1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

What kind of business do you all have in the Non Snow months

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Dr Who, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    So what kind of business do you all have in the non snow months? I understand that up north that is only like 2 months a year:)

    Looking for something else to add to my snow plowing business as the surveying work has just about dried up and there are way to many people unemployed in this field. Not to mention if funds get cut to the HWY depts, the pipeline projects or anything else that gets federal $$ that would need a archaeological survey...

    So, I am looking for something that I can do in the summer and tie into the snow plowing, so as I can service the same (or most) people all year long.

    I have thought about the lawn business again, had one 2 or 3 years ago, had to sell out due to to many non paying customers. Every Tom, Dick, and Speedy with a push mower is mowing grass for 5 bucks. Not worth me buying the equipment again and having insurance etc..

    do not have the money to buy excavation equipment or I would get into that, but with building/construction being all but dried up.....not a good idea anyway.

    So what are some other things? give me some ideas to try. I am not afraid of failing at them, I have had several business ventures fail or just not ever get started so I do not take it to heart.

    I figured that lawn service was the main one that people have in the summer, I know some have tree service which is out of the question. Thought about blacktop sealing, but there are 2 big companies here that have been around for 30 years, besides I figured that sealing the parking lot will be low on the list of tings to do since a lot of business did not even pay to have there lots cleared of snow, so why make it all nice and pretty sealed and re painted?

    I thought about being a Pimp, but my luck I would end up in jail as someone's **ch...:)
  2. robjets

    robjets Member
    Messages: 33

    How about parking lot line painting?
  3. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Repair and service business seem to be the strongest sector right now, avoid retail sales.
  4. V_Scapes

    V_Scapes PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    Landscape Contractor
  5. M & MD Lawn

    M & MD Lawn Senior Member
    Messages: 361

    Lawn Care, Landscape Contractor
  6. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I have thought about that, but its the same deal as the seal coating, The 2 big boys here do that also, and its something that is not necessary, just cosmetic.

    But I have thought about that for the last 2 years, and I messed up and did not buy the equipment last summer from a guy that was hard up for money. Which was one of the reasons I did not buy it, figured something was either wrong with the equipment or there was not much call for the work...could had been the dude was just lazy, I do not know...

    any leads on the equipment?
  7. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I want to stay as far away from the repair business as I can, owned an auto repair shop years ago, very hard to get your money out of people, get stuck with there cars that you have repaired with out getting paid. This area is very very hard to compete in, way to many chain stores, both local and national. Way to many Hispanic shops working for peanuts and people just will not pay as they would rather just leave there car on the side of the road and get other buy hear/pay here clunker...

    Oh I forgot to mention that rent here is way expencive for anything that can be used as an repair shop, Insurance is hard to get if your not a franchise...

    No never will I own another repair shop, and I have been around/in them my whole life. Father has owned one for 30+ years, grand father had one for about the same amount of time before he passed..

    Service business, that is what I am looking toward, something that the Illegal Alien or unemployed jake leg can not do for 5 bucks. That is why I want to stay away from the lawn service.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  8. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    When you say Landscape, I think of mulch and a few plants but I know its more then that..

    I talked to a friend of mine that has been in the lawn/landscaping business for 30 years about getting into it. My problem is I am not experienced in landscaping, sure I can plant a tree or bush but there is alot more to it then that..

    Again, we talked about it, but are people still paying to have there landscaping done? I thought about doing just mulching, but are people still paying for it? I mean if your under employed or out of work are you realy worried about the mulch and that flower bed?

    I guess its different parts of the region and how the depression(yes I think we are on the verge of another depression) affects that area. I know my area has been hit hard, not as hard as others but people are holding on to there money...

    If you have been in business for any length of time, then you have a customer base, but if you are starting out, well you either have to be a jake leg with no legal business or under cut people to the point that you realy do not make any money to get started....
    He makes good money, has had the same customers for 20+ years and used to have people flag him down to do there lawns or landscaping, but for the last few years he said he has not had even one person even wanted a price. Some of his regular long term customers have dropped him for the 5.00 jake leg jobs...

    I would like to do the landscaping work, I love to work outside and do not mind working to hard for to little pay but were to start???

    So what is the rule on mulch? is it like salt 3x the cost?
  9. firefighter1406

    firefighter1406 Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    I am in the construction business. Do a little bit of everything. Construction is slow but I have a lot of connections between the fire dept and me and my dad. So I think this summer will pick up a little. I hope..
  10. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Oh, I forgot..

    Were is a good place to start looknig for info to get into the landscaping, not lawn mowing business?
    Or into the parking lot painting/striping business??

  11. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    thought about that, doing renovations and repairs. have a friend from Tx that has about 20 years experience and nother friend with 20-30 years experience. I have some, but I figured between all 3 of us we could do about anything except HVAC and Plumbing, but I have someone that can do that work also..

