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Equipment and component reccomendation/proposals/fesability

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Banzo, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Banzo

    Banzo Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi guys, I'm new to this site, and to the plow industry in general. Let me say this first off, I'm not looking to get into the plow business! Ok, maybe in the future, but not right now.

    ----------Here's my story (skip this to get to the meat of the post)--------
    I'm the yard manager for 1 division of a company located in Western Canada (approximately 3.6 acres). I work alone, and am well respected within the company by most of the staff (one time employee of the year amongst 500 people). I do not have a supervisor over head, and have the most experience doing what I do within the group.

    Since the time I started in the company (5 years ago), I have noticed a very inefficient and ineffective snow removal routine that creates a lot of disorganization and distress. On a snow day, we tend to close our sales department and tie up our service department so that we can move product around and out of the way. I think I have a proposal to keep things open and running smoothly for everyone.

    Currently our snow contractors use an open spaced clearing strategy, and come in after a noticeable snowfall (2 or more inches). They are on a strict a "on call" basis (owner is a penny pincher). For larger snowfall, they use:
    2 front end loaders
    3 Compact track loaders
    3 Dump Trucks (w/ one plow attached)

    In order for all this equipment to operate, it requires LOTS of space, space we don't necessarily have (urban environment, fully stocked yards). My plan is to drastically reduce the amount of equipment, and do my own plowing, by using a different clearing strategy.

    Because of product in the yard, I am proposing that we use a slower, 3 phase strategy. Phase 1: Run a snow plow through all the access roads to open up the facility
    Phase 2: Clean sidewalks and customer areas
    Phase 3: Clear under and around product

    To do that, I propose we push the snow off of the access roads in front of the product to form a ridge. After the other priorities are done, we move the product over the ridge, and then push the snow that was under/around it forward into the previously formed ridge. Move product back into place, attach a snow thrower onto equipment, direct blow snow into back of dump truck (other option is to bucket it into drainage pond at back of site).

    By doing this, it only requires 2 pieces of equipment, keeps our sales and service department happy, and hopefully reduces our snow bill. To achieve this, I am proposing our company buy a vehicle that has hydraulic capability and a loading arm. Because of vision restrictions, I am unable to operate a dump truck (so I am proposing we rent one).

    Am I being overly optimistic with my proposal? I'm trying to go with the smallest, and most maneuverable machine I can find.

    --------------------Equipment Recommendations--------------------------

    Currently, I am looking at Compact Track Loaders to do the job (Site is approximately 3.6 acres, with product on ground). Reason for the CTL? I can rent the machine during the summer to a friend's pool company. The ones that have caught both of our eyes ( the pool owner is equipment testing with me) are

    Bobcat T-190 (very bumpy, uncomfortable and cheap feeling)
    New Holland C175 (untested, great looking lifting capabilities)
    Caterpillar 257B (Loud hydraulics, had the bucket control stick on me once)

    I don't know what I should be looking at for a snow thrower, but I don't want to go for one wider than the unit. Truck loading capability (chute) is a must!

    =====Toolcat 5600=========
    After I had arranged demonstrations for both the T-190 and 257B, I had read up on the Bobcat's Toolcat. It looks like a great machine, and the first picture I saw of it (http://netdrive.bobcat.com/attachments/toolcat_snow_blower_1.jpg) answered 3 of my initial questions. Is that picture realistic? I've watched videos of the machine with a blower, but they were all on undisturbed snow.

    Will that thing push snow? Blow it? Will traction be an issue? What kind of setup should I be looking at for that machine for optimal performance?

    The nice thing about the Toolcat is that I can use it year round, with the proper additions. All in, I'd want a bucket sweeper, bucket, plow blade, snow blower, sander for it, and then a hitch for equipment to tow.

    What do you think of my idea? Am I looking in the right direction equipment wise? Are my demands TOO demanding from one machine? Currently, our snow removal is just too counter productive to continue doing this way, and we only do it if we HAVE to. I would rather be in COMPLETE control of our lot, including snow removal, rather than working around our snow contractor's demands.

