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Hare brained idea maybe, you tell me

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Alan, Mar 17, 2001.

  1. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    OK,, I need opinions on this.

    I'm seriously considering buying a big snowblower, specifically a Sicard Junior. After getting buried in the recent big storm, and knowing that every few years we get storms like that, I don't want to ever be in that position again.

    Purchase cost is going to be somewhere in the $5-8,000 range. I tend to think that that amount is really not much money in the current economy, about the same as a well used pickup and plow. In that respect I could let it sit a lot for the times when it was really useful.

    In normal winters I would utilize it to cut plowing time on several commercial sites that we do. Rather than trying to push back and stack as much as possible during a storm I would push to the unused portions of the lot, making no attempt to stack, and then come in the next day and blow the snow completely off the area. I think the time saved during the storm, and less abuse on the trucks from stacking would more than justify the time to clean up after a storm. I currently have a site that the customer has to remove piles from at least once and sometimes twice a winter. I will approach them about including the removal in my contract and throwing the snow into the next county. This would be an increase in revenue to help amortize the cost of the machine as well. Any money I normally spend to move banks back could stay in my pocket to defray machine costs also.

    In severe winters I would never be in the position of running out of room. This past storm I found places where I was unable to plow as there was no way to get snow off the blade. I had to open several with a 4' blower on a big garden tractor, slow but got it done. I would also be in a position to hire out to load trucks or clear the school district properties, which is currently done with loaders or TLBs. Again, this past storm forced me to bring in a TLB, cost will probably be close to $1,000 between that and a skidsteer. What I did with those I could have done faster with the blower and kept that money in my own account as well.

    Then there is the fact that I have always liked snowblowers. And keeping in mind that "he who dies with the most toys wins", I would just plain like being the only kid in town with his own 6', self propelled snowblower. OK,, there it is, blow holes in my idea, ask questions, whatever.
     
  2. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Snowblower

    OK, here goes! Keeping in mind that I like machinery of all kinds too, it sounds like you have a real application for this machine. If it can help make you more self sufficient, it would sound like money well spent.

    Where I am, one of the local construction companies has a Vohl snowblower which gets used when required for chewing the banks back to open the roads up to full width. It's seen a fair bit of use this winter.

    I know you do your own fab/mechanical work, so keeping this machine in operating condition shouldn't be any problem for you either. All in all, I'd say it's something you can make good use of, especially if the purchase price will be what you quoted.

    The only thing I would be concerned about would be breakdowns, because if that were to occurr it might be difficult to find a machine to cover for you, especially on short notice. But good preventive maintenance should keep this from happening anyway.
     
  3. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Sounds like you've thought it out pretty throughly, from what I can see.
     
  4. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 481

    I think most of us that recived unusal amounts of snow could have used a big blower this year.I know I need some thing to compensate for trying to push where I can't push any more.

    Gene
     
  5. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Humm brand new this kind of equipment cost 250 000 $ of canadian poor money. Looking over my weekly used equipment journal, for something ready to go with few $$ to spend on it, price start a little under 20 000. For the budget you expect, in my area, the only thing you could find is big project on rebuild. Get ready to spend 100 000 on it.
    http://www.infrastructures.com/0900/annonce.htm
    rebuild unit http://www.jalarue.com/p2.html

    An alternative is to use a loader mounted unit with is own powertrain. Buy the unit and sub the loader if you don't have one.
    http://www.rpmtech.qc.ca/framea_a.html

    Both are for street or very big lot clearance.



    On commercial and appart complex, I will recommand you a 8.5' industrial snowplower, pto powered by a New Holland Versatile and also use it with a plow on light events.
    http://www.pronovost.qc.ca/inda.html
    http://www.rpmtech.qc.ca/framea_a.html

    for residential inverted snowblower http://www.cienormand.com/mainfrma.htm
    or 2 way snowblower are very good http://www.pronovost.qc.ca/pa.html

    Hope it could help.
     
  6. slplow

    slplow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 594

    sounds like a good idea alan and you do get some good snow up there.
     
  7. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Denis, the blowers you are talking about are much bigger, probably 3-4,000 tons per hour. Sicard Juniors are pretty common on the used market, in operating condition, for the price range I quoted. I just missed one that was supposedly running and sold for $2,000 US. I would be suspect of one that cheap but it supposedly had a fresh AC diesel for the power unit. I'm thinking the Junior is in the 1-1500 ton per hour range.
     
  8. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    For that price, this is a very good option. Amazing how much things are expensive north the border.
     
