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Warning: Noob in need of a little direction

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by tru450, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. tru450

    tru450 Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Yes, I have read the stickies I have done a little research on Google and on plowsite. I still have some questions.

    1: Have I ever ran a plow truck before or skidsteer with a pusher box?


    If the answer is no, go get a job running equipment for someone that is established and skip the rest of the questions

    Not an option

    2: This is for the guys that skipped the first question and are going to do it anyway. How about you sub for someone than? As a sub answer these questions:


    3: Do you already have a truck or skidloader designed for this work? If you are just going to do residential drives, yes you can get away with a jeep or compact truck. If your doing commercial lots 3/4 ton is a minimum. Some guys use 1/2 tons starting out but will upgrade to a 3/4 ton if they are in it for the long haul. If your equipment doesn't fit these see question #1

    I have a 2008 Ford F450 dually / crew cab / lariat with 8 foot bed

    4: So you don't have a truck that fits set requirements, and going to keep pushing forward? Can you afford to work for free? Because you will for the first 2-3 months. How much is that outfit going to cost before it is all set up? $5k min probably closer to $8k for something that isn't going to cost a fortune for repairs.

    I do have 1 truck. See above.

    5: So you skipped all the questions above and have a new truck with plow. Do you have the right insurance? If your subbing not that big of a deal, call your agent, tell him your plowing snow, have it added to your policy probably not more than a few 100 bucks. Your going all out and going on your own to start, better find a commercial agent. Granted this isn't just for plowing, I'm also a home builder and my General liability is only $16-20k per year.

    I just contacted my agent as soon as I read this and am in the process of getting snow removal added to my commercial policy.

    6: So you got a truck, insurance, and your own contract. How much salt do you put down? To much and your throwing money away, not enough and someone slips and falls. There is your first claim and your rates just went up!

    I'm working on the salt thing. Can't be rocket science.

    7: Who is going to carry the costs of salt, fuel, insurance till your client pays your bill 30, 60, 90 days latter?

    Already have that taken care of. Benefits of working 24/7 with no sleep lol

    8: Where do you put snow piles, and why there? Which way does the wind blow and it blows your pile which way?

    Working on that when I do walk thru tomorrow. Again, somewhat same principles as irrigation. Isn't rocket science.

    9: How long is it going to take to clear x said lot and at what time do you go out to have it cleared before people start showing up?

    24 hour locations, people are always there. Vehicle count varies on too many factors. Could be dead, could be packed.

    10: Is that pile of gold still there when you skipped all the other questions?

    That pile of gold isn't showing up at my doorstep. I have to plow my path there. Pun intended.

    I have a seen a lot of positive compliments on Boss plows and I do like how they look. The GVWR of my truck is 14500, dry weight of 9300#. I was talking with my Boss dealer last fall about things and he said entry level medium plows start at 14000 GVWR, and the entry level size is 9' 2". He was saying I probably would be best with an 8' 2" to lighten up the front end some. I am sticking with a V plow, that I am sure of.

    What brand / size / additional options would I need to make it a worthy investment? I have no problem spending money on the right equipment the first time as long as I am properly educated and won't do so until I am. I'd rather spend extra now than regret it later.

    The commercial lots I am bidding on are not the biggest, and rather odd layouts. Bigger isn't necessarily better. But I can't make my purchase focused on just these three accounts as I will gather more accounts.

    I am also assuming SnowEx has the best salt boxes around (correct me if I'm wrong). I am also in need of laying salt. What spreader is the "go to" for you guys?

    I have been warned by many a people (family members and friends of family, not many with actual plowing experience) saying the front end of my truck is going to be beat to hell. With only having one truck at the moment, this is my only hesitation. I have no choice though as I am bidding on a year round maintenance gig. Truth behind this or just old wives tales?

