Originally Posted by Darryl G
So how did things work out for you with the blizzard? How long did it take to get to your whole list?
I'm glad you asked.....well as you probably read I ended up buying a second truck friday morning to cut my time down and get to my customers in a more reasonable time, had a driver all set to go and a second snow blower all set to go and the second snow blower bailed on me at the last minute friday night around 10 when i wanted to go out around 11, so just me and a buddy went out in 1 truck, I did my first account about 1 mile away from my house, literally no where to push to except the end of the driveway, large bank/rocks/ woods on the right side of the driveway and grass/ rocks which are covered by 2ft of snow and its still coming down heavy on the left side of this long driveway that goes down hill about 3-4* so i open up the apron and hit it on a 45* angle taking 3' bites each time i get through, then i do the other side of the apron, and then i angle my 8' blade right and go down the driveway and end up with a huge pile in front of me and im only halfway down the driveway, but by now there is lawn so i back up slam the pile into the lawn and continue plowing the driveway it only took about 15 mins total, no walks here. so i drive to my next account about 5 miles away and i'm plowing and putting snow on the lawn and my buddy sucks up a rubber welcome mat with the snow blower and i finished that driveway up and went home for the night, not too mention the roads weren't plowed at all friday night so my truck was trying way too hard just to get down the street let alone plow snow. so I i woke up saturday morning around 9 to 40 missed calls and voicemails, returned some calls and started digging out my truck and plowing my own driveway which took closer to an hour or so. then once my help showed up we did my accounts 1 by 1 on average taking 1hr-2.5hrs depending on how many times i got stuck. after getting stuck 6 or 7 times i figured out i even though the truck can push it, its too much snow when it comes over the top of the truck and gets under the truck and plow causing me to not move any more. so me and one other guy worked for about 13 hours getting about 6 or 7 accounts done, each one the same as the last, but they are have places to push snow and stack it high, which i did. I was stacking piles about 6-8' high with my truck. each time i would just back up and take about a 3' bite at a 45* angle and hit it at 5-10mph and it worked all the way to the end, and i never got stuck doing that, actually i did a few times, but angling the blade left and right using it to push me off the snow bank got me out quite a few times. finally after 13hrs my help was exhausted and falling asleep every 5 minutes, so I went back to my house and dropped him off and got some sleep myself, only about 4hrs this time, when i woke up around 11am again i had about 35 missed calls and my voice mail box was now full. and I even changed my voice message just for this storm saying that things will be taking a lot longer due to the extreme amount of snow and that I am doing the best that I can, and if you are existing customer i will get to before monday morning, and if you are new customer I will get to you around tuesday. I really wasn't looking to take on any new customers. I figured by not having any ads in the 3 local papers I normally use the number of calls i got would be fairly limited to existing customer but not the case....I forgot I was on yellow pages still and in google, and few other search engines, so the call kept coming all day until monday night. anyways after returning phone calls and eating lunch I made several attempts to contact my helper which didn't answer his phone nor did the 7 other people I tried calling within a 30 mins. so with no help I really couldn't do anything. so I was at a stand still for about 4 hours. Then my dads old employee who started his own landscaping company called me and asked me if I wanted to team up with him using my snowblower attachment with his skid steer, since his truck broke a front drive shaft, so i called my brother who was getting out of work from the hospital and he agreed to work as long as he could since he had the next day off, so after we picked up the skid steer and snow blower attachment we did my accounts and my buddies, going in order of whichever ones were closest to where we were....so sometimes we would do 3 of my accounts to 1 of his sometimes it would be 2 of his to 1 of mine. I had far more accounts left to do then he did so I was very grateful to do this, and with the skid steer and 2 dual stage snow blowers working on town sidewalks we were doing accounts with 3' of snow to 4 and 5' in some spots with the drifts in about 20-30 mins, including loading the machine, tying it down with 2 chains and binders and loading two snow blowers onto my truck with ramps each time. in the end because of me taking so long and my customers being impatient I only ended up doing 25 of my accounts, I dropped two of them, one was snow plow only, another was snow plow and lawn customer, but she was only every other week, and she was a pita anyways....its tough to put an exact amount of hours on the accounts i did but i would say probably close to 30 hours, because once we started using the skid steer things started going really fast. It clears a 66" path each time. then the next day I had to shovel 3 paths so customers could get oil delivered and i made sure to charge accordingly, this was after it had rained, which i was working in. each path was about 40ft long and even with 2' of snow two people were able to get through it with shovels in about 10 mins.
I can say one thing I am glad this storm is done, it taught me a lot about plowing as I have never pushed this much snow at once. my antique plow from 1996 did freeze up sunday early morning, along with the recoil on my both snow blowers, but at the same time my worker was fall asleep as soon as he got in the truck. but sunday afternoon everything worked perfect so those were the only break downs I had, besides shear pins for the snow blower attachment which i bought everything walmart had because they were the only place open at 9pm and the 35 pins all broke by 10am monday, good thing the hardware store was open, I cleaned them out and bought a few grade 8 bolts and didn't have any issues after that. as for billing my customers, normally I have 2 prices 2-6" then over 6" is 20-35 or even double the 2-6" price depending on the driveway and walks, and even in a foot of powder or even 12" of wet heavy snow, I can fly through it and it doesn't take much longer to do. but in 2-4' I charged everyone 3x whatever the over 6" price was so no one payed less then 200 for their driveway and some payed 350-375 for theirs. I would think any rational customer would understand that with record snow fall for my area of ct they would have to pay a record high price to have it removed, and all but 2 did so i simply did not do their driveways and dropped them. I don't have time to explain how running a business works, and why i need to charge what i do. they either get it or they don't. I know if was to try and replace them which i'm not I could very easily do so with much higher paying customers that don't call unless its an absolute emergency. it's not like I plowing a trailer park here, more then half of them look to be made of glass with massive custom bay windows and through them i see 80" or bigger tv's hanging on the wall. So I have no hard feelings as this storm really put a beating on my equipment, even though nothing broke yet. I'm sure this was not the best way to break in my new transmission that only had 300 miles on it either, but it stuck through it. hopefully for next winter I'll have my newer truck with a stainless v plow on it, and maybe a dump truck with a straight blade and someone to run one of the trucks.