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View Full Version : The case for NOT doing snow and having WINTER down time…


Exact Rototilling
10-21-2011, 04:07 PM
… charge ones batteries, avoid burnout etc....state your reasons why you DO snow or DON’T do snow removal.

:waving:

CLARK LAWN
10-21-2011, 04:54 PM
because if I don't do snow removal then i would loose alot of my customers to someone who does.

Landscape Poet
10-21-2011, 05:07 PM
… charge ones batteries, avoid burnout etc....state your reasons why you DO snow or DON’T do snow removal.

:waving:

Because there is not any snow here!:rolleyes:

clydebusa
10-21-2011, 05:08 PM
because if I don't do snow removal then i would loose alot of my customers to someone who does.

Same here, don't make a lot of money do snow removal. It is true last year was great. But doing property management allows me to keep my foot in the door and my hand in their wallet all year.

TLS
10-21-2011, 05:18 PM
Because I make more money plowing/salting maybe 10x's per winter than it takes me 8 months to make mowing/treating!

So average 10 snow/ice events times 10 average hours = 100hrs approx.

Then take 26 weeks of mowing times 40hrs/week = 1040hrs approx.

So I'll work 100hrs to make what it takes me over 1000hrs in the summer!

Cant say no to that!

GMLC
10-21-2011, 05:24 PM
Because there is much more money in snow and ice management. Plenty of days off between storms.

Glenn Lawn Care
10-21-2011, 05:32 PM
Money is great and I also don't wanna lose my clients. I look forward to the winter most days!

Mark Oomkes
10-21-2011, 05:35 PM
Everyone has pretty well covered the reason to do snow.

It also keeps employees occupied and not looking for other work.

Although, the plenty of days between storms thing is a little off depending on where you live. A few seasons back, we went for almost 2 months straight. That's when burnout kicks in.....bad.

KrayzKajun
10-21-2011, 05:46 PM
Because there is not any snow here!:rolleyes:

Ditto!
Posted via Mobile Device

TLS
10-21-2011, 05:49 PM
Although, the plenty of days between storms thing is a little off depending on where you live. A few seasons back, we went for almost 2 months straight. That's when burnout kicks in.....bad.

Yeah, there have been several years where the repeated battering of storms drove me batty!

Darryl G
10-21-2011, 06:12 PM
I'm not a big fan of sitting in a truck for 24 hour straight but I don't want my customers to have to go looking elsewhere for snow removal and I don't want to have to sub it out either. And then there's the income factor. My lawncare season pretty much runs from Easter to Thanksgiving. Without snow plowing there would be no Christmas.

94gt331
10-21-2011, 07:21 PM
Snow removal stress me out thinkin about it, but the pay is so much higher for me plowin it makes the long off season managable if we get decent amount of snow. I plow 55 accounts with 3 trucks and a skid loader. I need to get my plows serviced soon. I hope they all still work, I need some tires too. LOL:usflag:

Exact Rototilling
10-21-2011, 07:51 PM
Pretty much all in favor of doing snow from the money is good, keeps other Co.'s off your clients properties. All very valid reasons.

Nothing yet from those who are doing so well from the growing season they don't need to bother with snow. I can think of only one poster here on LS who doesn't bother and lives in snow country....but he's also solo from what I know. Lives in.... Utah hint :)

32vld
10-21-2011, 08:02 PM
Snow removal is money I can't afford to pass on. And, snow removal has gotten me new landscape customers.

yardguy28
10-21-2011, 08:24 PM
i DO snow removal mostly because i enjoy it. i love the winter.

i can't say it makes me more money than mowing because i stick to residential snow removal and avoid all commercial snow removal.

i also currently do it for the income. one day i hope the snow removal money is just extra money and that my mowing season will make me enough money to carry me through the winter without the snow removal but i will still be doing it.

my parents keep trying to get me to move to florida but i would never move where there is no snow for the winter.

fastlane
10-21-2011, 08:38 PM
I do have a 8 1/2' v plow that I use on family owned properties. I don't plow for customers. I don't like getting up at 4 or 5am to go check lots or driveways that have no snow or ice on them.( weather forecast) 30 years ago we got a retainer that covered our time. Now no one will pay one. Some years we had only 2 or 3 plowable snows.

