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Small driveways and Store Fronts

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by jeffslawnservic, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. jeffslawnservic

    jeffslawnservic Member
    Messages: 70

    Hey Everyone, I am farely new to doing snow management myself. I have worked for a Snow Management company before but only as a shovel/snow blower guy. I recently started a Landscape company and want to branch into snow management. My truck is only 2wd so no plowing but it does pretty good driving in snow so I figured to do small driveways and shop fronts with a snow blower. With the money I make this year I hope to some time in the future buy a plow and a truck with 4x4. So if anyone has any suggestion, tips, or advice let me know becasue I need it. I have a few questions too. What type of snow blower should I buy? one stage or two stage? Also the picture below is a average size of the houses I will be doing. What would you price something like this at?

  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.


    1.So much of this depends on your actual available funding for machinery.
    2.The best debt is no debt.
    3.Buying a larger piece of equipment than you actually need will allow it to work with little to no difficulty in any occasion.
    4. What can you honestly afford to spend?
    5. A small lawn and garden tractor with a cab and snow blower will do the most work in the quickest time frame and you can mow with it too.
    a. The tractor can pull a trailer big enough for supplies like gasoline, shovels, salt, and a generator to power an electric snow blower to do steps and side walks as well as a larger blower.

    b. About snow blowers:

    In reality you should use consumer reports to buy a snow blower and buy it during the summer months to save money too.

    the easier a blower is to use, the easier it is to repair in general.

    The single stage snow blowers on the market are very reliable for the most part I have Toro CCR 2000 2 cycle and a Toro S6200 2 cycle that is twenty years old. I would still have my 30 year old toro snow pup if the bearing housing for the paddles had not broken.

    The power curve paddles throw snow further with less effort and WD-40 or fliud film works well to throw snow further-cooking spray works in a pinch too.

    c. the two cycle engines give you speed to throw the snow quickly along their power bands using a flat grooved belt drive delivering power to teh paddle used to throw the snow

    d. the four cycle engine gasoline powered blowers give you full power with gear reduction for the augers and a separate four paddle fan running at a very high rpm.

    e. Both types of blowers will bog down in slush forcing you to stop altogether or simply go much slower but the power curve model 2 cycle blowers will still throw the slush only shorter distances where the two stage blowers will plug and stop the fan from running with the smaller self propelled walk behind units.

    6. The very large and wide forty two to forty eight inch two stage troy built, cub cadet and other snow blowers built by MTD are very powerful machines.
    7. Some of the tracked snow blowers offered for sale are also very good.

    8. having both a gas powered larger 2 stage blower blower and a single stage either electric or two cycle give you a lot of options- one of the folks here mentioned recently that Toro was eliminating the two stroke engines apparently.

    It amounts to using the Ben Franklin closing arguments used in sales

    Take a piece of paper and draw line down the middle and place the negative sign on one side and the positive sign on the other.

    On the negative side
    you should have:
    1. who is doing it now? how much do they charge and for what service?
    a. How much is insurance going to cost every year for my small snow clearing biz?
    b. can I afford a load of sand and a pallet of salt or other deicer?
    c. Do I need a DBA certificate?, and will I be required to charge sales tax-most cities and require this to collect sales taxes on services rendered and liability insurance.
    d. Business owners require proof of insurance and your IRS tax and state number which allows them to deduct the cost of maintenance.

    2. How much will a good lawn tractor and blower cost me to buy? How much am i willing to spend to receive good service from an equipment seller and do they understand the needs of a commercial equipment client? especially with repairs due to breakdowns during a snow emergency? Do they have blower that can be used as a loaner unit?

    a.How much for a small two stage blower or a trailer and single stage blower cost me to buy be able to handle heavy and light snows?
    b. How much will a larger 2 stage blower and a small single stage blower cost me to buy
    c. How much will it cost me to maintain these units every year?
    d. What if the weather is warm and we have little snow or ice?, will I be able to manage the payments during the winter months and summer months if I only buy a pair of snow blowers?

    On the positive side you should have:
    how many customers will I have?
    how long am I willing to work each day or event?
    What will I charge and how will I charge a customer by the hour or by the event?

    Will I offer to salt and sand as well and how do I best charge for that to keep my customers?

    How much canvassing am I willing to do in the off season for customers?
    hanging door knob tags is a good way to find customers and referrals and better than handbills/flyers which will disappear come snow season.

    Can I afford to advertise in the local penny saver or shopper local advertisement? this method gets the most exposure for a small business.

    How many close/nearby business owners can I line up to do a whole block for the season and how much area is there to cover?

    Will these business owners be willing to share the expense equally using the cities model of charging a flat fee to each one for the season?

    Some cities charge a flat fee for snow clearing of sidewalks per year
    as they have city owned sidewalks they must maintain themselves and they go ahead and do the residences to avoid lawsuits and in the process generate tax revenues.
    and it is included in a separate billing or the tax bill for example simply because it absolves them of liabilities and a property owner not cleaning the side walk in front of their homes or businesses.

    A flat hourly rate will generate a lot of revenue for you if the weather is poor but you will be dealing with long hours-which case in point allows you to use a very large snow blower to do a lot of area quickly and safely, and you can bill your customers for the time required once a month.

    The winter weather is funny thing as it may snow a lot or not and you may have bad weather with ice or not.

    No matter the gamble you throw everything in the pot and let it cook and it either smells and looks good or it is a bad dish of stew.

  3. cowbell247

    cowbell247 Junior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 6

    That was a lot of great information for all of us newbies out here! I started plowing and shoveling again this year, and it was good to get back into it. Only a few breakdowns, so I am thankful. The only thing that I would add would be to stress the importance of insurance....so many guys out there are cutting your throat on the prices, and they can because the bottom line is that they can pocket all the money, and have zero liability ins. Very scary in this line of work/service....Be sure you don't work for free, but try to offer the client something that the competition isn't offering, and do it for the same price you quoted them...This will get their attention and let them know you mean business...I have received lots of clients from this practice... Good luck!
  4. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    Leon, that's the longest response I have ever seen to a post.

    I'd go with a big 2 stage blower for a couple of years and save up some money. Then buy a plow truck with cash and grow from there.
  5. pheasantfarmer

    pheasantfarmer Member
    from MN
    Messages: 37

    WOW that was a great amount of information. My question (sorry for hijaking) is when you are saying know what your competetor is charging or being able to offer the same price of your competor is offering but you have insurance...how do you find their prices out? they won't give them out...
  6. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.

    Be very nice, introduce your self, offer your business card, and ask if they need snow plowing shoveling etc. and ask what they budget for it each year and thier preferred payment method for services rendered and whether they would consider a seasonal charge for services rendered:waving::sleeping:
  7. cowbell247

    cowbell247 Junior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 6

    If the customer is not happy with the current contractor, and you are polite and professional, than the odds are in your favor that they will reveal the current price. It's all about your attitude and appearance.