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View Full Version : Bought a Snowthrower - Any Tips?


Hedgemaster
10-04-2010, 12:17 AM
I'm pretty sure that we won't see any snow now that I've sunk a bunch of money into a snowthrower, but on the off chance that I actually have the good fortune to use it to make some money, what "snowthrowing" advice do you have to offer someone (a) new to "the business", and (b) new to snowthrowers period.



No laughing, but I bought a Craftsman. A "pro-grade" thrower is not in the cards at the moment, and rather than risk buying a used thrower and having it crap out on me on the first job, I decided to buy "new". Apparently it's made by MTD and is the same as the Troy-Bilt in most ways. When comparing them at different places, I couldn't locate anything with the same features for less than $1,000.00 - this one is reg priced at $1,070.00 and was on sale for $740.00 As it turns out, they were an additional 10% off today, bringing the price to $666.00.
Not a bad price at all considering what it offers vs other throwers of similar price/quality.

http://movingsnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/07188691000-1.jpg

208cc
26"
Power Steering
Joystick-controlled 4-way chute adjustment
Nylon/Poly Skid Shoes (won't scratch/damage driveways)
More here (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07188691000P?mv=rr)



I'll be picking it up on Wednesday. Guess I'd better start clearing out a spot in the garage.

picframer
10-04-2010, 04:56 AM
I sub out 95% of our snow clearing, yes I have the gear but up here it's not worth it, seems everyone with a four wheel drive has a plow.

Now last year a few of the staff saved up some money and bought the JD snow blowers, most of them live in the city and they simply go door to door during storms, they tell me they make serious money and I suspect they do.

I do loader work for the city, bus stops and fire hydrants as we have 48" and 60" blowers on the back of the tractors and buckets on the front so no matter how much snow you simply can't stop them.

We get a lot of calls where we have a serious storm and the pick up's are having issues clearing, it is nothing for us to get 12 to 20 inches of snow and being on the ocean has the final couple of hours of the storm turn to freezing rain/rain, snow blowers and light trucks are useless in this so we luck out here and I will put all 7 tractors out working and they will work 24 hours a day, if I can get the staff that work for me in the summer that are trained on the gear, but at this point all staff can run anything I own except excavators, only 7 are trained up for them.

We make a lot of money oulling vehicles from the ditch, I have a waver signed before we hook on.

Anyhow good luck, there is a snow blowing post card on my website.

Hedgemaster
10-04-2010, 09:35 PM
Anyone know roughly how much time it takes to clear a driveway (of a specific size) with a snowthrower?

I've never used one - I've been shoveling my driveway for 16 years. :(
It's 80' long and the first half is one car width with the remaining portion being about 3 car widths wide.

I have no clue what people pay to have a driveway cleared, but if I have some idea of how long it takes, maybe I can figure some pricing out ahead of time.


Any things I should be aware of, be it equipment related, or usage related?

picframer
10-04-2010, 09:49 PM
Anyone know roughly how much time it takes to clear a driveway (of a specific size) with a snowthrower?

I've never used one - I've been shoveling my driveway for 16 years. :(
It's 80' long and the first half is one car width with the remaining portion being about 3 car widths wide.

I have no clue what people pay to have a driveway cleared, but if I have some idea of how long it takes, maybe I can figure some pricing out ahead of time.


Any things I should be aware of, be it equipment related, or usage related?

Stay away from gravel:)

80' one and a half cars, depending on the snow....40 to 60

Hedgemaster
10-04-2010, 10:08 PM
Stay away from gravel:)

80' one and a half cars, depending on the snow....40 to 60


40-60... minutes? dollars? Canadian nickels*???
I don't follow what you're saying.







* ;)

picframer
10-04-2010, 10:11 PM
40-60... minutes? dollars? Canadian nickels*???
I don't follow what you're saying.







* ;)

Sorry dollars

B-2 Lawncare
10-04-2010, 11:52 PM
40-60... minutes? dollars? Canadian nickels*???
I don't follow what you're saying.







* ;)

You and me both. This is the way that I would look at how to charge - How much snow did you get in the months of Oct., Nov. and Dec. last year? I would take the total storms from last year and divide them up per push, and short yourself by a push or two and find the payment. Example Oct: five pushes, Nov: 10 pushes, Dec: 15 pushes = 30 pushes from last year 700/30= $ 23 per push. I chose to divide seven hundred to get a return of the $700 you paid for the snowblower. I would add a couple of extra bucks for whatever, income. I would feel comfortable charging $30 bucks per push.

You could change your rates (probably up) if you live in a large metropolitan area, I charge closer to these rates because I'm in a very rural area. Good luck with it, you'll do fine!

Steve
10-05-2010, 03:24 AM
Anyone know roughly how much time it takes to clear a driveway (of a specific size) with a snowthrower?

You know, I bet you could use the online mow time calculator http://lawnchat.com/?page_id=341

If you know how wide the snow thrower is and how fast it moves, you can figure out what total time it would take to clear a driveway.

Experiment with the calculator and see what you come up with.

Hedgemaster
10-05-2010, 09:33 PM
Heh. Thanks for the suggestion, but I tried the mow time calculator. I took a tape measure out and measured my yard... it said it should take 12 minutes to mow/trim my back yard. In reality, it takes 30.

That said, much of the numbers that are plugged in are total guesswork. MPH walked? How the heck do I know?

I wouldn't have a clue as to how fast a/this snowthrower moves.




