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Winterpeg Snow Removal Newbie

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by jhowe, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. jhowe

    jhowe Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Hi guys,

    I would first off like to thank everyone for all their helpful posts on here that I have already read. I read another Winnipeg thread on here that was very helpful.

    However this will be my first season doing this and I still have a ton of questions, obviously there is a ton to learn that I will learn as I go along. But if anyone could answer these questions for me it would greatly appreciated.

    1) How do you guys advertise? How much does it cost? and When do you do it?

    I was thinking of putting signs up around the area and adverting in community papers a few times a year.

    2) There is so much talk about trucks and plows on here, however I've also heard of people just using shovels mostly and occasionally a snowblower. Any insight on this would be great.

    I guess a truck with a plow would make driveways easier and possibly land some commercial contracts. I was hoping on just getting an older truck with a plow on it for under $4000. And just using the shovel and snowblower fo smaller stuff.

    3) How much can I expect to make?

    I was planning on having a business partner which shouldn't really lower my income since it's just extra money to advertise and we can help each other out. I've heard that with 2 guys you can do 50 driveways in 8 hours, and charge them $50-$100 a month so basically, $2500-$5000 divided by 2 equals $1250-$2500 a month and you only need to go out once or twice a week on average. Is this accurate? I kinda wanted a truck just to make things easier.

    4) Did anyone use a business plan?

    If someone could put a sample business plan on here that would be great! I'm working on one right now and I'll post it as soon as I'm done, within the next couple days.

    Anyways any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. jhowe

    jhowe Junior Member
    Messages: 13

  3. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    1. A local paper is usually a good place to advertise. If you want to target a certain area then maybe fliers would work.

    2.If you are looking to shovel or snow blow then I would suggest targeting the interlock or pattern concrete driveways. Remember you have to remove what the street plow leaves for you. A $4,000 truck is a disaster waiting to happen IMHO.

    3.Anything you can do with a partner you should be able to do on your own. With a partner you will need to find twice as much work and my guess this year you will not find enough work for yourself. With a truck 1 man should be able to do 50 driveways in 8 hours. These are normal subdivision drives I am refering to.
  4. jhowe

    jhowe Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for the advice.

    However, I know that doing it with a partner will obviously result in half the amount of work but i don't see why we can't solve this problem by advertising twice as much to just get twice the cliental. Also this will just get more exposure to our business, which we also plan on doing junk removal, painting and landscaping with as well. What do you think?

    As for the truck, I've seen a few in that price range and I know it's kinda risky relying on that but another benefit of having a partner is that if one of our trucks breaks down then we can just use the other's. Also, he's got a snowblower and I don't and I've got a trailer and he doesn't so I was just hoping we could make this work on kind of a tight budget.
    Thanks again.

    Any more tips?
  5. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    There are many old good trucks. You need to have good batteries, alternator, plow motor and plow pump, those are the things that will leave you stranded in the middle of the night.

    Partnerships work but they are just not for me. I tend to give more then I take and when the stress hits and it will in the snow biz it is tough to take a lazy or a laid back partner.

    My X snow partner and I are very close friends and we will bail each other out when needed. Every year there are nights that we need the help.
  6. jhowe

    jhowe Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    thanks for the great insight
  7. HoneyDooYrdWrk

    HoneyDooYrdWrk Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    The Biggest Thing About Winnipeg Is That Everyone Is Cheap! If Your Buying A 4000 Dollar Plow Truck That Means That There Is Probably No Safety And The Engine Has A Million Miles And Hardly Anything On The Truck Is Reliable. I Gaurantee It Will Have More Of Your Mechanics Hoist Time Then It Will Road Time. If Your Going To Go For Something Like That In Winnipeg Make Sure You Get Ur Mechanic Too Look Over It Very Close If He Even For A Second Hesitates About His Answer Or If He Is Vaigue Dont Buy It.

    Just My 2 Cents
    Good Luck On Your First Season
  8. jhowe

    jhowe Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for the input. Hopefully I'll have more money to start with, it depends if i'm able to get a government grant or not. Apparently if your on employment insurance, which i will be forced to do when i get layed off in the fall from my construction job, the govenment has a self employment assistance program so I'll see what happens. Perhaps I can get a few thousand extra to put towards a truck. :D

    Any more insight as to profit margins would be greatly appreciated. I was just wondering if I spend say an average of $500/mth on advertising generally how much will I make?

    Obviously there are alot of variables and your right Winnipeg is a cheap city but there is still alot of snow, a long winter and lots of driveways :) so I know that there will be a demand, especially after the first big blizzard. I was also planning on doing things such as junk removal and painting this winter as well so who knows. I was hoping though with enough advertising and hard work this 2 man partnership would be able to pull in at least $2000/mth gross each including side jobs as I mentioned, but who knows if we land some really good jobs maybe $5000/mth each and we might have to hire people. Am I being realistic here? :confused:
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
  9. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    I know people that run ads in the paper for snowplowing. They will run them for 8 Thursdays in a row. The paper goes to 75,000 homes. On a good year they might get 10 homes. The people calling are the ones looking for the cheapest prices. When I was trying to get houses I would put the price on the flier. I would target an area that was close to the rest of my work. From 1,000 fliers I might get 5.

