Attitude towards professionalism in the snow business, and attitude towards having total control of the growth of our business are intertwined. One introspective question often asked at this time of year (after the season is over) is “how can we make a profit at this type work”? Other observations made by some often include: “Snow work is blood money”, “it’s a pain in the butt to do this work”, or “it’s hard work for the money we generate”, and “my guys want to just stay home in winter anyway, so why bother”.
Often it’s just a matter of attitude.
Think about it a minute. Isn’t attitude just a matter of how we think about anything we do or say? If you address your marriage with the right attitude, things often go well. If you approach your employees with the proper internal motivation (and a positive attitude) they will generally work harder and be more productive. If you approach the landscape maintenance, tree care, or chemical lawn care portion of your business in the right manner, it becomes your "core business."
Can you imagine treating this core business portion as if it could not ever be profitable, and was just something that “had to be done” instead of what you needed to do to be able to support your family? The same thing occurs in the snow business. I would submit that attitude has everything to do with success. It’s the underlying foundation of every successful entrepreneur. Contractors (who treat the snow business as a profit center) generally report gross profit margins in the 55% to 65% range, although in the past two years, these margins are being squeezed due to the dip in the economy which has brought about more “competition” as some unemployed have put plows on trucks and gone out to “make a little money on the side”. Deicing profit margins still often top 60% amongst those that view this as a profit center.
These contractors are convinced that they can make a profit at snow work, and they do. Those that are convinced that they cannot, usually do not.