I'm going to need to get an accurate figure decide on before too long - the snow is coming and I'd like to be able to advertise in my neighborhood before it gets here, so if anyone reading uses a snowthrower and can throw out some info on how they charge for such services, it would be truly appreciated.

:)

jklawncare
10-05-2010, 09:40 PM
you could charge by the minute..but some customers may have a problem with that.. time a few times it would take to do it and average it all and put a price on it.

Hedgemaster
10-05-2010, 09:59 PM
I should just run it up and down my driveway this weekend to time it - run it at the slowest setting as a worst case scenario...


We just had new people move in across the street - they'll think I'm a friggin' nutcase! LOL!

Steve
10-06-2010, 02:59 PM
Well that might be a good way to get started and then when winter hits, compare your guesstimate time with the time it really took you. Write all this down, along with the sq ft of the area you were snow blowing. That will then help you correct your estimating.

bruces
10-06-2010, 10:33 PM
how long it takes will depend on how much snow,the temperature ,and how wet the snow is .Your yard will probably take an hour max to do ,unless you really get swamped with wet snow .Most craftsman power equipment,is made by electrolux ,your blower most likely is as well .Always carry some extra shear pins with you,newspapers,cats,dogs,and children tend to eat them .I run a hockey arena ,and have to clear my fire exits with a blower ,the path I make,is about 8 feet wide,about 500 feet in length,and I can do it with our 12 h.p. 36 inch cut garbage blower [mtd pro] in about an hour if the snow is under a foot deep .

Hedgemaster
10-07-2010, 01:00 AM
Thanks for the info. Every little bit helps.

This machine is made by MTD. It's identical in nearly every way to the MTD Pro that was sitting next to it in the store with the exception of the engine and the handle to operate the chute. (And it's red as opposed to black) I'm sure Sears uses different manufacturers every year, or as they get better bids to build their machines. Unfortunately, most everything built these days is crap from the start, so if I get more than 3 or 4 years out of it I'll be shocked.

Hedgemaster
10-09-2010, 09:24 PM
For the last several years or so, I've come to expect the worst from each and every item I purchase. No surprises that way. Today was no exception.

I finally picked up the snowthrower last night. (good thing I bought that trailer)
The box was massive and it was very heavy/awkward to get unloaded, but I managed. Today I opened the box and checked out the manual to see what needed to be assembled... "flip up the handle, tighten, remove some pins, attach the chute, blah, blah, blah..." seems simple enough.

Well, 2 hours later and more obscene words than I've used in a long time, and I'm left with a cut open cardboard box, and a snowthrower that can not be "assembled".

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Misc%20Lawn/104_5753.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Misc%20Lawn/104_5755.jpg

See that red "post" in the photo above? The "head" of the chute is supposed to mount to that. However, when I placed the chute into it, the holes for the pin would not line up. (see below)

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Misc%20Lawn/104_5757.jpg

I tried removing it, repositioning it, pushing, twisting, swearing, beating it, talking kindly to it, removing it, repositioning it, removing it, repositioning it, removing it, repositioning it, swearing some more, throwing things, and then I finally grabbed the phone and called Sears.


If I could have found another unit elsewhere for close to the same price, I would have returned it on principal alone, but it was a great deal, so I would need to resolve this with Sears somehow. In my head, I had it all planned out that I'd request that THEY come pick this up, and DELIVER a new one to me. Keep in mind, I did not pay to have this one delivered, so I expected them to require me to return it for an exchange.

I politely explained to the manager that it wasn't as simple as returning a pair of shoes, that the item is very heavy, and that there was the hassle of using the trailer again for returning it. I exaggerated that part a bit, but honestly, I didn't want to deal with hooking up/loading the trailer to return something that was defective right from the factory.

He was very nice and long story short, he's having a new unit delivered, and they will take this one away with no delivery charge. And I didn't even have to argue with them. :)

Let's see... aside from my rambling on about nothing here, what can we learn from this?

Well, for one thing, don't wait until the last minute to purchase equipment you need for a job. Had it been winter and I needed this "now", I would have been screwed.

Lesson #2. Obscenities will not make improperly manufactured holes line up, no matter HOW many of them you utter, scream, or shout.

:D




ETA:
The instructions included were HORRIBLY written, which contributed greatly to the "swear factor".

Steve
10-10-2010, 05:38 AM
Last winter I think I had put together the same model. I don't remember having much of a problem with that one. But if I were putting together this one and things didn't line up, I would try running a drill through the holes to make it line up.

Would that have helped or no?

Keep us posted on how it goes.

Hedgemaster
10-10-2010, 10:11 PM
Last winter I think I had put together the same model. I don't remember having much of a problem with that one. But if I were putting together this one and things didn't line up, I would try running a drill through the holes to make it line up.

Would that have helped or no?

Keep us posted on how it goes.

It may have - or it may have made it too sloppy, causing unforeseen problems, which would then be "my fault" for messing with it..

If this were a used, "beater" unit, I would have tried it, but not on a brand new $1,000 unit. They can just give me one that's built correctly, thank you.

New thrower to be delivered on Thursday.

Steve
10-11-2010, 06:44 AM
I totally understand. Let us know how the new one turns out. I also look forwards to your first snowfall so you can test it :)

Hedgemaster
10-15-2010, 02:43 PM
Well, new unit was delivered last night - already assembled.
Sigh. This is not going to be good.