TLS
10-21-2011, 08:41 PM
I don't like getting up at 4 or 5am to go check lots or driveways that have no snow or ice on them.

Hey, I don't "like" it either! But $4-500/hr makes things I don't "like" to do.....well, likeable!

Darryl G
10-21-2011, 08:43 PM
They had snow in Orlando last winter! Here's what my place looked like.

yardguy28
10-21-2011, 08:44 PM
I do have a 8 1/2' v plow that I use on family owned properties. I don't plow for customers. I don't like getting up at 4 or 5am to go check lots or driveways that have no snow or ice on them.( weather forecast) 30 years ago we got a retainer that covered our time. Now no one will pay one. Some years we had only 2 or 3 plowable snows.

i wouldn't like getting up to check driveways only to find they have no snow on them either.

i use my own as the guide. generally if mine needs done so does most of my clients.

snow around here isn't like the rain where i can be raining in one part of the city but not the other.

generally if i'm getting 2 to 3 inches dumped on my driveway so is the rest of the city. so there is no driving around to check peoples driveways only to find they have no snow or ice on them.

Exact Rototilling
10-21-2011, 10:49 PM
I don't think we are making as much on snow removal here as some of you are in other areas. Granted I will loose some customers but I wanted to loose some of them anyway since driving all over in snow storms is crazy and slow. Ads in the paper are at $15 per driveway from licensed insured contractors.

I will not miss setting my alarm @ 0430 to look at accumulation on the railing and constantly checking the weather.
I will not miss getting less than 3 hours sleep due to my other business up late at night etc. then rolling out on snow.
I will not miss the grief I have gotten from family over working on holidays or even agreeing to go out per contract on holidays....yeah don't get me started. :dizzy:

I will definitely miss the $9-11k I get on flat rate seasonals for my accounts. payup :nono: :cry:

cod8825
10-22-2011, 12:55 AM
I do snow for the icing on the cake factor to buy the new equipment. I am hoping to make 12-13 snow season my last year. I live in Kansas City and we have had three good years in a row with 4K to 6K in extra income. I invested a ton several thousand dollars in new marketing for spring 2012 lawn applications that is all I do and am about half there to pay for year round income.

As soon as it is there I am done. I want to do christmas lighting, wood hauling something with much better hours. I can't wait till my company that I sub under calls and I say not no mo' I want out no late nights no christmas plowing, no crazy people who do not belong on the street.

Matt

David Haggerty
10-22-2011, 06:23 AM
I don't plow snow because I can't spread customers demand for service thru the week like I can mowing. They all want it TODAY! If not LAST NIGHT!!!

I could maybe remove snow for one customer if I had all day. Plus Wilmington is just south of the snow belt so we get an average of two plowable snows per year.

I tell them to call a construction company. I'm going to Florida.

hackitdown
10-22-2011, 08:17 AM
I can't resist the cash. I have 2 trucks, 2 easy residential routes that take an average of 4 hours to complete. It took 5 years to build good routes, but it is cool now. We get an average of 10 plowable storms per year. One every 7 to 10 days is typical. Plenty of time for drinking and skiing.

I am careful to never promise anything in the way of a special level of service. I get there when I get there. The weather is way too unpredictable to make promises. I may not sign up many new customers, but I get few complaints. If they complain, I tell them to call someone else if they want. We do the best we can. Some customers tell me that we have given the best service they have ever had, even though we make no promises.

Most people don't want to actually go to work at 6AM in a blizzard. They may say so at contract time, but they are kidding themselves. The roads are nearly empty when we are plowing.

TLS
10-22-2011, 08:25 AM
Plowed for a small time Lawyer several years ago (his house). I was out trying to get my commercial properties open (they're first). It was a big storm 2 foot plus, all schools closed, state of emergency, just bad. Well, this guys' calling the house asking my Wife when I'm getting to his driveway. I tell her to tell him, I'll get there when I get there! At least an hour.

