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What do you guys do?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Bossman 92, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Alright, I am starting to sit down and look at snow contracts and I have a problem. I look at my accounts, and how long it took me to plow them, then I look at under ideal conditions what it should take to do them, ( start at 2 am and finish by 9am). I am missing out on 7 plowable hours! How do you guys set up your routes??? I would like to add some new accounts, but am affraid that it will quit snowing at 4am and I will be left bent over :dizzy: . The thing is I know what I am doing, and how to do it, but dont want to over book myself. I am getting ready to buy a skid loader for snow removal and just want to figure my route before I do.

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    are you talking commercial or residential? commercial i assume
  3. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Sorry, commerical.
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You need to be flexible with your route. Just find out what time the employees start coming in not when they open. For ex. if one place needs to be done by 7 and another by 9 you may have to drive by the one and come back later to the other one. Most places don't care how early they are plowed out. As long as I'm done 15mins before they get there they're happy. Or if you have to, plow out the employee area and were they have to walk to get in and finish later.If you want regular hours you may have to get a job at Micky D's!:nod:
  5. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Ok I think I had one too many brews when I typed that :dizzy: I guess what I am trying to ask is under perfect conditions I can plow an additional 7 hours, but we all know that never happens. How do you guys know when you have too many accounts to handle? I have two trucks and usually only run one unless it gets to be a big snow then we run both. Like I said if it only snows 1.5" and stops at the right time it's a cake walk. Now does that make sense?

    Hey Grandview, I think I would still plow snow even if it didn't pay anything. xysport
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    I have my route set up before it even snows. If you need to, drive each lot like you were plowing it and figure out a rough time line for each. I start with the early ones to open and work down from there. It takes some experience to try to get it close but varies with every snow.
  7. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Ok let me try this again. I know how long it takes to plow every place I have, and I have the route figured out as best as possible. What I am asking is..... do you guys figure on best case scenario (ex. no prolbems with equiptment, snow stops when it should, here it is usually arount 1 am., and so on) or do you guys play it safe leaveing one truck with a partial route, just in case? I have close to 30 commerical accounts, a few churches, and some apartments, apartments dont want done untill after nine xysport . I figured my hours and the pay and it comes out to roughly $175 an hour plowing, so I want to take advantage of the secound truck as much as possible.

    I hope that makes sence. Thanks
  8. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I dont have time lines in my contracts and if a customer requires them I walk. They are nothing but problems. Example...lot must be cleared by 9am....What do you do if it starts snowing at 7 and doesnt stop till noon? I also work with a response time...And depending on who wants what level of response time, I adjust my guys accordingly.
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Big difference between Ohio and Buffalo. Inch and a half we roll over in bed.
    if we get a big storm over night (12+) it might take a couple hours longer.
    if your expecting a lot of snow you should plow with the snow.
    I myself stay at 90% full in case of problems.
  10. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    Everyone does things differently. I plow several different banks and they all open at 8-9am and my policy with all of them is that the parking lots and sidewalks will be done by the time you open your doors...if it continues to snow after I've already cleaned everything up I go do it again after it's done snowing and they get billed x2. It may have been 1 storm but I plowed twice. No one has fired me yet for doing things that way.

  11. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    I have had to plow some of my account 2-3 times during the winter especially if a lake effect band gets set up? As far as overbooking yourself I thinks it's what you can personally handle, I know some days are different than others.
  12. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,829

    I think you would have to plan your route with the best case scenario. But, if god forbid something does happen i would have a back up plan. If you are doing 30 lots with one truck, why don't you pick up lets say 10 more? One truck does 20 and the other truck does 20. Now if your truck is going to break down, it is most likely not going to break down before the first lot. Maybe you will get lets say 5 lots out of that truck before it breaks down. Do you think the other truck can pick up the slack ( the additional 5 lots)? I only have one truck :cry: , i know before the snow hits the ground that i have a back up plan if something does happen I am covered. I have a friend that has saved my ass a few times. Do you apply salt for your accounts? If you do why don't you use just the one truck to do that. You would go to one lot to plow, then the salt truck will come. You can leave and go to the next one. That saves alot of time. I hope this gave you an idea. Rich
  13. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Wow 30 commercials with one truck ! Must be low profile accounts.
    Around these parts you have to put your money were your mouth is. Any quality decent account requires contracts with specified opening times. If it snows up to 3" you have up to 5 hours to clear the lot by 7am period ! Only way you going to get a pass on that here is 10" plus then its safe and reasonable, you don't have 3 days to clear the lots. You cant book 30 accounts for one truck here, just not going to fly. How big are these 30 lots ? Do these lots take 10 minutes each with drive time ? We figure 5 hours per storm per truck INCLUDING drive time.
    I gave up all the crap accounts I had that didn't require time dead lines, they all sucked, took for ever to pay, and were the first to call bitching. I used to spend 20 hours ( 10 accounts, all took an hour min. plus drive time. The biggest took around 5 )in the truck for a 3" storm. It beat the crap out of me, and the truck. I make more money, ( more events, plus salt is cake) Now we do 5 hours for 3" per truck. All accounts are zero tolerance, full salt. It has worked.
    If you want to go to the next level you have to guarantee your work. Trying to cram as many accounts as you can is back wards thinking. Provide the BEST service, for a fair price, and don't sweat needing to add 10 more hours to your route. You wont expand with a reputation that ya get there when ya get there. Plus when the big one's hit you dont fall on your ass and look like a fool for taking on the extra 10 accounts per truck.

