Growth in the snowplowing business is usually dependent upon how much equipment and manpower you can muster to deal with the increased business. Additional equipment requires substantial capital investment, if you choose to own all the necessary equipment. One proven method of reducing your capital investment in such growth is to utilize subcontractors. These are other contractors that supply both the manpower and equipment necessary to adequately service your customer base during any particular snow event. For those who are unfamiliar with how to go about securing, keeping and organizing subcontractors in a growing snowplowing operation – below are some suggestions and guidelines that might assist you in your quest for growth.
Advertising for subcontractors is generally the most accepted method for attracting plowing subcontractors. A couple of lines in the “classified” section of the local paper will certainly get some inquiries. This can be as simple as “Snowplowers, with vehicle, needed. Routes throughout (your market) area. Call – 555-1234 for information”. Same thing if you use Craigs List, however you can expand the verbiage some more as the ads on Craigs List are free as compared to paying for the ad in the local newspaper.
Those individuals who respond will have some specific concerns and questions. You will need to plan for how you will address these questions. They will include; “How are we getting paid?, When do you pay?, How do we get told when to plow?, Where will I be plowing?” Having an information packet put together (in advance) that can be mailed to the potential subcontractor will go a long way towards eliminating any misconceptions later in the winter. This packet should include your policy on insurance, a formal subcontractors agreement that lays out the subs responsibility as well as your own, the pay rate or pay scale, and an explanation of your company policy about how you generally deal with subcontractors. This packet of information can be mailed to the perspective subcontractor after he/she calls.
Another method to attract additional subcontractors is to have a referral program in place that allows existing subcontractors to “refer” your company to other potential subs. These guys all talk amongst themselves during snow events – and they get to know who the good contractors are by talking with each other. If you pay a referral fee to existing subs, and if you have treated your subs fairly (meaning you paid them on-time and in-full, as promised), then this incentive is good for existing subs who will actually recruit others to come work with you. One suggestion would be to pay $200 to the existing sub who refers another to come work with you. The new sub would have to work the season, and you could pay ½ the referral fee part way into the winter season, and the balance at the end of the season.