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  #1  
Old 11-04-2005, 11:07 PM
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Katmandu Katmandu is offline
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Question Snow Plowing Tips and Tricks ??

Have anymore tips for a person just starting out in the Snow Plow business ?? 1-man operation here focusing on small jobs (for now)!

What are the basics to know for Snow Plowing ?

How much do you Charge ??

Any advice/tips would be GREATLY Appreciated !!
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2005, 09:29 AM
jroehl jroehl is offline
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I don't personally plow much (I help a friend out on occasion), but I can tell you this:

Get dual batteries. Low speeds in parking lots with lots of power draw running the hydraulic pumps = dead battery. A second one helps you get through a job and back on the road to get your batteries charged.
Charge for your time and your equipment. Around here, that's about $25-30/hr for you, and that much again for your truck, for a total of about $50-60/hr.
Save for a new transmission. You'll need a new one sooner than you think.

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  #3  
Old 11-05-2005, 09:39 AM
1956MarkII 1956MarkII is offline
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1) Don't get into the snow-plowing business. I've seen more people try it and fail. If there's nothing I can say to change your mind, then proceed to number 2.

2) Take your time, don't rush the job, especially with residential jobs. You can lose any profit you made by spending the spring fixing the damage you did to the edges of their precious gardens. Post stakes along the edge of the driveway so you know where the pavement ends and the lawn begins.

3) Most plow businesses today charge a combination of flat rate and fee-per-plow. For example, $300 for the season, and that gets the customer 15 plows. If they exceed 15 plows, then it's $40 per plow after that, which seems the fairest way to do it for both contractor and customer. You'll have to adjust the $ amounts to your local area, I just used those as examples.

4) If you don't have a taste for Starbucks, develop one. You'll need coffee that strong to keep you awake throughout the night. And you will be up a lot of nights; people want their driveway clear when they leave for work in the morning, not excuses why it didn't get done.
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2005, 12:28 PM
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Question

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Originally Posted by 1956MarkII
1) Don't get into the snow-plowing business. I've seen more people try it and fail. If there's nothing I can say to change your mind, then proceed to number 2.
Roger that.

I'm looking at doing this as very P/T income. Most likely charge as "Per Plow" jobs and no Contracts. I already work FT (3rd Shift) as is. I'm looking for some extra income to keep my Hot Rod project moving along.

What reasons have you seen why people fail at it ??
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Old 11-05-2005, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katmandu
What reasons have you seen why people fail at it ??
Re-read his answers, numbers 2 and 4.

Third shift doesn't sound very conducive to being even a part-timer. Screw up once and people won't call you again. They don't want to talk to a voice mail or answering machine, either. They want to talk to a person and know that they're next on the list (whether they actually are or not). Contracts ensure that you have regular customers and mean that you can plan on plowing (put your plow on BERFORE the snow gets there) when the snow flies instead of twiddling your thumbs waiting by the phone.

Are you also ready to do sidewalks and such? If not, most will use you once, then find someone willing to do it all.

You have to either do it, or not do it, no in-between stuff. People like good customer service, and will sometimes even pay more for it.

Jason
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2005, 08:14 PM
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Are you also ready to do sidewalks and such? If not, most will use you once, then find someone willing to do it all.

Jason
Depends on how it pays I suppose.

What's the going rates for sidewalks and salting ??
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2005, 11:17 PM
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If you really want to get started in the snow removal business, why not call a couple of 'established' companies in your area (from home) and ask how much THEY charge, because you are 'not-in-the-best-health' (Ahem, ahem) and will be needing YOUR snow removed this year, and you want to compare prices before deciding who you will give your hard earned money to.


My brother-in-law did that, and he under-cut prices by just a few dollars.
He has more grass cutting and snow removal work than you can imagine.

Last edited by 00BlueOvalRanger; 11-05-2005 at 11:19 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2005, 08:54 AM
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Here's an idea I just thought of. I am not sure if you already have the equipment and stuff to do plowing but here is an idea.

