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Possible Newbie in Indiana - Advice Welcome

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by iamchrisstone, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. iamchrisstone

    iamchrisstone Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Hey guys. I've been reading this forum for years, but new to registering and posting.

    I used to own a stump grinding business in Florida and years ago started researching plowing. I wanted to buy a truck and plow and chase blizzards. I'm not sure if that is realistic, but I used to toy with the idea. Growing up, my dad, grandpa and uncles all used to plow through Indianapolis and Chicago.

    I now work for Carter Express out of Anderson, Indiana as a truck driver. I'm looking at buying a truck and plow for this winter and putting my cousin and brother in it as both of their jobs are seasonal. My brother has experience with heavy equipment and they both have experience with farm equipment. If I do pursue this, I have a very large landscaping company locally that I would sub contract through. Below I have a list of questions for you guys. In addition to answering those questions, I'd like to hear of advice you may have and such. I'm not sure if it will be primarily commercial or residential but I'd like to be prepared for both.

    Thanks guys!

    1) Should I buy brand new truck and plow, slightly used (4 - 8 years old) or older?

    2) This company has offered to pay my truck $60 an hour. To me that felt a little light, but with them getting the contracts, handling the customers, etc then I guess it may not be as low as I was thinking.

    3) What is a fair pay structure for my drivers? I was thinking $15 an hour with a bonus of $5 an hour paid out the following month if they go all month with no accidents, tickets or damage done to my equipment or a customer's property. So, they get paid $20 an hour if they do their job.

    4) The landscaping company will require me to carry my own commercial insurance. Does that sound right? I was thinking they would allow me to run under theirs.

    5) Future goals: Over the next 2 or 3 years I want to build a fleet of my own winter equipment with trucks, plows and other equipment. I felt it wise to start subcontracting for at least this first year so my drivers can get the experience and I can learn the business.

    6) I'd like to have my truck running 24 hours a day and have the drivers to do it. Do you think that is realistic if the winter is like last winter? I know there are hundreds of variables to consider but do any of you run your trucks 24 hours a day?

    7) Regarding truck, I'm thinking single cab short bed 4x4 diesel. Good or bad and why? And thoughts on DRW or SRW? (dually or not).

    I'm sure I have more questions but can't think of any. Looking forward to your answers, feedback, advice and thoughts.
  2. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    This should a interesting one.
  3. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,392

    I'm waiting myself.
  4. LapeerLandscape

    LapeerLandscape 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,247

    #7 I don't think I have ever seen a single cab short bed diesel.
  5. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    Can't wait to see how this goes:popcorn:
  6. Defcon 5

    Defcon 5 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,923

    First off Welcome........:salute:

    As for you questions I will answer a few......

    As for having your own insurance......Yes you will need to carry your own...Price it out and it will be somewhat of an eye opener.....

    As for the rate of pay.....Can you run that truck for $60 an hour?
    After you pay your labor and Fuel and insurance and wear and tear and Truck payment .....is there anything left for you
  7. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,092

    1. Just starting out or testing the waters, buy used.

    2. $60.00 sounds low but that's in my area, if you're in a depressed area it may be decent money.

    3. Same as #2, 1099 them

    4. Typically subs carry their own G/L Policy in my area. Have you looked into cost?

    5. Subbing or Driving is a good way to learn the bizz. Enthusiasm is great, walk before you run.

    6. Don't overbook yourself, there's several threads talking about this. Booking 8-10hrs per truck per round is manageable, this amount of time sold allows for a break for food, breakdowns repairs......

    7. Huge debates on Gas vs Diesel; Budget? For only plowing gas is probably your best choice, you don't need 800# of torque.
    SRW, for plowing you don't need a dually, dually can be issue's on certain sites that have tight areas.

    I checked a couple weather sites, Anderson, Ind gets an annual average of 20" accumulation in 4 months. The upfront cost you're going to see to get started you're doomed before you dropped the blade. If you put $20K into starting up ( Used truck/plow, G/L Policy, Vehicle Policy) add salary's, fuel, repairs, wear and tear (truck&plow), etc.... you'll never be able cover cost.
  8. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,481

    You have never plowed before but you want to buy a truck and plow and put somebody else in the seat? How can you be an informed owner if you've never even done it before? How will you know if the guys are taking too long or screwing off? This whole idea just seems ass backwards to me. And not only will your G/L cost you anywhere from 700.00-1,000.00, but if you've got someone else driving the truck you're probably also obligated to carry workman's comp insurance which will run you another grand or so.
  9. iamchrisstone

    iamchrisstone Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    haha now that you mention it, neither have i.
  10. iamchrisstone

    iamchrisstone Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    thank you. and yes, it felt low to me when i did the math as well.
  11. iamchrisstone

    iamchrisstone Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    great info! thanks for the feedback.
  12. iamchrisstone

    iamchrisstone Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    well, i guess to clarify a little more. my cousin has experience. my brother actually works for the company that i would be subbing through and he would just jump in my truck instead of the company truck. already has the experience, knows the routes, expectations, etc.
  13. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,481

    At 60.00 per hour, minus 20.00 an hour to your driver, minus fuel, minus two insurance policies, minus wear and tear on the truck and replacement parts, minus the money you'll pay in taxes when you receive your 1099, why bother?
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014