I finally get there, he's telling me he's got a big case to work and he's got to get to the office! I said good luck! YOUR driveway's plowed, but YOUR road, and the next road, and the main State road haven't seen a plow yet! He was driving a BMW car! I didn't stick around to see if he left for work right away!

yardguy28
10-22-2011, 09:32 AM
I don't plow snow because I can't spread customers demand for service thru the week like I can mowing. They all want it TODAY! If not LAST NIGHT!!!

I could maybe remove snow for one customer if I had all day. Plus Wilmington is just south of the snow belt so we get an average of two plowable snows per year.

I tell them to call a construction company. I'm going to Florida.

thats too bad.

i'm solo so i do keep my number accounts to what i can handle in a day but most of my clients just want it done that day and are ok with whatever time of day i get there.

i have some that work and i start with those to get them done before they leave for work, but the rest just tell me whenever i get there is fine with them because if theres snow on the ground there not leaving the house until it's removed from driveways and roads anyway.

most of my snow removal clients are senior citizens so far, so that helps.

grassman177
10-22-2011, 02:55 PM
i dont do it anymore cuz it is time off. i need it. i used to do snow and had to still be married to the business and could not take vacation etc. F that.

too much other stuff to do, to prepare for another grass season in a few months.

however, the money is looking more and more attractive again.

grassman177
10-22-2011, 02:56 PM
Plowed for a small time Lawyer several years ago (his house). I was out trying to get my commercial properties open (they're first). It was a big storm 2 foot plus, all schools closed, state of emergency, just bad. Well, this guys' calling the house asking my Wife when I'm getting to his driveway. I tell her to tell him, I'll get there when I get there! At least an hour.

I finally get there, he's telling me he's got a big case to work and he's got to get to the office! I said good luck! YOUR driveway's plowed, but YOUR road, and the next road, and the main State road haven't seen a plow yet! He was driving a BMW car! I didn't stick around to see if he left for work right away!

sounds like a ****** to me:laugh:

ralph02813
10-23-2011, 02:52 PM
My truck is going on 11 years old, and I know that a winter like last year could not have made me enough money to buy a new truck. I work with a couple of guys who don't cut lawns that like snow removal .`I don't like car/truck payments, so I cannot seem myself doing it.

yardguy28
10-23-2011, 06:21 PM
i dont do it anymore cuz it is time off. i need it. i used to do snow and had to still be married to the business and could not take vacation etc. F that.

too much other stuff to do, to prepare for another grass season in a few months.

however, the money is looking more and more attractive again.

not sure how kansas weather works and not sure how large of a business you are but you really need all that time off to prepare for next season?

i'm from indiana and i usually stop my season the last week of november first week of december. the mower decks are cleaned underneath and fuel stabilizer added into the tanks and into the trailer go. the rest of the maintenance will be done in march. the hand helds get what gas is left ran out and into the trailer they go. the rest of the maintenance will be done in march.

in march everything is taken out and prepared for the season. season starts last week of march, first week of april depending on weather.

doesn't take 2 or 3 months to do all that stuff.

grassman177
10-23-2011, 06:50 PM
everything is done in end of season, all the way to spark plugs, greasing, new belts as needed. i mean everything is done. we have more than 15 mowers, the same or more handhelds , many verticutters, aerators........ you get the point.

plus, we have 8 trucks, the building, then after all that is **** and span(including the inside of our shop, even the ceilings), then it is customer calling time.

our season starts a month earlier than yours, but ends the same time.

and like i said, i need the time off. i work 7 days a week, weather depending from march till dec. you would need the time off too after that. i hate being on demand, that is the biggest killer right there. been caught a few times out of town when snow hit and was not in the forcast. That was a big fiasco, and too much stress.

Darryl G
10-23-2011, 07:11 PM
That's a lot of stuff to keep running. Do you have a mechanic?