Would you rather learn how to plow snow and make all the mistakes with YOUR truck and equipment or would you rather you SOMEONE ELSE'S equipment?

Maybe try to find a company in your city and get a job with them for one plowing season. You could learn some things and then you will know how long it takes to plow certain size lots/driveways.

Just an idea.

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  #9  
Old 11-06-2005, 11:02 AM
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Question

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Originally Posted by Beast12
Would you rather learn how to plow snow and make all the mistakes with YOUR truck and equipment or would you rather you SOMEONE ELSE'S equipment?

Maybe try to find a company in your city and get a job with them for one plowing season. You could learn some things and then you will know how long it takes to plow certain size lots/driveways.

Just an idea.

-Matt
That is a good idea.

Although at this point, I already have a decent F/T job and also want the flexibility to come/go as I please on plow jobs.

I have my truck search narrowed down to older F250s and Broncos.

I here Broncos do great because of their short wheel base and tight turning circle radius. I really wonder if the front ends are up to the task cause they are basically just F150 front ends.

Ideas ??
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2005, 08:50 PM
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If you want to get started, you need the right truck.

The ideal plow truck is a Bronco, standard shift, at least a 351/300. Skip the 302. A working rear window that you can lower to see backing up. Studded snow tires kept at a low inflation. You want a plow frame that goes almost to the middle of the truck. Electric heated mirrors.

For large lots you basically plow forward in low, back up in high. Having a standard makes it much quicker.

Other then that, if you are pushing a lot of snow, then get a straight axle F-350 reg cab 8 foot bed, Load snow in the bed for plowing.

I think the best way to compete and make the most money is doing steep driveways in rich sections of the city. Get a Bronco II, automatic. It makes an excellent plow truck with the lighter plastic blades (basically steel frame with the board made of plastic). Plus, snow does not stick to it.

The F-350s and Bronco IIs I used never needed an extra battery, though I always made sure mine where good and they had A/C which meant they had 90+ amp alternators.
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Old 11-06-2005, 09:18 PM
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plowing snow isn't for everyone i have been doing it for about 5 yrs for my boss and shoveling walkways for him for another 6 (since i was a kid) . my boss has chevys i hate plowing with them the frame rails sit to low along with the truck right height. also i would look into some type of strobe light because during snow storms every jerk O** and there mother is out not paying attention . as for pricing drive ways ex. 20ftwide X 50ft long is like 60 bucks and then to shovel a side walk figure another 15-20 bucks maybe more maybe less depends on length. also if your going to plow get your self a good tow strap to pull out those idiots that are out on the road that shouldn't be there. i don't sand so i wouldn't know what to charge for that but i know our customers don't want sand because they don't want to track it into there house.

if you do, do drive ways try to get a bunch in the same area like 5 on the same street make for money than driving across town to do one driveway.

i hope i was able to help in some way
chris
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2005, 11:11 AM
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Great advice so far guys!!

What would make a better plow truck ?? BTW, both are 88 F250s...

#1) Has a 460 and C6

#2) Has a 302 and a 5 Speed.

Which would make a better drivetrain for plowing ??
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  #13  
Old 11-07-2005, 12:56 PM
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Whatever you do, don't consider going into that business around here. We set a record yesterday at 89 degrees and it is in the 80's today (North Texas).
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Old 11-07-2005, 01:01 PM
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Old 11-07-2005, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katmandu
Great advice so far guys!!

What would make a better plow truck ?? BTW, both are 88 F250s...

#1) Has a 460 and C6

#2) Has a 302 and a 5 Speed.

Which would make a better drivetrain for plowing ??
You do NOT want to plow with a stick shift. Do not listen to someone that tells you. TRUST ME! I have many years experience plowing and an automatic is the ONLY way to go. Transmissions (autos) get wrecked from people not coming to a complete stop before shifting.

With that said choice number one is still better. That 460 will push snow like no tomorrow and the C6 is a GREAT tranny. One of the best that will stand up to the abuse of snowplowing. That Mazda 5 speed is junk.

-Matt

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Old 11-07-2005, 06:24 PM
 
 
 
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