    If I am missing anything else, inform me. Tear apart my questions, whatever you guys got. I appreciate the time taken to lend me information.
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Do you like blondes or brunettes?:confused:
  3. tru450

    tru450 Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Depends which one is buying the beer lol
  4. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 594

    Seems like you're doing your research. The one thing that really stuck out to me is the plow question. Do not get an 8'2. Especially since you have a dually, it will frustrate you to no end. Trust me i hated my boss 8'2 to no end, and i only had a ssuper cab long bed srw. I liked my 9'2 much much better.dont worry about the front end, you have a 450 for crying out loud lol
  5. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 594

    Plowing can do some damage if you don't know what you are doing and beat the crap out of it. The truck I have done the most plowing with is the 2002 f250 and it spent from 2004-2009 with an 8' x blade and then from 2010 til now with a 9.5 Xtremev and the truck has 200k on it and all but one tie rod is original and iI have done two sets of ball joints and one set of wheel bearings. the dodge 1500 i ran for two years was a completely different story though. If the truck is made for it then you will bbe fine, 3/4 or bigger
  6. R75419

    R75419 Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    About Snow Ex, I used to think they were the best to have. They may still be the best to have but I have the worst dealer support (here in NW Ohio) of any product I have ever dealt with. I dont know how big your lots are but you will be limited some on size with your pick up box as to how big of a salter you can have and still carry a push spreader and blower for sidewalks. (I prefer to use a blower and spreader as we have over 1/2 mile of sidewalks, shovels and spreading salt from a bucket by hand dont get it for me) :nono:
    As far as the Boss plow, you cant go wrong, in my opinion, with a 9'2" V. With a 8'2" on a cclb you wont cover your tracks as you turn. We elected not to go with the xt when we bought ours in 2011 and I dont know if I would now based on the lots we currently plow. In our lots we have to carry all the snow to specific spots and cant windrow over curbs, islands etc. so we didnt need a plow that would throw snow a mile. The DXT, however, is very interesting to me because of the added safety to the truck and the plow. In 2011 I did encounter a difference in pavement height from base coat to top coat asphalt that tweaked my plow resulting in a costly couple hour repair. The trip edge of the DXT more than likely would have prevented that.

    Best of luck to you as you venture into the frozen tundra of white gold this winter!
  7. tru450

    tru450 Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Thank you for the best of luck.

    I am seriously interested in the new DXT stainless steel. Might have to go get a quote soon.

    Both of my dealers for the plow and the snowex products are awesome. Dealer support isn't any concern. I would be seriously ticked off and confrontational if my main equipment dealer had poor standards of service. Granted I don't spend a ton on equipment, there will be a day soon where I will, and what then? It's just not conducive to either side to have that issue. It's making me mad just thinking about it :gunsfiring:
  8. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,676

    You have a rather long truck to begin with and a plow is gonna add 3 feet to that. Makes it tough in tight spots. So how odd and small are these lots?
  9. MajorDave

    MajorDave Senior Member
    Messages: 968

    Love my Boss (straight blade), but ya, my truck is long - challenging sometimes...no longbed on the next one...
  10. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Crew cab long bed dually....be like plowing with a school bus!
  11. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    I'd go with a 9'2'' DXT with wings
  12. dcamp824

    dcamp824 Member
    Messages: 81

    We have a sno-ex 7500 and i hate it if the salt is not completly dry it jams right up.. we also have 3 tarco stainless v-boxes 2.5 yd & 4yd and they both spread much better and have been prob free.. snow ex parts are also expensive.. im also a fan of the fisher xv rock solid prob free performance and they scrape the ground cleaner then the boss.
  13. dcamp824

    dcamp824 Member
    Messages: 81

    We also have a f-550 reg cab with the long wheel base it's a real pain in the ass to plow with.. turning is horrible. We pretty much just use it to salt unless a truck breaks down.. because its so tough in tighter parking lots.
  14. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  15. DuramaxLML-42

