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Taking on commercial accounts

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Fred886, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Fred886

    Fred886 Member
    Messages: 50

    This is my second year plowing. I've gone from 20 residentials my first year to 30 residentials my second year. I have the opportunity to expand into commercial next season with the addition of a condo complex and a few nursing homes. My question is what is the biggest difference between the residentials and commercial. I want to research now so next season I can hit the ground running. I am fully insured. Thanks for the advice in advance.
  2. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 722

    They need to be babysat, also tolerances are lower and liability is higher.
  3. Fred886

    Fred886 Member
    Messages: 50

    Thanks, I know there are a lot more aspects of commercial compared to residential. I've never ran a spreader before for salt. Anything specifically I should keep in mind when searching for one?
  4. dodgesprt00

    dodgesprt00 Member
    Messages: 47

    Watch out for the nursing homes. They will drive you crazy. I mean if you get the right contract you can smile when they call and ask why havent you salted the lot when its snowing an 1" a hour. As for a spreader i would stick with a nice tailgate unit. We run fisher 1000's and use bagged salt. It works out great with the scattered sites we do.
  5. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 722

    We run a poly caster, no problems, put as much or as little salt where it's needed and doors allow you to pre load before storm without tarping.
  6. Fred886

    Fred886 Member
    Messages: 50

    I'll definitely look into those. Looking at adding two salters so I have a backup. Do any of you keep your salt on the plow site? I could probably keep a pallet at the condos. Just wondering your take on this and if it poses any problems. I'll have to look into the sidewalk aspect of things too.
  7. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    last year i did my first commercial lot. a small meat market that mostly did deliveries to restaurants and had a very small customer service area so there main concern was the hill and getting the trucks out and there employees. didn't have to worry a ton about customers coming in.

    anyway i loved it. i was out every thing it snowed even 1/4 to 1/2 an inch at least salting. like was said they need to be babysat. but that was kind of what i was looking for, instead of sitting at home waiting for the 2 inch trigger and bugging my buddies about what they were seeing while out doing there lots.

    my lot was small enough and since it was my first i purchased a walkbehind spreader and used bags. i have a place in my neck of the woods that is open 24/7 during storms so you can just go get what salt you need and spread it. no need to store any at a shop, home or on site. i did at first until i knew how many bags i actually needed. after that i would stop at the salt place, pick up what i needed and go spread it. never kept more than a couple of bags in my truck at a time.

    but i don't have the advice to offer like some of these guys. last year was the only year i did that commercial lot. there guy had knee surgery and took the winter off. they are now back to using him and i'm back to strictly residential.
  8. BossPlowMaster

    BossPlowMaster Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    one thing i can say about commercials are they are wonderful for keeping you occupied during the storm and bring in easy money. However you do want to make sure everything is super legal and that you have all the paperwork in that is needed.... We ran into a situation in December that we couldn't get paid because the maintenance manager at the old folks home didn't follow the corporations policy for changing vendors... needless to say we sat on $2000 until about a week ago. I like the 24 hour joint i have... but i wish i didn't have to get up every hour or two to do just the one place in the middle of the night.payup
  9. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    All good advice given especially this one quote
  10. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    You will want to double check your insurance, as many commercial policies do not cover plowing at nursing homes because of the inherent added risk.