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Blower VS. truck for 50 very close drives ??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ernest, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. ernest

    ernest Member
    Messages: 67

    Hey guys,we have 3 trucks,plow about 20 - 25 times a season.2 routes are about 3-5 hours another route 5-7 hours - depending on amount of snow.The trucks are getting older and I was thinking about our route that has about 50 driveways in a 3-4 block area and using a enclosed utility vehicle ( ventrac ) with a blower on it.I know it will take more time but it seems like it MIGHT be cheaper than all the expenses associated with a truck in the long run. Your thoughts please.
  2. Defcon 5

    Defcon 5 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,512

    Although Ventrac is a fine machine....A Ventrac and a Blower will run you some nice money....Plus route time will take way longer...Are your customers willing to wait on you when they see the Driveway across the street already done.....
  3. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,719

    I think a tractor and an inverted blower is the ticket with a route that close together. Although I think it is kinda overkill for 50 driveways, if you expanded the number of driveways but were able to keep the route pretty tight a tractor and blower is the way to go it seems.

    Road speed + blowing speed + no piles to clean up when you're done in the driveway.
  4. R75419

    R75419 Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    x2 from all I have read on this site and elsewhere, if I did residential it would be a no brainer for me to go ag tractor with a blower. I would think you could expand easily due to the speed of that combo. Get on youtube and search Paul Vanderzon.
  5. 3bladz

    3bladz Senior Member
    Messages: 172

    Skid steer with a pusher and a pull back blade would be my recommendation. I do a bunch of drives with a Deere 3720 and a blower and it struggles with wet heavy snows. It won't hardly get out of its own way. I bought a blower for my 5105 Deere and it was awful. The tractor is too big and there is way too many things to watch and you need three hands to drive it. The little tractor has hydro drive so you can speed up and slow down easily. The big tractor is just slow or fast. The other problem we have here is we may only have two inches of snow but after the wind blows it around there may be a drift 4 feet deep right in front of the garage door. So the inverted blowers don't work. You can't lift over the drift with a 3 point. Mine only lifts the blowers about 8" when they are leveled properly. The blowers will destroy yard lights or peel the bark off a tree if snow hits them. Another thing is the big tractor burns 4 or 5 gallons of fuel an hour at PTO speed. Just some of the things I experienced. I do believe in the right conditions a blower may be the answer. Just make sure you have the same conditions as those guys using them. I built a Jeep and for my driveway route it's killer. Daniels back blade and Boss V is working well.
  6. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,402

    Blower matched to the tractor helps. Sounds like yours might have been mismatched
  7. blowerman

    blowerman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,261

    Surprised none of the "tractor blower" guys haven't chimed in yet! I'm short on time tonight, will offer advice tomorrow!
  8. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    No brainer, tractor and inverted blower.
  9. Drakeslayer

    Drakeslayer 2000 Club Member
    from Carver
    Messages: 2,776

    2-speed skid steer with a 9' blade will be just fine. No need for a big tractor set up for only 50 drives.
  10. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    The tractor/inverted blower is definitly faster...but 50 drives aren't enough to pay for one nor keep it busy for a full shift if they are close. You need to have them setup properly ours are JD 5101e with SHoule 92" blowers so far in 3 years there hasn't been a snowfall they couldn't handle. The biggest issues are finding operators & a site large enough to pay for them, (or a route right enough).
  11. 94gt331

    94gt331 Senior Member
    from usa
    Messages: 293

    Ever consider a toolcat with blower. They seem pretty decent for driveways. I've been thinking about one but my driveway route isn't as tight as yours. With as many snows as your getting a season your drives probaly have some serious piles of snow through out the season, so the blower would make it nice as far as that goes.
  12. blowerman

    blowerman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,261

    That's right!
    Considering you want to replace trucks....
    Benefits are speed, snow depth doesn't matter, could add 50-100 more units and still be in a 6 hour route, and
    One of the bigger things: resale of the tractors is much higher down the road compared to trucks.
  13. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,976

    You'll have a very hard time bogging a 3720 down with a 60" inverted blower! They are a powerhouse for their size
  14. 3bladz

    3bladz Senior Member
    Messages: 172

    I tried a tool cat as well. Slow and expensive. Another thing about rear facing snow blowers is that they leave a little pile of snow in the middle when you stop, and if you run straight towards a garge door those piles are right up against the door. Also if you do sidewalks, don't let any snow land on a sidewalk or the sidewalk guys will hate you. It's like concrete after it lands. Just a couple more things to think about.
  15. 3bladz

    3bladz Senior Member
    Messages: 172

    Ever seen 5 inches of snow then an inch of rain on top of it. It happened here twice this year. Then it got cold.
  16. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,195

    Not sure what kind of tractor you are using but I have never burned that much fuel an hr with my ag tractors. The price of fuel right now is $5.98 a gallon, and we burn 2.5 gallons an hr. Yes do not blow snow into light standards, you will break them. I have never seen an inverted blower remove bark from a tree. (maybe a dead tree).
    I suggest getting an ag tractor, because once you start using it, the neighbors will no longer want to have a pickup doing their drives if they have a choice. (maybe thats a little exaggerated but its true for my market)
    So you have 50 drives now, hopefully you can increase that to 70 after the first year. You can also take on some commercial properties in the same neighborhood and make your tractor that more profitable for the season.
    I keep hearing of guys with plows running out of room to put snow, this is not an issue with a blower. Check out this video that Aaron Smith made the other day, it fantastic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUd3RpA7ra8
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  17. hansenslawncare

    hansenslawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    Subscribing to this great thread...
  18. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    I have found this to be a common problem with guys complaining about the performance of their skid steer or ag tractor running blowers.

    I would suggest looking into a 2spd skid or ag tractor. When properly setup/operated, either will do the work of 2-4 (maybe more in some cases)trucks on a very tight resi route....and do a nicer job.
  19. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I wondered about doing a part of my route with a 45 or 50 hp hydrostatic tractor and blower.
    I am wondering if I could direct the snow well enough to not cause damage...and also if a front mount might be better..
    The idea of backing up to a garage or parked car or whatever scares me too. One absent minded moment..
    I guess for the time being it is cost prohibitive anyway.
  20. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    After some struggles at the start of the season it have my Toolcat and snowblower setup and working well. It is by far faster than a truck and plow or skid steer bucket combo saving minutes in each driveway on a 50 drive route 2.5 minutes per equal 125 minutes. How many more driveway could you add to your enterprise? The other thing when the snow starts coming the quicker you are getting to your customer the brighter your star shines all good for you bottom line. I am just getting into video and not as polished as Neige or the gentleman from Vermont, best of luck to you in the future.http://youtu.be/FCVPgQMYbvM