    Input on this would be appreciated, and fortunately for me, there's 7 months to crunch numbers (but only days to test equipment *without attachments*). Once next winter's snow falls, I'll either have the equipment or not. Contracts get signed.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    praire dogs, snow, wheat, Canada Eh?


    You will recieve a lot of suggestions and opinions regarding your inquiry.the KISS principle is no different, and what you need to do is get an aerial view of things to get a better prospective of your problem.

    Since you have decided not to tell us the product you must move snow around is a bit of a hitch.

    1. you have a large area to remove snow from and that it is going to always be there.

    2. large motorised snow blowers work very well and have an excellent track record.

    3. Renting a piece of owned equipment to an outsider or a allowing an employee is a huge liability issue.

    4. Removing snow from the customer access area should be first on the list after opening the roads.

    5. depending on snow fall, poor visibility and high winds these three factors will the
    things that will determine everything..
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  3. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    3.6 acres really isn't that large of a lot. Is there any want you can push the snow with a pusher blade around to the pond, it will probably take longer but you don't need a blower or truck. I really need a site map of the place to get a good idea of what to do. Just out of curiousity how much would your contractor bill out on an average winter?
  4. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    What leon said above is a good start. The contractor you are currently using is bringing way to much equipment if the site is truly 3.? acres. So much so their probably triping over each other & loosing effeciency. If it is not & is larger you will be drastilly under equipped, to go from using 2 larger loaders & 3 track loaders to 1 track loader would be a tough sell for me. We have a lot about 3 acres & with our loader & 14 pusher it is done in around an hour.
    From my experience with skidsteers (753 & 773) of simliar size to what your looking at they don't tend to have enough weight to push well while maintaining traction. Combine that with the fact there isn't enough speed to "roll" the snow, you'll have problems. Both these experiences with blades. The 873 we have is better but still slides alot. With buckets its a different story, but will be very slow as well (I wouldn't want to do it), plus you risk a significant amount of damage to equipment, property, & employee.
    I personlly think your problem is three fold from what info you gave us; Existing contractor isn't efficient (no pushers), your looking to small as to equipment, & the rental is completly a bad idea, the machine will last forever in snow, run it in dirt (& dust) it will wear out much quicker.
    Good luck, I'm sure others will chime in with more. Also bear in mind by doing it "in house" he's loosing production of whoever is out playing in the snow. It ussally ends up with a bunch of destroyed stuff & nothing accomplished properly.
  5. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.


    Thank you RLM for the compliment,

    Unless you seriously take the time to look at everything in an aerial perspective:
    The biggest factor is this:

    Will I and can I use this machine to do the two most important things for the business

    Will the purchase of this equipment help the business the year round?

    1.moving inventory to the stock yard from the assembly area?

    2. loading inventory onto trucks easily if desired

    Can I use the piece of equipment the year round
    and are we able to use it for the business?

    Can I use or would I have use for
    1.A set of Pallets forks?
    2 A sweeper?
    3. A boom Mower attachment for ditches and shoulders
    4. a bucket to carry sand for a traction aid and light snow removal?
    1. Where the snow is in relation to "everything and I mean everything!", on the property?
    (a) buildings.
    (b) customer and employee parking.
    (c) all walk ways.
    (d) pathways and road ways to the inventory
    2. Where can I put the snow quickly and temporarily, to be moved later?
    (a) during road clearing.
    (b) during a snow storm with limited visibilty?
    (c) how easy will it be to remove snow and ice around and from your inventory?

    3. How quickly do I need to do the job?

    4. Do I have room for the entire snow season to push snow?
    (a) Will I have room all season in the spot where I push the snow?
    (b) Is there sufficient room in the customer areas to push and store
    an entire snow seasons snow fall and 25 percent more?

    5. Is leasing this piece of equipment is less expensive than owning one?

    6. what is the opportunity cost of buying this machine?

    7. Meaning what am I willing to give up to get it?
    (a). what is the final cost of everything title if any, taxes, insurance, interest expense,
    depreciation expense, fuels, oils, repairs, maintenance if performed by you or an
    authorized repair service-meaning the equipment dealer; Am I prepared to deal with an
    oil spill and do I have everything I need for this hazmat response kit if any?

    How many people will be operating this machinery?

