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Starting this year / blowers only

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by d8on27@msn.com, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. d8on27@msn.com

    d8on27@msn.com Junior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 21

    Hey guys, great site. I own a roofing biz and have always thought about snow removal during the winter months. Never had any experience or $ to invest to get started. The last couple years I have been a sidewalk guy for another roofer that has a pretty large snow business. I ran a snowblower and salter and scoop for $17/ hr. We're out for 8-15 hours depending how much snow and do some decent sized commercial accounts and 6-7 residential accounts. For the residential accounts me and another guy have 1-2 blowers, salt, and scoops in the back of our truck (no plow), and bang out a normal sized 2 car width drive in 15 minutes. We'd only get 2 done an hour though, cause we're driving all over town to spread out accounts.

    Anyway this year I want to get some of my own accounts. It just dosent make sense to help build someone else's business when I could be doing it on my own. It wont take too many accounts to make up the $150-200 I make per event. Anyway starting out I want to keep my overhead low and target residential accounts that are easily done with blowers. If it goes well I can get into plowing and commercial accounts later. My goal for the year is to generate enough income to pay for two new blowers and replace the income I would have made working for someone else.

    What I don't have is a good grasp of is where my customers will come from. I'm guessing the people that know they wont shovel/blow their own driveway are probably also people that don't do lawn work and already have a lawn company? I dont want to lowball and I'm assuming they would only switch companies if they were dissappointed with their current service or the price was much lower.

    Is it just a numbers game and I just need to reach as many people as possible? I've already made up some flyers and handed out 350ish to higher end neighborhoods. I've gotten really good with Microsoft Publisher and can put out some pretty professional looking pieces. I also reload my ink cartridges myself so the cost is very minimal to put out masses of these flyers. If I knew I could count on a 1% response rate I'd have no problem handing out thousands. I'm worried that people that call will wait till right before or after a storm and I will have no idea what to prepare for. I certainly plan on knocking on doors after the first storm and expect some results that way. However I'd sure like to have something going into that first event.

    If you were in my shoes how would you approach this? I will have a hard time being convinced an ad in the paper will work, but maybe I need convincing?

    Mods, it appears as if my e-mail is my user name, can you let me know how to change that?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Sounds like you're on the right track and really know what to expect (calls shortly before and after a snowstorm). Sure, knock on doors. But don't be afraid to turn down the ones that are too far or just don't fit for whatever reason. Be sure to set the rate BEFORE you start and, once set, don't budge.

    Where in Iowa are you? I think they are a couple of members who may have some business for you. (Also, I'm curious as I'm from Iowa.)
  3. mmplowing

    mmplowing Member
    Messages: 56

    As Mick said it looks like you are certainly on the right track and have fair expectations going in. We did flyers this year and handed out approximately 200 or so and we picked up 5 driveways from that in a concentrated area. I also did some cold calling and picked up 3 accounts that way. I have never just used a snowblower so I am honestly not sure if selling that is any different then a plow, but I imagine not.

    Good luck and just pound the pavement.
  4. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Start with your previous roofing clients (if applicable)
    They already know you, you already have a network with them, they'll be your best return first.
    Fliers, postcards, many real estate counties are now online, and you can get all those addresses for free.
    I agree with the earlier post about you are going to have to take what you can get, no matter how spread out they are initially.
    Make sure your truck is lettered/signed, so when you are out, people see you.
    You should think about getting a laser printer (you referred to refilling cartridges, which should be an ink jet), it will be MUCH cheaper in the long run and it looks considerably better.
  5. d8on27@msn.com

    d8on27@msn.com Junior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 21

    Great feedback, thanks guys

    Hey Mick, I live in the Williamsburg area and am focusing on Coralville, North Liberty for now. I got 2 calls this morning (Monday) from the flyers I hung on Saturday so I'm very encouraged. I put a price on all the flyers as I hang them so every call should be a deal. I want to focus on a concentrated area to begin and was thinking I'd branch out to other areas of town once the snow flies, but I'll definately take them where I can get them. I can always canvas a neighborhood once I get one there. I'll look into the printer, this ones not even a year old though :rolleyes:. Thanks guys. I'm gonna go hand out some more flyers!
  6. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Good luck to you. You're quite a ways from anything I knew. I grew up in SW Iowa. My mother and some relatives live in Centerville.
  7. SnowKid16

    SnowKid16 Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Could you post pics of your flyers?
    Ryan :waving:
  8. Michael J. Donovan

    Michael J. Donovan Head Moderator, Online Communities Staff Member
    Messages: 1,269

    sorry I just saw this - send me an email Mike@LawnSite.com and let me know a user name that you would like to use and I can check into it for you