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What got you started?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ParagonExt, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. ParagonExt

    ParagonExt Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    What made you decide to take the leap into the snow business?

    Thoughts of extra money? Maybe it's your only income for the year? Maybe you didn't want to get into it but now you can't get out?
  2. ozoneburner

    ozoneburner Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I'm 17 and I wanted to do it years before I could drive. I just like being able to make money with my truck.
  3. Diesel Dan

    Diesel Dan Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    Farmer. Need some winter income.
  4. johnhenry1933

    johnhenry1933 Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    Relying on some dufus's that invariably waited too long to plow my properties.
  5. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    The strong desire to work 22hr days, multiple days if not weeks in a row.

    The desire to tell my family I'll see you in a few days.
  6. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    Also the desire for elevated blood pressure, making multiple phone calls in the middle of the night, wondering, even after thorough discussion what employee/customer expectations are, reading /watching weather for hours a day trying to figure out who's right, missing Christmas, new years, deer hunting, holiday parties, family functions, forgetting what day of the week it is, working Saturdays and Sundays, pulling out hair trying to figure out routes/route sheets/time sheets...its EASY $ just ask anybody who actually does it seriously.
  7. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    Also what/ who is going to breakdown during every event. How is such machine/person going to be fixed/ replaced how many dumpsters are going to have 10 too many snowflakes in front of them, who's going to decide to plow in a handicap spot, which customer(s) are gojng to decide they don't need to pay, how much is the lawyer going to cost to get such pay. Is the printer going to decode cyan needs to be replaced even though you already replaced it at 4oclock on the first when you are printing bills? Are your subcontractors going to be honest?
  8. Diesel Dan

    Diesel Dan Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    both so true lol makes me want to sell my snow equipment and take winters off.
  9. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    My friend bought the truck and plow originally, and had a small list of clients that he inherited from another local contractor that got his truck stolen with no insurance. He did it for a few years before deciding he prefered snowmobiling up north to plowing down here, so he originally paid me $50/hr to run his equipment for a winter on the agreement that I would use that money to buy his equipment at year's end... so I did.

    Then I took it and ran with it. Went from just snowplowing to full service snow management...
  10. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    I just like doing lawn care and snow plowing.
  11. sk187

    sk187 Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    Excavator, either have to battle frozen dirt in the winter or put the equipment to work plowing snow.
  12. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    About 20 years ago a friend got his one ton trans rebuilt. The shop told him put about 500 miles on it to break it in before doing any towing or plowing. I was bored and said what the hell, I go and drive it around. next thing i know I'm back at his shop helping put the EZV on it and I'm plowing out the shop. He hands me a route sheet and says 'feel like making some money?' The rest is history
  13. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    I was always the kid doing driveways on snow days.. At 13 i helped my moms boyfriend doing walks on his route.. I thought plow trucks were the coolest things. Soon as i turned 16 i got a 94 F250 with a meyer..
    One day i woke up and i'm 33 years old still pushin snow..
  14. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    Went hand in hand with mowing / landscaping. Had one bigger mowing account that wanted me to plow their lot so a bought a plow for a four wheel drive truck I already had and things just "snowballed" (for lack of a better word) from there. I was never looking to be a big "snow plow guy" but it just kind of happened.
  15. jvm81

    jvm81 Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 387

    Yes lawn care/landscape hand in hand. But I agree with hose above. Call all employees. Hope they come...no partying, forgot the detail work, calls from clients, hanging out at the coffee shop acting as if there the owners/go to guy that does it all, holidays, weekends, see ya to wife and kids....money ....not bad but I deal with to many farmers who come into town to be "seen" with all those flashing lights and do it for breakfast money. Best of luck!
  16. ParagonExt

    ParagonExt Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    None of that about worrying about employees, calls fr customers, etc doesn't sound any different than any other job.
  17. de03x7

    de03x7 Junior Member
    from Alaska
    Messages: 7

    A couple years ago my cobbled together snow blower had enough so I asked my wife to be on the lookout for a new one on sale. A couple weeks later she tells me that she decided I couldn’t buy a new one. I say fine, do you want me to get you a new shovel? She called me a few unprintable names and walked away. She lets it stew for a couple days and then tells me that I could either get a new snow blower or a Bobcat whichever one I wanted.
    I think she is blowing smoke but I go to the dealer and price a new one which was going to be over 40 grand. When I tell her how much it was I thought she would flip out but instead she says I would need to wait a few months until she had some other things paid off.
    Now I am starting to believe that she is really going to let me get one so my stupid a55 goes and finds a used one for around 10 grand. People came to me asking if I would use it to plow snow for them after they saw how I was able to keep my driveway cleaned. I looked into getting the business license and insurance and decided what the heck, I have the machine why not put it to work. I have been able to make 8-10 grand a year with it the past couple years doing snow in the winter and some dirt work during the summer. It won’t replace my full time job but I am able to pick and choose what I want to do and get to play in the Bobcat at the same time.
    Maybe it is time to talk about that new machine again but then I would have to work it to pay for it and the one I have owes me nothing at this point. I will probably run it until it starts giving me problems and then decide what I want to do from there.
  18. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Longae29 - so freaking true - my post was after just another 20hr day and I couldn't quite get my thoughts in order. The only thing you might have missed was wondering if we made it through the night without wrecking anything.....

    There comes a point where this job just isn't fun anymore, sure the sales dollars are great but I wonder if they are worth the pain. I have a 6 year old that I wonder if I've spent 10 hours with him in the last 7 weeks?

    It was at one point three of us working, having a blast - then we added salting and things got to be a bit more work but still sort of fun.

    Now, there's 14 of us and it sucks.

    I used to plow, bill, organize and fix things - you just can't do it all at this pace and still provide any decent service. WTF plowed snow across a road into the neighbors driveway? WTF plowed snow 3' up a man door on the side of a garage? How in the world does such stupid **** happen? It's not just one thing that has to go, I am realizing that many of the things I used to do, I can't anymore.

    I don't know if I'm at a point business wise where it takes that extra investment in staffing, but you have to staff with guys that don't plow doors in.....Good equipment helps but the cost has to be covered and the summertime margins have to come up or don't do it at all.......Now we had growth this year and have just gutted out long weeks in the past but how do you staff and organize for a month when your sales were 6.3 times as much as the previous year??

    Mark Oomkes how do you do it? You have some of the coolest equipment, you seem to still plow and have fun or behind the scenes do you go thru the misery that some of us are going thru?

    That red truck company that has pockets so deep that costs mean nothing, probably a thousand accounts to our hundred, service isn't stellar, how many calls does that place get in the morning? Any call for me is bad (and in reality, for the number of hours worked, besides the few stupid things, we have gotten virtually no calls)

    I'm babbling now and need to get this transmission fixed, if anyone has a sunglass hut business for sale/trade on any beach and wants to dabble in the plowing business, look me up, trade you seats any day.
  19. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,371

    Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to plow. When I was 13 I started out plowing my parent's driveway with my 2004 Arctic Cat 500 ATV and then when I turned 15 I bought a 1989 Chevy 2500 with an 8' Fisher. When I got my licence (16) I plowed a few driveways (friends and family). When I turned 19 I started working for Maine DOT plowing state roads and now I plow town roads. I like plowing roads better but, I still have a couple driveways I do.
  20. leigh

    leigh 2000 Club Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,342

    When I started my own carpentry business my first truck I bought just happened to come with a plow. Got a call one winter night from a friend who subbed out to a local landscaper, asked if I wanted to plow for them. Hooked up plow, showed up at a mall lot and started plowing. Had no idea what I was doing!:dizzy: Still don't:cry: