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snow only company

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Rich Graz, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Rich Graz

    Rich Graz Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    I'm looking to go a snow only business and was looking for some help on how you guys retain employees. Now I own part of a construction company where I have about three full time employees and on call people as needed not including the office people (it was much higher until the economy took a dump) but we are spining off our snow business to a separate business and I am a larger owner (50%) in the snow business, so I want to know how snow only companies our keeping there employees full time, I realize that there will always be seasonal only employees and we had about thirty of them this last season. Insight would be much appreciated on how you keep your people busy, I know how I make myself busy year round with snow but what do you guys do?
  2. mnlefty

    mnlefty Senior Member
    Messages: 980

    Are you talking about offering other service work during the summer, like the standard lawn and landscape stuff... or are you looking to do snow and only snow and trying to figure out how to keep the same guys around year after year?

    If you're only doing snow there's just not going to be that much work for other guys in the off season. I would think your best bet would be to be looking for quality help that has steady seasonal employment opposite of snow. There are plenty of lawn care guys, landscapers, construction workers etc... that are sitting home idle all winter. The key would be to be able to sort through and find the good ones, and you'll have to make it worth their while $$-wise to plow for you rather than sit home and collect unemployment.
  3. alsam116

    alsam116 Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    maybe you could give your guys that are worth it a salary for the 12 month year and they know when you call for snow they are there.might work might not. or use subs for snow and you and maybe 1 other guy run the snow business that way you dont have to worry about employees.
  4. Fire_n_Ice

    Fire_n_Ice Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    I agree ... dont worry about "keeping fulltime guys". Around here, you can sub out anything from plowing, to shoveling, to taking care of a property in its entirety and you just have to keep an eye on it. As long as you are willing to put in the time to get great contracts, you will ALWAYS be able to find guys (with their own equipment that they maintain and service ON THEIR OWN DIME) that will plow and or shovel for you. Just something to think about. Getting contracts and "managing" them is alot of work the way it is. Subcontracting can really be a good deal....if done right
  5. MatthewG

    MatthewG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,400

    ^^^^ That's how I do it, makes me money every year
  6. LunchBox

    LunchBox Senior Member
    Messages: 293

    I have 4 full time guys, and one of them plows for some else because it's closer to home for him, which doesn't bother me. So what I do is get union operators who get laid off in the winter. Their all pretty happy and most guys call me well before the winter to ask for their job back.
  7. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,215

    Thats how we do it, great advice.
    So Fire n ice your a snow broker. I am assuming you have no equipment, no employees to talk about no real expenses, really nothing to lose. You sound like a great salesman. You sell snow services, and then get others to do your work, all on their own dime. Interesting I sell, and we do all the work in house. I find doing the work lots more time and trouble than getting accounts and managing them. There is certainly a place for subs, and its great you give them work. I think I was getting offended in the tone of your message, thats just me.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  8. Spucel

    Spucel Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    I see a lot of guys do this and yes...they usually come back for more.
  9. Rich Graz

    Rich Graz Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    The only problem with that is a lot of those guys are collecting unemployment until there next
    job comes along. So they would tend to want to be paid cash and that is something I will not do. If I pay cash they are not covered under my insurance and thats a problem waiting to happen. Do you pay them cash? Do you salary them for the whole season or are they hourly.
  10. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    We do a combo business. We "broker" or do what we call a "site specific sub agreement" for sites which we cannot reach logistically, or for those which we do not own or wish to lease extra equipment to service. I can sell more than we can produce in-house, so why not ?? Its less profit to the bottom line than work we self preform, but still well worth doing. I've had 5 year relationships with many of my subs. We pay according to our agreement, and we offer fair pricing to the subs in a "take it or leave it fashin" they retain the majority of the revenue, as is fair since they take the majority of the risk and labor burden. Once in 6 years operating like this I had to bail a sub out. second 12"+ storm of the season, there was simply nowhere left to plow the snow and he didn't have access to enough iron to make it right before they needed the lot open. They know the expectation, they know what they'll be paid and when. I only fired one sub, once. And it was a BS move on his part I think. We negotiated rates, then the day of a storm he tried to up his prices, I said nope, you signed the agreement, you'll do the work, he said no I can't, I said OK, your fired. Had another loader there in 3 hrs and the best sub I've ever had replaced the original guy.
  11. Fire_n_Ice

    Fire_n_Ice Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    Interesting!!! I have re-read my comment 100times and I still can't come up with how my comment would be offensive to ANYONE! I guess the only thing I can do is laugh... I am actually a guy that benefits from my own advice. I make 100% of my money subcontracting for other people. For some people's businesses, it makes more fiscal sense to subcontract as much as possible instead of buying more equipment and employing guys. If thats not what makes more sense for YOUR business, then by all means, please disregard my comment. It was geared to give another perspective to the gentleman that asked a question.... Maybe it's just me, but it kinda seems like he was looking for different kinds of advice...

    Good luck to you this season!
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  12. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    There is a large company here that does something along the lines of what fire and ice suggested. We used to be a sub for them.
    They have most of there own shovelers, they own all of the snow pushers, and have 8-10 area managers that have plows on there personal trucks.
    They hire sub contractors supply the snow pushers for equipment, do all the shoveling, and sub out a salt truck but supply all the salt.
    They have very minimal equipment if any besides a few trucks and 4 wheelers. Its a differnt style business model and interesting. From what I could tell and people talking they were headed a bit down hill but with record snow last year I am guessing it bailed them out of any financial issues they had.
  13. Fire_n_Ice

    Fire_n_Ice Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    That record snow last year bailed alot of people out of financial issues. But on the same token, it put alot of people out of business, as they either way under bid a seasonal contract and/or had to pay companies, like the one I sub for, to finish up the season. I'm hopin for just as much snow this winter!!!
  14. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,215

    I think I was having a bad day. When I read your post and you went all capitals with ALWAYS & ON THIER OWN DIME I felt like you were coming across like an NSP. It was good advice, nothing wrong with it, just my feelings about NSPs was coming out.:drinkup:
  15. Fire_n_Ice

    Fire_n_Ice Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    I hear ya, I have those every day!
  16. badgerfan

    badgerfan Member
    Messages: 49

    how do you like that Tundra for plowing? We do mostly residential accounts and I have 3/4 and 1 ton trucks along with our subs. I'm looking to get a 09 or 10 tundra crewmax for a personal vehicle and then plowing with it in the winter. Any feedback would be appreciated
  17. Jacobsmovinsnow

    Jacobsmovinsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    location, location location. can this be done in New Jersey. Now I know down in the States they get all hyper over a inch of snow, Its like a teenager getting all worried over 1 zit while some pimple infested 14 year old will put up with the new arrival. Retaining good employees will always be a problem.......... Its not their business and if something better comes along they will move and can you blame them.
  18. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,371

    I love my Dad's Tundra. It plows wicked good and Tundras handle plows very well. I probably wouldn't even look at any other 1/2 if I was buying a new 1/2 ton truck.
  19. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    im doing this who thing all on my own next year, i can tell you 2 things im going to do. out fit my current rig with a v blade and v box, buy another truck for my old plow for back up. then i will find a good reliable sub that has a full time job or whatever that wouldn't mind to come out only if i needed him or on big events. everything else would be on my own unless i needed back up, witch im hoping i wont need but all hell could break loose in no time.
  20. NickT

    NickT Senior Member
    Messages: 707