Sure enough, the genius who assembled it ran cables opposite of what manual states, and connecting rod for chute upside-down.

All I wanted was a new unit... in the friggin box.

Can nothing be done right any more?

Steve
10-15-2010, 08:05 PM
I am sorry about that. What is the plan now?

Hedgemaster
10-15-2010, 09:17 PM
Snowthrower number three to be delivered next Wednesday - in it's original box, with the instructions "DO NOT ASSEMBLE" added to the new order per store manager.

The manager was very nice about the whole thing. He didn't understand why anyone would have assembled it, as he has a code to enter prompting such service if desired, and he did not request it.
When it was dropped off, I asked "Who assembled it?", the delivery guy said that "the warehouse did" - that "they do that when people have trouble assembling a product". I guess that could be seen as a nice gesture, but I take it as an insult... I'm not a moron - there are only a few steps needed to "assemble" the thing, (yet THEY screwed it up - go figure) but when the parts are out of spec, there isn't much anyone can do about it.

Like I explained to the manager, I didn't ask to have it assembled, nor did anyone tell me that the replacement would come assembled - if they had, I would have told them not to do so. I don't trust someone at a store to assemble a wheelbarrow properly, and I sure as heck don't want them dicking around with a $1,000 piece of equipment.

Honestly, I could have taken it apart, and put it together properly, but why should I? America seems to have accepted this type of poor quality/ineptitude as the norm. Screw that - speak up when something isn't right. To do otherwise is to say that it's "OK" to do a poor job.

Cripes, we may actually have snow on the ground before this is resolved. ;)

Hedgemaster
10-20-2010, 03:54 PM
Snowthrower number "3" was delivered today - in the box. :)

I just finished putting it together. No real issues - the part that would not align on the other unit went together with no problem.

Well, break time is over... time to go put some gas in it and fire her up. Gotta try the electric start - that cracks me up. Just how lazy have we become?

... says the guy who opted for POWER STEERING!

:D

wandfsmall
10-20-2010, 11:17 PM
and to think how many people get their mowers serviced by a sears tech....

Martywdx
11-07-2010, 06:20 PM
Snowthrower number "3" was delivered today - in the box. :)

I just finished putting it together. No real issues - the part that would not align on the other unit went together with no problem.

Well, break time is over... time to go put some gas in it and fire her up. Gotta try the electric start - that cracks me up. Just how lazy have we become?

... says the guy who opted for POWER STEERING!

:D

An electric start in my part of the county isn't a luxury. When its 0 F and below and the wind is blowing it's all most imposable to pull start my machine. But then I leave it in the truck bed outside, as I have no garage. Also that chute adjusting mechanism failed on mine when it was sub-zero(less then a month old). It wouldn't hold the upper chute in place. The cable seamed gummy an wouldn't aloue it to lock in place.Luck would have it the a old auger and chute off my old blower fit on the new one. so I use that. That was 2 years ago and still going strong. Maybe they made some modification since.But it didnt work for me. My machine(White, made by MTD) also has heated handles which are !!GREAT!!
Good luck blowing.

Hedgemaster
11-07-2010, 08:51 PM
An electric start in my part of the county isn't a luxury. When its 0 F and below and the wind is blowing it's all most imposable to pull start my machine. But then I leave it in the truck bed outside, as I have no garage. Also that chute adjusting mechanism failed on mine when it was sub-zero(less then a month old). It wouldn't hold the upper chute in place. The cable seamed gummy an wouldn't aloue it to lock in place.Luck would have it the a old auger and chute off my old blower fit on the new one. so I use that. That was 2 years ago and still going strong. Maybe they made some modification since.But it didnt work for me. My machine(White, made by MTD) also has heated handles which are !!GREAT!!
Good luck blowing.

Thanks for the input.

I have my doubts about that "joystick" controller... it's a great concept, but we'll see how it holds up in actual usage. I think I read that they have reworked them as there were issues with earlier models - time will tell.

********

Oh yeah, I forgot to post this before, but after I put it together and ran it around in he yard, I noted that the auger was turning slowly when it was idling. The cable was too snug... because it got jammed into a slot for another cable when I unfolded the handle while assembling it. It's STUCK in there. I SWEAR there's a black cloud following me.

I'm using the warranty to have it repaired. I opted for the "at home" service when purchasing it, so they are coming next week to replace that cable for me. (The cable shielding is stripped where it's jammed in)


It ran well - started on the first pull and the power steering is pretty nice. Just need that cable replaced, and I'm ready for the snow!

I'll keep you all updated on my continuing saga. :)


ETA:
Does anyone wax, or apply silicone to the inner surfaces to help keep snow from sticking? Just curious if that would help or hurt.

wandfsmall
11-08-2010, 08:38 AM
ETA:
Does anyone wax, or apply silicone to the inner surfaces to help keep snow from sticking? Just curious if that would help or hurt.

you might try fluid film, it would last longer and you are using a rust preventive. It should work better then silicone just not sure how it will do.

The Cleaning Doctor
11-08-2010, 03:43 PM
I would be tempted to just use WD40 and then Purple Power to cleanup later.

Hedgemaster
11-18-2010, 03:27 PM
Bring on the white stuff!

Here's some pics of the now-fixed snowthrower...


http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5951.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5953.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5962.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5965.jpg


I found that it JUST fits on my cargo carrier. That will be ideal for doing jobs around the neighborhood and perhaps less hassle than using the utility trailer...

