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Bought a Snowthrower - Any Tips?


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Outdoor power equipment discussions. Questions on commercial lawn mowers, lawn mower, mower parts, lawn tractors, engines, edgers, trimmers, pole saws, aerators, hydro seeders, snow plows, chain saws, stump grinders, trucks and trailers?
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:17 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Default Bought a Snowthrower - Any Tips?

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.



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Power Steering
Joystick-controlled 4-way chute adjustment
Nylon/Poly Skid Shoes (won't scratch/damage driveways)
More here



I'll be picking it up on Wednesday. Guess I'd better start clearing out a spot in the garage.
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  #2  
Old 10-04-2010, 03:56 AM
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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.
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:35 PM
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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?
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgemaster View Post
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
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:08 PM
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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.







*
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:11 PM
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40-60... minutes? dollars? Canadian nickels*???
I don't follow what you're saying.







*
Sorry dollars
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:52 PM
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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!
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Old 10-05-2010, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
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.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:33 PM
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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.

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Old 10-05-2010, 08:40 PM
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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.
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