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Are all of your lawn accounts also your snow accounts?

Kingston561971

LawnSite Member
The reason I ask is I am moving from a year-round mowing climate of Florida to the Midwest where obviously mowing is seasonal and so is snow removal. I will be putting out eddm cards in spring along with door hangers what I'm trying to find out is do the majority of lawn customers also become snow removal customers? and if so at what point do you bring up snow removal to them? is it a difficult task to keep the same customers year after year? Any input on how to accomplish this or go about tactfully offering snow removal and when is the best time to do it would be appreciated
 

Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Senior Member
I don't bring up snowplowing to my customers and have never advertised for it(mowing 4 years, snowplowing 30 years). Pretty much everyone around here knows someone with a plow that they use. Probably plow about 30% of my mowing customers currently. My mowing route is twice as big as the area I cover for plowing. Its nice to have year round income from customers with plowing but my advice for you would be not to get into plowing. It requires way more truck than needed for mowing. I know there are people here on LS that make a lot more money than I do pushing snow but if I could make enough money mowing to sit around all winter doing nothing I'd be doing that.
With that said, set up a third of your plowing base to pay a seasonal price upfront that covers your overhead and have the rest pay per time- per inch and you should be able make money if it snow's and if it don't.
 
OP
K

Kingston561971

LawnSite Member
So this might sound like a silly question but at the end of a mowing season which I assume is roughly April until November where do things with the lawn customer and yourself end up? Do you just arbitrarily come back to them in spring and start the next year?
 

OakNut

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Snow removal sucks unless you are really set up well to do the job and have contracts where you get paid regardless of whether you do anything or not.

I'm just a one man show and I tried doing it the first few seasons, but I tried it with a snowblower because there are really no driveways (on my mowing route) large enough to plow.
Nobody wants to pay to have snow cleared unless there's 8 inches or more - they just do it themselves if there isn't a lot of it.

I gave that up and tried working for someone else doing snow removal. He has a fleet of trucks and salts/plows commercial lots and driveways for personal care homes in the suburbs.
I did that for two winters and it sucked too. Even with the need for salting/plowing being higher than on residential properties, we simply don't get enough snow on a regular basis here - I didn't work much. (on call)

What I DID learn from working for him is that you work when it snows and you work until it stops snowing. Could be 2am til 6am - could be 30 hours straight.
I learned that things break at the worst times - even new equipment. Salt spreaders stop working, trucks go down - it's REALLY fun trying to work on repairs at 4am, in freezing temps, with frozen fingers, wet snow soaking you down.

Guys run out every year and buy a "plow truck" and have big dreams of making money.
I wouldn't do it unless the area I lived in guaranteed enough snowfall to make it worth the investment, and I wouldn't consider it without a backup truck.

I work at Walmart during the off season now.
The money isn't great, but I can keep up with my bills, and I'm not freezing my balls off - unless I have to work the dairy cooler.
 
OP
K

Kingston561971

LawnSite Member
Snow removal sucks unless you are really set up well to do the job and have contracts where you get paid regardless of whether you do anything or not.

I'm just a one man show and I tried doing it the first few seasons, but I tried it with a snowblower because there are really no driveways (on my mowing route) large enough to plow.
Nobody wants to pay to have snow cleared unless there's 8 inches or more - they just do it themselves if there isn't a lot of it.

I gave that up and tried working for someone else doing snow removal. He has a fleet of trucks and salts/plows commercial lots and driveways for personal care homes in the suburbs.
I did that for two winters and it sucked too. Even with the need for salting/plowing being higher than on residential properties, we simply don't get enough snow on a regular basis here - I didn't work much. (on call)

What I DID learn from working for him is that you work when it snows and you work until it stops snowing. Could be 2am til 6am - could be 30 hours straight.
I learned that things break at the worst times - even new equipment. Salt spreaders stop working, trucks go down - it's REALLY fun trying to work on repairs at 4am, in freezing temps, with frozen fingers, wet snow soaking you down.

Guys run out every year and buy a "plow truck" and have big dreams of making money.
I wouldn't do it unless the area I lived in guaranteed enough snowfall to make it worth the investment, and I wouldn't consider it without a backup truck.

I work at Walmart during the off season now.
The money isn't great, but I can keep up with my bills, and I'm not freezing my balls off - unless I have to work the dairy cooler.
What area are you located in? And I've wondered about that too just kind of taking on part-time work during the winter months retail always seems to need extra help around the holidays
 

Skol

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
The Ozarks
So this might sound like a silly question but at the end of a mowing season which I assume is roughly April until November where do things with the lawn customer and yourself end up? Do you just arbitrarily come back to them in spring and start the next year?
Unless notified otherwise, yeah.
 

Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Senior Member
Kingston, went through some of your old post and I like the fact you've given great consideration to relocating. Sounds like your dropping the hammer on this move. I probably never would have gone out on my own if there wasn't people saying I shouldn't, so take every thing posted here with a open mind. So it looks you have somewhere illinois/iowa picked out, a good starting point for snow removal would be running around with a nice snowblower in the back of the 2wd truck you already have. As said, you will hopefully come to hate it and upgrade to a plow truck. I get several calls for snowblowing only work and there seems to be a growing market here. Research your area some and look for some local peer advice, I'm guessing your area a couple years back would go 3 years with less than 10 inches of snow total. The best of luck to you in 2021.
 

CapeMay609

LawnSite Member
Location
Cape May, NJ
We do snow for residential and a few bed and breakfast Victorian homes. We haven’t had a big big storm in years but we have one plow two single stage toros and one heavy duty ariens snow thrower. We do maybe %20 of our clients. Very high end properties. A 1-3 inch storm will keep us busy for half about 5 hours. It’s something to do in the winter. We do not plan on it happening but when it does we are ready.

we send out spring letters the last week of February. That one warm day in the beginning of March people start going insane so usually mid March we start mulch and cleanups and mow by first week of April
 
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