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5949.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5947.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5943.jpg

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Snowthrower/104_5944.jpg





I was running it in the back yard the other day to test it out and must say that the power steering works pretty well. I also learned that the "plug in" headlight kit will not work on this model.

brian'slawncare
11-18-2010, 04:04 PM
so what exactly is "power steering"?

and do you find it easier than regular? if so is it worth $100? because the same blower is at sears but $100 less because the only thing its missing is power steering.....

Also, overall how do you like the product?

CHEESE2009
11-18-2010, 04:10 PM
http://i920.photobucket.com/albums/ad41/breeze2009/snowblower.jpg

The thing I realized with Craftsman, is that gas goes fast!

I suggest having 5 bags of salt in your truck and no less. I'm used to Montreal winters, so I'm looking at the snow blower wondering if you are going to die out there or not.

I used a snow blower on year on several properties, the thing is; it's still not efficient. This could just be me here in Montreal... We could wake up every single morning to realize yet again, the snow is up to our necks. lol.

The tool you have should take you about 60 minutes per property, though you will figure out that your going to need several shovels also. Snow throwers/blowers don't exactly do a clean job and will sometimes drive over compacted snow.

You may also come in contact with ice, which is impossible to remove with a snow blower/thrower. It will take you HOURS with a shovel as well.... I suggest throwing some salt down and using a pick axe to destroy the ice (not the property).

Also, tractors have the advantage of removing compacted mounds. Here in Montreal if the city comes to plow the streets, all the snow from the street goes right back into the end of the driveways.... A snow blower WILL NOT work for this. The snow will need to be removed with a shovel.

60 mins - 3 hours per job if you are working consistently ignoring the pain in your arms and back.

Which means, you may not be able to service more than one property every time it snows... 3 customers may be your max. But after one, you may be exhausted too exhausted to continue.




^ This is all from experience. Snow blowers suck... You need a tractor for driveways.

The only way you can make it worth it, is if customers were willing to pay you $100 per shot... But competition already has you severely beaten, and they have better equipment... discouraging man....

If you want to break your back and go through hell for $35.00/$50.00 per shot, it wont add up in the end. You will get customers, you just wont be able to do them.

If you charge them for the entire season matching your competitors price, you will lose big time... You are doing 50 times more work with less customers for peanuts, and a ton more chances to lose customers. Your only way into doing this is by charging per shot, though you'd be getting the worst customers considering all the smart and not cheap ones went with the guys with tractors.


I can suggest getting a plow for your truck, you really need heavy gear.




This is not a rant, it's more of me looking into my past and being mad lol... I learned a lot trying this out one year... never will I do it again..

The only snow removal I'll think of doing without a tractor, is walkway shoveling - that's it!

Hedgemaster
11-18-2010, 06:05 PM
so what exactly is "power steering"?

and do you find it easier than regular? if so is it worth $100? because the same blower is at sears but $100 less because the only thing its missing is power steering.....

Also, overall how do you like the product?

The "power steering" works by... Hmmm... how do I explain it? I'll use the "tank" analogy.
If you want to turn right, you squeeze the trigger on the right and the wheel on that side stops/slows while the left wheel continues to turn, allowing you to maneuver easily.

I have no way to compare the difference between power steering vs non power steering, as I've never used a snowblower before - period. I've just grown weary of shoveling 80' of driveway over the last 16 years and figured I'd get something to make my life easier as well as make a few bucks if I can.

It seems to work well. It turns around on a dime using the power steering levers. Obviously, I've not used it in snow yet, so I can't comment on how well it will work in that environment.

I saw the other model you mentioned, and with the sale price that I got this one for, I decided that I'd spend the little extra for the added convenience. Not sure if I mentioned it or not, but it was on sale and then I got an additional 10% off bringing the price to $666.00.

Hedgemaster
11-18-2010, 07:36 PM
The thing I realized with Craftsman, is that gas goes fast!

I suggest having 5 bags of salt in your truck and no less. I'm used to Montreal winters, so I'm looking at the snow blower wondering if you are going to die out there or not.

I used a snow blower on year on several properties, the thing is; it's still not efficient. This could just be me here in Montreal... We could wake up every single morning to realize yet again, the snow is up to our necks. lol.

The tool you have should take you about 60 minutes per property, though you will figure out that your going to need several shovels also. Snow throwers/blowers don't exactly do a clean job and will sometimes drive over compacted snow.

You may also come in contact with ice, which is impossible to remove with a snow blower/thrower. It will take you HOURS with a shovel as well.... I suggest throwing some salt down and using a pick axe to destroy the ice (not the property).

Also, tractors have the advantage of removing compacted mounds. Here in Montreal if the city comes to plow the streets, all the snow from the street goes right back into the end of the driveways.... A snow blower WILL NOT work for this. The snow will need to be removed with a shovel.

60 mins - 3 hours per job if you are working consistently ignoring the pain in your arms and back.

Which means, you may not be able to service more than one property every time it snows... 3 customers may be your max. But after one, you may be exhausted too exhausted to continue.




^ This is all from experience. Snow blowers suck... You need a tractor for driveways.

The only way you can make it worth it, is if customers were willing to pay you $100 per shot... But competition already has you severely beaten, and they have better equipment... discouraging man....

If you want to break your back and go through hell for $35.00/$50.00 per shot, it wont add up in the end. You will get customers, you just wont be able to do them.

