What is your lawn care business doing this winter to make additional money? Are you offering snow plowing services? Well, thanks to a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we got some great insight as to how to make your snow plowing season more profitable by offering additional services.
He wrote “If you are out there plowing snow with a truck, you might want to reconsider your operation and get a compact utility tractor. They are extremely versatile and cheap to use. My operating cost per tractor is about $2.90 an hour plus salary. These tractors are powerful yet sip fuel.
With a tractor, one of my staff members made more money last storm pulling out cars, trucks and trucks with plows out of ditches than he did plowing, and yes we are insured to do this. The storm dumped deep heavy snow that the four wheel drives were having serious issues with. However my tractors play in these conditions like a kid plays in snow.
If the conditions are severe enough, we put chains on the tractors. It takes 20 min per tractor to put what we call V Bar chains on. Once they are on, the tractors will tear the pavement up before they will spin. All but one driveway we snow plow is gravel so we aren’t too concerned about damaging the customer’s property with them on. If pavement on a road gets torn pulling someone out, the city’s pot hole crews can deal with it in the spring.
Towing cars out of the snow is a service I never thought to offer. Tow trucks tend to take hours to respond as they want to focus on traffic accidents where they make big bucks. I don’t, I want the local stuff where the guys happen upon spin outs as they are out driving by. After this eye waking experience, every tractor now has a tow strap on it. Even our smallest tractor will pull a 350 series truck out as all the tractors have backhoe’s on for weight and in case they get stuck.
Tractors are made pulling and removing snow. A truck is not and I don’t care what anyone says. I have too many friends that own dealerships or are service managers. Their clients are lucky to get three seasons out of their snow plow trucks. Snow plowing is desperate hard work on a truck. Tractors are made to do hard work. By using smaller tractors for my snow plowing services, I am also keeping my expenses down and staying under competitor’s radar.
I did a job for the city last night. It was the first snow removal for the city this year and one of their big trucks plowed a cul de sac wrong, blocked some condo parking garages, and they needed a loader to dig it out. Three other excavation/snowplowing companies they had on their list above me didn’t show as it was a very small job. I showed up, and the condo manager said the city will pay me for two hours for this one plus my travel time which was one hour total. I did the entire job in 1 hr 10 min, called the city supervisor and he came back to inspect it. He said he was shocked I did that much work that fast with my little tractor and I was going to the top of his list.
As the old saying goes 90% of luck is just showing up. What I mean by this is I didn’t really want to go out last night to do this small job but I did it. Because I showed up I am now going to get in the city’s good books and get ranked higher on their pecking order. I had been trying to do this for the past three years and who knew it would be this simple job that would do it. Now I can most likely look forwards to receiving more work for them.
So it’s important to be available and know people. Use the right equipment for the right job and always keep your eyes open to offer additional services as new potential services arise.”
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