With fall here, many landscape contractors begin to shift focus from lawn care to snow removal as a way to keep their team and equipment employed year-round. Here are a few tips to ensure both are prepared to move by the first snowfall.
Keep equipment maintained
Before snow season hits, make sure to check all snow pusher components and replace damaged or worn parts. Consider hiring a mechanic to address any issues promptly so the pusher is ready to go when needed.
Keep the fleet of pushers and carrier equipment properly maintained and serviced to ensure the most uptime.
Split up service by location
Customers want their properties cleared fast after snow falls, but nasty winter weather can often slow things down. Establish a point person close to each site so customers get the fastest responses possible.
Park equipment onsite and find operators who live near each customer to access equipment and service those areas quickly.
Large businesses and fleets might consider hiring drivers based on location. Small companies could find alternate ways to get to each job fast. One way is to incorporate a phone-tree calling system or chain of command based on location and the desired minimum response time. Another timesaving trick is backing equipment into the lot, facing the exit. It’s a simple step that increases response time and productivity during urgent snow situations.
Communicate with the customer
Work with customers to understand their expectations and preferences for snow removal services.
Some customers might ask contractors to clear curbs, sidewalks or other areas for pedestrian traffic. Knowing this ahead of time makes it easier to plan for the right equipment and personnel as well as determine which customers will require additional time and resources.
Scope out obstacles
Take the time to pinpoint obstacles on customers’ properties, such as light poles, cart corrals and medians. Doing this prevents accidents and saves time in the long run.
If multiple operators clear large properties together, divide each into sections. This allows each operator to focus on a specific area and prevents doubling efforts.
Cutting down on salt
Need a break from costly salting? Consider using a pusher that removes snow and ice as completely as possible on the first pass.
Some pushers with steel cutting edges effectively scrape even hard-packed snow and ice down to the pavement, reducing the need to salt. Additionally, a sectional moldboard design allows the pusher to get into dips and depressions in the pavement, reducing the number of passes needed to effectively clean the area.
Planning ahead is planning for success. Evaluating the overall operation, equipment and plan for the upcoming snow season ensures the success contractors push for year-round.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Randy Strait. Strait, owner and president of Arctic Snow and Ice Products, has over 40 years of experience in the snow removal business.