If you charge them for the entire season matching your competitors price, you will lose big time... You are doing 50 times more work with less customers for peanuts, and a ton more chances to lose customers. Your only way into doing this is by charging per shot, though you'd be getting the worst customers considering all the smart and not cheap ones went with the guys with tractors.


I can suggest getting a plow for your truck, you really need heavy gear.




This is not a rant, it's more of me looking into my past and being mad lol... I learned a lot trying this out one year... never will I do it again..

The only snow removal I'll think of doing without a tractor, is walkway shoveling - that's it!

Hey man, I appreciate the insight - I really do.
I know it's not ideal, but nothing really is at this point, so I just have to make due with what I have.

I just read your post to my wife and she LOL'd at the "...wondering if you are going to die out there or not". HAHA!

I should post a photo of a typical home/driveway in my neighborhood.
It's always hard to imagine what someone else is working with, but the homes in my area have mainly one of two types of drives... a short one maybe the length of two subcompact cars that leads to a garage door with a width being one or two cars wide, and the other being 2-3 times as long, with the garage set to the side/rear of the home - those are only one car wide.

I'll honestly be surprised if I even get to use it. We don't often get a "lot" of snow here, although last winter we were pounded with 2-3' at once.


Oh, and YES! That sucker MOVES! 2 reverse speeds and 6 forward. I would have expected the slowest reverse speed to be a bit slower, and I was amazed at how fast that thing moves in "6".

Steve
11-19-2010, 04:14 AM
I am glad you are all set and prepared for what winter brings you. Keep us posted on how it all goes this winter.

brian'slawncare
11-19-2010, 03:36 PM
does anyone use chains on their snowblowers? how well do they seem to maneuverer compared to without chains?

Steve
11-20-2010, 05:42 AM
I havent used chains yet on a snow blower but I would imagine the need for them would be based on the surface conditions you are working on. If the snow is kept clear during previous storms and ice hasnt built up from the snow being previously compressed, I would figure, the snow blower would work fine without the chains.

Have you found many situations where the snow blower just couldnt get traction?

Martywdx
11-20-2010, 11:49 AM
does anyone use chains on their snowblowers? how well do they seem to maneuverer compared to without chains?

My first snow blower had chains. Since then I have not had them. The only difference
I notice is, with chains its easier to blow though the end of a driveway where the street crews have plowed a bank of snow,tires spin less. Hopping the curb at the beginning of the sidewalk doesn't take so much muscle as the chain grabs the edge and pulls the blower forward. The blower goes threw slushy/wet snow with less slipping/spinning of tires.There was still spinning in all three situations.
By gearing down one or two speeds Ive some what compensated for lack of chains. All so the tires have more agressive trend which helps.

brian'slawncare
11-20-2010, 08:25 PM
Have you found many situations where the snow blower just couldnt get traction?

I have never operated a snowblower in my life, I am in the market for one for this winter

There was still spinning in all three situations.

Would the tires slip a whole lot less with chains though?

-Overall, they be a good investment to add on to my blower?

Martywdx
11-20-2010, 08:48 PM
-Would the tires slip a whole lot less with chains though?

Yes slipping is reduced. But if I recall they lasted about 2 seasons before they wore enough from slipping that they broke and came apart.

-Overall, they be a good investment to add on to my blower?

They are nice to have but, I really don't miss them.

My 2 year old blower has heated hand grips, That is one feature that is worth it weight in gold. When you have frozen fingers blowing snow is miserable.

brian'slawncare
11-22-2010, 03:31 PM
My 2 year old blower has heated hand grips

How much was your blower? Do you have any kind of info I could use to look it up? ( model, brand, ect.)

Martywdx
11-23-2010, 02:15 PM
How much was your blower? Do you have any kind of info I could use to look it up? ( model, brand, ect.)


Mine is a White Outdoor 8.5 HP. White is made by MTD Paid 899 on sale at the local ace hardware.

I did a web search with the phrase "snow thrower with heated hand grips"

Sears Craftsman have models with the heated grips starting at $999

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07188830000P?prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2#reviewsWrap

I posted that link because Sears is a nation wide chain with stores easy to find,but the search return other brands and stores
I did notice the heated grips were found only on the 8 plus hp/300cc models. So $1000 may have to be spent.

I did find a place that sold the grips after market $85 plus install hardware $110 total

http://www.hotgrips.com/store.php?crn=206

brian'slawncare
11-23-2010, 03:53 PM
i like!

I think I will probably go with the after market though. $1000 is a lot for me

Hedgemaster
11-23-2010, 10:46 PM
Don't get too excited about those heated grips until you know if they ARE capable of being installed on whatever blower you get.

I wanted to buy the headlight kit, but it turns out mine isn't wired for it. Perhaps it could be done, but I'm not screwing with the electrical system on a unit that's under warranty.


I'll betcha you could get a damned good pair of gloves for less than $100.
:D

Steve
11-24-2010, 09:36 AM
LOL maybe you could re-route the exhaust through the handlebars. I bet that would heat up the grips :D

brian'slawncare
11-27-2010, 05:47 PM
LOL maybe you could re-route the exhaust through the handlebars. I bet that would heat up the grips

if only........Haha

Hedgemaster
12-17-2010, 04:16 PM
I tried out my snowthrower the other day. :)

We only have about 3-5" here, but I took it out in the back yard so I could practice with it. (I had already used my leaf blower to clear the driveway)

The "power steering" is pretty nice - I must say. I tried "manhandling" it around a few turns to see how different it would be, and it's definitely more difficult than when engaging the power steering.

