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Re: Newbie sticky above.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by TheNewGuy81, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. TheNewGuy81

    TheNewGuy81 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Hey guys, I am TheNewGuy.
    So I read the Sticky that was posted back in 2008.
    It’s a very good thread because it made me think a bit.
    A little bit about me.

    I am a 30 year old guy with no other options. I came from law enforcement and from there my life got screwed up due to my ex wife setting me up. So now I have a felony. I have tried to apply for many different jobs to make ends meet and have been unsuccessful. So I sat for days on end trying to figure a way to make money and move on with my life. I even tried collision repair because I figured hell everyone in the auto filed has a felony, boy was I wrong, they turned me away faster than a fat kid turns away broccoli.
    I live in Indianapolis IN, and it snows pretty well here in the winter season so I thought, hell I could start my own plow company. But I am finding it very…. Not sure the world I’m looking for, maybe un settling..

    With everything that was mentioned in the thread above, now I’m starting to get discouraged with the talks of possible law suits due to negligence and what not.
    Also because I have NO EXP what so every in plowing snow.
    I figured Hell I can get a truck and plow and start pushing away, but it seems as it is not that easy.

    I’m sure it’s not hard to learn, and I am a very quick learner. But I’m seeing that to be a sub contractor for other guys who DO own their own plow business that they all want you to have like 5+ years of experience, so how am I supposed to get my foot in the door?
    Hell im willing to be the guy that shovels, but yet they want you to have 2+ years experience in a WORK environment shoveling snow and laying salt and what not.
    WTH, really? Exp in a work environment SHOVELING SNOW????? WTF!

    I don’t mind buying a Chevy 3500 (I say chevy because its the cheapest used truck here where i live) used and beat up and putting a used plow on there that functions well and even investing in a hopper to lay salt down, and doing the ****** work. But how do I get my foot in the door with no exp??
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You'd be surprised on how many guys say they can do this work because it's just shoveling snow. I'll tell you what ,it sucks! Guys jump ship and leave the owner hanging so that's why they want guys who have done it before and know what to expect.
  3. TheNewGuy81

    TheNewGuy81 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Ok, thats wasnt my question. No offence, I mean I truely understand.

    I HAVE NO OTHER OPTION but to do **** work. I am 6'3 380lbs but I run circles around other workers.. not because I CAN, but because I HAVE NO CHOICE, i need a job, and if I dont then I am on the streets. I lost 80lbs in 3 weeks at my last job, but they closed so I am once agian out of a job.

  4. Boomer123

    Boomer123 Senior Member
    Messages: 371

    I got a job plowing and salting last week just going through the pizza place drive through. Manager came to the window and said couldn't help see that I had a plow on my truck. Said they had not set up anything with anybody this year previous guy moved out of state. Gave them a price and now I got the gig. Sometimes just having the plow on your truck will get some work.
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Sorry,you need to keep asking if anything is available. Guys hire people that were referred to them ,so if you know anyone who has done it before ask them.
  6. TheNewGuy81

    TheNewGuy81 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I apologize if i seemed rude, its just I get frustrated with people at times when they don't See the point im trying to get at, thats why I hate posting threads...they aways get miss intruprted.

    I was just giving you a backgound of my past so you know the situation I am in.

    I know people bail all the time, its cause they are lazy and want an easy job.
    I know that the only jobs I will be able to get are hardworking lil pay.
    I truly get that.

    I dont even mind starting my own one man plow, plowing driveways my first year. Hell ill do the **** work and plow and shovel snow where NO ONE ELSE will..
    Hell ill even buy a snow blower and do drive ways all my first year.
    I dont mind it at all, ill put back all the cash I make from that and turn around and put it in the bank and buy my first truck and plow for next year.
  7. PowersTree

    PowersTree Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    Buy a large, single stage snow blower, and start finding driveways. Much less maintenance, and less up front cost.

    Once you have bought a snowblower, shovels, and a GOOD walkbehind spreader, post ads, respond to every ad you see. You will find work, but don't plan on making huge money.

    I now have 2 single stage, 1 two stage, and a spreader.....per crew. I've been at it for 3 years now, and i am just starting to see profits, but all of my equipment and trucks have been bought with CASH.

