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Tired of counting on snow

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by amars415350, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. amars415350

    amars415350 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Hey guys I'm in Wisconsin and I like many others on here depend on snow. I love doing snow removal with a passion, this is my eighth year in business. Depending on the year, snow removal makes up 40-60% of my gross income and the profit margin is way more than my other work not to mention way less time invested in actually working. That being said, I have been doing lawn care and landscaping until this fall. I sold the lawn care portion of my business because as many others are also seeing, the economy is driving up the competition and dropping the prices. I got feed up with doing the lawn maintenance and honestly in my area had such low profit margins that it wasn't worth it. So what I'm wondering what some of you other guys do in the summer that snow is bonus income, not that you won't be able to put food on the table if it doesn't snow like me. I am thinking of purchasing a mini excavator with several attatchments and just doing that but I'm not sure if I will be busy enough. Or maybe I would get a job working for a company that I get laid off in the winter and I can continue to plow. I just don't want to go get a "real job" full time, I think that would be dreadful. Thanks much for any imput!
  2. hunt 444e

    hunt 444e Member
    Messages: 62

    site work,septic system repairs or new septics tree work, trucking keep your head up im in nh looking at one of the slowest winters in 10 years
  3. shoeman68

    shoeman68 Member
    Messages: 67

    Work on getting more seasonal accounts for the winter. Get a mix that works for you, some per "push" or "inch", some seasonal. Seasonal will cover your bills if snow is lacking. They pay whether it snows or not.

    Boston is looking bleek for snow for 2011-2012 season. A complete 180 degrees from last winter (81 inches!). Snow is like going to the casino on the East Coast, for sure.

    Good Luck. Hope this helps.
  4. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    Thats this industry, sucks. We do everything just to stay business, a full time 3 man mowing crew, bucket truck/chipper that dose sit alot but pays for itself every season, full time mulch/ edge crews for the spring. Then we do crazy hardscapes, stamped concrete, pavers, concrete waterfalls, lots of drainage jobs (mostly french drains), and everything else in between. This winter i'm working on landing a large rehab job in a commercial building. If i don't get it and no snow then its panic time. So if thats not jack of all trades i don't know what is.

    Goal now is to get trucks and crap paid off, this winter has scared me so far. Overhead is to high
  5. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I hear ya. Snow is my bread and butter in the winter as well. No bread or butter this year. I do industrial sweeping in the warmer months, but haven't built up enough customer base yet, to have that help much this time of the year. Ditch mowing may be an option for you or sealcoating/parking lot striping. Keep looking for a niche. Hang in there. Its tough for MANY of us this year. I have yet to drop a blade.
  6. jmac5058

    jmac5058 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    This is real bad in the Boston area the combination of the ***** economy and even worse winter I have gotten calls from more than one guy I know that wants me to cover their route for the rest of year because of truck troubles (repo I think) if it starts snowing its going to be quite busy for me.
  7. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    There's money to be made in Property Preservation. I'm sure there are companies that need help in your area. Go to your local Craig's List and type in REO or P&P and you'll see ads for jobs.

    There's plenty of work out there for people who want it.
  8. Eronningen

    Eronningen Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    I've said before in other threads that snow only accounts for about 10% of our gross income BUT it is highly profitable. So this year is starting to be a bugger. One thing that saves a guys is getting accounts that take salt at less than an inch or whatever. This month was salvaged nicely for me due to 5 salting events and a couple plows. Getting accounts that look for zero tolerance of snow or ice build up helps alot. One thing I need to work on is getting some seasonals or monthlys.
  9. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    What kind of profits were you making $$/hr or whatever?
  10. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    Here's a few questions for you to consider:

    1) Do you have any idea what a mini-ex costs not just to buy but to maintain?

    2) Do you have the ability to not just run one but to actually operate an excavator?

    3) Are you going to carry the proper insurances to be an excavating contractor or are you going to be like every other moron landscaper and think your gen liability is enough?

    4) Do you know what to charge for your machine and how to PROPERLY estimate jobs?

    5) Do you know how to excavate safely? Its not just you in the trench, there are others who's lives could be at risk.

    6) In the event of equipment failure do you have a back up plan or are you just going to pay the dealer's mech rates to fix your machine? If you're paying the dealer I hope you are charging a lot because they're not cheap, trust me.

    7) Do you know how to identify different soil structures and know what is safe to dig in and what soil types you will need shoring for?

    I'm not trying to discourage you I am merely pointing out some of the things you need to know. A lot of people think you just hop in a machine and stick the bucket in the ground but that isn't the case. These are just a few of the things off the top of my head I thought of when I read your post and these are things you seriously need to consider before investing in heavy equipment. If you have experience then good luck to you but if you don't go get a "real job", as you put it, and feed your family instead of sitting there hoping it snows.
  11. StuveCorp

    StuveCorp Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    Yeah, landscaping(and lawn care) sucks here. I had a mini x for a couple years and finally sold it off, was not a big money maker. A lot of times for small stuff guys would go and rent instead of hiring out. It was nice to use on the jobs but I figured it out and for the little I really needed it, just rent for those cases. Good luck, I'm trying to figure something better to do also.
  12. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    That comes off as being lazy.....just sayin.
  13. Canplow

    Canplow Senior Member
    Messages: 289

    I do house reno's and drywall keep me going through the whole year. Rent out dump trailer. Alot of roofers in the summer months look to rent them. Interior Painting has large margins for profit. Going to buy a snow maker and fill in all my per push driveways soon if we dont get snow! Haven't been out this year and that hurts.