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What to do....

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by J.R. Services, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Here's my situation, looking for your all's input on this.
    We have 6 average sized commercial lots, takes about 6 man/truck hours to do them. 2 plow trucks
    One housing community, 104 driveways miles of sidewalk and walkways, 6-16 man hours for 1-8" of accumulation, With 4-5 men with 4-5 snowblowers 1-sholver 1-four wheeler.
    Here's where I'm uncertain, There's only me and my one full time employee that I can be certain can work when it snows, my wife usually helped but she is pregnant and I don't want her straining herself, the other 3, 1-firefighter (he works 24 on 48 off), 1-guy that works 2nd shift, one boy that is still in school. So if stops snowing when 2 are working I'm kind of up sh*t creek. To add to the problem, we have the opportunity to secure more plowing jobs.
    So the options I've come up with are 1)Turn down new work and hope everybody shows up and it doesnt take too long at the housing community 2)Hire 1-2 part time helpers that I can trust and pick up more work 3)Pick up new work, purchase a garden tractor with 48"+ front mount snowblower using that a shoveler and a 32" walkbehind (will this be more effiecent than running 4 28" walk behinds?) and then Id just plow.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts, thanks

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    Buy more equipment, call Labor Ready, and leave your wife home.
  3. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    i agree with the above, in this economy you should have no problem finding help, temp agency would work or ask around, let wife take time with new baby....(maybe she can help with paperwork.
  4. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    If the new work will yield a good profit then take it. Being in the snow business = stress but what business isn't. Talk to the fireman who now works with you and see if there are 2 other dependable guys in his house that work the other rotations. You might have to look at another piece of equipment for the walks. 6 - 16 man hours for walks is alot of hours I think you need at least 3 guys maybe 4 just for walks ( or faster more efficient equipment)
  5. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Thanks for the replies, does anybody have experience with a temp agency?
    And to clarify the housing community, we do all 104 driveways (they're about 2 car widths wide and 1 long) plus 2miles of common sidewalk and 104 walkways.
    Here's the link http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=108762

    Messages: 79

    give me a call i am not far from you and have free time this winter ,sent you a pm with phone number
  7. CGM Inc.

    CGM Inc. PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,598

    Have people show up in the middle of the night during a snow storm is always a battle since I can think of 1000 better things to do as well. We also used temp agencies in the days and it worked ok.
  8. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Any other ideas?
  9. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    I use a single stage toro for 90% of my walkways, They pull you along fast, The dual stage is only brought out when necessary. I shovel walks if they are less than about 20 feet and depth is under a ~8-10inches. This works out to $50 an hr including drive time for avg on the season. Plus it only takes 10 seconds to drop the tailgate and lift out the toto. Putting the ramps on and driving down/up the duelly takes longer plus it drives slower even in third gear. I do about 40 walkways and 10 sidewalks most at separate locations. Its usually about a 6hr job.
  10. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    There comes a point when your business isn't quite big enough to hire that many guys but have a lot of work, then there comes a point where you get more work and hire a bunch of people so you have coverage but then there goes the quality. I go through this every season, I like the days when it was me and a friend who was a sub for me and we only had to shovel 2 little sidewalks and the rest was just plowing. If it were me, I would secure more work and hire on more help but my Wife thinks I'm nuts. Our problem is we get so much snow, no one likes to even see it after a couple months.
  11. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    If you can rally the troops to work harder and faster pay them better. Don't look for profit in the manual laborers just look at that part as "provided" so you can make what you make plowing. If I'm making $50/hr on my own , could you imagine paying someone $30-35hr for using the blower and shovel, (figure $10/hr covers the truck and equipment.) Are they people out there that would hustle and get the job done for $30-$35 an/hr?
  12. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    All I got on this one is WOW :eek: you can only do some much within the time frame you have to get work done in. one question are you a union worker WOW Just kidding had to say it.

    Post a add on craigslist or your local paper looking for seasonal help. When talking to them ask about their experience level. there's plenty of contractors that are laid off for the winter looking for winter work. NO need to go out and buy more Equipment especially the way clients keep us around now a days, In a drop of the hat they may drop your butt for some lowballer and now you have all this extra equipment laying around collecting rust. Unless you have a need or can put that piece of equipment to work during the rest of the year. We winter lease a couple of skid loaders every year I have no need for 4 loaders right now. I have very reliable winter labors and sub contractors that come back to us every winter. Pay them well and in a timely manor an express in a good way on what you are expecting from them in the ways of quality wise. If they are any good they will work for you every year. I am more of a manager now I do less plowing and more running around and checking on them to make sure we are keeping up wit hthe storms and moving people around to where I need them which is fine by me.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  13. jgoetter1

    jgoetter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    Time to hire another full-time plow driver or sub out your lots.