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What approach to take?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by ChrisfromVT, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. ChrisfromVT

    ChrisfromVT Junior Member
    from VT
    Messages: 1

    New to site and to the plow business. I've plowed plenty of times before with a Toyota, but never for anyone but myself and close friends.
    I live in a private development in N. VT that has over 2 miles of roads and about 15 driveways. Our HOA spends about $7-9,000 annually for plowing and sanding services (2 different guys) and I'm considering buying a truck to sand and plow the neighborhood if I could make it work.
    Here's my biggest questions...
    1. Since I'm just plowing a private development, do I need to form a business or can that be avoided?
    1a. Given that, would I be better off buying a truck through my business so as to take advantage of any tax breaks?
    2. What's the best bidding approach?...seasonal rate or pay--per-push
    3. Do you just apply a standard markup on sand costs to make a few bucks?
    4. Truck...I'm thinkin Sierra 15 or 2500

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    to plow, or not to plow that is the question?


    1. You need insurance!!!! workmans compensation, general liability, commercial liability riders,
    equipment insurance against theft, vandalism, storm damage, fire,.

    a. you may not be able to deduct a truck, plow, sander, sand, equipment repairs for YOUR type of business if it is unrelated to this type of endeavor.
    b. what if you have a poor winter and little snow?

    2. You need a DBA certificate to register as a small business and to charge and recieve sales tax.

    3. Do these folks do other work in the area like mowing/asphaulting?

    4. What are you going to load the sand in the truck with? Do you have a place to store a trailer load of sand and keep it dry or heat it with a salamander?,what will you do if it is frozen?, will your home owners association allow you to store sand and allow a commercial plow truck or tractor to park in your driveway?

    5. Can you afford a large payment to buy a truck, a plow,and a sander? a small skid loader and pay for it the year round? Or buy a big enough tractor with a snow blower that can double as a plow (PRONOVOST PXPL 50-75) and a detachable front end loader for example and purchase a large rear mounted spinner spreader to do the job-it would cost you less money to buy a system this way if you only intend to do the HOA.

    a. the very large spinner spreaders are easy to attach and detach to load them with bucket and then reconnect them to the three point hitch.

    6. How are the snow removal contracts and sanding contracts structured?, by the snow fall amount?, on call service?, contractors descretion? flat rate for plowing and sanding? what about ice control?, payment structure?, dispute resolution and contract cancellation by either party?

    a. What about excessive snow falls requiring the removal of snow what will you do
    to remove it and dump it some where? will they allow snow to be dumped and left to melt somewhere? Do you even have room to store snow in the neighborhood?

    b. What about the drainage ditches?, if you bury them with snow will you be dealing with seasonal flooding due to snow in the drainage areas? is there sufficient room to plow and push back snow?

    7. There is no preventing these other folks from charging less(low balling) than you would to begin with.

    8. If the HOA does not allow any kind of equipment and supplies storage for sand, salt, fuels are they willing to change the bylaws to allow a member to do this?
    a. what if the local zoning will not allow a commercial business to operate in the area?

    Remember that you would be liable and subject to the rules and zoning just as they would be liable to you for payment of services rendered.

  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Since you already have a business just add snow removlw to it
    Make sure your insurance will cover snow removal
    How did you HOA do the bidding before?
    Get at least a 3/4 ton for plowing and sanding.