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Reasonable target for first year? Other newbie questions

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by jknewberry, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. jknewberry

    jknewberry Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Hi everybody,

    This will be my first year plowing, and I was wondering what you thought might be a reasonable target for my first year of plowing. I currently have about 100 residential lawn customers, and some are starting to ask about snow removal. I have already decided not to offer service to my apartments, businesses, etc since this is the first year- but what is realistic to handle? All my customers are within 30 miles of eachother, but I do not want to bite off more than I can chew. I am in south east Michigan and expecting a lot of snow this year, but the average is about 45 inches/year.

    More questions...
    When do you normally collect payment? My lawns and landscaping mostly net 30 day accounts.
    Do most people also plow/shovel walkways and sidewalks? Give them the option?

    Thanks, I am sure I will have more questions....
  2. c_maint

    c_maint Member
    Messages: 46

    The main thing is that you do not want to have people waiting too long. Look at the driveways you want to do and time them out. Keep in mind, you should have a back up truck or have a sub. I offer walkway too. About half of my accounts want the walkways done. 30 miles is quite a haul for plowing. I keep my accounts within 10 to 15 miles. Other than that it isn't worth it for me.If you have never plowed before I'd pick up 15 to 20 accounts. As far as payment goes, that depends on how you are charging the jobs. Are they going to be seasonal accounts or on a per push basis? I collect at the end of each storm.
    Any other questions ask away..
  3. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    c_maint is exactly right. You do not want your customers waiting to long for service. I would start with my closest group of 20 or so customers (distance between jobs), offer them snow removal services including sidewalks, charge them on per push basis, bill them every 30 days and set back & wait on it to snow. Don't forget to have a back up plan!! If the first couple of snows you have extra time then recruit a few more customers, don't get to many to handle in case it comes a blizzard!! :waving:
  4. Mean4x4

    Mean4x4 Senior Member
    from Livonia
    Messages: 100

    Don't do it

    Residential snow sucks. But to give you an idea about what you can handle, I'll give you my experience. I live in Southeast Michigan. I have drives from Northville-Farmington Hills. 15 miles apart. I had 35 driveways. With One truck, all the drives and with one person shoveling with the plow driver, It took aroun 6-9 hours. On the big snowfalls It took 13-16 hours. On top of that, People *****. They will want it done as soon as they see a snowflake. Your best bet is plowing commercial lots and let your lawn customers deal with the snow situation. And as far as payment goes I charged 225-300 for the season. Or 25-40.00 per push. They're "saying" a bad winter this year, be careful, it's not worth it to screw yourself on snow and lose your lawn customers Because lawns pay a lot more then snow. Just my 2 cents, if you have any questions E-mail me back. See ya, Mike
  5. mole

    mole Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    I live in buffalo ny run solo have one truck no back up or sub been doing it this way for 8yrs I have 48 res and two comm. 225 to 300 for res and one comm is 2500 the other is 3500. I can do 48 in 3hrs. The main reason why is I have 38 on my street alone It took me quite a while to get this route down to a 5 mile radius round trip. Just be carful and start small I learned the hard way one winter, that's all it took. no need for speed either
  6. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Mole makes a strong point on residential. They have to close together. We used to do alot of residential and found that the sooner you bill, the sooner they might pay. If I charged $40 for a driveway, i took $30 cash on the spot. People are happier paying when they are desperate to get out. 30 days down the road, they feel hosed. Commercial is the way to go but you need to hook up with another dependable back up or have a back up truck. The only downside of commercial is you have very little room for error.
  7. HereToLearn

    HereToLearn Member
    Messages: 93

    This is my first year plowing also. Do you guys offer plowing, shoveling (sidewalks) and salting? If so, how many opt for all three? How many just want plowing? What are you guys getting for your average residential driveway? Here I think to just clear out a drive is around $20-25. Salt and shovel extra. As you can see, I'm new, so feel free to comment or add to what I posted. Thanks
  8. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    If you're going to salt residentials, you might want to invest in a broadcast push type spreader. Faster and more effective than just throwing salt.
  9. HereToLearn

    HereToLearn Member
    Messages: 93

    I have a broadcast spreader and thought about using that. Simple and inexpensive. What brand salt do you recommend? Do you use different types for driveways and sidewalks?