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  #21  
Old 11-16-2012, 07:56 AM
hackitdown hackitdown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs.landscaping View Post
You can't make plowing attractive, I've tried many many times. I agree with Grandview, dump the plowing, take the night job and do lawns in your free time. Plowing IMHO is something to do in the winter, and a money pit. If I could get away with it I'd dump all plowing accounts and break even sitting on the couch.
Ok, then answer this: If you could have a plow route that takes 4 or 5 hours, 1/3 of a tank of gas, and bills at $1000 per small storm, $2000 for large storms (8 to 10 hours, 2/3 tank) would you do it? You need 25 driveways at $40 per push on a tight, 4 hour route. Not too hard to manage. I think that is worth a day in the seat. In a typical storm, I am up and in the truck at 5am. Back home eating breakfast by 10am. Bill $1000. Spend $25 in gas. We get an average of 11 storms, 3 or 4 require a 2nd push. (Full disclosure...I do end up spending anywhere from $500 to $2000 per year on truck or plow repairs.)

Yes there are guys that will plow a driveway for $20. And they will drive 30 minutes in a blinding snowstorm to earn that $20. Those are the guys that can't seem to understand why they aren't making money plowing. They are in the truck for 12 hours, burn $100+ in gas, and bill $500 total. Not too strategic.

Do the math. I just don't see how working all day, every day for $15 per hour is a better deal.
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  #22  
Old 11-16-2012, 05:35 PM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is online now
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Those numbers are great. What happens when your 6 wheeler, loader, skid steer, one tons, plows, sanders break down? Because they do. Or one guy calls in sick so you have a machine/truck with no driver. I've had seasons where I've grossed almost 30k and netted a whopping 2k due to breakdowns and fuel rising. To be honest I've made the joke that during that season I would have made more money as a cart jockey at Wal Mart and I wouldn't have been turning wrenches at 2 AM in -30 weather. If you make money great, I do as well, but if there were other alteratives I would be more than willing to explore them.
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  #23  
Old 11-17-2012, 02:41 AM
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soloscaperman soloscaperman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hackitdown View Post
Raise your plowing prices until it makes the work more attractive to you. Plowing customers are a dime-a-dozen. With some strong pricing and a tight route, you can make good money on your own terms. For example, here are my plowing terms:

- No plowing until the storm ends.
- No guarantee that we will have you plowed out by any particular time of day.
- No shoveling
- No clearing mailboxes
- No free spring repairs on plow damage
- Charge for staking
- Whiners get cancelled

Being tough on terms means that many customer will not hire you, that is the trade off. It takes longer to build a route, more advertising is required. Keep it local, don't drive more than a few minutes, it isn't worth it, and service suffers. It took a few years, but I do pretty well money-wise, and I can do my route alone in 4 hours.

Another idea is to just hire a guy to plow for you. I hired a retired guy to plow last year. He was pumped to make $20/hr using my truck. There are lots of experienced people out there that want to work.

Every person should remember this! So true! The clients I mow I can't be lien-ant when it comes to plowing. I have that rich whiney guy that you guys told me to dropped well HE PUTS THE STAKES DOWN AND PUT THE LAST TWO 2 FEET ONTO THE GRASS. He has a $2M house but his driveway is the same size as my plow. He calls me telling me to fix the grass. I did fix it when the snow melted. I was trained that you always shovel out from the garage doors and that's what has been killing me with time and there is one mowing customer (good old people) that have a ripped up driveway so I have to shovel out the first 10ft or I would damage my plow and my ball joints.

