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So You Want to Get into the Snow Removal Business?

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Tips for First Time Plowers

By Mark Holman, General Manager

It’s the middle of summer, and you’re looking into an add-on service to cover your landscaping business through the slow winter season.

Your area gets a lot of snow and with all of the new retail centers, subdivisions and senior living centers, you know that you can earn a profit this winter.

But you also realize that snow plowing is more than just putting plows on the front end of your trucks.

To succeed in snow and ice removal, you’ll need snow attachments, possibly a revised insurance policy, and special billing procedures.

Photo Credit: Jason Truax

You Already Have a Leg Up

Even though adding a snow pushing service to your existing company is still in the idea phase, you have a plethora of commercial property managers, HOA boards and others who you can connect with while the summer season is still in full swing.

Many HOAs and POAs are looking for four-season companies to take care of their properties all year long. You can benefit your current clients by adding on this winter service.

This summer, you can start connecting with property managers while you’re working on their campuses or subdivisions. And it’s one of the best times to schedule pre-season site visits of parking lots, streets and sidewalks that you’ll be serving in the winter.

You can read more about pre-season site visits in this blog.

Photo Credit: Jason Truax

Equipping Your Snow Fleet

Fortunately, you already own most of the big pieces of equipment such as trucks, skid steers, track and wheel loaders as well as a fleet of pickup trucks. Those are the big ticket items.

Now, you need to add a few pieces of snow equipment to turn your existing fleet into powerful snow removal machines.

Here are the top snow and ice removal attachments that you’ll need:

  • Additional lighting
  • Angle broom
  • Buckets
  • Push broom
  • Salt spreader
  • Scraper
  • Snow blade
  • Snow blower
  • Snow pusher
  • Snow V blade.

Photo Credit: TLC Landscaping

Want to know what to do to avoid equipment breakdowns during the next snowstorm of the century?

Snow Contracts vs. Per Push

One of the big decisions when adding on snow and ice removal services includes the issue of getting paid.

Should you ensure that you get paid with snow contracts or just get lucky with per push agreements? Actually, it’s a happy balance between the two.

For example, some commercial properties want a contract to make sure they’re on the top of your list when it starts to snow—such as hospitals, assisted living centers, and other areas that involve life and death situations.

In the same vein, some retailers, office parks and commercial B and C properties may not need to have their lots cleaned off as soon as it starts snowing. Thus, you can charge them per push.

By incorporating a mix of the two types of billing, you can be sure that you’ll bring in some revenue even in a low snow season.

Insurance

You should check in with your insurance agent to make sure your policy is up-to-date with the added risks of snow and ice removal. For example, you want to ask your agent if you need to change your policy to cover slip and fall incidents—a big issue in the snow industry.

You can learn more about insurance in the snow removal industry in this blog post.

Now’s the time to get your snowflakes in order by making connections, purchasing snow and ice attachments and talking to your insurance agent.

You can read more about adding a snow pushing service to your green industry company in this article.

Source:

ForConstructionPros.com, “What Snow Removal Equipment Should You Add to Your Pavement Maintenance Business?” June 19, 2017.

Von Minden, Lynette, “Snow Removal: Tricks of the Trade,” Turf Magazine: June 26, 2015.

Header Image Photo Credit: DJM Equipment

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