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Solo operators and back-up trucks

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Joel B., Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Joel B.

    Joel B. Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 233

    Do you solo operators have a back-up truck/plow ready to go if something happens to your main truck? I was thinking about getting a Jeep/plow for a back-up but am concerned that it might not get much use (I could still use the Jeep for some running around but I could have a $3000-$4000 plow sitting doing nothing). Then again, it would sure be a life saver to have a back-up at 2:00 in the morning.

    I do have friends in the business that could help, but that would be after they finish their own route and I can't imagine my customers being too happy about waiting to get plowed out.

    Anyway, I appreciate any advice,

    Joel B.
  2. mmwb

    mmwb Senior Member
    from wyoming
    Messages: 114

    I will, starting this year, have my other truck set up as a back up, but with the same plow. I.e., if there are major problems with the plow, I'm still out of luck. You don't have to put a $4000 plow on the back up vehicle. Find an old Western conventional. They are nigh unto bullet proof, you could probably pick one up cheap, and it'll still get the job done.
  3. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    what kind of plowing do you do? I did just that I got a Jeep for backup. On the first storm I decided to try the Jeep out..... sold the truck! Have bean using only Jeeps for 22 years, NO trucks. Why? I payuppayup my income!

    I plow driveways

    Why not get the Jeep and ad more customers say 20% more and get a driver for the Jeep.
    then if the truck brakes down you still have a plow rig to finish up with.
  4. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    I have a back-up and have used it in a pinch many times.
  5. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I have two back up trucks, One for heavy snows, and one for light snow. I only got them because I picked them up so cheap that I almost feel like I stole them. The guilt has been hard to deal with, but I figure for them price I just have to sleep wether I like it or not, lol.

    I picked up a 91 chevy s-10 blazer for $1,000 with a 6.5 meyer on it that just had a new motor and tranny put in it 3,000 miles ago. I also picked up an old county F-750 dump truck for $3,000 with a Gledhill 11 ft plow, and hydrolic salt spreader on the back of it. It's an old truck with 26,000 orginal miles on it. Might look a little rough but I used it last year on an 11 inch snowfall and it doesn't even care if it's pushing anything or not. I am sure as long as I can get traction I could push a 48 in snowfall without any problems.
  6. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    this has been discoced in depth a few months back if you want to read it over

    Once you own a back up truck -- you would never own a plow business with out one... just the peace of mine saves stress

    Why would the plow cost 3-4000? ummmm buy used,... like 1200 will get you what you want -
  7. grnstripes

    grnstripes Senior Member
    Messages: 237

    I had just one truck last winter starting out with my own biz. brand new truck and plow, plow broke and took 3 and a half weeks to fix I was just lucky my buddy had a truck I could borrow this winter I have a second truck and driver
  8. Joel B.

    Joel B. Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 233

    Thanks for all the advice. Many of you suggest a used plow, which would be a great idea but what are the odds of finding the right plow for your particular vehicle, the right mount, all the hardware, and all in decent condition for the right price? I would think that would be very hard to find.
  9. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Well, you have to decide which is worth more to you: time, or money? Spend the time to find a plow, preferably with a supplier/dealer nearby for service & parts (maybe even the mount for a used plow found elsewhere). The plow can be anywhere in your driving radius. It doesn't have to be pretty to pay the bills; a 3-5 year old plow with fresh hoses & fluids should make for a great backup any day (and many run those age plows as front line for years more). Consider a used plow like a used truck: no high purchase prices, great dependability, lots of life left. Find a whole setup together & you're ahead of the game (and most people will tell you that a certain mount fits 199x-200x GM, Ford, Dodge, whatever).
  10. theguynextdoor

    theguynextdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    I just got a back-up truck. It's acutally just as nice or nicer than my other truck. The peace of mind will be nice this year. If something breaks at 2 am, just leave the truck and start using the backup. For the right price, a back up truck will end up saving you money, time, and stress. I ended up picking up enough driveways to need the back up truck, so it will be paying for itself. If one breaks down, we could do them all with one truck if needed.
  11. djagusch

    djagusch 2000 Club Member
    from mn
    Messages: 2,107

    I just picked up a back up last month. Been looking around for around 3 months before that. So now I have 2 99 Superduty's. My regular truck is a 99 F250 CC V10 with a 7.5 unimount. My back up is a 99 F350 Supercab 7.3 diesel using the same plow (bought the truck for $3500). I found the mount on ebay for $200 and bought the wiring harness from the dealer. I'm still looking for a 8 or 8.5 unimount for the right price. Patience can save you money if you have it.
  12. Get Plowed AK

    Get Plowed AK Member
    Messages: 78

    Preventative Maintainance is critical. I dont have any back up's but after every day the trucks go in to thaw out and get looked over. Grease every 10 work days Oil every 20 work days. Off season change u joints and all your major stuff and you wont have a problem. And a small inventory parts is nice. Unless you rod your stuff. Both my trucks are hard at it for 16 hours each snow day. Knock on wood. I have never had a big break down. And my trucks are both hight miles and my other stuff a few years ago was old but i was never broke down. Just depends on how you roll your maintainance routine.
    for me a down day is around 4k so gotta be on it. Hope it helped
  13. Get Plowed AK

    Get Plowed AK Member
    Messages: 78

    And I have never had problem with any of my boss plows. Even my old '96 v plow. 1 broken sping after the plow was ran for almost 11 years.