    Are they people who will be operating it someone you would want to drive one of your kids
    or your grandmother around in a car or a truck or taxi?

    Do they know anything about operating rubber tired machinery and how to maintain it?

    will they know enough not to abuse the machinery by not ramming snow piles?

    8. Rule number one-protect the company and its money and reduce the amount of liability!!!!

    9. Rule number two-remember rule number 1.

    10. Remember whose money it is and number 9.

    With what little information you have offered in information?

    a leased small front end loader, chains for all four tires,
    a purchased, motorized snow blower properly sized to
    the front end loader, a small pusher plow with a rubber scraper
    blade edge to fit the loader-being 8 feet maximum any larger
    and you will have traction and cleaning to bare ground issues.

    a very small four wheel drive tractor with a cab to blow snow,
    in the smaller areas and move accumulated snow to where
    the loader blower can remove it and dispose of it quickly.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  6. Banzo

    Banzo Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Sorry guys, my calculations for this site were wrong. I used Google earth to do the approximations, and its scale was off. The site is more like 9 acres, with 3 large buildings and a drainage pond to the back (which for the most part is available for snow dumping. Once full, there is a vacant lot just down the road about 1/4 mile).

    When it comes down to machine capabilities, I'm looking to do the job slower and with less equipment, that's why I'm looking at what I'm looking at. With the Toolcat, I can use it all year round. The CTL's I can rent to a pool building company. As for snow removal, the snow can sit on site as long as the access roads and customer parking are clear. That's why time isn't a huge issue for the total plow job (just make sure that the place is accessable). Right now, to make space for the snow contractor, we'll have 8 staff running around outside for 5 hours at a time (once to pull the product out of the way, a second to put it back in place, 10 hours in total x 8 people), essentially closing our sales department to do this. If we do the job slower, it might take 2 days to get the job done completely, but with only 3 people (3people x 16 hours), and keeping the sales department OPEN. Don't forget getting the job done more completely too (as we would now be using our own equipment).
  7. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow etc.


    1. Renting an owned piece of equipment is still a huge liability issue no matter the situation;as friends
    may be friends but accidents and mishaps still happen and do a lot of damage, physically, financially
    and legally. you have forgotten that I mentioned you need to live like brothers and do business like
    strangers-a lot of potential problems are eliminated and solved that way.

    a. The machine will wear at a faster rate as mentioned previously.

    2. You can use a motorized snow blower on a very small front end loader and remove
    everything once.and only once very quickly as I described earlier with one person.

    3. The only time you should be moving any inventory is when it is put into inventory or removed to send to a customer.

    4. In fairness I do not know what if anything you manufacture, package, repackage, sell
    etc. you in all honesty need to have a coverit or farmtek hoop building or a
    (STEEL ROOFED STRUCTURE-hay shed) with open sides to solve your problem completely
    of some sort to store your inventory, keep it out of the weather an out of the way.
    this also eliminates moving every time it snows and allows for simple snow removal.

    Having a large hoop structure or for that matter several of them or one large steel roof open
    sided shed long enough and wide enough to store your inventory allows for access rows with
    a fork lift and room to maneuver, stack, retrieve and do inventory counts.

    These buildings(hoop structures) can be leased with ease and assembled in a couple of days.

    You should also obtain a copy of the ag weekly newspaper as there are a lot of steel building
    erectors that can supply you with an adequate shed for this to solve your problem,
    and reduce snow removal to a minimum expense.

    Buying hoop shed and having it professionally installed will probably cost a little more
    than a tool cat but you will have no issues about having to move inventory to create
    access aisles to inventory transfer and outside warehousing the installations are warranteed as well.

    Looking at the farmtek web site or the coverit web site should be first on your list anyway due to your
    snow problems as you will be throwing money away with no good reason.

    1. every time it snows or you get a snow storm you have to move the product to plow access aisles
    and return the product to its storage spot after cleaning.this in itself is a very poor way to manage the expense of snow removal.

    2. the product is not perishable so it could be placed in a hoop structure and stored as they make very wide sheds.

    3. Having to carry snow is expensive and time consuming when a motorized snow blower
    can remove it once and for that matter blow it to one area for collection and then blow it the rest of the way.
    Leaving snow to get it later is a bad idea anyway period as it will melt and turn to ice and only a motorized
    blower can handle that much mass.

