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Thread: Would you get out if you could?

  1. #1
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    Default Would you get out if you could?

    We've always done snow because we financially had to. In the last year or 2 our lawn app business has really started killing it with profits to the point where I am able to legitimately consider this winter being our last with the bulk of our accounts. Id likely keep 4 or 5 accounts that are crazy lucrative just because we can.

    I started looking at all the cash i have tied up in snow equipment and it blew me away. Id like to take that cash off the table is another thought. Guess im just talking out loud more than anything. Told my wife we could pay off our mortgage and afford 25% down on a water front place up near Chris.

    If you didnt need the money, would you still do snow?

  2. #2
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    I'm /was a solo operator (with a backup) that did lawns and snow and I got out this year. I have a full time job and got into it to pay for wife college and then kids college. I enjoyed it but was tired of being held hostage by the weather in the winter, the hours and the uncertainty.
    Since you've looked at the numbers and they make sense I'd get out if I was in your position. I understand theres a midget that does $1m a year not to far from you that may have interest in buying you out..........
    No matter where you go.....there you are........

  3. #3
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    Missing the holidays,crazy hours stupid customers. Late payments chasing cash. If i could i might i do it to have vacations,pay off bills and put money away for retirement.
    I want to be there in 13years.
    Oh sure you're street smart.


    Sesame Street Smart.

  4. #4
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    I want to do snow because I want to, not because I have to.

    Does that answer the question?

    Especially after the way this year has started. Really thought we had everything prepped for the most part. Crap keeps breaking. No one's fault really other than a couple cylinders, just stuff that short of having all brand new or complete overhaul annually would prevent.

    But I do need to update some equipment.

    But like Buzz said...being held hostage by the weather sucks. The long hours. The stress when everything seems to break. The uncertainty of everything.

    Why aren't pics allowed in the signature line?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O View Post
    I want to do snow because I want to, not because I have to.
    I always want to in May. Then in November i ask myself WTF.

    One of the clients we would be keeping would be h onda and just a few small medical office almost touching their site. Not a small client but easy enough for us to do even on a small staff. Deuces to everything else. Eff Wal-Mart and their damned expectations.

    Its partially coming from a wide sweeping change that im looking at to improve the quality of life for all of our staff. I was out salting on Christmas morning. BS! If we have enough profit left in the business with a reduction in snow, why go thru all this dog and pony crap.

  6. #6
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    For the first time in a long time, we had to plow Christmas morning. I've got 4 1/2 residential routes, walks at 2 hospitals plus the plowing at 1 hospital.

    We had 7" during the day, so I left a party to plow the hospital, and my ops manager did the walks. Everyone else was bizzie..understandably.

    We had 2 complaints from resis...one understood when we explained it, the other is being a PITA. We gave her the option of finding another contractor and we'd prorate her refund. Never heard back from her. Sometimes you need to call their bluff. So that's one complaint out of aboot 250 driveways. KMA woman. She's some pretentious artsy fartsy violin player. She lives in an HOA and won't allow RoundUp or 24D to be used on the common areas because her dogs might die. But the lawns directly surrounding hers are treated with 24D.

    Why aren't pics allowed in the signature line?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O View Post
    For the first time in a long time, we had to plow Christmas morning. I've got 4 1/2 residential routes, walks at 2 hospitals plus the plowing at 1 hospital.

    We had 7" during the day, so I left a party to plow the hospital, and my ops manager did the walks. Everyone else was bizzie..understandably.

    We had 2 complaints from resis...one understood when we explained it, the other is being a PITA. We gave her the option of finding another contractor and we'd prorate her refund. Never heard back from her. Sometimes you need to call their bluff. So that's one complaint out of aboot 250 driveways. KMA woman. She's some pretentious artsy fartsy violin player. She lives in an HOA and won't allow RoundUp or 24D to be used on the common areas because her dogs might die. But the lawns directly surrounding hers are treated with 24D.
    And actually that is what I think I've come to realize. It's the dip**** customers that make the task unpleasant. I think next winter we're going to clean house and get rid of the ****tards.

    On an unrelated note, I almost flipped one of our John Deere's last night. Our caterpillar lost power and subsequently wouldn't go into gear I'm assuming because the solenoids in the transmission didn't have enough juice. So I unhooked the pusher on our 624 and it pushed the caterpillar almost a mile back to the staging site where we can address it later. But I was so freaking pissed that as I was leaving the staging site on a downhill slope I got the machine so sideways that it almost flipped. Not quite as much fun as floating a bobcat but I've got one hell of a bruise where I was thrown against the operator station in the Deere

    Edit - when did we start editing out adult words here? Did ps buy out the site here?