    Edit: I should add we do banks, court houses, corporate owned gas stations, and business condo's
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
  14. fernalddude

    fernalddude PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,106

    If you have 2 rigs why keep one still or in reserve we run all trucks from the get go. Sometimes you have to pay for down time for the drivers but your finished early and ready for the next round. I cant tell you how many times we did not need all the drivers and hand crews but when the big one hits we were out in force. As for the time thing in a perfect storm it starts at 6pm and over at 1am (never happens). I have our rigs run thru the route to open paths to the location Fire lanes and access, if the timing of the storm is close to the opening of the location we give them access and return as many times as needed thru the storm to stay open and return after closing to clean up, unless they need full service then we place one rig to just stay there and rack up hours. Plowing is a PITA but you need plenty of equipment to service your props. Don't plan on the perfect storm plan on the worse storm and go from there...
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
  15. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Thanks for all the replys guys! I have a really good route, on a 2" snow I can plow all the commerical accounts by myself in less than 7 hours. I have several banks, gas stations, restraunts, small stores and such. I honestly have accounts that take 5 min to plow, that pay $60 per plow. And it's not like these places are scattered either. within 2 miles of each other I have, 1 @ 45 , 1 @ 60 , 1 @ 35 , 1 @ 45 . It takes me less than 40 mins including travel time. All but a few accounts get salt, and everybody pays on time! Last year I got rid of a few slow payers and pissy customers, so I have a great route. I have 1 big account that can take me a couple hours to plow if we get a 4" snow, but their normal trigger is 1" and they love the salt. My secound truck is the salt truck so it usually only goes out to salt or to help with a big event. I have a guy that doesn't plow for himself but has a truck and plow and offers to help me if we get behind, so I guess I got that covered. For you guys that run a few trucks do you leave the salt truck for nothing but salting or do you line it up with a few accounts to plow then have it salt. The distance between my furtherst 2 accounts is less than 20 miles so nothing is spread out.
  16. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Do you run bulk ? If you have enough work for one truck to just salt let em stay that way.
    Is your sub dependable ? I would take on more work, utilize the sub, and let the salt truck just salt everything then. Do you salt with your main truck ? What is your back up salt plan if you dont ?

    If you dont have enough work for just salt for one truck (30 accounts is alot, depending on what you drop normally. Thats any were from 3 to 6 tons of salt for small accounts.) I would either A) tag team the accounts or B) set up both trucks to salt. We do A) normally and spin a truck off when needed, or while one is salting the "plow" truck heads to the next site.
  17. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Hey T man, thanks for your help. My sub works another job, so no I cant use him everyday. I run bulk salt, I don't have enough work to just salt with one truck, it only takes a couple hours, and I only drop about 3 tons per occurance. My main truck is for plowing, the secoundary truck is for helping plow and salt I have a V box on the main truck, and a tailgate on the other. If somthing goes wrong I have enough bagged salt to do everything.

    I guess the trouble is, My salt truck is a big stake bed, with a 9'2" boss, almost too big to do small lots.

    I am thinking now about buying another truck, so I have 2 full time plow trucks, and a full time salt truck.

    What do you think?
  18. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    If you have the capital, and "paying work" for another purchase not a bad option. Can you run the truck off season and make money with it ?
    Other wise I would utilize what you have and crank out more production from what you have in place. Possibly a better plow for truck #2, Blizzard PP lol (love-em). What about a back blade ? Im leaning towards one my self for the banks, and gas station car wash's.
    You would be amazed at what 2 trucks can knock out, as long as the lots are big enough for 2 trucks. The pickup does the cut in and back blade work, the big truck does the bulk moving and salt. I send my plow truck off while I salt and he cleans out drive ups and any tight stuff. Then I show up with the PP and move alot of snow quickly. It is a good system for us. Daytime storms I usually split us up for more of a "presence" on the sites. Then you have trucks on sites just clearing out threw ways.
    Keep your sub in your back pocket and throw him some work so he hangs around. Then you can depend on him if ya need help.
  19. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Hey thanks again for the advise T man. Don't mind me but what is a PP:waving: , no pun intended :waving :
    I have the cash and am looking at the possibilities. (sp)
  20. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    He is speaking of a power plow by Blizzard that has expanding wings.