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Snow hard to come by, many closing down S. removal business

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Hawkz, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. Hawkz

    Hawkz Member
    Messages: 41

    I have heard from many around this area that they are closing down their business. 2 years in a row that we have had hardly any snow to push, sad to hear it, but what can they do??

    It is hard to make a living if there is no income from it. I have heard that many are going to sell some equipment to make ends meet or give it up all together. These are guys that have been doing this for a while and are sick and tired of playing the waiting game for the snow.
    It is strange because this area never really had any problems for snow, until the last few years. It is hard to hear all these stories from fellow plowers that are going through this. These guys are losing $ big time and have all new equipment to pay for, leases and such. Hopefully next season will be better for us around here.
    How are others doing this winter season?? Hawkz
  2. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    slow here too, selling off old equipment and getting ready for grass, home remodelers show is on march 12-14 we have two spots reserved and we start cutting in april so a little over 2 months til we are mowing again..short season but I got 7 pushes in 4 - 5"> snows. I think we might get 1 more 3"+ snow but I am not counting on it :(


    WHITE=GREEN Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    that would explain all the pickups with plows listed for sale on ebay. im looking for another truck and plow and everything on there is from chigaco and west . winter isnt over yet guys, keep your fingers crossed.
  4. PLOWMAN21157

    PLOWMAN21157 Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    This is the best year I have had since I started, approx. 10 years ago. I understand what you guys are going through though. The last 2 seasons here were just horrible!!
  5. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Steve, how many times did you tell yourself that last season? Never came though.

    Try to tough it out guys, these things are cyclic. Last season the mid west got hammered while we sat with our thumbs up our butts here on the east coast. It will come around.
  6. Brian Akehurst

    Brian Akehurst Junior Member
    Messages: 25

    Hey Plowman,

    What do you think, are we done? I would like to see at least 5 more events. I'd say its been the best in at least 3-4 years. Wasn't to excited about the Christmas Day storm, but I got over it.

  7. A.L. Inc.

    A.L. Inc. Member
    Messages: 97

    I've been through some lean winters since I started my landscape business here in NY. Some winters are good, some lousy. I've always looked at my snow equipment as a long term investment. It took me almost two winters to pay for my first plow.
    Fortunately, I took some good advice from a very successful landscaper and I now make my money for the year during my (approximately) 40 week landscape season. If it snows, great, if not, my bills are still going to be paid. In this area, snow is just too erratic to depend on.
    Good Luck, Mike
  8. slplow

    slplow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 594

    Good thing come for those who wait. We all have gone thru some bad years, some good yrs, some awsome yrs.
  9. PLOWMAN21157

    PLOWMAN21157 Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Hey Brian,
    We are not done yet. You know as well as I do, we have had some good luck to have this much snow so early. Wait till Feb and March!!! You have been around for a while haven't you, I've seen your trucks around?
  10. Acorn

    Acorn Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    kind of glad most of mine pay a flat rate for the season. The rates stay about the same year to year but I plow less every year for it.
  11. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I make most of my money from landscaping/lawn related work.

    This year have made in the first 2 months what i usually take all winter to make.
    In 3 storms from right before Christmas to Jan.4th we got 60" of snow(1of 26",1 of 21" and one of 13").
    Plus we've had numerous smaller storms to already put us over for the total average snowfall for the year.

    But after Jan.4 we've had nada as far as plowable amounts, Just some sanding.Just Bitter cold.

  12. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Thank god for seasonal contracts,and lots of salting.

    I feel for you guys,it must be tough depending on something like the weather.It been a slow plow season here too,but lots of salting.Hang in there,it will come.

    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    not good here either, biggest plowable this year has been 2.5".
    that is supposed to be unheard of in this part of the country.
    equip. is not pd. for but as pelican says and i quote " country folk will survive".
    the tourism board passed a million dollar emergency ad campaign to try and get people from surrounding states to come and visit the northwoods.. they are claiming that there's more to do than just winter sports up there YA RIGHT business'es are dying so spend more money so they can pay more taxes to make this incredibly large state deficit go away.
    the moronic gov. can't seem to figure out what all of us small business owners found out right away...if things are getting tight with funds the easiest solution is to curb the spending for awhile.
    i.e don't spend money foolishly!!!
    the only thing that might save the north woods now would be to open some of the national or state forests to all terrain vehicles. but once again the moronic gov. won't
    the thing that corks me is that all these people want these business'es to be in business when they come up for a weekend or for vacation in the warmer seasons but nobody gives a damn about them the rest of the year. sorry my cork just blew!!
  14. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    you all know better