Thats the thing I hate about snow is you can get that 2 or 3 inch storm that wasn't in the forecast so I feel I can't really go anywhere in the winter. And too busy during spring summer and fall...maybe a weekend here and there.

grassman177
10-23-2011, 10:03 PM
the mechanic is the guy you are talkning to, hahah.

all that stuff is done by the crew leaders and me, though i focus on the handhelds and trade the other guys other duties.

i mean, we wash all the machines, sharpen every blade including on the mowers. also, make sure everything is in perfect order so when spring starts all you have to do is go...........and make money.

there is also releveling decks, pitch, new tires on machines. it takes alot of time to do those things, but of course not all winter. maybe a month depending on weather, cuz you cant wash anything below freezing very well!!!!

mtmower
10-24-2011, 12:23 AM
Wish I could stop doing snow. Nothing else is hitting me in the head for me to be able to make money in the winter. I can't believe I'm hearing some of you guys complaining about getting up at 4ish to check snow. We're up every morning at 2:30 am to check and start at 3:00 if it's needed. Most times have to get in the truck and drive 50 plus miles to check snow fall. We can see a 6" difference in 10 mile distance. Can't go any trips! Between it and lawn care haven't had a descent vacation in the 10 yrs. I've been doing it. TLS you must be making a lot more per hr. then we do up here. I'm about $80-$100 per hr for truck time and about $50 for blower time. Two winters ago billed out approx 5k and first day of lawn care lost a transmission to the tune of 4k. Should have stayed in bed and burned the 1k. Our snow is not as consistent as it use to be. Sure we have tones of it over 5000 ft but in the valley at 3000 ft it's hit an miss. And with most accounts not wanting you to start till 3"..... Wish I could cut lawns all winter.

yardguy28
10-24-2011, 09:16 AM
everything is done in end of season, all the way to spark plugs, greasing, new belts as needed. i mean everything is done. we have more than 15 mowers, the same or more handhelds , many verticutters, aerators........ you get the point.

plus, we have 8 trucks, the building, then after all that is **** and span(including the inside of our shop, even the ceilings), then it is customer calling time.

our season starts a month earlier than yours, but ends the same time.

and like i said, i need the time off. i work 7 days a week, weather depending from march till dec. you would need the time off too after that. i hate being on demand, that is the biggest killer right there. been caught a few times out of town when snow hit and was not in the forcast. That was a big fiasco, and too much stress.

That's a lot of stuff to keep running. Do you have a mechanic?

Thats the thing I hate about snow is you can get that 2 or 3 inch storm that wasn't in the forecast so I feel I can't really go anywhere in the winter. And too busy during spring summer and fall...maybe a weekend here and there.

well i don't allow myself to get so busy that i'm working 7 days a week. but yes i would probably want the time off as well but see thats just it, winter is the time off even when doing snow removal. it doesn't snow every day of the winter. i'm off unless it snows.

as for going places. maybe i'm weird. i haven't taken a vacation or even a long weekend for 5 years. i've been in business that long.

the only days i get off are weekends when i'm on schedule. if not then i'm off whatever day it rains and i work the weekend days to catch up.

i pretty much try to run a mon.-fri. schedule. doesn't always happen because of weather but i still get one to two days off a week.

goals are different for everyone. i have a buddy who works 7 days a week a lot too. but i'm not interested in building my business past just me, myself and i. so i won't take on any more than i personally can handle and i won't take on so much work i have to work 7 days a week.

TLS
10-24-2011, 10:12 AM
TLS you must be making a lot more per hr. then we do up here. I'm about $80-$100 per hr for truck time and about $50 for blower time.

East coast.

All my accounts are within a 5 mile radius. My home is in the center, and my furthest is 3 miles east, and about 2 miles west.

Salt is my real money maker.

We may not get the snow of some areas, but the lawsuit happy world we live in has 95% of my accounts requesting salt.

I pre-salt prior to storms that will get driven on prior to plowing. I go out on a dry clear night with 3K lbs of salt and come home within 2 hrs :dancing:

mtmower
10-24-2011, 10:52 AM
East coast.

All my accounts are within a 5 mile radius. My home is in the center, and my furthest is 3 miles east, and about 2 miles west.

Salt is my real money maker.

We may not get the snow of some areas, but the lawsuit happy world we live in has 95% of my accounts requesting salt.

