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Snow removal with no plow trucks

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by nicknd, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. nicknd

    nicknd Junior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 4

    I'm new to the forum, and I'm 18 years old. I've been doing snow blowing/shoveling since I was 13 for my parents and a neighbor a few houses down who pays me well. My friend and I are starting to work on a business plan for a company we want to start in the next few years; long story short, I've been saving 75% of what I make since I got my first job at 14 and want ways to get a little extra money NEXT winter while going to school and working 25-40 hours a week.

    The town I live in is about 32,000 people with the surrounding areas and such, and there are a fair amount of general contractors in the area. Since the town is old, many of the houses are close together with narrow driveways and small yards. I want to get a decent snowblower this spring (waiting for blowout sales) for next winter. I want to get a decent number of homes and small commercial places in the downtown area to start building up more money. I plan on having one large snowblower (possibly up to a 45" cut path) and two smaller ones. I want to market the idea that customers should choose snow blowing over plowinng because a plow can tear up your lawn, beat up the driveway, or run the possibility of hitting the customer's house or car (no offense to you plow drivers). My friend would be in on this and we would work together and cover for each other as needed around the part time jobs. I don't mind working 90 hours a week if I have to, I need the money and want to do something with my life.

    What does anyone think?:help:
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    being in businnes with a friend will ruin the friendship
    snow removal is a 24/7 job
    a snowblower will and can cause as mucm...if not more damage
  3. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    i think you should listen to hydro.
    dont sell your business plan on pure BS, sell your self on good quality hard work.
    if you start doing parking lots with a snow blower you might be in for a few surprises and they are not good ones.
  4. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,747

    Maybe change your idea of "small commercial parking lots" to something like "downtown business sidewalks." Sometimes you can get sidewalks on a 'trace' for service trigger. It is nice if you don't mind getting up EVERY single morning even if there wasn't snow in the forecast, just to check.
  5. loudcav

    loudcav Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 59

    heres what Id do if I wanted to get in business start out with just residential stuff and work your way up. push a discount to sighn up early that way you can go out to each house and view the property and take note of potential issues and Id personaly set up marking sticks for the edge of the paved areas. which is what I should have done at my own house this year but luckily Ive got alot of repairs to do to the grass anyways but that will be on the list for next year
  6. nicknd

    nicknd Junior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 4

    I didn't mean huge parking lots, you should see how small some of them around here are, its hard to maneuver any kind of vehicle in them. The snow blowing has absolutely nothing to do with my business plan, I was thinking of ways to make some extra cash on top of working 2 jobs, and I was trying to bring up snow blowing "as pure BS," it was simply a point I suggested to you on the forum. I do, however, appreciate everyone's response and opinions before I (or if I) do this. I want some opinions from the people who know what they're doing.

    My business plan has nothing to do with lawn services, it's something that the town I live in could need, but doesn't have; but hey, that's why you do the plan before jumping into things.
  7. nicknd

    nicknd Junior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 4

    Just as a side note, how has it been in Fargo? I'm originally from North Dakota and miss it.
  8. peterng

    peterng Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    I'd redefine my business plan. Buy 2 single stage Toro's. Shovel your gutts out on the bad end of driveway mess and blow the rest in short order. Get one and then let it show you what it can do. 80lbs, seconds in/out. They have made me a lot of money with little investment. Compared to the cost of the trucks and plows. Look for those high density condo units. 30 units, all with garages in one complex off a private street. Offer to blow everyone out for $20. Run those numbers. Look at your transit times, seconds compared to minutes. Money to be had. I'm tempted to try a Craftsman, half the price. Surely get you through a season if not more?
    Good luck,
  9. 2menwithshovels

    2menwithshovels Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Hey there from another newbie to the forum.

    I've been in business for just over 1 year, I did start it on the same idea as you with a friend, we wanted to make extra cash as i was doing pavement painting at the time. We decided that we would take it further then just snow shoveling, by the end of febuary 2010, my business partner was no more, and no longer a friend, and he was a good friend. You just clash, and it doesn't work out in the end. So if you do plan to keep this an extra cash thing, keep it at that, but if your in school, working another job or 2, do remember, unless your clients are okay with out a timely service, usually for a reduced price(and then at what point are you making money) then it will be very hard to service them in a timely manner.

    The snow could come and go at any point, and between the 2 of you if you want it to be worth it, you'll prob want to profit around $5,000.00 each, which from the sounds of it, you would be at around 30-35 clients. Could you imagine doing ALL those on your own, because your friend is not available to come help you? I'm not trying to steer you away from it, Ive made it quite well, so i think at least. I just want to try and give you a heads up for what you can encounter. I did same thing, no plows, just shovels n snow blowers, and i found that more times then none, it was quicker to pull out just the shovels rather then the blower as well, I have not used 1 snow blower this season yet, Can usually have half the driveway done by the time I would have the blower out and be done before the blower would be done the driveway.

    It sounds like your really going at it the same way I did a year ago, please feel free to pm me or email me, would love to answer any question you may have, or help you out. It's a great business to be in. The one thing i find most clients care about is, service and quality of service.

    Thumbs Up :redbounce
  10. dpplank

    dpplank Junior Member
    from topeka
    Messages: 4

    This is my second year doing snow removal on my own. Worked for a friend for 3 years prior. He hated doing snow so I took over. Started with a single stage toro blower & got addicted to single stage. Bought a yard machine this year. Made good money last year, here in Topeka we usually only get less than 6 inches @ a time. I went from about 9 accounts to 30 accounts & a cul-de-sac with 13 drives this year. I agree with the other guys, service is the most important! If you do more than than expected word of mothe advertising will do wonders for you. I also picked up a lot of accounts by putting it on facebook that I had x# of openings. IMO do this as your own business & sub hire your friend. Good Luck.
  11. SportsmanJay

    SportsmanJay Member
    Messages: 35

    AGREED 100%!!! That's about the only way you'll stay friends! No one is just saying this to say it, it just always happens! One person will always think they are working harder and deserve more money than the other.... Usually it's the lazy guy thinking this, thinking it was all HIS idea, thinking it's all HIS clients/customers, thinking it's all HIS money, and so on. Get the picture? Sub the work out to him, give him a percentage of the drives he does, it's easier.
  12. 2menwithshovels

    2menwithshovels Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Spoken perfectly. Thats how it was for me, I would work on thing, like the business plan, or ideas for getting more business, and I would ask for him to write a part of it, that would take someone like a day tops to do, 3 weeks, a month later I'd finally get it. We bout the Dodge ram I use to own, put everything in my name, it was our work truck, but for some reason instead of making the payments for our work truck, he felt it was more important to pay for his car insurance. :confused:

    Best of luck!
  13. juan91

    juan91 Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    been working with my friend for three years, communication is key and you need to treat each other like business partners, not friends....

    STIHL GUY Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 663

    i dont mean to bust on your plan but if the plow driver knows what he's doing its not gonna tear the lawn or mess up the driveway. you would be much more efficient with a plow if you have enough customers lined up to ensure that you will be making money
  15. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I'm afraid I have to agree- if you have a plow, even on an old Jeep, with close together drives, you can be done with 4 to 6 drives before a snow blower is done with one. Blowers have their place, but I unless you have that specific niche, a cheap reliable truck with plow is a better way to go.

    And yes, never partner in business with friends, and further, don't EVER hire family. Hire friends, but hiring family can easily go bad. Been there.
  16. JCResources

    JCResources Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Be careful trying to be in business with friends or family. I've seen it and experienced it going bad too many times. You obviously know how to work hard and want to make a difference in the world.

    Work hard and do what you say you will do, that's all you really need to know.