Trapped on Snow Island with $10K

Discussion in '<a href= target=_blank ?>Sn' started by Stonehenge, Dec 21, 2000.

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Ok, this question isn't so dumb -

    Let's say you're trapped on Snow Island, where there's plenty of snow, and about 80% of the lots there are small-medium sized commercial, the other 20% residential. When you landed on shore here, you saw you had $10K in cash in your pockets and you saw that the locals needed plowing.

    With the cash in your pockets, what do you buy, given the type of work that's on the island?

    And thanks a ton for all the help you've provided so far. From the landscaping side, after 5 years of honing my contracts, procedures and policies, I'm just now getting to the point where I feel comfortable, having learned so many lessons the hard way. So I realize how many headaches you've prevented for me in this arena. Thanks for allowing me to learn the easy way here!

    Have a great holiday everyone!
  2. jaclawn

    jaclawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 490

    Since snow plowing is not a year round, full time business, (except in a select few areas), your choice of truck will depend on what you can use it for in the other seasons. It is difficult to buy a truck just for snowplowing and nothing else.

    That being said, I would look at 3/4 to 1 ton pickups for the size lots that you are doing. 4x4, and automatic. GM, Ford, Dodge, they are all good trucks, and all have their strenghts and weekness'. You will find folks that love one brand, and folks that hate that same brand. It is up to you. They are all good trucks.

    I would go with an 8' plow. You could possibly go larger for the commercials, providing they are fairly open, and not tight and crammed.

    Again, MEyer, Western, Boss, Fisher, Diamond... THey are all good plows. Same as the trucks, you will find that there are people that like to trash one brand, and promote another. Get what you can get good support for.

    The commercial lots may want de-icing services. You will need a spreader. For pickups, there are two main choices, tailgater, or Vbox. They both have advantages.

    A V box will allow the use of bulk salt, which costs less than bagged. You will need a way to load the salt at all times. If your supplier if not open 24/7, you will need some type of a stockpile and loader. A Vbox weighs in the neighborhood of 700#, that will limit the reduce the weight of the salt that you can legally carry. The Vbox also esssentially dedicates the truck for snow work all winter, unless you have an easy way to remove and store the hopper.

    The tailgate models are generally less expensive than a Vbox, although some of the high end tailgaters are getting up there in price. A tailgate will most likely mean that you will have to run bagged salt. You can store and load bags by hand. The tailgater also frees up your truck bed, so that in between storms, you can haul other things. This is especially important to me, because I do other work during the winter, and our "green" season overlaps our "white" season. The tailgaters also wiigh much less than a Vbox, allowing you to carry more material without overloading the truck. Some of the tailgaters have mounts that allow them to swing to the side to permit lowering of the tailgate for loading and unloadig of material. This option is worth every penny. You DO NOT want to have to load over the side, or have to remove the spreader to load the truck.

    So, with the 10K budgeted, I would spend 5K on a truck. I would spend $2500 pn a new plow, and $1500 on a tailgater. Since $ is a factor, and you are just starting out, you can upgrade to a Vbox later if you have the need. I would take $500 and spend it on a single stage snowblower, if you have walks to do. Take that last $500, and get yourself a few pallets of salt, and you are in business.
  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276


    Thanks for taking the time to put together such a detailed response. I appreciate it.

    Have a great holiday!

  4. plowjockey

    plowjockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 332

    I it always a good idea to take from $20.00 to $100.00 and buy yourself a good strobe or beacon for the top of your rig. You do not need someone running into you because they did not see you in that blizzard on Snow Island. It also makes big points with law enforcement to know that you operate as safely as possible. Happy Plowing...
  5. Tim1075

    Tim1075 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Then those same police turn around and ask you for your permit to be running that strobe. I guess you just cant win.
  6. plowjockey

    plowjockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 332

    Tim here in Ohio I have not been hassled about my Federal Signal light bar (two lamp beacon) but I try not to run it when I am on the road unless it is for the reason of alerting traffic to a problem ahead. I don't know if I need a permit in Ohio to run this...But I bet if I do I'll find out one way or another. I figure that if I am involved in a plowing accident with a moving vehicle my insurance agent will first ask "Did you have your warning lights operating?"
    When I set up the policy that was one of the first things my agent asked me about.
  7. Tim1075

    Tim1075 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    I see, well i guess i was speaking for NJ where you need a permit to run a warning light.
  8. JCurtis

    JCurtis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    For use on a public street, Connecticut requires a permit too. $7.00 per vehicle annually.

    I only use my light on private property, a flick of the switch as I am entering the public thoroughfare and I save $7.00. Its just a money making deal for the state.

    Its just the principle of the thing. In NY state its the law that if you plow, you must use a amber warning lights. I don't know if NY charges a permit fee.

    I look at it this way. If we pay registration, and insurance and we pay business taxes etc., etc., etc., why another $7.00 bucks just to turn the warning lights on when your on the road during a snowstorm????

  9. plowking35

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

    Jeff just make sure that light is a mag mount. In CT if the light is on your truck you need the permit. At a DOT inspection stop, they will pinch you. I just got the permit apps for my 4 trucks. Aand it need to be updated annually. For you FD guys in CT, its the same permit that you get for a blue light.
  10. columbiaplower

    columbiaplower LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    well if it was all close together i would look into a sidesteer with a plow thes a nice articale in Lawn and LAndscape mag about using skid steeers for plowing

Share This Page