  9. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Alan - I see others here with the same ideas as you. One mall is done with the next-day technique and the snow in the bush is presently 20+ feet deep, and no truck hauling. I'll try to find out if his inovation with the snowblower reflected in a lower rate in the contract (ie verses trucks and loaders). I suspect he puts it right to his pocket and saves the truck haul.

    Sounds like you've already bought it, you just haven't officially told yourself yet!!!

    (I can't wait to read your Volume III, 2002 spring storm summary when you include the potential brought to the table of this tool) :)
     
  10. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Deere John, I think you're right, I probably have bought one, just haven't decided which one nor where the money will come from. With the wierd winter we've had and some surprise repairs my war chest isn't as full as it normally is at this point in the season. I'm going to go look at at least one machine and maybe two this week or next. If I buy one it will be paid for on the spot or maybe very short term finance. I was going over records the other day and so far we've only had 7 pushes on our residence customers, which is about half of normal. This is in a winter with 125% of normal snowfall, most of it in 1" per day drizzles. Our contract accounts are right at or slightly over budget projections, again due to those damn 1" storms. But if there is any way I can swing the money end of it I probably will be the only kid in town (maybe the county even) with his own HUGE snowblower.
     
  11. Winterworks

    Winterworks PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 97

    No one around here uses one and I was dreaming some of the same ideas as you. What turned me off a bit was the maintenance factor, finding parts, and reliability of an old used machine. I will stick to a loader for now. One of my subs has 2 big blowers on Cat (tracked) tractors that I can use in a pinch for a decent price per hour. I am not worried about running out of room on sites as the contract stipulates loader and snow removal is extra. If they don't go for it, then we do our best but their lots close in and they lose parking etc. You should be looking at the snow removal or loader work as extra means to increase profit, not a nuisance. If you don't have a loader or dumps, sub sub sub and make money while you sleep and your subs are moving snow!
     
  12. Matt

    Matt Member
    Messages: 68

    Alan,
    I am not familiar with the brand that you have mentioned, but depending on the ease of transportation of it seems like a farm tractor with a blower would be more economical.
    The cost of a tractor mounted blower is a lot cheaper than a machine that is solely dedicated to one use. We have a 5' blower that we put on the back of our JD 4400 compact, we get a lot of use out of it in winters like this last one, but haven't used it much at all the previous 2 years. Our blower is a little on the small side for some jobs but is capable, just takes a little longer. Th thing we like about the blower vs. stacking is the fact that you don't make mountains that then make drifts. Snow that goes through a blower shrinks in volumn and doesn't take up as much room as piles. We have never used our blower to load trucks, but the manufacturer does make a chute to go on it to do so.
    Just my 2 cents but unless you can generate a lot of $ with a machine, I always look for multiple task oppurtunity's.
     
  13. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Excellent points, Matt. I would go with the tractor/blower combo but need something that has a decent road speed. The Sicard tops out at 25, a bit faster than a loader and a bunch faster than a compact tractor. I don't want to get into a situation where I have to trailer it from job to job. In addition, the market price on used Sicards is pretty stable, maintained and in operating condition it won't depreciate. If I decide to get off it in a few years it will still be worth as much as it will cost now, maybe more if I restore the cosmetics as well as maintain the mechanicals. Also, the outlay up front will be appreciably more for a tractor and blower. There is a tractor in my plans, but its winter job will be loading salt and sand and it will pretty much have to stay at the storage point to do that.
     
  14. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    If you something fast, a JCB fasttrack, new holland versatile are also very good
     
  15. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Alan - I said I would try to get more info on the contract arrangement. Here I go:

    It is a multi-year contract to clear about 14 acres of parking and rear access to the region's central mall. After the first year, done as others had done it with trucks and loaders, they tried the snowblower - a Sicard Sr circa 1965 model, my source thought.

    Results are better than expected - all but one truck has been eliminated, an it is used to haul the tight areas to the waste area. The blower simply sends all the snow into the bush - 25' deep at 35 feet from the windrow, at present. Fewer big loader piles, fewer damaged shopping carts (for obvious reasons), less drifts and more available parking spots for the critical christmas season. He did say the snowblower was a little "sensitive" to the need to not rip up concrete curbing for further blowing, so I guess they were on a pretty steep learning curve for the first couple of snowfall in November when the ground was not frozen and the crew still working as they always have.

    The contract's preamble stated the objectives around providing a finished product (access). So, for the remaining term of the contract, and subsequently if nobody else bids with similar efficiencies, they are pocketing their efficiencies. Gotta like that. Hope this helps.