    You guys know better than to bet the farm on a snow event anymore. My business makes good money at snow removal but it is a bonus in my account. I work hard throught the summer and save for the winter. All you guys know you should do that. I can remember living in VT. and snow was on the ground from late Nov till early march. Not anymore. About the only place you can bet on snow anymore is north west NY. I love to do snow removal and do I wish it would snow more?....why yes but I can't make it do that. Do I get mad at the tv when a snow event fizzles out or just misses us? HELL YEA. But what are you going to do? Just ake them as they come and you all know that the lowballers won't be around for ever and quality always pulls through.

    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    thanks for the PEP talk, i told my wife the other day that i hope it don't snow at all for the rest of the winter, then this will be a winter to remember!
  16. Grshppr

    Grshppr Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    This has been the worst winter for me in 6 years of plowing. Revenues for this winter are 10% of normal. We make most of our money doing lawn care etc, but this winter is particularly tough, because I just purchased some new equipment in the fall, hoping for a half decent winter. On top of that I just got married and bought a house. I must say I am getting sick of waiting around every winter wondering when it is going to snow, but thats just part of the game. It is a bit of a gamble. I sure can't wait until spring though...no more sleepless nights staring blankly out the window waiting for that first flake to fall...:rolleyes:
  17. farmertim

    farmertim Member
    Messages: 95

    Is it me or am I the only one who doesn't mind it isn't snowing?
    Truely guys I don't get aroused when the snow begins to fly.
    Granted 130 of the 132 contracts I have are yearly rates but my butts still sore from last year and all the plowing I did.
    And another strange thing, all the lawn contractors and construction firms are dropping their snow plow routes because they don't need the money or the aggrevation anymore.Ive had 6 guys quite plowing in heavy snow years of plowing up here and I know of 3 more that are going to quit next year, thats at least 150 drives up for grabs and these guys were making up to $20,000 a year on their contracts!!
    I need my contracts, I wouldn't survive without them, but to me it is a job and one I do want to do well, but if it ain't snowing, Ive got alot of other things to keep me busy...
    If anybody wants to winter in NW Wi I'm sure I can line up some work, weather it snows or not.:waving:
  18. oakhill2000

    oakhill2000 Member
    Messages: 98

    I sure have learned my lesson these last two years. I won't depend on snow any more. I have been this year, and the past 2 but luckly I have had other work to fall back on. I agree, that its no big deal if it doesn't snow, less stress on me getting up early and constantly looking out the window. I will deffinatly take my lesson well learned and save my money this Summer. Next year if it snows it snows if it doesn't it doesn't. But I wouldn't mind a few more storms this year. I have been spending all my income on equipment biulding my business, but I am at a point where I am happy with what I got so I will just save now and next year will be able to relax as far as the snow goes. I sure would like to still find another venture besides snow to do in between just to keep busy. If it is one thing I hate its sitting around doing nothing, It drives me crazy. There is always maintenance on equipment to get ready for spring. Last year I started spring cleanups in the beggining of March so you never know.
  19. SLC1

    SLC1 Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    One Phrase: Multi Year Seasonal Contracts, unless you live in a snow belt that is the only way to do snow business around here, At least around here one year is good , two years bad, so I learned very shortly after starting in business 10 years ago that if you want to make money or at least survive the winter that the only way to go was with seasonal contracts. We do fine, yeah the guys dont make as much money but hey last year was great I sat back and collected 5 months of payments for doing very little work. I have not had any problem convincing people or companines to go with seasonal contracts and they are more than happy. Just My two cents
  20. lawnkid

    lawnkid Senior Member
    Messages: 234

    For the last 2 years we haven'r gotten much snow but year year it has started to bounce back. I think this has been a moderate to heavy year so far for us. We just got about 3" on Sunday morning and about 6-12"on Monday morning. It's going pretty well over here but too bad I'm not old enought to drive yet so until next winter, I can only watch. Kepp Praying:D