    Construction is dead here, My buddies and I have been beating the bushes for some work for the last year or so, but its the same deal.."were waiting on BLA BLA BLA"

    We had one job that we got the bid on, was a 11k job. But we turned it down after they said we were not to get paid until the job was completed and we had to wait on the to buy the materials at there leisure..
    Yeah waiting until the job was complete I can understand, but I am not going to work for a month, then wait 6 months for them to buy a bucket of nails....screw that

    My busienss is licensed as a contractor/consultant so I can do just about anything with that license, all I have to do is add it to my contractors insuance policy...
  12. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Advertise, get out and get to know your neighbors, basically get the word out. Once you land a couple of good installs, take lots of pictures so you have something to show potential clients.

    Spend as much on advertising as you can. Skip spending the money on pricey equipment and just rent it until you've built up enough business to buy what you need.

    And also study, study, study everything that has to do with landscaping.

    I hate mowing with a passion, but will still do it if it's part of a larger maintenance package.
  13. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,598

    Property maintenance and Landscape construction. All our clients are year round. And some residential clients for landscapes and hardscapes etc.
  14. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Little background on my business ventures over the past 15-18 years

    Lawn equipment repair business
    (closed due to lack of paying customers "why would I pay 100.00 for a carburetor for a 50.00 lawnmower"? Because the carburetor costs me 85 bucks!)

    Automotive repair business
    (Closed due to thieving partner that put me 60k in the hole in one year, almost lost everything I had including my home not including all the trips to court to sue people for my money, getting broke into all the time, several attempted robbery's, people just abandon there autos after you put time and parts into them. People agree to a price for the repair, then refuse to pay, off to court.employees doing employee things or just being stupid..then came the partner)

    Tire Shop
    (could not compete with the big box stores, my supplier was selling me tires wholesale higher then they did to there retail customers)

    Lawn Service
    (sold out due to so many non paying customers and had an offer to go back to survey work)

    Mobile Tire Store (were I went to the customer rather then them come to me)
    (closed due to lack of customers, still could not compete with the box stores even thought I had better deals on tires then before)

    Online Tire business
    (see Mobile tire business)

    Online business selling antique military surplus
    (partner/friend (ex friend) screwed me out of it with the owner of the surplus goods)

    Online automotive restoration parts business
    (never got off the ground, can not compete with out spending 250K on inventory per year per supplier)

    Tire Recycling business
    (Customer"why would I pay you 2.00 to dispose of a tire that I can pay a Mexican .50 ? Me" Because they are not licensed, bonded(10K in Ky) and are throwing them on the side of the road or over a hill" Customer"I do not care, it costs me .50c each") Guess why that went under!

    Painting business
    ( Lack of paying customers, to many Mexicans working for peanuts)

    Automotive body shop
    ( people not paying there bills after agreeing to the price, to many trips to court to get my money, employees doing what employees do, not show up, show up drunk, late or just flat out lie)

    Selling rebuilt wrecks (that was rebuilt in my shop)
    See auto body shop employee list, also got hard to compete with the buy here pay here lots)

    Snow Plowing business..
    (well so far I have not lost money, not really much either)

    Construction business (Not really mine, its a joint deal and I am really only a helper as I am still learning the trade, but there is still not enough work for them to need me)

    well that is all I can think of off the top of my head, I am sure that I have forgotten something, I would have to look through all my records that are packed away in the attic to be sure and its not wort the effort:)
  15. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    Dump trucking here.
  16. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Digging as usual from the top down.Thumbs Up
  17. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Best advice I got from many people, DON'T have a partner in business!
  18. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637


    Yes I agree, I learned that the hard way..
    Only way I will do anything with someone else is on the half and we both do half the work.But then I will only do it with 2 people, both that I have known for a very lng time and trust completely. One being a very close friend and the other is my girlfriend of to many years the rest, I just pay them per hour....
    And it takes a lot, I meen a lot to get me to trust any one anymore when it comes to money or my stuff....:)
  19. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    You can repair lots of things that are not cars. But for that matter a windshield repair business is good right now. anything that saves money adn you get paid up front, and do it in their driveway, parking lot, you can work for the GP and auto dealer repair shops.
  20. D&E

    D&E Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    I can't possibly see that you could find enough clients to make enough money to live off of by just doing mulch, unless you dump some serious cash and get one of those mulch-blowing truck setups. For really large jobs, like apartment complexes, the only way you can stay competitive is to run one of those, or hire people that are willing to work for $5/hr.

    I run a landscaping company. Mowing is our bread and butter, but we also do loads of mulching, lawn installations, spring/fall cleanups, all that good stuff. Looking to maybe venture into sprinkler installations, but I'm not quite ready to take that on yet. You asked earlier how to price mulch. We price it per yard installed. Obviously different types of mulch cost more or less than others. Price it accordingly.

    I also do a good bit of sub work for an exterminating company. They go around to hotels, apartment and condo complexes, and other large commercial stuff and bid on anything that a company could possibly put a bid in for; pest control, lawn care, landscaping, snow removal, you name it. What they can't handle themselves, they sub out to companies like mine, and we take care of it for them. It's nice because I don't have to handle the customer part. I get paid the same day every month, regardless of if the customer is on time paying or not. They seem to be doing pretty well.