I pre-salt prior to storms that will get driven on prior to plowing. I go out on a dry clear night with 3K lbs of salt and come home within 2 hrs :dancing:

Good to know. So far the lawyers haven't made the same impact up this far north yet. Almost did a spreader but again our demand is not what yours is.... yet. Took $3k and invested it in to two snow blowers and a ramp system for my truck bed. Looking back I'm not so sure I would do the snow blowers again. To much work in the nasty.

grassman177
10-25-2011, 08:06 AM
well i don't allow myself to get so busy that i'm working 7 days a week. but yes i would probably want the time off as well but see thats just it, winter is the time off even when doing snow removal. it doesn't snow every day of the winter. i'm off unless it snows.

as for going places. maybe i'm weird. i haven't taken a vacation or even a long weekend for 5 years. i've been in business that long.

the only days i get off are weekends when i'm on schedule. if not then i'm off whatever day it rains and i work the weekend days to catch up.

i pretty much try to run a mon.-fri. schedule. doesn't always happen because of weather but i still get one to two days off a week.

goals are different for everyone. i have a buddy who works 7 days a week a lot too. but i'm not interested in building my business past just me, myself and i. so i won't take on any more than i personally can handle and i won't take on so much work i have to work 7 days a week.

one can surely appreciate your goals. it is my perogative, the other crews done work but 6 days a week. i like staying that busy, it is personal. call ME crazy:laugh:

JimmyTheGlove
10-25-2011, 01:49 PM
Because there is not any snow here!:rolleyes:

Ditto. And thank Goodness! :cool2:

PR Fect
10-25-2011, 05:40 PM
We do snow because of the IRS. If you only have seasonal income the IRS will consider you a seasonal business. No year around tax deductions. Everything would need to be pro rated instead of 100%. Accounting nightmare.

grassman177
10-25-2011, 09:56 PM
You can generate income in winter without working!
Posted via Mobile Device

PR Fect
10-25-2011, 11:08 PM
My understanding is you do not need to be generating income. But you do need to be working on your business.

TLS
10-26-2011, 07:46 AM
We do snow because of the IRS. If you only have seasonal income the IRS will consider you a seasonal business. No year around tax deductions. Everything would need to be pro rated instead of 100%. Accounting nightmare.

I had never heard of that. But then I've always plowed.

I do know that you need to have another vehicle if you choose to write off your truck 100% for business. This is something a lot of guys either get stung with or aren't able to fully deduct the truck. A car is something all solo/single guys need in addition to their truck. Makes things so much easier.

David Haggerty
10-26-2011, 08:38 AM
The biggest reason I personally remove snow here in SW Ohio is that there is no profit in it.
It snows so seldom here that snow removal gets no consideration from customers . They won't consider a retainer or anything. Yet really dig in on price.

I've seen people loose their awrse trying to do snow removal here.

greenstar lawn
10-26-2011, 09:09 AM
That's a lot of stuff to keep running. Do you have a mechanic?

Thats the thing I hate about snow is you can get that 2 or 3 inch storm that wasn't in the forecast so I feel I can't really go anywhere in the winter. And too busy during spring summer and fall...maybe a weekend here and there.

yeah it is tough to take a vacation. We get lake effect a lot and its usually never forecasted. But I do love it and I like the change of pace. Its nice to be on the road in the middle of the night with nobody else on the road. Plus the money is grrreat.

Snyder's Lawn Inc
10-26-2011, 10:06 AM
90% of my contacts are Full Service 365 days
I care less if it snow i rather see Ice Make more money at less time then snow
With Ice treatment I can do it in 3 hrs with one truck
With a 3'' snow Takes us 4-6 hrs with are 7740 ford 3 trucks 1atv 1 skidsteer

Total Lawn and Sprinkler
10-28-2011, 04:05 PM
We get very little snow as well. Our fall season normally happens in winter, so we stay busy with fall clean up through most months where others expect snow.

KrayzKajun
10-28-2011, 04:43 PM
We get very little snow as well. Our fall season normally happens in winter, so we stay busy with fall clean up through most months where others expect snow.

Pretty much the way it is down here.
Posted via Mobile Device

DanaMac
10-29-2011, 07:12 AM
I enjoy the snow too much, to want to go work in it at 2:00 AM. I shut down my sprinkler company around December 1, and I don't look for any work for myself or my employees. I let them collect unemployment for the 3-4 months we are off. I used to plow for other companies many years ago. Loved it, and hated it. Pay yourself well, and budget properly, and the winters can be a fun, relaxing (or exciting) time of the year.
During the winter here is what I do:
Sleep
Play with the dogs
Vacation to see family
Vacation for fun
Snowboard
Projects around the house
Catch up on paperwork
Find ways to be more profitable during the 9 month we bring in money
Cook - I love cooking
Spend time with family and friends

I used to always try and find work in the winter, and it seemed more stressful trying to find parttime work. Now that I don't worry about it, I REALLY enjoy the time off, and look forward to it.