DON'T RELY ON PLOWING AS AN INCOME BECAUSE HALF THE TIME YOUR NOT GOING TO GET THE SNOW AND THE OTHER HALF IS THE OVERHEAD. Unless you got new Ford F350's and have money in the bank plowing is to keep your workers busy and your full service customers happy. Commercial plowing which I do two small apartments that's where the money is!
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  #24  
Old 11-17-2012, 07:58 AM
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inzane inzane is online now
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for about 9 years i have worked 11pm to 7am shift (more like 11pm till 11a.m. most nights) and what that kinda shift is doing to my family life, and what its doing to me physically is not worth 18 bucks an hour anymore. i took that job so i could run my lawn care business during the day (9 years ago), little did i know that i would be working 12 to 15 hour nights (which was good overtime, but not good for running my business on top of that), the money was great, the insurance was great, i spent 9 years building up a 401k so it wasn't all for nothing. but i'm burnt out, another year and i probally will be divorced, i see my kid mabee once a week and i sleep 2 or 3 hours a day if i'm lucky.

my point is, make sure you know exactly what your getting into. it doesn't sound like a bad opportunity if there is room to move into a day time position. night shift is not for everybody.. the only thing that got me through it was the amount of debt i was carrying due to stupid mistakes, however.. i've worked my way out of that hole over the last few years, and at the end of the year i'm out of there..



Quote:
Originally Posted by soloscaperman View Post
My friend drives a Beer truck and recommended me to a 11PM -7AM night job Monday - Thursday. It pays from $15HR-$19HR and some nights you have to work 15 hrs loading the trucks up with cases of beer&wine. (Talked to the recruiter today)

I love the 90% of my business but not snow plowing anymore. I am afraid if I leave the plowing part I may end up hurting my business future with my customers. I may have a friend that I will transfer my plowing accounts to and not be threaten with him doing the mowing, mulch, cleanups because he owns a transmission shop.

What hurts me is I have a few customers that would be hurt. I have this one old lady about 95 years old that no one can stand because of her way of dealing with people and her pricing is based from the 1960's. I live about 1/4 mile from her and I don't mind and she is getting bad where she can't really walk. idk what I am trying to say but I need some opinions. I do like snow plowing but not when we get more then 5 inches of snow and the crazy cold hours and the money is like beer money compared to the overhead WHICH MY OVERHEAD IS NOT AS HIGH AS MOST GUYS! The lady asked me but you own a business are you looking at seasonal or full time? I told her that I am getting out of the plowing business and if I like this job I will sell my business or give it to another landscaper.
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  #25  
Old 11-17-2012, 08:42 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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I have to question the price structure of the business if you are considering taking a job making 30 to 40K. Then you say you would put most of money from the job back in to buy another truck and mower?

I say take the job and move on or take the time to learn How to Recover your expenses and make a good living. Do not do both.
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  #26  
Old 11-17-2012, 09:23 PM
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CowboysLawnCareDelaware CowboysLawnCareDelaware is online now
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soloscapeman, where are you located?

Michael
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  #27  
Old 11-17-2012, 09:26 PM
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soloscaperman soloscaperman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboysLawnCareDelaware View Post
soloscapeman, where are you located?

Michael
Around Fairfield county, CT
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" There is no wrong way on getting new customer's if you have a good long term plan."

"Money & Power leads to Greed and usually ends with Corruption."

" I don't blame our industry to be looked down at because most of the people either couldn't keep a stable job or were criminals."

" A LEADER will always have more haters than a FOLLOWER."
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  #28  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:45 AM
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RSK Property Maintenance RSK Property Maintenance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soloscaperman View Post
Every person should remember this! So true! The clients I mow I can't be lien-ant when it comes to plowing. I have that rich whiney guy that you guys told me to dropped well HE PUTS THE STAKES DOWN AND PUT THE LAST TWO 2 FEET ONTO THE GRASS. He has a $2M house but his driveway is the same size as my plow. He calls me telling me to fix the grass. I did fix it when the snow melted. I was trained that you always shovel out from the garage doors and that's what has been killing me with time and there is one mowing customer (good old people) that have a ripped up driveway so I have to shovel out the first 10ft or I would damage my plow and my ball joints.

