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Residential Tips and Tricks

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by KildonanSnowRem, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. KildonanSnowRem

    KildonanSnowRem Member
    Messages: 92

    Delete this if there is already a thread like this, but I could not find one.

    Can we get some of the best tips and tricks and secrets from guys that do residentials only? Time saving short cuts maybe, best shovels to get, best blowers, etc. Just your $0.02 on being the most efficient and providing the best service while making the most $$$.

    - Tips for fastest way to clear.
    - Marketing tips.
    - What you bring along during your route.
    - Best gear.
    - etcetcetc

    I want to hear from some more experienced folks what makes you the best at doing residentials!
  2. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    trick 1)

    I use jeep to plow with, I do Only incidentals, I almost doubled the number of customers I can do over when I was running a fs PU.
  3. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Get paid first.
  4. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,272

    this is a forum for people in the industry (or interested in it) to share information. if you're worried about loosing business by giving someone else a tip on how to be productive/make money then there are 2 obvious problems:
    1) you shouldn't be a member here
    2) if your business is threatened by advice others may receive (hundreds of miles from you no less), then you must run one pitiful business.

    to the OP - a lot of this has already been covered in prior posts (imagine that - some people actually share this information!!! I wonder if they are still in business???)

    I do only resi. the best tip I can give is to get as tight of a route as possible. driving between jobs is lost fuel and income. I also do not get out of the truck. I make this clear to all my customers. if they insist on shoveling I price it so high they say no (or I even loose the account entirely) but that's ok with me.
    I have never advertised, but a lot of people do and with good success. all my business comes word of mouth, but I'm just a one man show comfortable where I am with no intention of expanding what I got.
    getting a jeep is good advice. I plowed with one for years. but a regular cab, 8 foot bed pickup has been great for me as well (stay away from extended/crew cabs for resi work)
  5. KildonanSnowRem

    KildonanSnowRem Member
    Messages: 92

    Thank you for this! I agree wholeheartedly with your first paragraph.

    I know that lots of this has already been shared, I have read most of those threads already. Just thought I would (attempt...) at compiling a thread of the most popular advice. Obviously, that is not how it is turning out. :help:

    How big is your route? How many houses can you take on as a one man show? Why do you not want to expand? Hire some shovel monkeys and get some new contracts maybe?
  6. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    Don't hit their garage, cars, retaining wall, pets, kids, fence, or mailbox.
  7. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 761

    Here's a tip, do commercial and forget about the resi. except for 2 or 3 to make your gas money for the storm.
  8. Defcon 5

    Defcon 5 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,923

    Please explain...Is there no money is Resi.???...I bet. I could put a truck on residential and generate more per hour per truck than you on your big Commercial Lots..
  9. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    I assume you do not have a plow, and just the new blowers? Is this your first year in snow removal? How many guys do you have?

    I didn't like doing residential, everyone was too picky and bidder because it was cold and snowing. Now many people make their living of residential, so maybe I just had the wrong people. You will be happy with those blowers. Get a few guys on those and one with a shovel for detail and you will fly (not as fast as a plow, but usually cleaner. Charge for this quality.) If it's only you it'll take longer, but same idea.

    Tell us a little more about yourself, we can answer your questions a little better.
  10. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    You can check out his website for pricing information and service information, its worth the read.
  11. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 761

    Let's do the math.

    Let's use a 4 hour window for plowing a 3 inch storm.

    4 hours depending on Commercial size you can do anywhere from 5 to 6 of them.

    Let's use a average push of of $150
    that's $900 a storm, now commercial your sanding and that is around another $600 dollars.
    that is a total of $1,500.00

    Residence averages here around 35-40 a driveway and only sanding if really needed.

    So you would have to do around 37 driveways to equal the commercial aspect.

    Rough est is at least 10 minutes a driveway that is 6 hours of plowing for 37 driveways.

    Commercial 4 hours $1,500.00

    Residential 6 hours $1,500.00

    I am using these figures for just one truck.

    See my point now.

    In order to be equal you would need to make at least $60 a driveway.

    Not knocking Resi.

    But looking at the times and money you make you do make more on commercial.

    It is a bit harder to get your foot in the door for commercial.