    DuramaxLML-42 Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    Get a 9.2 foot boss or a western 9.6 v plow. Youve got a wide truck that is long. I had a 8.6 on my crew cab standard bed and it was not wide enough to reach curbs and lost snow like crazy. Got myself a 9.6 and i cannot wait to feel the difference. As for you front end, your 450 has something like 7klbs. youre good for the 9.6. 1000-1100lbs easy. Good luck!
  16. norcoprop

    norcoprop Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    I agree here fully. I have 8'6" extreme v's on single cab and extracab and they just are not wide enough,every curve you make your rear is out of the plowed path every time
  17. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    You have A LOT of truck for the areas you're describing. You need at least 9 foot of plow for you truck (if it has the front axle capacity) I would consider a 10 foot vee. Manufacturer isn't important that's a Ford, Chevy, Dodge type thing. Buy whatever offers you the best dealer support.

    Dump body? Consider an Under tailgate or tailgate replacement spreader increases your volume capacity, easy to unload extra material and keeps your weight centers low.

    What material will you be spreading? If you go with a hopper style unit a auger unit is excellent for salt and low volume sand mixes but for straight or heavy sand concentrations drag chain (conveyor) is superior.

    24 hour site? Consider a BU camera. You have pizz poor visibility with that truck and auto damage claims always go against you if you are in reverse when the collision occurs.

    Research spreaders, SnowEX makes acceptable units but they are far from the leader of the industry, many manufacturers have products that can serve your needs.

    Why a vee plow? Blizzard and others make expanding plows that will do everything a Vee can do better EXCEPT bust drifts and initial pushes in deep snows, both situations you are unlikely to find in the type areas you described.

    All the neigh sayers are right, you can do a great deal of damage to a truck plowing snow but it's more a result of operator than the equipment. Yes, it increases the wear load on Tires, Brake, wheel bearings, steering components, etc, but for major costly repairs it is more a case of poor operation than equipment brutality.

    No this isn't rocket science but don't underestimate the difficulty. If you've never done this you have a HUGE learning curve to do this profitably. Cornell Univ, state DOTs, SIMA, ASCA, and may others offer charts and training of the proper choice, application and volume of material, when to apply at what rates. How do you plan to load the material? Do you have a central easily accessible location to store material? Have you mapped your work areas? Noted snow storage, drain areas, hot and cold spots for proper material application, areas that could/will require special attention? What tires are on your truck, all weather :nono: or good winter rubber?
  18. tpendagast

    tpendagast Member
    Messages: 53

    1) if it wasn't rocket science you wouldnt be here asking questions.

    2) having no experience at all and making an investment like you are is, well....dumb.

    3) the nay sayers dont know diddly about an f450... sure a half ton (which by far is the most common start out vehicle) will get tore up... but a 450 is as close as a pickup can get to medium duty commercial... we have had no problem with a BIG blizzard plow on the front of our 450 and this thing is huge and over 1000 lbs.

    I had a smaller plow on my dodge 3500, dont do it.
    Don't listen to a deal who wants to put a smaller plow on your truck to "save weight"

    What is said above about the expandable plows (like blizzard, western wideout, fisher xls ) vs v plows is true, UNLESS you get a new fisher xv2 and spot for the detachable wings... something the expandable plows dont do well is carry snow going around a corner.... the XV2? with wings? forget about it... hands down best plow you could possibly buy right now and PERFECT for the 450 (9'6" I think, but dont quote me... in the porcess of buying one for the senior partners new truck)

    IF you are sticking with boss, then get their big V plow that flares out at the sides like the fisher does (is that the DXT? I dont know boss very well) and again of you are going to stick with boss, then stick with them, buy a sander from there too.... they have a poly hopper, get that one (especially if your spreading straight salt, or a magic-like product)
    The more you buy from one dealer the better the relationship you will have with the one guy...then in the middle of a storm, when nothing is open and you need some dielectric grease and hose clamp... guess who your buddy is...