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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Jul 2010
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    Southern MN

    Default Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    Hello all!

    I live in a small subdivision outside of any major city. There are about 50 houses in total in this subdivision/coop.

    Each house is on about an acre or more of land, and most driveways are two/three car width and anywhere from 30-200 feet long (mine's the longest at about 350 feet).

    For the past few winters a construction firm with bobcats cleared a lot of driveways. I personally used an ATV and plow on my own and to be a good neighbor did a couple others driveways.

    Two years ago we had just TOOOO much snow for my plow, and I told my friends I simply couldn't do that anymore. But then I also bought a 52" rear mount blower for my kubota BX1860 (and of course no snow last year... haha)

    The construction firm that used to plow now moved out of the area and I'm all of a sudden getting calls asking if I will take over. 2 people asking now and I know there will be more because its "so in so said you might do theirs, will you do ours too?"

    The first time I was asked it was "will you plow for the same price as Joe (the construction guy) did?" When I asked how much Joe charged she said "about 20 bucks a time". I kind of laughed because I knew it was more than that.

    I'm torn if I should accept the jobs. I don't want to have to deal with liability, payments/collections/taxes/etc. I also would probably want to charge 40-50 bucks a time at least. And if it's a storm that requires 2-3 separate removals count those each as a single removal, not combine them all 3 into 1 (like I can see some of these people asking me to do).

    One of them is a county board member and I can see her requiring a 1099 or something for tax reasons when I'd want it simple, cash only, and no liability on my part.

    I do run my own computer/software business out of my house, so it's not that big of a deal to get out to do it, and I do enjoy the work, but I just don't want to run into these older/grumpy people and have to worry about collecting. I've done other work for some (such as stump grinding) and I tell them "whatever you think is fair" and normally end up getting $20 for grinding 10 15" stumps. I just laugh and walk away thinking "you did that to yourself... you're too nice"...

    Wow, that was a ramble... but I'd be curious to hear any input from anyone in a similar situation, and if I choose to do it what's the best way to price things, and also let them know I'm not liable for damage that may occur? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Veteran Member zzvyb6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    2,493
    Location
    michigan
    Tractor
    jd 1070

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    Plow your own driveway ONLY and let the others fend for themselves. You will regret taking such a job. You will get calls at 4:00 a.m., calls because you forgot to dust off their birdbath, can you pull their car out of the ditch and you ran over my kids $8,000 bike, I thought you were supposed to do the sidewalk and my deck.

    Neighbors are ususally trouble. Not all of course, but all it takes is one or two.

    This country is filling up with people who are helpless on their own. Trouble is, they learned how to vote....
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    157
    Location
    Southern MN

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    Haha... those were the exact thoughts in the back of my head. I knew the answer but I wanted confirmation.

    I will stick to just helping out friends in need. Thanks for the insight!

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    158
    Location
    Sedro-Woolley, WA
    Tractor
    Kabota

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    Offer to rent them the blower and tractor for $60 an hour with a signed contract for financial responsibility for damage to either one. Matter of fact send it around the neighborhood like a newsletter indicating you are considering it as a business and ask for comments LOL

  5. #5
    Gold Member Buckgnarly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    467
    Location
    West topsham VT
    Tractor
    Kioti DS3510

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    I do my neighbors, but we are talking way more snow and way longer driveways. It is only four other driveways, but I make some pretty good cash.....I would not be so quick to do it in a urban development though, too many legal headaches. You probably could keep it to people you know well and trust, but I would be wary of strangers.
    Also be aware that it will wear on your equipment and people will start to rely on it. I finally have a F250 diesel plow truck, Explorer plow truck, and 68" Meteor blower. Most of it was paid for by the plowing, but all of the bigger equipment came about due to other equipment breaking and falling behind!

    I would NEVER loan or rent my equipment, EVER!!!!!

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Marveltone's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
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    1,313
    Location
    Somewhere north of Roseau,MN
    Tractor
    Fordson Major Diesel, Ford 1510, John Deere L111

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    For many years, my wife's foster brother, Elmer plowed the driveway to the farm, while my in-laws were still living here. Sometimes, when he was away for various jobs, the driveway could go for a few days before he got home to tackle snow removal chores. He's an immensely helpful guy and has never asked a penny to clear snow, but he also has his own life to live.

    When we moved to the farm, we decided we had to free ourselves from Elmer's kindness and clear our driveway ourselves. It's a good thing we did,as Elmer is spending more time away as various winter jobs open up in distant parts of the country (like Alaska) and with my job, I can't wait for several days for Elmer to return. Everyone else up here has tractors and trucks with plows and blowers and gladly help when needed, but we were the last bastion of folks needing help in this regard.

    It's good to be independent.

    I'm sure my good neighbors agree!

    Joe
    Fordson Major Diesel: Case 3-bottom Trip Plow, Case 12' Trip Field Cultivator, Kewanee 130 Disc, John Deere 1209 Mower Conditioner, John Deere 594LW Side Delivery Rake, New Holland Hayliner 273 Baler, 18' Spike-Tooth Harrow
    Ford 1510: Du-Al 105 Loader, "The Thumb" Grapple, Bush Hog RBC60 Rear Blade, Woods HC54 Rotary Cutter, Tarter 5' Heavy-Duty Hinge Back Box Blade, Buhler Farm King Y600 Snowblower

  7. #7
    Elite Member Bob77064's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
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    3,859
    Location
    KY @ TN line
    Tractor
    2011 LS R3039

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by legbuh View Post
    Haha... those were the exact thoughts in the back of my head. I knew the answer but I wanted confirmation.

    I will stick to just helping out friends in need. Thanks for the insight!
    Do you have commercial (business) insurance?

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    759
    Location
    Trent Hills, ON
    Tractor
    Kioti DK40SE HST

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    If your neighbors are already trying to talk you down to an unfair price, I don't think you should trust them with a handshake agreement. I do some trail brush hogging for my neighbor but they let me set my price and pay me promptly. If you've got a couple reasonable ones then do their driveways and see how you like doing it. Maybe next year you'll want to do more or maybe not.
    2011 DK40SE HST

  9. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    157
    Location
    Southern MN

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    My business insurance wouldn't cover snowblowing/plowing.

    I would never lend my equipment either.

    This isn't an urban area.. it's pretty rural, just a smaller subdivision outside of city limits.... ATVs and Golf cars are the main mode of transportation from house to house around here. (of course no coolers ever.. haha).

    I actually just let a friend who bought the construction guys place and he said he'd do it as his buisiness gets slow in the winter and he has the same (or better) equipment than the other guy.. he was actually happy that I referred him! so win win...

  10. #10
    Gold Member mjw357's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    344
    Location
    The Sticks, Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota B3200

    Default Re: Thoughts on Plowing/Blowing driveways for neighbors this winter... input wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buckgnarly View Post
    I would NEVER loan or rent my equipment, EVER!!!!!
    Ditto. Stuff mysteriously gets broken. And heaven help you if somebody gets hurt/killed on the thing.
    Kubota B3200 with LA504 FEL and Woods HC54 brushhog

    Looking for: Pallet Forks

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