PART ONE Here
PART TWO Here
Who knew that you could plow snow with a skid steer vs. a truck? Adam is the owner and operator of a small landscape and snow removal company. His company is fictional, but the surprises, hassles and achievements are often real stories. Today, Adam is going to have a brush with the hard truth that if he doesn’t step up, his company will falter. When will Adam consider a more effective and trouble free way to do his snow removal – with KAGE skid steer snow plows?
Fixing The Plow Frame With A Torch
Logan climbed out of the driver side of the pickup and slowly removed his hat. He looked at Adam and then at the V plow strapped to the front as if to say “my bad”. Logan had a short, stocky build and dirty blond hair. A tight rats nest from the winter hat, and days of no showering.
Logan was one of Adam’s more willing employees. Willing to follow Adam into anything, including the time they were both arrested, a time long ago that Adam likes to forget. However Logan is also the person that usually breaks everything, but isn’t that great at fixing it.
Logan says “should we try to fix it now, or…?”
“Take Old Red and go back to OCB” replies Adam.
Old Red is Adams’ truck. However ‘old’ it was, it was still his baby. He loved everything about the truck, from the squeaky doors, to the worn out cloth on the left side of the driver seat. During the summer, Adam is constantly in and out of the truck. The seat and door hinge are showing signs of deterioration. Among the other stuff inside the cab, was a tattered, sun baked picture of he and his wife, Heather when they were on vacation.
Truck Snow Plow Warranty Was Bogus
Adam removes the first, then second, and third ratchet strap that Logan had tied around the plow and bumper of the truck. The plow comes down with a slam and now its time to work. Adam thinks “I have to get this done in about 30 minutes, or my lot over at the clinic will not be done by 6:00 am.” Adam sizes up the damage, and goes through his plan as he starts to flip the plow onto its face. First disconnect the cylinder from the passenger side of the plow, bend back the cylinder bracket on the moldboard and re-enforce it.
This should be the last plow that Adam owns that doesn’t have the reinforcement done already. It seems that these plows have a weak spot at the cylinder mount, and Adam and his crew seem to find it….. always. Next he sizes up the truck mount. Looks pretty straightforward. Some heat with the torch and a few love taps and he should be able to get by
At least the ears weren’t broken off and missing. He recalls the night that Logan had snapped one of the ears clean off. The plow hadn’t even been used 3 times! When he called his dealer on the mishap, the dealer informed him that the manufacturer doesn’t cover any of the ‘black components’ under their 2 year warranty. ‘The warranty only applies to the red parts’.
Adam grunted as he thought about THAT conversation. Then he thought, “why the heck am I still buying these dang things. I’m the one to blame for these problems!
My Contractor Is MIA: Should I Take On More Work?
Adam puts the torch away against the wall by the welder and hops back into Logan’s truck. Pulling back out of the shop he glances at the clock. Even though Adam had made those repairs to the V plow in record time, it was still going on 1.5 hours. Now he had to make up for that lost time, and it was already 2:30 am. His contracts needed to be substantially opened up by 6:00 am, or he would be in HOT water.
His contracts read that if there was 4” or more accumulation, the lot will be plowed by 6:00 am. As a guarantee, it also stated that he would be onsite from 1:00 am to 6:00, or until the lot was cleared from 1” of snow in the event that it kept snowing. By having equipment offsite, he was already in breach of the contracts he’d made. Now his only hope was that he could make up for the lost time and no one would notice his absence.
Adam starts plowing back at the clinic he left in order to help Logan. Since he left there is another 1” of snow accumulation. Already, the janitor’s car is pulled up to the building – right in the way – Adam thinks. Flipping on the swirly light, he starts by back dragging the snow around the janitor’s car. Swinging backing up and sliding a little bit as he does, he narrowly misses the fire hydrant on the parking lot peninsula. Whew! That would be a mess.
Adam realizes he’s not thinking clearly, and he’s worn out. Just another few hours and this event should be over, he thought. Adam starts to work the snow away from the entrance of the building, as he does he climbs the truck up on the sidewalk adjacent to the front entrance to help the hand crew. Pulling away 8” of snow from the door will help Tony out immensely. Speaking of Tony, where is he?
As Adam completes his final pass on the sidewalk by the front door, he gets lined up to make his first pass along the curb, plowing snow away from the building in one long shot. Putting the truck back in drive, he simultaneously beeps into Tony – “Where ya at?” He mutters, thinking of the mangled truck sitting back at the shop.
“We’re just getting done at OCB, heading to the clinic. Logan dumped a ton of snow on the sidewalk at OCB!” Adam knows the spot that Tony’s talking about. It’s a difficult spot to clear. It’s a long aisle of blacktop, leading up to the dumpsters behind the building.
You can’t back drag the snow – at least not this much. Or it would take you 10 or 15 times back and forth because the truck V plow would keep riding up. If you push the snow down the aisle, you have to turn sharp at the end to avoid the dumpster enclosure. There is limited snow storage along the side. Logan probably filled up along the side, and continued to push snow, that ended up spilling back over the sidewalk to the nearby service door.
Planning ahead, Adam makes a mental note that he’ll have to bring the skid steer over to bucket out that snow. “OK, thanks Tony” he replies as he throws the hammer down on the acceleration pedal. This is the part that Adam likes about this lot – heck, snow plowing in general. Once he has all of the snow cleared and back dragged along the building entrances and parking, he can fling the snow away from the building at about 20 MPH.
When he gets down to the end, he lifts the plow just in time to clear the curb. If he plays it right, he can throw it back into reverse just as the front tires of the truck come to a stop on top of the curb. Hardly ever does he miss gears, but once or twice it’s been thrown in park. Ol’ red still goes – he thinks, knowing that the next guy to own that truck would not know any better.
Ring….ring…. Adam’s phone starts to ring as he’s backing full speed to get another run at his windrow. “Good Morning, This is Adam how can I help you”? He says in his most pleasant voice he can muster. He doesn’t recognize the number, so he has to be professional. “Hello, I got your phone number from one of your trucks that just about ran me off the road” says the voice on the other end. Adam is just about to burst as he tries to develop a response.
“I’m very sorry to hear that” he says in an apologetic voice.
“Well” the voice says, “I don’t usually start business conversations off that way, but I’m wondering if you would be able to plow my lot”. the voice continues “the reason your truck almost ran me off the road is because my lot isn’t cleared, and I was trying to get into my parking lot. A windrow is blocking my parking lot. My current contractor is MIA.”
Adam feels a sweeping sigh of relief come over him. At least it wasn’t one of his guys driving around town recklessly – he’d had those calls before too. “Where are you located sir?” “I’m the 4 story professional building next to the hospital.” Adams mind is racing. That’s the professional building that he bid last year, but lost to his nemesis, Joe’s Landscape. Can we swing this opportunity?
Now Adam is obviously torn. He wants to grow his business, and nothing sounds better than taking work away from Joe’s Landscape (he knows who is contracted there). But he just got things back up and running so that he can finish his existing clients on time. If he accepts the offer to plow this new site, he will probably gain that customer. But, will he stretch himself too thin and not be able to provide the top level of service to the other, loyal customers he currently has?
Next week, we’ll see how Adam will make a game-changing discovery, and a decision that will start the ball rolling on his ultimate success as a snow removal only business.