The "joystick" for the chute control works well enough. I think there were "issues" with earlier production runs, but so far, it is operating easily. We'll see how it goes when it has to deal with wet snow.

If we get a blizzard like we did last year, this sucker will come in handy for making paths in the yard for the dog! :D

Martywdx
12-18-2010, 11:48 AM
I tried out my snowthrower the other day. :)

We only have about 3-5" here, but I took it out in the back yard so I could practice with it. (I had already used my leaf blower to clear the driveway)

The "power steering" is pretty nice - I must say. I tried "manhandling" it around a few turns to see how different it would be, and it's definitely more difficult than when engaging the power steering.

The "joystick" for the chute control works well enough. I think there were "issues" with earlier production runs, but so far, it is operating easily. We'll see how it goes when it has to deal with wet snow.

If we get a blizzard like we did last year, this sucker will come in handy for making paths in the yard for the dog! :D

:) Good that your happy with your new machine

We had a heavy wet 3-5 snow on 11/13. It was a total bear cat. Took me 7 hours to
clear my 21 clients. Normally it takes 3-4 hours.
Edit- Keep me posted on the joy stick. Mine failed to engage the holding pin when it was >-0 F

marcus
12-26-2010, 01:26 AM
:) Good that your happy with your new machine

We had a heavy wet 3-5 snow on 11/13. It was a total bear cat. Took me 7 hours to
clear my 21 clients. Normally it takes 3-4 hours.
Edit- Keep me posted on the joy stick. Mine failed to engage the holding pin when it was >-0 F

make sure its an ariens they work the best, they never quit on you

Hedgemaster
01-11-2011, 09:01 PM
Well, we're finally getting some accumulation!

Probably about 5" on the ground and we're supposed to get 1-2" more tomorrow.
Today, as the snow started to fall, I drove around the neighborhood knocking on doors and leaving flyers for snow removal. Maybe I'll get to put this thing to use.

I adjusted the skid pads to make it clear closer to the ground and practiced with it again in the back yard this evening.
Since this is a two stage, does anyone know if there's an optimum "clearance" setting/height for clearing a concrete surface? I assume that you want it set so the bottom isn't actually touching the pavement.

I ran it in my gravel driveway too. PING! PING! PING! LOL. Need to raise the height if I do that again. :D

bruces
01-11-2011, 11:29 PM
on a gravel driveway its best to pack the first few snow falls down before using the blower ,some people drive their car back and forth to pack it .You want the skids adjusted as low as possible ,but how low will depend on how smooth the driveway surface is .

Martywdx
01-12-2011, 07:21 AM
'does anyone know if there's an optimum "clearance" setting/height for clearing a concrete surface?'

The width of a US quarter coin works good for me. Provides the cleanest sweep without having to go back with a shovel. Be carfull as it does hang up on some cracks and uneven joints in the surface. I try and remember all the anomalies on each job.

Hedgemaster
01-12-2011, 12:03 PM
Thanks guys.

I've got one of the few gravel drives in my area. I'll probably just stick to using a shovel at home unless it's really deep and I can adjust the skid pads to keep it up off the ground a bit.

As for using it on other people's drives, that's what I was wondering... clearance vs catching it on uneven surfaces. One lady I spoke to yesterday had a drive that seemed like each joint had a 1" "drop" to the next pad - could be problematic.

brian'slawncare
01-13-2011, 03:49 PM
maybe you could mark the drops with a small flag before than snow hit?

Hedgemaster
01-13-2011, 04:05 PM
Drove by a house to take a look at a driveway for an estimate. Probably about 90-100' long, single width most of the way, opening to a two car garage - no bends. I called and told her $45-$50 and $50 would include shoveling the steps to the house.(minimal shoveling req.) She'll be getting back to me. (heh. I hope)

I just took the snowthrower down to my neighbor's house to try it out on concrete with the skid pads adjusted for minimal clearance. It cleared it pretty close, and only "scuffed" a few times. I may bump it up a hair before doing someone else's driveway though. The skid pads are nylon, so they won't scratch concrete, but I don't know if the "scoop" bottom would leave a mark if it hits.

Hedgemaster
01-21-2011, 03:51 PM
We got about 5-6" last night, so I was called back to do my first snow removal customer's drive again. The last time I shoveled her drive/steps and it took roughly 45 mins - today I used the snowthrower and it took roughly 20 mins.

Our initial "agreed upon price" was $25 for the drive alone. She didn't ask me to do the steps/walk today, but I did them anyway. If she gave me something - great, if not - no big deal. She gave me $40. :)

After loading up the snowthrower onto the cargo carrier, I walked over to the driveway next door and shoveled the "plow pile" away from the end of their driveway as a courtesy. As I started driving away, the guy from that house waved me down (same guy I mentioned speaking to previously) and thanked me for doing it. (He had already shoveled his drive in the early am)
I told him "No problem! Consider that my discount for veterans!" He then said to feel free to clear his drive any time I see snow, and leave a bill in the mailbox.

Karma. Do good things. :)



ETA:
I did two drives with the snowthrower today and so far, I'm happy with this unit. I have the skid pads set so that it clears pretty close to the pavement, and unless you get someone who is a fanatic about getting every speck of snow removed, I'll be OK until I can pick up a single stage thrower for next season.

