Owning a plowing business- Oh what fun!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Brian Young, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,487

    For those guys debating to go out on their own, a word of advise...DONT! lol. Between finding good help, dependable guys, handeling a few "its getting deep" calls, trying to explain that we were already there at 6am and now that its been snowing at a rate of 2-3" an hr. why their lot looks like no one has been there at 9am, I'm ready to go back and just be a sub or crew leader. Between paying sidewalk guys 20 bucks an hour (which I finally found some good guys) and paying the driver's, buying salt and repairs to equipment, I think I made more money just being a sub.

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,217

    Don't bet on it.

    Since the season has started and the cost of minor repairs before the season and restoring my plow this year.

    I have put out just over $10,000 on repairs for 2 trucks.

    One truck is only the back up truck but in order to be a back up truck it needed to be able to stop (brake lines from master to wheels) and go (gas tank and fuel line replacement).

    My main truck I just picked up today after a complete transmission rebuild. Which was another $3285.oo after it just had upper / lower ball joints and steering track bar and stabilizer bar replacement.

    Add my fuel costs and insurance this year and I barely am ahead of the game.

    It is real lucky we have had a good winter or I would not have been able to repair either.

    Yes I am a sub only.
  3. Chevytruck85

    Chevytruck85 Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Completely agree with you finding good help sucks and the customers suck and the truck repairs suck, I love the work but hate the business I think next year i will be looking for a job.
  4. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,753

    Not to brag, but I have great help. And I love running my business so far. But I agree, truck repairs suck, and you can't always satisfy everyone. Hope the rest of your winter is better.
  5. Dstosh

    Dstosh Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    I feel your pain. It seems that some days are better than others. There is really never a dull moment. Do I enjoy snow plowing, but its all the bs that makes it suck.
  6. Chevytruck85

    Chevytruck85 Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    i thought it was only me.....i guess we all think alike lol

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,416

    How much snow have you accually gotten all year? I can tell ya first hand about every day I get calls like that where are you have you been here? We've gotten dumped on this year with snow. The 2-3 inches a hour is common for us, and has been really common this year. Accually we've gotten the most snow sence 1900. So yes I have to side with you on guys that want to go out on there own DON'T unless you like dealing with head aches and paying for broken sutff, but I will say that I have made more money this year as a owner than as a sub. But we'll see what next year has to bring as far as snow fall amounts and what will happen to the equipment and such.
  8. NoFearDeere

    NoFearDeere PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,731

    Ooooo, I want your Duramax!:D
  9. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 32,480

    You don't get near the amount of snow Brian receives normally. FYI
  10. Duracutter

    Duracutter Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 200

    We're the same here. It's not worth the hassle and the stress on the staff.

    We're getting out of snow completely next season. We'll just do more landscape projects and more cement and pavement work. I'll be vacationing everytime it snows....

    Should be fun. :D
  11. albhb3

    albhb3 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    at least you guys are gettin snow in the twin cities weve gotton virtually no snow since the end of december but madison wiscon. has gotten nearly 80 in this year. So screw global warming

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,416

    Oh I know that. I was just saying so because I was just thru there last week and they had no snow. But I totally agree with him on the whole starting a business.
  13. ultimate plow

    ultimate plow PlowSite.com Addict
    from N. IL
    Messages: 1,848

    I HATE when they say that!!!! What do they think, do they not see the first 3-4+ inches we plowed ahead of time. the piles are only right there.
  14. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    I think snow is a long term deal. So far this year I've had over 10', been out for 26+ events , double the seasonal average. Over 23 yrs the pluses and minuses even out. Weeding out PITA customers should be done regularly, dropping 5 sites,resi's, cut complaint calls 80%. One lady called more often(every storm) in the 1st 3 weeks this yr than 45 others combined. Plowed 9 events for her, two at 12" and 16" ,and gave her a full refund to go away.
    Pay your men well they're on 24/7 standby for 5 months.
    Maintain your equipment ,it evens out the peaks and valleys of older equipment and then you an keep it till it dies and then its a parts vehicle.
    A tight radius of operations is priceless. I strive for it but am not even close to achieving a 5mi radius....next year:rolleyes:
    It's a mother of a challenge but done right should be profitable.
  15. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    Global warming = more extreme weather

    Up here more snow than we've had in the last 35 yrs :yow!:

    Seasonal contracts the norm up here, 10 ft so far .............
  16. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,255

    Paul, that was well said. Just earlier today I was speaking with Phil, he called it a crazy business. He is so right, unless you work in it, people have no idea how crazy it is. I too returned 3 checks to clients beginning of January. They had called every single event. It was worth the peace and quiet. Next year I will no longer do apartment blocks, the price is not worth the headaches. Evaluate each account, and charge accordingly. Drop what you don't like, and tighten your radius. I work almost 8 months a year on the snow portion of my business, I have to calculate that time into my costs. Have been doing this for 30 years and I'm still learning.
  17. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,373

    Its a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it! :D

    And make some good money, too.

    But, yes, anyone reading this want to go out on their own, forget it... that only means more competition for me! :p
  18. ahoron

    ahoron Senior Member
    from here
    Messages: 421

    I think alot of guys think that if they buy one plow they are going to become millionaires over night. I wish. It's the same in any business you have to,get ready for it, WORK. You don't get into plowing for the short hours or so you can choose when to work. You can make good money if you know what you are doing and I'm not just talking running a plow.