DON'T RELY ON PLOWING AS AN INCOME BECAUSE HALF THE TIME YOUR NOT GOING TO GET THE SNOW AND THE OTHER HALF IS THE OVERHEAD. Unless you got new Ford F350's and have money in the bank plowing is to keep your workers busy and your full service customers happy. Commercial plowing which I do two small apartments that's where the money is!
I don't rely on plowing for income in the winter, but i see it as a bonus, and it does snow where i live in the winter, and I charge enough money where I make about 5-8 dollars a minute while i'm actually in the driveway plowing or shoveling a sidewalk or steps. none of my customers live in million dollar houses, none live in 800,000 dollar houses. most are probably 3-700,000 average sized for the area. And none of them complain. my 16 year old ford f350 with 271,000 miles doesn't require much maintenance. There actually is a pretty good amount of profit in snow plowing if you price it like I do, so you make at least 130-140 hour, which is having a bad route that is 14 hours long and driveways spaced apart so you can only do 3 per hour.
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  #29  
Old 11-18-2012, 09:56 AM
hackitdown hackitdown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSK Property Maintenance View Post
I don't rely on plowing for income in the winter, but i see it as a bonus, and it does snow where i live in the winter, and I charge enough money where I make about 5-8 dollars a minute while i'm actually in the driveway plowing or shoveling a sidewalk or steps. none of my customers live in million dollar houses, none live in 800,000 dollar houses. most are probably 3-700,000 average sized for the area. And none of them complain. my 16 year old ford f350 with 271,000 miles doesn't require much maintenance. There actually is a pretty good amount of profit in snow plowing if you price it like I do, so you make at least 130-140 hour, which is having a bad route that is 14 hours long and driveways spaced apart so you can only do 3 per hour.
Exactly...it is decent money if you do it on your own terms. To me a 14 hour route wouldn't work, but that sounds like a profitable day for you regardless. My route used to take 8 hours because the driveways were spread out. But I kept advertising, searching for better customers. When I got some new ones closer to home, I would drop the distant ones. It took 6 or 7 years to get where I am, and I don't have that many plow customers. But what I do have works well, it is fast, and I make good money for such a short route. As an example, I have one shared driveway with 4 houses. It takes 20 minutes to plow all 4. They all pay $45 each per push. I also have 3 additional drives on that same street, maybe another 25 minutes. I do 3 of my neighbors, all 3 take about 20 minutes. So that is 10 driveways that (even with drive time) are all done in under 90 minutes. Situations like these are the way to make it work.

A lot of landscapers don't realize that often times you are better off saying "no" to a customer. And that is especially true when it comes to plowing. I have a standard response to people who call from too far away, I just say that "I would love to help them out, but because of the distance I would not be able to provide the level of service they would need or expect". And at this point, even a mile off my route is way to far.
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  #30  
Old 11-18-2012, 10:16 AM
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RSK Property Maintenance RSK Property Maintenance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hackitdown View Post
Exactly...it is decent money if you do it on your own terms. To me a 14 hour route wouldn't work, but that sounds like a profitable day for you regardless. My route used to take 8 hours because the driveways were spread out. But I kept advertising, searching for better customers. When I got some new ones closer to home, I would drop the distant ones. It took 6 or 7 years to get where I am, and I don't have that many plow customers. But what I do have works well, it is fast, and I make good money for such a short route. As an example, I have one shared driveway with 4 houses. It takes 20 minutes to plow all 4. They all pay $45 each per push. I also have 3 additional drives on that same street, maybe another 25 minutes. I do 3 of my neighbors, all 3 take about 20 minutes. So that is 10 driveways that (even with drive time) are all done in under 90 minutes. Situations like these are the way to make it work.

A lot of landscapers don't realize that often times you are better off saying "no" to a customer. And that is especially true when it comes to plowing. I have a standard response to people who call from too far away, I just say that "I would love to help them out, but because of the distance I would not be able to provide the level of service they would need or expect". And at this point, even a mile off my route is way to far.
yah that's my problem, I have a 20 mile ride from my two furthest accounts, but i have a lot in between so its really not bad, just a little time consuming. and its hard for me to say no. But i'm starting to get a lot of accounts that are about 1-5 mins away from each other finally, so things are looking a lot better this year plowing wise. i'd like to get to the point where i make 2000 off a small storm 2-6" i know right now with all the new accounts i just got last week i am probably pretty close, which i think, starting with no accounts last year is pretty excellent. I retained 98% i only lost 2 or 3 customers but it doesn't even matter because they are very replaceable. They have been replaced with better customers that pay better. If only I got lawns this easy and quickly. hopefully next spring I will!
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