    With a motorized blower on a small loader does it once and only once as you are simply blowing it all forward
    and out of the way to the end and then disposing of it.

    You can blow snow into a pile for weeks at a time and not worry about it to begin with;

    You should look at the city of Oswego NY and see just how big its snow pile is they have snow
    in that pile the year round!!!!!!!!!!!!! They carry snow and blow it into a huge pile or with a
    Sicard snow pump I think that is the brand name anyway.

    They also have to measure the pile the year round to decide if the need to blow it back further
    for next years snow fall as it never melts completely!

    You could buy a Kubota M8540 tracked tractor with rubber track drive,
    a pronovost PXPL 55 or 77 snow blower with a hydraulic scraper blade with the ability to
    drag the snow out of the inventory aisles and blowing out and away later with its
    remote control chute( by blowing it into the ground as you drive backwards and have a life
    time pair of machines to blow snow and clear roads and it will travel 13 miles per hour.

    As I mentioned before if you watch a snow blower truck or a highway crew with a blower you see them blowing the snow
    in front of the blower with the chute pointing down to direct the snow onto the ground infront of the blower to carry it ahead
    and then when there is an opportunity to dispose of it thew chute is raisedand turned and the snow is blown to away to an open area.

    The snow plowing contractor is only responding to your plants poor layout with the machinery to do the job as your
    inventory is out in the weather.

    Spending money poorly is a bad way to do business-any business.

    You only buy a good tool once

    a road map is no substitute for experience.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  8. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    If you tell us what your contractor has charged you on avg for the season over the last 3-5 years that will give us a better idea on what you can spend. Telling us how long they took to do the job and how many pieces doesn't really mean much. JMO Personally with 9 acres I'd scrap the skid and go to 95 hp Farm tractor, that way you can run a pusher on the front and a blower on the rear, much more productive. It also looks like your more focused on what your friend needs for his pool company then what you need.
  9. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Sounds like a car dealership or similar. Why the big secret? The way they do them around here is skid loaders + plow trucks(Dumps & pickups). I would say medium sized loader & heavier dump truck with a plow. I don't plow anything that large but see many people doing it.
  10. seventwenty

    seventwenty Member
    Messages: 37

    My only input for you is regarding the skidsteer's and toolcat. (sorry!)

    We had, are currently in the process of getting rid of a toolcat 5600. I can tell you that a pool company would find that piece of equipment almost worthless for what they would be doing. If you have the work for a skidsteer both seasons there is absolutely no reason for you to consider a toolcat.

    Regarding your skidsteer choices, have you tried a Case? I started running New Hollands when I was 15 years old, I've progressed through Bobcats and Caterpillars, older John Deeres and most recently I've been totally blown away by the Case CTL's. We had 2 Case 430 wheeled skids on a month rental with our local dealer, when this flood hit we traded one to a Case 420CTL, the smallest machine they make. A day later we got 8" of snow and while working some of our larger lots the 420CTL would out push the 430 wheeled machine, on hard pack snow, ice and obviously pavement. (both machines equipped with the same sized Bobcat 88" snow bucket). The 420CTL machine was able to take pallets of 80 sandbags through 2'-3' snow drifts without loosing traction and the best part about them, if you ask me, is the ability to pack down and drive over large amounts of snow. On our smaller accounts where snow storage is a issue we are able to drive the CTL machine on the grass and pack the snow into the smallest area possible.

    The Case series-3 machines offer heated, cloth suspension seats, tons of storage inside the cab to get all the crap out of your pockets and away from the sides of your seat, side flood lights and their H pattern pilot controls are the best I've found!

    edit; Not to mention a nice radio with aux input and stereo speakers right behind the seat makes it easy to jam out while working :yow!: I'm also trying to think of anything really to grip about the Case machines but all I can think of for the time being is the placement of the fuel fill. Its inside the back service door and up at about shoulder height, if you fuel out of tanks its a bit of a chore to hold those big cans above your head! The Cat machines have a fuel fill that is on top of the wheel/track guards and easily accessable from the ground while the machine is on a trailer.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009