  8. #8
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    I got out 2 Winters ago because of exactly all the reasons given already plus 1 more---I like to snowmobile more in my old age than snowplow! I'll go out with my loader from time to time on large snowfalls but that's it, end of story. Everyone be safe out there and Happy New Year.
    SKULLFINDER--FINDER OF THE SKULL OF THE INFAMOUS HYDE PARK,NY MASTODON---YOUNGEST MASTODON FOUND ON THE PLANET

    MALLEN EXCAVATING

  9. #9
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    You can get out.

    i got 2 years ago also.

    now, i just plow a few hand picked seasonal residential customers.

    -26* with a -30 to -50 W,C,, makes me wish i was out there chasing snow drifts and clearing drifted sidewalks.....


    Now that I dont need snow work winter is becoming fun again.

  10. #10
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    For some reason it's in my blood and enjoying my work as much as ever. Yes we have those clients that are unreasonable as well. And yes they can make life miserable. But... my accountant says plow snow, it is profitable... for us.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herm Witte View Post
    For some reason it's in my blood and enjoying my work as much as ever. Yes we have those clients that are unreasonable as well. And yes they can make life miserable. But... my accountant says plow snow, it is profitable... for us.
    Herm, its also very profitable for us. Books say we did $90k profit in snow ytd out of a company wide total of $269k thru Nov. Ive got a plan to shave $30k off of payroll each year (savings will be straight to the bottom line) and the select few clients we will keep should net $30k. So greatly reducing my and my teams stress level to still profit $239k works for me. Everyone ive talked to internally loves the idea. And selling all our snow assets for a company vacation home sure sounds amazing too.

    Don't get me wrong. I was running one of the wheel loaders last night doing Drive lanes and loading docks at H onda. And I literally said to myself man this would be an awesome job if this is the only customer we had to worry about.

  12. #12
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    I concur with what Mark said, I personally enjoy doing snow. I agree the consecutive hours suck but the money is good and there’s plenty of accounts to be had. I currently have one other guy helping me and we do lawn work in the summer, however I don’t see lawn maintence as exceptionally profitable as I do snow. I see lawn/ landscape maintenance as good cash flow and helps keeps the business afloat. I’d like to find more help and I’ve increased wages on employees, I just need to find that magic number to where employees still feel appreciated yet the business still has money to expand.
    Like I said before, I enjoy the snow, for many reasons.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmac View Post
    Not quite as much fun as floating a bobcat
    No matter where you go.....there you are........

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herm Witte View Post
    For some reason it's in my blood and enjoying my work as much as ever. Yes we have those clients that are unreasonable as well. And yes they can make life miserable. But... my accountant says plow snow, it is profitable... for us.
    I know the feeling Herm...in mine too. That's why I said I would like to do it because I can, not because I have to.

    Why aren't pics allowed in the signature line?

  15. #15
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    Echoing what several of you have said, I enjoy snow, and can't ever see not plowing. That said, through price increases, "forgetting" to return calls, "tightening the routes", and a few other tricks, I've managed to shed all but a few residential driveways. I haven't done any advertising for snow work in many years, and the majority of our commercial customers we've had for 10+ years. Every year I have the opportunity to take on more work, somehow I continue to get a ridiculous amount of new customer inquiries, referrals, etc, most of which I turn down because I'm pretty happy with where we're at on the snow side. Being able to hand-pick your customers leads to a much more stress free business, which is nice to get back to after years and years of growing pains, employee headaches, etc. Ironically, being able to turn down work has somehow made us more desirable to prospective customers, lol. Our focus is our loyal commercial and large apartment (300-400 unit) properties. The biggest problem I have right now is figuring out how to replace my old man (and his truck), who says this is his last year plowing for me; it's a matter of buying another truck and finding a good employee (difficult), finding a good sub (next to impossible), or turning away loyal, long-time, and well-paying customers.

    On the lawn side, I've subbed 100% of my lawn work out. Again, I've shed all but the really good customers, and have subs doing all the weekly maintenance on those properties. I'm continuing to expand my dumpster rental business, it's been a cash cow so far, and shows no signs of slowing down. And the work is so much easier than humping a mower all frickin day! Also thinking about expanding my LED business, it feels like an un-tapped goldmine, but I don't have the time to put into it, so I would have to hire someone for a part of the business that currently has very low income, in hopes that said employee would be able to make it fly. It would be a leap of faith that would either make me more money or could end up costing me a lot in payroll for nothing.
    Quote Originally Posted by TCLA View Post
    Woulda shoulda coulda...if's and but's are like monkeys and nutz.
    Quote Originally Posted by bri View Post
    THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY IGNORANT BRAINWASHED CITIZENS FOR A NOT SO GOOD CAUSE AND VARIOUS POLICE STATE AGENDA LOBBYING GROUPS

  16. #16
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    I do love the equipment...not just buying but the new advances, looking, testing and buying.