    I have one two man crew, and one three man crew doing this now. I do have 15+ years experience prior to stsrting on my own though. People may call it **** work, i call it doing what I need to survive.
    Mind you, I quit a position as the top driver, to run a snow blower. My brother still works at my previous employer, and gives me grief about what I did. I just chuckle, and say "If you only knew."
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  8. TheNewGuy81

    TheNewGuy81 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    So, should i also get a truck with plow? To do driveways as well as the snow blower? Would the snow plow on the truck help with bigger driveways?
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    All depends on what type of cash you have. If you have just enough to buy a truck and no money for expenses you might need to start out small.
  10. TheNewGuy81

    TheNewGuy81 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    This is what i needed, Now quetion, if I went the small route and got what you told me too, and did driveways and sidewalks....How do I charge and do I need insurance for that? I mean I wouldnt think i would as i wont be useing heavy equpiment... also what could i expect to see as far as income?
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If your working for money you need insurance. Prices are different in every area,not sure what they are charging there.
  12. rywnygc

    rywnygc Member
    from 14033
    Messages: 99

    So uhhhhhhh, wuddya do to get a felony?

    If you say "stole a plow truck" I will give you "the man of the year" award.
  13. EliteSnow&Ice

    EliteSnow&Ice Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Damn that's some funny stuff there.

    When I started 15 years ago, I bought a 79 ford f250 with a 7 1/2 foot Meyer blade. I charged $125 per drive and made enough to pay for my truck, insurance, gas and a few bucks left over to by McDonald's.

    Problem now a days is everyone that is out of work is buying a 79 ford truck with a plow, or a toro snow blower and calling themselves a Snow and Ice management company. There is alot of low balling going on, but if you got nothing to lose, what the heck.
  14. PowersTree

    PowersTree Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    If you can truly afford one. I will tell you this. If you don't know how to plow, you have no clue what it costs to operate the truck. I'm not gonna devulge to much info........just know a snowblower costs less to operate, and on smaller residential driveways, can be faster than a truck.

    Sure, I can't clear a 20k sq ft driveway in 7 minutes.......but I CAN clear a average 6 car driveway, in front of the garage, and sidewalk to the door in under 12. By the time you plow, get out to shovel/blow the areas the truck can't get, I'm done too. Mind you.....we have 2stage blowers for the snow over 6"
  15. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 257

    I highly doubt the man will tell you? If nothing else, it sounds like it wasn't a good time in his life and I'll bet his ex-wife didn't get a gift for Xmas, Lol :D

    If I were you, before I bought any equipment, I would go buy a simple GL (General Liability) insurance policy that covers you for snow removal. The price could be as low as $400 a year for a sole proprietor if you don't have a commercial auto policy.

    The next thing I would do is start to talk to EVERYBODY! Make flyers and put them up on community bulletin boards. In my area, we have a newspaper that comes out every Weds. AM called the Merchandiser. It has all kinds of want ads, yard sale notices etc. and people in my area love it. It also has a few articles in it about local happenings. I can run a small classified ad in it for less than $5.00 a week. Try the same thing in the regular local paper.

    Make up another flyer that lists your "emergency" snow removal services. It will also state how you love to do last minute walk clearing for real estate agents that have a showing at a vacant home. Go into every restaurant you see and ask them if they need anybody. Even if they say no, give them your card. Sooner or later, their regular person won't show up, have a breakdown, whatever. When that happens?, you are in the door!

    Go to the local Senior Center and put up another flyer listing your "discounts" for seniors. Tell them you don't mind clearing a spot in their yard for their dog to crap on or shovel off their deck etc.

    Now, you are probably wondering what you are going to use to clean all these places? Well, only buy the gear AFTER you pick up a few accounts. You will know what you need when the first snow hits because you will have a list of what you have to clean. Obviously, you will need a shovel. You can clean off a few walks by just using your back for a week or two. If you get enough gigs right away, then go by a snowblower too. Once it picks up enough and you know it won't collect dust? go get a cheap truck with a plow on it.

    In other words, start out slowly and only buy the things you need AS you need them. You have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Do it right, spend every waking hour talking to people wherever you are and it will happen. The old "Build it and they will come" theory does NOT apply to this business. Snow removal and landscaping seem like the 2 hardest business' to make it in.

    As far as what to charge? Only you will know what you need to be happy. If you go too cheap, some people will think you are new and have no clue what you are doing, on the other hand, if you charge to much, you won't get any work. Call a few established places and ask them what it would cost to have a driveway done? Next time you run into a guy with a plow on his truck, as him what he is charging (if he will tell you?) It would be great if we could charge what we are worth, but for the most part, people seem to think that since all you are doing is shoveling snow and any idiot could do that, $5.00 an hour is all some think it is worth?

