1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

starting a snow plow business?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by cowboy, Nov 25, 2000.

  1. cowboy

    cowboy Member
    Messages: 75

    Hey All,

    Well I'm going to be transfering to a University that is located in snow country, and I will be living about 30 miles away from it in a small town of about 1700 people with another couple towns next to it totaling probably another 3400.

    my question is, how much does it cost to start a business like this as far as would a college student be able to start it and make sufficient money in a town(s) this small?

    this place gets quite a bit of snow a year.

    anyway, if you can give me a general idea of the costs a month if any of you are running a smaller business. and just general start up costs.

    thanks a bunch


    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    that depends ,do you allready have a truck that's
    capable of pushing snow?
    how many other outfits in the area plowing snow?
    to many in a small area = stiff competion and less profit.
  3. Snow Pro

    Snow Pro Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    Your biggest up front expense is going to be a truck with a blade. New everything will cost you $35,000 +. Of course used can be anything from $1000 for a piece of junk that won't be reliable on up. You can use the phone line out of your house/ apartment so the only other real expense you'll have is for stationery, business cards and brochures or some other marketing tools. Being the end of November it's almost too late to start now. I would think almost everyone has a contract by now.

    Good luck!
  4. cowboy

    cowboy Member
    Messages: 75

    thanks for the replies so far,

    well I'm already planning on purchasing a 4x4 for moving out there, and have the money lined up for that ( 76-79 Chevy/GMC 3/4 ton, 350 unless I can find it with the 250 or 292 I6) I have always had good luck with 70-early 80 pickups as far as reliability (my current 81 4x2 chevy has 331,000 on it and have had it over a year with not one problem)

    I'm planning for next year, as far as blades do you recommend new or could I find a decent one used you think?
    what are your favorite brands?

    well thanks again for the help!

  5. CCLC

    CCLC Member
    Messages: 91

    You can find good used plows around. Western and Meyers are good in my experience. I haven't used any others but I'm sure that people will recommend them.

    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    i bought my first plow used 5 yrs ago and have not had any
    problems with it. i have a snoway with the down pressure
    system. i'm not getting into what plow is the best,although i will say mine is not.......because it is not a v plow!!
    that will have to wait till next year.
    good luck.
  7. Snow Pro

    Snow Pro Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    I've always liked Western. Look at what you can get replacement parts for easily. Remember every minute of down time costs you $$$ during a storm.
  8. MJ

    MJ Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Cowboy, you might want to consider doing the same thing (kind of) that I'm doing. I've never plowed before, but planning to start a business. First, I'd say a 4x4 is essential, at least 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton preferable. I bought a new Fisher 7'6". Fisher because it's a local company and dealer service is local. Installed $3200. Start small and build slow. Consider adding more services like sanding. Then keep on this site and pick these guys' brains for experience. Consider everything they all have to offer, use what'll work for you and disregard what you can't or don't want to use. Some tend to pick on each other and be opiniated but all have good advise.

    Good Luck
  9. cowboy

    cowboy Member
    Messages: 75

    Looking at past posts, I read about pull plows.

    Now I don't know what my commercial/resident mix would be but would you recommend getting a regular plow or a pull plow.
    How much more difficult is it to use a a regular plow on a driveway? And how long does it take you to do a regualr driveway?

    Wondering if it would be worthwhile, of course probably not as easy to find used.

  10. MJ

    MJ Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Cowboy, an important consideration for you is: Are you going to establish a "legal" business or "under the table"? The main thing is you can't get commercial accounts without insurance. As far as used, I don't know about your area but I've found getting used to be difficult and doesn't really save much unless you buy a used truck with a plow already on it. Used plows are usually used up and junk.
  11. cowboy

    cowboy Member
    Messages: 75

    that brings up a good question,

    about how much is insurance, what about being bonded?
    What are the costs of these things?

    this forum is great! thanks everyone for being so helpful

  12. MJ

    MJ Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Cowboy, regarding insurance. This is on top of regular vehicle insurance. Call your ins company and ask for a quote. There are two basic types - coorespond to same as "full coverage" and "liability only". Liability only for me is $570 a year. Probably higher for you, but check. Lot of guys around here do residential driveways only without insurance. But that's like being an uninsured motorist - you're taking a real risk if you damage a person's car in the driveway, hit the garage etc. Also, check on this. Is your regular insurance any good if you have a plow attached and get in a plain traffic accident?

    You might be better off shoveling sidewalks.
  13. MJ

    MJ Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    --- you shouldn't need to be bonded. That's usually if you're handling other peoples' money or working inside their house where you could steal something.
  14. cowboy

    cowboy Member
    Messages: 75

    I was looking at the weatherbase site and it says average snow for the town is 79.6

    any of you guys that operate in similiar snow how much do you charge for driveways?

    ah, ok so the insurance isn't like business insurance or whatever it is just if you ruin something plowing. So that wouldn't be to much of a cost.

    looks like a pretty good business!


    [Edited by cowboy on 11-25-2000 at 09:58 PM]
  15. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    It's definately a good business to get into if you don't mind being out for long hours. I too have a SnoWay plow, and I'm very happy with it. Western, Meyer, Fisher, Boss... they're all good. Just find one that will do what you want it to do. I would recommend a new one, just for the fact that it's far less likely to break on you your first night out. As far as indurance goes, call your agent. It varies so much around the country, it's hard to say what you'll pay. When you start getting contracts lined up, ask people what they've been paying... they'll usually tell you. If you can live with the figure they throw at you, go for it.

  16. Lazer

    Lazer Senior Member
    Messages: 399

    SlimJimZ71 wrote:

    "as far as your indurance goes, call your agent."

    Is that Endurance? 'cause I'd like to get an agent for that! ;)

    ~just struck my funny bone. InSurance and Endurance are both critical in the snow business.
  17. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    The Problem with the Snow Biz, is insurance, you have to have it there is no way around it.

    Most Insurance Agents: Will sell you two types of coverage, commercial auto, and liability.

    Depending on your driving record, and your age, will determine the cost of your Insurance. However for anyone ages 16-21, Commercial Auto is going to be very expensive compared to personel auto.

    State Farm, has a plow rider policy aviable for personel auto. This may be cheaper in your case.

    The problem with commercial auto, is once you buy it, you got it. I don't think you can buy com insurance for 1/2 the year and personel for the other 1/2. I think you just have to keep buying commercial.

    I think a commercial policy for someone you age will be at least 1K.

    Then you have liablity, for a small one time opprtator, you may find liablity for as low as 300 for 1 million.

    I hope this helps.

    My Insurance is much different, because of the number or trucks, equipment, employees, ect, ect.

  18. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Sorry Lazer... it's been a long day.<img src=http://smilecwm.tripod.com/sp/stanico.gif>