This sucker throws the snow FAR. It also eats that crap at the end of the driveway pretty well. Also, the power steering is awesome for maneuvering along the edge, near a wall. If the unit starts working it's way towards the edge, a little tap of the power steering lever adjusts it effortlessly. Was it worth the roughly $60-$100 more for that feature? I think so.

Growing Green
01-21-2011, 04:12 PM
Awesome job Hedgemaster aka SNOWMASTER! Always enjoy reading other peoples experiences.

Matt

Hedgemaster
01-28-2011, 12:05 AM
12am... snow is falling steadily...

1-2" expected by 8am. I suspect more...


(drool)


:D

Hedgemaster
01-28-2011, 05:51 PM
Eh... didn't get more than 3-4" so the snowthrower stayed on the truck today.
:(

Shoveled one driveway and spent about 4 hours driving/walking around handing out cards and flyers.'

Supposed to get more snow over the weekend. (crosses fingers)


That cargo carrier works GREAT for hauling around the snowthrower. The roads are a bit wet, so I covered it with a tarp to keep the road salt/mess off of it.

As I don't have my truck lettered yet, I made/printed some "SNOW REMOVAL" signs, laminated them, and taped them on the back and side windows of my truck cap. It's not ideal, but you can read them from a distance clearly enough.

I also picked up a yellow safety vest - gives me a slightly more "legitimate" look, and there is no question that I'm "shoveling for money" as opposed to looking like a homeowner to those who see me.

Hedgemaster
01-28-2011, 07:42 PM
Here's my truck at my only "regular" snow removal customer's home.
You can see the covered snowthrower on the back.

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Snow%20Removal/IMAG0829.jpg



Here's a pic of my sexhay face...

(frozen finger pressed the button before I could smile)

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Snow%20Removal/IMAG0831.jpg


This time, I tried to smile, but my face was frozen! LOL

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Snow%20Removal/IMAG0834.jpg


Note my temporary signage on the truck cap. I set the copy up on two pages of 11x8.5 paper, laminated them, and then taped the two together to make a 17x11 sign. Sometimes you have to make due with what you have, and this is better than nothing.
BTW, a laminating machine can be had pretty cheaply, and they come in handy for a variety of things. I laminated a copy of my insurance policy to keep in the truck for "proof" if anyone requests it.

Heh. And regarding the yellow vest, I had a guy open his door when he saw me coming - he thought I was with the gas company, and was there to tell him there is a leak. LOL

(Oh, and I wore that hat by accident today. That's my "take the dog out" hat. I forgot to change it before I left today. Not a fan of wearing "beer ads" when talking to potential customers, but it is what it is.)

Steve
01-29-2011, 04:50 AM
Heh. And regarding the yellow vest, I had a guy open his door when he saw me coming - he thought I was with the gas company, and was there to tell him there is a leak. LOL

I got to say that is awesome! You are doing such a great job.

That one pic from the house looking down, gives you a great perspective on what your truck looks like from a customers house. It also shows you how you could go with a sign that fills the entire side window. If a customer is elderly, they may not be able to see the number and call you from their home.

Also, the safety vest is fantastic! It is getting people to open their doors! That is great! Even if they think you are from the gas company at first, it seems to put them at ease that you are a professional doing a job.

Do you think it would help more with the door to door sales presentations?

Martywdx
02-01-2011, 03:01 PM
Another good year for snow removal. Been out 11 times since Dec 15. The snow has been a dream to move,lite and fluffy. Even though there is alot. Blowers are coming threw like a champ.
We are having a blizzard like snow event here today.Not much snow but plenty of wind. Most of the high storm totals will be in SE Iowa.

That cargo carrier is slick. I want one!!!!!!!! Does that hitch to the ball or slide into the hitch?

Hedgemaster
02-01-2011, 08:56 PM
Another good year for snow removal. Been out 11 times since Dec 15. The snow has been a dream to move,lite and fluffy. Even though there is alot. Blowers are coming threw like a champ.
We are having a blizzard like snow event here today.Not much snow but plenty of wind. Most of the high storm totals will be in SE Iowa.

That cargo carrier is slick. I want one!!!!!!!! Does that hitch to the ball or slide into the hitch?


We're getting nothing but rain. Snow-melting, money-stealing rain. :(


The cargo carrier goes into the receiver.
I picked it up when I first started mowing some lawns, as a mower won't fit in the truck with the cap on it.(without folding the handle)
Unfortunately, the "normal" cargo carriers were about 1" too narrow for a mower to fit on, so I started looking around and found this thing. It's actually "Mobility Wheelchair/Scooter Carrier" from Harbor Freight.
http://www.harborfreight.com/aluminum-mobility-wheelchair-and-scooter-carrier-67599.html?p=2

I saw it on sale for about $179 and used a 20% off coupon on top of that. Although it was somewhat of a pain to assemble, it is built pretty well considering the price. (look around online for something this size - you'll see)
I assembled it with the ramp on the driver's side so I could unload into the street, as opposed to the way it was designed to unload onto a sidewalk on the passenger side. There's some "play" when it's inserted in the receiver and it rocks side to side a bit, but not enough to cause any "issues".

I added a piece of plywood for a "floor", and used a hole saw to bore places I could run rope, or bungee cords through to secure the load. I also replaced the bolts/hinges for the ramp with hitch pins so I could pop the ramp off quickly. It's too bulky to take on and off with the ramp attached, but otherwise, it's quite light.

