Essential Tips for Success for Smaller Contractors

Snow Plow News brings valuable insights for small snow plow contractors, truck owners with side gigs, and landscapers venturing into snow removal. In an exclusive interview, we’ve gathered tips from four seasoned dealers in the snow and ice control industry. Their expert tips are compiled into a comprehensive guide, poised to elevate your success in the snow plowing business.

May 8, 2024 | Staff Editor

1. Consider a Versatile V-Plow

For small contractors with limited resources, selecting the right snow plow equipment is a crucial decision that can significantly impact efficiency and profitability. In this context, a versatile V-plow emerges as a top recommendation among experienced dealers in the industry.

The 8-1/2’ stainless steel V-plow is particularly well-suited for one-person operations or small teams, offering several distinct advantages that make it an invaluable asset.

One of its most remarkable features is its ability to handle various snow conditions with ease. From light powdery snow to wet and heavy snow, the V-plow excels in breaking through the densest snowbanks and efficiently pushing it out of the way. This exceptional performance is especially beneficial in regions like New England, where snowfall can vary greatly in its texture and density.

Blake Brannon of Hartford Truck Equipment attests to the V-plow’s prowess in challenging snow conditions, stating, “The V-plow literally will get almost any job done, especially in New England when we actually have wet snow and heavy snow. Having that V-plow to break through the snow and push it out of the way, scoop it, stack it—it’s really the best plow for that.”


Moreover, the V-plow’s versatility allows it to adapt to different plowing scenarios effortlessly. Its unique V-shape design enables it to scoop and stack snow more effectively than traditional straight blades. This capability is especially advantageous when working in tight spaces, such as narrow streets, driveways, or parking lots, where efficient snow stacking is essential to optimize the available space.

 Additionally, the price point of an 8-1/2’ stainless steel V-plow is remarkably attractive for small contractors, as highlighted by William Fries of Xtreme Fabrication. The cost-effectiveness of this plow makes it an ideal choice for those starting with limited resources or operating smaller trucks. Despite being budget-friendly, the V-plow doesn’t compromise on quality or performance, making it a smart investment for small contractors looking to maximize their return on investment.

 When considering snow plow options, small contractors can benefit greatly from the versatility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of an 8-1/2’ stainless steel V-plow. With its ability to handle diverse snow conditions, its knack for efficient snow stacking, and its attractive price point, this plow ensures that even contractors with limited resources can tackle various snow removal jobs effectively and provide reliable service to their clients.

2. Choose the Right Spreader Type 

Choosing the right spreader type is a critical decision for snow removal contractors, as it directly impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. There are various spreader options available, each catering to different needs and resources. Assessing your specific requirements and available equipment is essential in making an informed choice.

  • Bed-Mounted Salter:An Ideal Investment for Bulk Buyers. For contractors who have access to a salt pile and a compatible machine, a bed-mounted salter can be an excellent investment. Greg Straffin of York Motors, Inc. offers that while the initial cost may be higher, buying salt in bulk often offsets this expense over time. Bed-mounted salters offer the advantage of a larger capacity, allowing contractors to carry a significant amount of salt, which reduces the frequency of refills during snow removal operations. The convenience of having a bed-mounted salter attached to the truck enhances efficiency, enabling contractors to cover larger areas without frequent stops for reloading. This type of spreader is well-suited for mid-sized and larger snow removal operations, especially those working on highways, main roads, or large parking lots.

  • Tailgate Spreader:Cost-Effective and Versatile for small contractors or those on a budget, a tailgate spreader can be a cost-effective and practical option. Tailgate spreaders are easy to install and remove, making them highly versatile for contractors who need to switch between different trucks or use the same truck for other purposes outside of the snow removal season. With their reasonable price point and ability to handle a variety of materials, tailgate spreaders are well-suited for small to medium-sized snow removal operations, such as residential driveways, sidewalks, and smaller parking lots.

  • Poly V-Box Hopper Spreader:For contractors using a V-plow like the 8-1/2’ stainless steel V-plow, pairing it with a poly v-box hopper spreader can create a highly adaptable and versatile setup. Poly V-Box hopper spreaders are designed to fit into various truck types, allowing contractors to use them with different vehicles as needed. This flexibility is especially beneficial for those with a fleet of trucks or contractors who require multiple spreaders for various snow removal scenarios. Poly v-box hopper spreaders can handle various materials and provide consistent and even spreading, ensuring efficient distribution of salt, sand, or other materials during snow and ice control operations.

3. Build Relationships with Local Dealers

Building strong relationships with local dealers is crucial for the success of your snow removal business. As Jerry Heyer of Jerre’s Services wisely advises, finding a dealer in your area who understands your specific needs and has reliable hours of operation during snowstorms can be a game-changer. When you have a trusted partner, you can rest assured that you’ll have access to the right equipment and timely assistance, even during the most challenging weather conditions.

Aside from reliability, consider seeking dealers who offer excellent customer support and after-sales service. A dealer who provides technical assistance, spare parts, and maintenance services can save you valuable time and money in the long run. Additionally, having a local dealer as a resource can help you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in snow removal technology and equipment.

Maintaining a strong relationship with your dealer can also lead to exclusive benefits, such as early access to new products or special deals on equipment upgrades. By fostering a mutually beneficial partnership, you can enhance your snow removal capabilities and elevate the quality of service you offer to your clients.

4. Start Small and Learn

When starting your snow removal business, it’s natural to dream big and envision taking on large contracts with the most powerful equipment available. However, it’s essential to resist the temptation to go all-in from the outset. Instead, embrace a gradual approach that allows you to build your expertise and experience while growing your business steadily.

 Begin with equipment that aligns with your current capabilities and resources. This approach will help you avoid overwhelming financial burdens and potential operational challenges. As Jerry Heyer advises, “Work yourself into it, learn, and then go from there.” Starting small and learning as you go allows you to gain valuable insights into your local market’s demands, refine your service offerings, and understand the specific requirements of your clients.

 As your experience and confidence grow, you can strategically expand and upgrade your snow plowing arsenal. Consider reinvesting your profits into more advanced equipment that will enhance your efficiency and capabilities. Moreover, the knowledge you gain during your initial stages will serve as a strong foundation for making informed decisions about scaling your business sustainably.

 In conclusion, as a small snow plow contractor, choosing the right equipment, educating your customers, and building strong relationships with dealers are key factors in your success. Start with the right tools for your truck size and gradually grow your business as you gain experience. By following these essential tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient and  successful snow plow contractor. Happy plowing!

Meet the Dealers

William Fries
Xtreme Fabrication

Blake Brannon
Hartford Truck Equipment

Gregg Straffin
York Motors, Inc.

Jerre Heyer
Jerre’s Service

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