    Resi. is a whole lot easier to begin with.
  12. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    I just had the mobile version on at time, I'm using my phone. I like that because I don't get the ads, but I can't see people's websites and whatever else they have at the bottom. Switched over to desktop now, I'll check it out.
  13. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Here's a tip. Stay in the truck only,no snowblowing or shoveling .
  14. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    But then I wouldn't be able to complain the whole time about how cold I am, and how I can't feel my fingers or toes!
  15. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    On a serious note, OP, dress warm. Wear layers you can take off if you get hot. Try not to sweat and stay bundled, take off a layer as soon as you start to get hot. For the most part if you keep moving it's not too bad. Sometimes I use Hot Hands (hand warmers) and throw them in my gloves on the backside of my hands, so I can still grab things. Your blowers will do great, but invest in some good shovels. I'm getting some of the Snow Plow brand Snow Graders this year. I think for small snows they will kill it. Best tip I can give is don't blow the snow into the wind, if you can avoid it. Also just show pride in your work, people will remeber you and tell their friends about how good of a job you did.
  16. absolutely

    absolutely Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    In our area most of our commercial work goes for $80-$100 per hour with a 6 hour window (2500 - 5500 ton GM truck), then most of them finish salting and non important walks. Our 2 man driveway crew with 1 larger single stage, 1 small single stage, 8' straight blade and 7' pull plow averages $130 per hour. Yes I have pay another guy but $25 after tax and insurance for that worker, with an older cheaper truck makes me more money per hour. and they are the last crew to return to the shop 8-10 hours on a 2". Our drives average $30 for no shovel up to $50 for complected and walk jobs. I wish we could get more drives.
  17. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    Your customers are ok with waiting up to 10 hours for a small storm to get their drives done?? That was one reason I got out of residentials, everyone wanted it done 20 minutes after it stopped snowing. They didn't understand or care that we had other customers. I hated it. With the equipment I have, I make much more, without the headaches of homeowners, doing sidewalks for other companies.
  18. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    Im glad you like Commercial

    Il stick with resi

    a 3 inch storm i did 60 drives in 6 hours and made way more than $1500. And if one of my customer stiffs me Im out only 1/60th of my pay you are out 15 to 20%. In 28 years of plowing Iv had 3 dead beats.

    Since Im doing ONLY resi my insurance is way less than yours.
    I do no shoveling.

    I'm older now and slowing down. So I have 100 drives now and 1 other plower. We can plow a 3" storm in about 6 hours.
    I have 1 other plower that I call in on storms over 6"

    1 I use Jeeps they are almost 2X the speed of trucks. I know I started with a truck.

    2 I dont work for the town I dont get paid to drive around, all 100 houses are in a 3 mile radius circle 21 miles of driving to cover all my houses.

    3 I garentee that my customers can get out and to work by 7:00 AM
    (Well not to work just out, traffic during a snow storm can be bad)
    in 28 years Ive missed my 7AM deadline once. and that by only 1 hour.

    Its easy if your smart.

    To the OP

    If you want to learn how to get customers do a search on here for me Iv posted several times on how to do a mailing (I dont know where I posted and IM tired of re posting it). Forget advertising in the paper its a waist of $.

    If you plow and do resi you HAVE to have a backdrag edge OR DP. I found a properly designed backdrag edge works better than DP.

    Just my $0.02
  19. absolutely

    absolutely Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    We have quite a few that just want it done by 11 - 12 am (elderly). 1/2 need main drive done by 7am and then we can do the walks and circle drives after. Those are all in the same neighborhood. In our market allot of homeowners just want it done by the time they get home from work as long as they can get out in the morning. The county doesn't plow neighborhood roads till 10am - 4pm. A lot of times the next day. If it's a big storm they are not going anywhere right away.
  20. Defcon 5

    Defcon 5 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,923

    As Oomkes said...Math is a Harsh Mistress

    What I said is I can have a Truck making more per hour than a Truck plowing Commercial..Not talking aboot salting or sanding as you northeasters say..

    I had trucks doing 10-12 $25 dollar drives an hour..Thats $250-$300 and hour..

    Point is..Plenty of money to made doing driveways..