    You will run into idiots like this but do yourself a favor, walk away and tell them to stick it! Even if you are broke, you will only screw yourself and other operators and drive down prices that are already at rock bottom in your area. Most customers who want the lowest price and try to chew you down are also the last ones to pay (If they pay at all!). Finding good customers is almost like crayfish hunting in a creek. You may have to turn over a lot of rocks and pass on a few small ones, but sooner or later you will hit the jackpot and find a huge one.

    When you do get a good one, make darn sure you bend over backwards for them. Do a great job and go the extra mile to keep them. They are hard to get and easy to lose!
  16. TheNewGuy81

    TheNewGuy81 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Super, i appreciate you takeing the time to write all that, it will help me emensly.

    lol your right, I wont tell you what the felony is for lol.
    And no, I didnt kill my ex wife or my ex bestfirend for him ******* her and leaving me for him.

    They can have each other for all i care lol.

    I am just a man trying to make it, and make it big if I can. I want to be able one day to pass this down to my son, who could have something to look forward too when hes old enough.

    I want him to have what I never did.... So i gotta make my own way.
  17. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    First off, snow plowing, especially in the Midwest, needs to be a supplemental income in the winter to your other profession.

    For example, I'm a landscaper/Gardner and do snow in the winter to keep me busy and income coming in.

    So you really need to figure out what you are going to do for year round income. Sounds like owning your own business is the way to go if no one else will hire you. Only be honest about your past record to those who ask.

    Start off small. You can easily knock out 10-15 small driveways per-storm, conservatively, with a good single stage snow-blower. The larger snow will get you, but you can get the work done.

    As for getting your foot in the door, that's up to you. I would print up about 1000 fliers and pick neighborhoods with the size of driveways that you can handle and start putting those fliers in the doors. Hopefully you'll get a .5% return or call backs.

    Networking is huge in this economy. I'm part of a BNI chapter in my area. It's more than paid for itself and really helps me get great referrals in this economy.

  18. TheNewGuy81

    TheNewGuy81 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Ok so newb question, 14-15 residential accounts...Is this done weekly? or when a storm hits or how do you charge?
    IS it like a set account where you charge them one montly fee and you plow as needed as long as theya re paid up? or do you charge every time you plow?

    I dont mind Pushing a snow blower for 14-15 places....how do I charge? Per ft? im so lost with all the best way to charge. i mean every one says stay reasonalbe as to not lowball prices and drive it down, but aside from me calling around and finding out what every one charges, what is a good standard method for chargeing some one to push a blower to clear their drive and side walk....how should i charge for salting the sidewalks? Should I have a second guy with me? if so what will he be doing while im doing what im doing? I just dont want to fail so im trying to get all the stupid questions out now.
  19. McG_Landscaping

    McG_Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    around me a single car wide drive and maybe 3 long with walks (no salt) goes for about $30. i could probably squeeze some more $$ out of them but most are just my normal mowing customers and they are good with giving me work all year round. I can make $ at that price because depending on the snowfall amount I can do 3-5 drives an hour (depending on distance from each other). start posting ads on craigslist, hand out flyers, post flyers etc. I charge per visit. for instance i will go out tomorrow morning and do a few drives because they want it done even with 1". They will get billed. if i was there tonight then tomorrow then tomorrow afternoon they would get billed 3 times. some people do seasonals but none of my customers in my area would go for it. Most residentials want a 2" trigger around here but we normally have 2-4" storms. definitely get insurance. a blower and shovels will do fine. there is no need to have a second person when your just starting if you work the way you say you do. the more drives you can get in one area the better. hope that helps. also the search bar at the top of the page is immensely helpful as well as the bidding and estimating section of the site
  20. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,069

    Go out and purchase a reliable single stage snowblower (I prefer toro power lites) but you choose what you want.
    If you can get a used one that's even better (cheaper.)
    When you get a snowstorm, (first watch the weather so you know when you will) but go into a neighborhood at like 8am and knock on all the doors that don't have their drives plowed or cleared already. Chances are someone will want you to do their drive. Perhaps you may want to offer a discount also if they refer you to a neighbor and he hires you.
    Insurance is important (a must have) but to start off, you won't need a 3 million dollar policy. Just a million.
    You will want to do a good job on all your drives, that's how you will get more accounts.
    Word of mouth is key in this industry.
    Also (since you were in law enforcement I'm sure you know this but) make sure you look presentable when going to work.
    Good luck and if you have anymore questions, shoot me a message...