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Thread: Crazy driveway business model

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Fargo, ND
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    Default Crazy driveway business model

    Most of you guys know I'm working towards specializing in the driveway only market. Of course using the tractor/blower model to blow driveways we can service driveways in 1-2 minutes with a good operator. So I'm working on a crazy idea of building a Master List of all the driveways in my service area, and of preparing quotes for all of them. So I will have that data for years to come. I will know exactly what size driveway is at each address. Think of the marketing possiblities...

    I'm hoping to have this list complete in 1-2 weeks, and then we are going to start marketing from it. I learned something remarkable today: that there are somewhere around 10,000-13,000 addresses in our small 6 mile wide x 4 mile tall service area. I'm sure that the number of homes is less, however I have trimmed the list pretty good so far, so it will be interesting to see what the final number is when the list is complete in a couple weeks.

    My goal this year is 450 driveways. Up until today I thought that was an awesome number, but up until today I thought there was only about 4-5000 houses in our service area. Now I'm realizing that even if we hit the goal of 450 driveways this year, it's still only 4% of our service area!! Last year was only 1.8%, which means the drive time between homes still has a LONG ways to drop as density increases.(dropping drive times = more profit $$) But I'm looking at last years production numbers/costs, and I can tell you it is much much better than commercial rates, even at only 1.8% of potential. (The driveways grossed $270/hr for ALL hours put on the tractors hour meters last year, including training hours) I almost can't imagine what the hourly rates are going to work out to when we hit 30-50% of market potential. I'm telling you guys, if you're not doing drives like this, you're really missing out. It's not easy or cheap to get setup and get into, but once you do get the systems and processes down, it is very easily expandable just using the same formula over and over, and applying it to more driveways each year. It's taken me 3 years to feel comfortable with it. But now that I do feel comfortable with it, the sky is the limit!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    OH
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    872

    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    Steve, feel free to text me if you want any ideas or to bounce ideas off. We are doing a nearly identical thing in a green industry segment. works like shooting fish in a barrel. We have 107k home with pricing data in our DB and market to each one of them on a constant basis. When we started doing things this way 4 years ago, had 37 accounts in this segment. We have 1600+ right now and will sell/close another 7-800 in the next 6 weeks. Shooting for 10k in 4 more years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    10,515

    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    I like your model. if you cant raise prices do more work at greater efficiency.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario, Canada
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    4,662

    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    Do you have municipal sidewalks at most of your houses Steve?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jmac View Post
    There will be an all knowing young kid to say otherwise but trust me, you dont want to run these with a vbox

  5. #5
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    Nov 2008
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    Fargo, ND
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    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    Jmac, sweet! We will have to talk for sure!!!

    Dave, there are city sidewalks at every house. We don't do any sidewalks service though. Unless we fill one with snow from. The driveway and someone calls... Then we go fix it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
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    692

    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    So this may be a stupid question.... Is it legal to drive a tractor on the road??? In my local market very very few snow guys will touch residential stuff (myself included at this point) leaving an untapped world of profits in the snow removal industry. I think the main reason nobody will mess with it is because they can't find a way to do it and be efficient/profitable. I really like your tractor/blower setup, I feel it would be the only way to do it around my area because of the frequently steep driveways creating issues for truck plows... Also may I ask what computer programs do you guys use to store your info on for potential/future customers? How do you come up with your numbers actually drive from house to house and look or do it by satellite?
    Quote Originally Posted by 2COR517 View Post
    Obama is the solution, fool

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Pittsburgh PA
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    692

    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    Have you ever thought about mounting a snowblower on the front of a truck? Then that would allow you to spread salt as well creating extra $$
    Quote Originally Posted by 2COR517 View Post
    Obama is the solution, fool

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    I'm sorry, I saw this on my phone and wanted to reply from a computer to give you a better response, then I spaced it out and forgot to get back to you.

    The laws on driving a tractor on the road vary by state. I don't know what they are in your state. Generally tractors are allowed on the road for AG use, however they usually are not specifically mentioned as being allowed on the road for Commercial use. Which is funny, because AG is Commercial also... but that is above my pay grade on determining why they separate it like that usually.

    However, in practice, most everyone drives skid steers, loaders, atv's, and tractors, on the hwy during a snow event and no one cares. In some states you may be required to get a license plate, in other states you may not be required.

    If you have steep drives, tractors can be just as slippery as a truck on ice, so a tractor itself might not be the cure. Better tires (on either a tractor OR a truck) would be the answer. On tractors it's generally accepted that the Nokian TRI2 tread is one of the best available. However I'm sure there are other brands that have good winter sneakers for tractors too. One thing I noticed with the 16" front rims on my little 4720's... the front tire size is the same as a 235/85/16 truck tires. I have considered swapping out the R1 front tires for some General Grabber AT2's to see how it works. The General Grabbers have been great tires for me in the past on pickups, I think they would be better than the R1 lug tires on slippery streets also.

    Oh, and please for the Love of God don't bring up a snowblower on the front of a truck. I really don't want to go into how terrible that setup is. Are there situations were a front mount blower would be better? Yes. Are there situations where a blower the front of a pickup would be better? No*. If you're considering front mount, put it on the front of a tractor. Just know that it isn't the ideal setup for driveways, it would be much slower. It would however be a better setup for something like Roy's cell towers (still, on a tractor, none of that pickup snowblower junk).


    *there could be 1% of situations where mounting a blower on a pickup could be handy, but unless you consider a F550 a "pickup", you're not going to have enough truck to carry what I'd consider a decent blower and power pack. And even then, you'd have a setup that would be best used at very remote sites, with very long drives/roads. And personally, I'd still rather have a tractor in those situations too, just being pulled there on a trailer if it's that remote.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Woodbury, MN
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Crazy driveway business model

    Hey Steve, great talking to you and I appreciate all the feedback on the Ag tractor/blower set up. Reading what you have told me about your operation is great...glad it's working for you buddy.


    Richard

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