    Food for thought.
  10. jhowe

    jhowe Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Do you mind if I ask what the prices were in your ad?

    Also, I know Winnipeg has alot more snow than Newmarket, Ontario. So I'm sure that will work in my favor.

    Really that's not too bad, if I put out say 10 000 flyers in the area I want and get 50 year round clients, i'll be happy. But who knows? I might get 100 or 200. But for 2 guys during our first season, we don't want to overload ourselves but if it came down to it I'm sure we could hire people temperarly.

    Also during blizzards, if I advertise properly, I might get another 50 calls who knows. I still need to do more research but I appreciate the feedback on here. Say after a blizzard you charge $20 a driveway for a small residential driveway and do 50 of them, that's $1000 for a days work. Also if I was to get 50 yearly contracts at say $75/mth that's about $3750. Does this sound about right?
  11. jhowe

    jhowe Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    If one gracious human being could just give some advice for starting up, it would mean the world to me. I'm being serious. I'm honestly a little intimidated and would appreciate any tips on what to expect when your just starting out. Thanks alot.
  12. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    1) Get a Reliable truck and plow. Find a experienced Snowplow operation looking for a sub and go to work for them. Spend a winter learning the ropes.

    2) Blow off the partner, a truck can only be one place at a time, and you don't need a co-pilot, if you want company take a dog or your girlfriend.

    3) Stop arguing with the people you ask for advise, if you know what you're going to do and are that confident then just do it.

    4) word of mouth will get more work then advertising and is a %ell of a lot cheaper

    5) I wouldn't leave my house to do a driveway for $20.00 if it were next door.

    6) If you don't have the money for a good truck were are you getting all this money to advertise?

    7) have you tried the search feature? all your questions and more have been dealt with at least once in the threads

    8) you have never once mentioned insurance, got to have it. A years coverage could take the whole 4K

    NO, no business gets off the ground with-out cash outlay and experience. you can get away with what you're talking about if it's you and Jethro knocking on doors with your shovels, all cash but you'll never do 50 drives a day. you talk about income in terms of gross but never mention expenses, 2K gross can become -$500 net real quick.

    not gracious, but honest. this isn't pie in the sky, plowing snow is not as easy as you may think. Making money at it is even harder. Sign on with a experienced crew, learn the ropes, how to move snow efficiently, how to repair and maintain your equipment, local pricing structures, insurance costs and local regulations, then MAYBE you'll have a chance. You can't learn to operate a plowing business from the Internet, any more then you can learn to catch a football playing Madden 08.
  13. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    Our local paper comes out Tues, Thurs and Sunday. You can have 4 adds for $230. They don't have to be in a row so you could pick 4 Thursdays if you want.

    You should know on average how many times it snows a year. Divide that # by how much you are charging for the season and that will give you your per time plow. If a customer phones for a 1 time plow I would at least double that depending on the amount of snow. If they are calling you know it is a bad storm.

    If you plan on putting out 10,000 fliers by hand that will take a long, long time. Our local paper will also target certain areas to do fliers but it is not cheap. The post office will also do fliers.

    I don't think you are going to get 50 people to flag you down in a storm and if they are phoning you are going to be running back and forth like crazy.

    There is a company with 3 trucks doing 300 driveways and with a 2" snowfall it takes them 10 hours with each truck and then when they have finished the route they have to go back around and clear what the street plow left behind. 200 drives is a lot of work.
  14. HoneyDooYrdWrk

    HoneyDooYrdWrk Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Ther Is No Way You Are Going To Get 200 Driveways In A Tight Area In Winnipeg Unless You Are Green Blade Or Veert (they Have Both Been Around For Twenty Years And Both Have A Lot Of Experience And Are Reliable And Efficient) If You Want To Be Realistic Try (as Said Before) Hook Up With A Big Name Who Has Been Around For A While And Learn The Ropes And Your Equipment. As For Yourself On The Side See If Your Neighbours Want There Driveways Done Itll Be Good Practice And If You Do A Good Job As Mentioned Word Of Mouth Is A Good Thing. As For What Your Charging With The Price Of Gas And Repairs On A 4000 Dolar Truck Youll Be Lucky To Break Even When Its All Said And Done Especially On Your Fist Year.

    Hope This Helps.
  15. Bporter

    Bporter Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Hey guys i Bought a 4000.00 truck I love it. It's great So far No problems. But don't get me wrong I have a back Truck if Somthing fails But there are good Deals out there if you find the right one. So if you do buy that 4000.00 truck you better make sure you have a good back plan in progress. Or don't do it.
    Brian Porter
    Reliable Snow Removal