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How did ya get into the biz?

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.plowsite.com target=_blank ?>Sn' started by GeoffDiamond, Apr 17, 2000.

  1. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    How did you guys get into the snow removal biz?<p>Me<p>50 years a go, make that 51 or 52 now. My dad bought one of the first fisher plows. Used it to plow his yard and shop of the company. Well he soon started plowing the neighbors drive, and it just started to snowball. Note back then, no one worried about insurance, or slip and falls. From there it just kinda expanded.<p>What is your story?<p>Geoff
  2. n y snow pros

    n y snow pros LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    We started out cutting grass for homeowners and then went after a couple small commercial sites.We were starting to generate some money and when we started maintaining condos we grew at a rapid rate,but we were not making any money.We stayed away from landscaping because we did not have any formal training so the most we would do is put a lawn in or a few plants ,but nothing elaborate.We plowed driveways our 1st and 2nd year and then we jumped into the commercial market.I love to plow and thought there has gotta be a way to make money in the plowing bussiness and we found it.We joined SIMA last year and our business has been better for it.Around here the general thought about plowing is &quot;i gotta truck ill put a plow on it and it will get me through the winter&quot;.That mentality has made contractors around here stay out of plowing because they dont think they can make money at it and i just refused to beleive that.We were well on our way when i heard about SIMA so the concept of a national snow organization was perfect for us and it was 1 of the best things we ever did.We have been in business for 5 years and do to our snow business we do not have to cut grass this year.we are taking the summer off.NY SNOW PROS is a new co. we started this year our parent is called Taconic Maintenance Inc and this is the 1 we started 5 years ago.Hope to see you all in Maine.<p>----------<br>J PARKER<br>914-485-4200
  3. Deere John

    Deere John LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

    We started in '81 with a used $700 Meyer plow and 5 customers: Revenue = $500. Almost 20 years later, we swing 3/4 tons, Boss Vee plows and a John Deere 310C hoe at a bunch of customers (one is still an original!). <br>Our philosophy has been to offer a good service, run and maintain good equipment, not nickel and dime anyone or be nickel and dimed either, and keep a low profile. We have had insurance for about 10 years, and have had no liability problems. <p>In the almost-20 years in this sport, we documented only 4 exceptional storms where either snow depth or, more likely, heavy drifting, caused us significant problems. The 310C is our competative advantage now - it suits our customer profile the best. We put it and a truck together as a team if we get a really big storm - otherwise the 310C is used for post-storm cleanup and removal work.<p>What is the biggest threat/annoyance to us?? Probably the fly-by-nighter. I get tired of hearing that so and so (after reviving his 1975 Blazer with a bucket of Bondo and a can of ether) will do the job for less. I don't usually bite on the price reduction, but point out our service instead. Usually, when I do lose a customer to a FBN, that customer will have a different contractor the following year, not wanting to call us back anticipating an I-told-you-so response (which we would never do).<p>My 2 cents to your question, Regards,<p>----------<br>JWM<br>
  4. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,555

    I got started in 85 ,I was partners with my Dad,and I was trying to make enough money to get through 2 years of college by plowing.My first plow truck was a '70 toyota landcruiser,with a 3 on the tree,maual steering and brakes,and very little heat.I plowed 3 years,took off 2 years in college,my dad did it and my brother wrecked my truck filling in for me that year(GMC Suburban).After college,I got back into it,and my Dad moved to Florida,I only have 1 account from the 80's left,all the rest are new.Last year i bought a v-box,and went after bigger accounts,Im taking on more next year,When I started we didnt need to show proof of insurance to big corporations like we do now,and trucks were 1/2 the price they are now.FBNighters are all around here too,I love the people who want me to be on call,incase there neighbor cant start the old John Deere,makes me laugh.<p>----------<br>John D<br>
  5. firedog

    firedog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    I got started about 4 yrs ago when my parents building a building for their buisness. They were paying some one to do it. I had a ford f-150 4x4 so I bought a western plow for it. the next year I started to work as a sub, and was never around to do their lot. So We put a plow on my dads dodge. To make a long story sort: as off 4/00 I have 2- dodge 2500 4x4 w/8'westerns, 1- chevy 1-ton w/9' western and tailgate spreader, 2-International Trucks 1 w/11'Flink and V-box and the other w/ 12' gledhill and dumpbody(no speader yet), 2- New Holland LX-885 skidloaders 1-w/9' western and the other w/10' protech snow pusher, and last but not least michigan 175B front end loader(6-7 yarder) w/ 18' protech snowpusher on order for next year. It's been a good 5 years.<br>
  6. Alan

    Alan Member
    Posts: 1,185

    I'm a newbie at this, relatively speaking. Started plowing in '94 as the logical add-on to mowing in the summer. At that time my son was still in high school and I was working in construction. He mowed during the week and I helped on weekends. The year he got his license we bought our first plow. He is one hell of a plow driver, having been at it since day one, so to speak. We've added trucks along the way, and a second plow. Wanted to add a third plow last fall but the money just wasn't there for it. It WILL happen this summer, and hopefully a highway blade on the 5500 as well. Spreading is with a Tryn-Ex tailgate hopper and a Flink undertailgate spreader on the 5500. Well, it will be on there next year, I got the 5500 up and running just before winter and didn't have time/money to get the central system on it last fall. I'm working on that now, got the tank built and all the pieces ready, once I get through spring rush I'll get it finished and installed.
  7. tru cut

    tru cut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    I got into this biz, this year after being in retal for the last 18years. have a brotherenlaw init who does well so i took the plunge had the s.d.bought the vplow small sander and my acc.made enough to pay back the bank and clear more than i would have working retail.I think i will stay w/it for quite a while i like it a lot<br>ps thanks for everyones help you were all part of my success!! <p>----------<br>Todd <br>
  8. yortengel

    yortengel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    I started in 84 when I was 17, with A 76 J20 jeep and a 7.5 Meyers. The jeep was in such bad shape that I had to work on it almost every day. In 85 I left for the Navy, When I got out I became an Auto technician; I had such bad luck will the guys that plowed our lot I bought a truck. This time I got a K20. I could only find a Meyer’s rig for the money I had. I almost had a western. But the deal fell thought. I added some accounts from there, I have to go to work so I stay small, I have found another truck and a salt spreader, I am giving a lot of thought into expanding. I also have found an F550 with a Diesel. It has a little engine trouble. Nothing I can’t fix. If I could find a good second driver I would go for it in a second.<br>That’s my story.<br>
  9. tru cut

    tru cut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    yortengel, whats wrong with the desiel!!<p>----------<br>Todd <br>
  10. plowking35

    plowking35 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S.E. CT
    Posts: 1,687

    I started in 91 with my k-5 blazer and an 8' fisher plow. I subbed for one year, and then got enough accounts in 92 for myself. Afetr 4 yrs with the blazer I added another truck, then sold the blazer for a k-30 dually with a flatbed dump. That year we got record snow, so I bought a v box spreader and a new 9' fisher for the k-30.<br>However I can say with out a doubt that I didnt start in earnest with the business side till I joined SIMA. They info and expertise that I have found in that group has helped me double my revenue with out adding extra accounts.<br>They have made us much more effictient, and profitable.<br>Dino <p>----------<br> Professional Ice and Snow Management <br>Products:Services:Equipment www.sima.org

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