It's rated for 500 lbs. I guess I should weigh the snowthrower, because I can fit it and three 50 lb. bags of of salt on there, but I don't know what that adds up to.

Hedgemaster
02-08-2011, 09:33 AM
Yay snow!

We only got about 3" overnight, but it was enough to get a call from a customer. Then I called another customer to see if she wanted her drive done and she said "yes".

Woo-hoo!


While the rest of the country seems to be getting hammered with snow, we've gotten very little, so two jobs is worth getting excited about. LOL

Steve
02-09-2011, 10:16 AM
Congratulations! And we still have some time to go before winter is over.

Hedgemaster
02-09-2011, 12:39 PM
Thanks. Hoping for more snow, but not much in the forecast.



BTW, I forget who answered my question about adjusting the skid pads so the "scraper bar" is about the thickness of a quarter from the pavement, but "thanks" - it worked out nicely.

The lady who contacted me (from flyer distribution) had a concrete drive that was only 1 year old, so I bumped it up "just a hair" to prevent scratching the surface. It worked out well, and I made it a point to explain what I had done so she was aware that I was being careful with her property.


Does anyone know if the metal, bottom "scraper bar" can be retrofitted with something that would not scratch - like a "nylon" material?

Having the nylon skid pads is nice, but that doesn't remove the chance of scraping if the metal edge makes contact.

nnyparts
02-16-2011, 05:13 AM
Its kind of like selling a home. What its worth depends on where your located. We charge on average between $15.00 to $20.00 to plow most driveways in our area. I know of some that charge as high as 35.00.

Now I have a brother in-law that lives on Long Island that tells me for the same size driveway, they charge 100.00 and up to do the same work. So it boils down to the location your in.

I would fist start by figuring out where your break even point is of just covering your costs. Don't get into a bidding war with others in your area. Cost is not always the factor on who gets the job. Trust and doing what you promised for a fair price will win you return customers and they in turn will tell others of how well you treated them to gain more.

Hedgemaster
02-22-2011, 08:54 PM
Last week I was out washing my truck while wearing a T-shirt.
Last night we get 9" of snow out of nowhere.

Ring! Ring!

"Hello?"

"Can you clear my driveway tomorrow?"

:)

Four calls last night, another in the am, and three more jobs picked up along the way today.

:) :)


I did 7 drives today and shoveled a lengthy sidewalk at the 8th place.

$230 was my "haul" for a relatively easy-paced 7 hour day.
I've been charging between $25 and $35 for drives/walks. One guy wanted to pay cash ($35), but he only had two 20s... "Here, just take it, and give me $5 credit - I'll be calling you for some handyman work when the weather clears up!" lol, "OK, Thanks!" :)


I did have two "mishaps" - one I feel horrible about.
I was making the final pass up the drive with the snowthrower, and just when I was about to stop near the rear of the customer's vehicle, the tire of the snowthrower slid off the edge of the concrete, "popping" the front of the unit up, and scratching the corner of the bumper. It's one of those "plastic" bumpers, and the scratch was less than a half an inch in length, but it was still a scratch. :(

When I finished, I knocked on the door and told the owner what had happened, and that before even discussing "payment", I wanted him to see it. Long story short, he wasn't concerned, and thanked me for letting him know about it.
The real kicker is that I asked for $25 and when I looked at the check later, he had given me $30. AND he's going to have me start cutting his grass in the spring! "Just the front - I can cut the back", he said. LOL.
He's at that age where he knows it's getting to be too much for him, but still trying to do as much as he can. Works for me - he lives a quarter mile from me, so it's not a loss to do such a small lawn job for him.


The other mishap was when I chewed up a solar light. (cruuuunch!)
Wasn't my fault. I always use my shovel to "search out" the edges of the driveway in order to make sure I don't run off the concrete and hit rocks, ornaments, edging, etc.
Well, I was clearly two feet from both edges of the drive when I hit the thing. It must have been loose and laying out on the driveway before the snow fell. I told the customer - he didn't seem upset.



OH, and I know I mentioned it before, but the power steering option was well worth the added cost to the unit - makes working around walls and such very easy, as it can be "fine-tuned" as you move along. If it starts working it's way toward the wall, just tap the appropriate steering controller, and it adjusts quickly.

Steve
02-23-2011, 04:57 PM
I am glad you have been so busy! Are you doing any marketing while you are on these job sites? Are you leaving extra business cards or anything like that? Maybe clover leafing the neighbors? Or were you just too busy?

Hedgemaster
02-24-2011, 12:05 AM
I am glad you have been so busy! Are you doing any marketing while you are on these job sites? Are you leaving extra business cards or anything like that? Maybe clover leafing the neighbors? Or were you just too busy?

No, nothing special... just talking to the folks who were available - getting to know them a little, asking them to pass my info along to anyone they think could use my services. I did give one customer an additional card, as well as the lady whom I had just met who asked me to clear her driveway. I played up the fact that I've taken all the steps to legally operate a business - including my recent approval by the municipality. "Great, I like to support new businesses" was her response.

I also think that "playing with the dog" is excellent marketing. I'm not "faking" that part though - I really love animals, so any time I see a critter at a customer's home, I try to interact with them. I don't know about everyone else, but when any worker has ever been to my home, I have found that those who seem genuinely interested in our pets are the more memorable/trustworthy ones.
If you don't like dogs, don't try and fake it - we can tell. ;)