Darryl G
10-29-2011, 10:32 AM
Just put the plow on...I can't believe I'm putting my plow on in October on the CT shoreline! I am not doing anything else to get ready though...no ballast in the bed, not taking my hand tool rack off or anything until I'm sure I really have to.

yardguy28
10-29-2011, 10:50 AM
i'm surprised at the amount of people who still use the plows that you have to put on your truck and leave them on because they are a pain to take on and off.

i have a boss snow plow and it has a permanent mount so you just drive up to the plow when you want it on your truck.

this weekend i am going to be getting the snow blowers out to make sure they run and probably put the plow and make sure everything is in working order. but it will come right back off after i'm done.

if it snowed tomorrow i'd basically be ready. i just need to drive up to the plow and plug her in.

Darryl G
10-29-2011, 10:54 AM
That's what I did...pull up and plug her in, hit a switch and it's on. I have a Boss Power VXT. The hardest part was remembering where I put the controller.

TLS
10-29-2011, 10:57 AM
Hear ya on the controller!

Have the Boss too. Easy to hook up 95% of the time. Full ballast/no ballast makes enough of a difference in hookup for me that I put it on the other day and just kept it hooked up yesterday while out mowing! The trailer kept the rear down!

As easy as the Boss is to hookup, not something I want to do when its coming down as hard as it is right now!

yardguy28
10-29-2011, 11:24 AM
That's what I did...pull up and plug her in, hit a switch and it's on. I have a Boss Power VXT. The hardest part was remembering where I put the controller.

so why do you leave it on then? your post made it seem like you have it on the truck and are driving around with it on already.

the only time my plow is on my truck is when i'm doing snow. after that i come home and take it off until the next snow.

Darryl G
10-29-2011, 12:15 PM
I put it on today because there is a snow storm in the forcast (raining now and supposed to change to snow) and I wanted to make sure it worked after sitting all winter. And I don't want to be putting it on at 3:00 am in a Noreaster and hoping it still works...mice chewing the wires and corrosion of the electrical connections is a distinct possibility. I will leave it on sometimes between storms but it's a work truck I have other vehicles to drive. I'm usually doing a little plowing here and there between storms anyway...touch ups and new accounts, slush duty. It's not like I'm running around with it all over the place when it's not needed. At this time of year, after this storm passes it will come back off.

yardguy28
10-30-2011, 11:49 AM
I put it on today because there is a snow storm in the forcast (raining now and supposed to change to snow) and I wanted to make sure it worked after sitting all winter. And I don't want to be putting it on at 3:00 am in a Noreaster and hoping it still works...mice chewing the wires and corrosion of the electrical connections is a distinct possibility. I will leave it on sometimes between storms but it's a work truck I have other vehicles to drive. I'm usually doing a little plowing here and there between storms anyway...touch ups and new accounts, slush duty. It's not like I'm running around with it all over the place when it's not needed. At this time of year, after this storm passes it will come back off.

ok i got ya, that makes sense.

i'm moving my plow today myself. it's on a pallet and covered with a tarp. gonna hook it up and make sure it works and get it off the pallet and ready for winter.

we normally don't see snow until dec. but my mom heard we are suppose to have a bad winter and could see snow by thanksgiving so i'm gonna have it ready after today in case we get something that i need it for.

my work truck is my personal vehicle so if i'm gonna be doing any major driving inbetween snow storms it comes off. otherwise it just sits on the truck in the driveway.

Darryl G
10-30-2011, 02:51 PM
Then there are the people with their parents living with them.

Ijustwantausername
10-30-2011, 03:59 PM
Because I want to be the one playing in it!

Darryl G
10-30-2011, 06:26 PM
Then there are the people with their parents living with them.

Wow that's weird...this got posted to the wrong thread...operator error I guess. :hammerhead: