was lucky enough that my investment paid off with the crazy winter we just had here. So good luck with what you are about to decide.


  20. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    On the subject of sweeping.

    Our local Walmarts don't allow any salt/sand or sand on the lot. Its all magic salt or bag mix.

    So, What this should mean to you is that you wont have much material to sweep up out of the lot if you Walmart operates the same way. Plus the first sweeping of a season is the worst one. Lots of crap to pick up. Then each time after that, Nothing to sweep up just wear on the brushes, You might be able to make a killing on a lot like this one. Especially if you are doing it 3 times a week.

    I am getting $90 an hour for sweeping with my Skid loader and a pick-up sweeper. Through in trucking and it pays real good I just did a huge office complex for another plowing contractor. It took 4 nights @ 4 hrs per night with 2 skid loaders, 2 brooms, 3 trucks, and 30 hrs labor, I brought in a bid price of $5400 to do it. Worked out real good for a one time sweeping. One of the lots was as big as a Supe Walmart, and it took 2 machines 10 Hrs to sweep (But it had around 25 to 30 tons of sand on it)

    Play the cars right and you can bank big time on the lot maintance