    Keep trying to make that end of it more stress free. I swore I wasn't going to buy another tractor and\or blower this year as I've added one and\or the other each year for the last 3. Ended up with a tractor and blower and on bigger snowfalls it has a full route so I still don't have a backup.

    The 244 with PlowMaxx and LiveEdge is awesome. The LiveBoxx is awesome. Tractor\blowers are awesome. I could have added another tractor\blower route without advertising.

    But finding operators sucks. And I have a great crew, but non-stop snow wears on everyone. Including me. I've never been this sick while going through weather like we've had. I had over 100 hours in the week of Christmas...but employees (for the most part) don't see or care. I busted my butt so they could have time oof on Christmas. Hopefully it slows down.

    Why aren't pics allowed in the signature line?

  17. #17
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    And I'm looking at my receivables and remembering why I don't get oot.

    Why aren't pics allowed in the signature line?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O View Post
    And I'm looking at my receivables and remembering why I don't get oot.
    Isnt this the truth. Love how healthy ours is too.

    Talked with a good friend and he is saying i need to hire a business unit manager just to run and manage our snow ops. From a financial perspective, that presents a more lucrative option so i guess we will look in that direction first.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O View Post
    And I'm looking at my receivables and remembering why I don't get oot.
    Like
    Oh sure you're street smart.


    Sesame Street Smart.

  20. #20
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    I don’t want out yet...I’m still enjoying it. If/when I’m not enjoying it anymore, then it’s time to move on...snow or whatever the service/career may be.

    But i was very close to downsizing this year. A very good friend of mine passed away over the summer, and he was who helped me get a jump start with my snow side of things when I started my biz. I worked very closely with him for 14yrs doing a lot of subbing for each other, & just helping each other out in various ways. When he passed I fealt like I not only lost a good friend but lost my unofficial “partner in snow”. And with him gone, the stress of the coming winter seemed to creep into my mind although it was still summer, but my wife and some other close people in my life said to take it one day at a time and things would work out.

    Anyway, Turns out his biggest account offered me to pick up the remaining 2yrs of his contract because they knew of our relationship, knew me, and obviously trusted me. In short, my friend provided me about 40% of my snow revenue, and between picking up his biggest account along with a few other small things, I’ve made that up plus a little....and with less overall locations to service��...So from 6months ago, thinking I might downsize to almost half of what we were doing, to where I am now is a big change for me. I’m by no means a million dollar snow god, but I’m happy with the service we provide, the margins I’m making, and most importantly still enjoying it......“most of the time” lol.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O View Post
    And I'm looking at my receivables and remembering why I don't get oot.
    Amen. Snow has always been lucrative especially now with more productive equipment.

    The stress has been reduced with subs available any time, mechanic ready to repair. A big issue I am having right now is dealing with such a large number of new resi customers that are not used to having service. Combine with massive lake effect makes for a lot of phone calls. Its subsided as winter has progressed. The thought of a second tractor/blower is enticing yet will necessitate some patience and careful management of communications.

    If anything I would prefer backing off on lawn work and increasing snow. Available leisure time in the warm months makes for better vacations and great times with the kids. Only time Im outside in winter is to work.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Landgreen View Post
    If anything I would prefer backing off on lawn work and increasing snow. Available leisure time in the warm months makes for better vacations and great times with the kids. Only time Im outside in winter is to work.
    We've been "bigger" in the winter for a long time.

    Time oof seldom seems to happen.

    Why aren't pics allowed in the signature line?

  23. #23
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    Huh. Oh yeah, this is a snow forum you guys plow snow right? I just take photos of it. It is really pretty sometimes. 20180104_141427-01.jpg20180104_141956-01-01.jpg

  24. #24
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    20180104_155319-02.jpg

    Where da road go?? Lmao

  25. #25
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    This guy is doing it. He ain't no quitter. 20180104_122728.jpg20180104_124547.jpg

  26. #26
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    And along comes another 36 hour Alberta "Clipper" and I ask myself why I keep doing this...

    Why aren't pics allowed in the signature line?

  27. #27
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    And the voices in your head say?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O View Post
    And along comes another 36 hour Alberta "Clipper" and I ask myself why I keep doing this...
    We powned it. Honestly days like this where we predominantly get positive feedback is fantastic.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O View Post
    And along comes another 36 hour Alberta "Clipper" and I ask myself why I keep doing this...
    You're a moron that needs something to bitch aboot?
    No matter where you go.....there you are........

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnoFarmer View Post
    And the voices in your head say?
    My guess is......
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVA-Bx4rNc0
    No matter where you go.....there you are........

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