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Where Do I Start ?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by stiffysteele, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. stiffysteele

    stiffysteele Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I have been plowing for friends and family the past 2 years. Just doing it to help them out. But I'v been thinking of setting out on a buisness ventur, when i found this site. I have found some great info to guide me, but i pose this question. Where do I Start? Do I start a small buisness, or do i just keep doing what i'm doing under the table? What is the best route? I'm not looking to become a large service, just doing it to earn a little extra cash. When a storm rolls through, and I'm plowing out the OUT-Laws, their neighbors and friends are always asking me to help them out. I do because I don't want to see them out their breaking their backs. They always insist on giving me some kind of compinsation. But its is getting a little out of hand when their friends and neighbors are calling me up or flagging me down and asking for service. Should I start making them sign contracts for service or should I just turn them away. Any advice would be MOST appriciated. Thank You for your time.
  2. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    I'm sure you are going to hear this in a lot of the replies...

    Don't do it under the table!! Get insurance!! CYA!!!!!!!!!

    Doing it for relatives, extremely close friends, all for nothing that is really nice of you. I do that. But turn around and ask yourself, when I accidentally run over their dog or pile snow so now their basement is flooded, or rip up because it melted in a heat wave are you 100% confident they won't turn around and go after you for repairs, compensation, etc?

    Bottom line, if you are going to start charging people then you should strongly think about protecting your assests and insuring against all of the ambulance chancers out there.
  3. porkhead1

    porkhead1 Member
    Messages: 70

    Welcome aboard "stiffysteele".............:drinkup:

    You're right, there's plenty of experience/advise on this site.
    As for your plowing situation, let me throw in my $.02. If you want to expand, ask around to some of the people in your area n the plowing business & ask if you could get put on their sub (backup) list. Should one of them take you up on your offer, that will make you too busy for all the "free" plowing you've been doing & get you some experience as to what its like plowing with an actual contract. As for the free plowing service, you just may have to tell some of the people that you don't plow for free anymore. It may be tough at first, but what do these "free" customers do when/if your truck brakes? I don't think any of them will offer to help with the rerpair expenses, even family. If they really do want your service, have a price ready them. To get an idea what the prices are in your area, ask some of the local plowers. One sure way to get on the wrong side of the local plowers, is to under-cut them.These guys are trying to make $$$ just like you :) These are the other guys out there plowing when its snowing 1-2"/hr. at 3am & your truck
    brakes or you get stuck. They're are the ones who will lend you a hand, not the customer/homeowner.

    Good luck....
  4. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    And whatever you do don't plow snow up against houses, then you don't have to worry about basements flooding.
  5. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    that's not what I meant. Sorry, bad example!!
  6. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    No sweat, I didn't figure you did, but you never know.
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Actually, in my area, I get asked to shove snow up against houses. Good insulation and cuts the wind.
  8. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    Family is one thing but when there neighbors start asking you to plow for them that is a good start. Ask them if they want a season contract. Let them know there driveway will be plowed after a certain amount of inches of fresh snowfall. Around here we go by 2 inches. Snowdrifts and apron cleaning after city plowing is extra.