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Have you ever refused gravel drives?......

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ybnorml, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. ybnorml

    ybnorml Member
    Messages: 37

    Well, I finally got to use my equipment for the first time. Everything went well. No problems. All of my accounts have paved parking lots/driveways. Then I went to my parents house to plow them out. They have a gravel/dirt driveway. Thanks to all the warm weather we've been having, the drive wasn't frozen at all. It was a mess. I tried everything, bumping the plow up, lowering the shoes, etc. and it still just kept digging in and making a mess :realmad: The worst part is I scratched the heck out of my new plow. That made me madder than anything. Basically no scratches on my paid accounts, and many on the free one :mad: ....

    So, my question is. I'm starting to get phone calls for removal and feel I should turn down any gravel drives due to this problem. Is this a bad choice? Just wanted some opinions here. As I've stated not only is the ground not frozen, it is soft and muddy around here.....

    Thanks in advance..

  2. avalancheplow

    avalancheplow Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    I won't even touch anything but pavement. I pass on a friends name or dirt or gravel.
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Must be nice to have such ideal surfaces. All I have is gravel and hardpack. No asphalt or concrete at all. On the other hand, I don't worry about scratching anything except my truck.
  4. CamLand

    CamLand Senior Member
    Messages: 301

  5. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    Pushing gravel driveways is just a part of the job description in this area. The first couple of pushes can be a pain but after that the snow gets packed down pretty good and no problems after that. I just crank the shoes down so that I have about 3/4 inch between my cutting edge & the surface, still will gouge here & there due to uneven ground but there's nothing you can really do about it. Once the snow is packed down the shoes go back up and the cutting edge is right on the surface.

  6. Rainman

    Rainman Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    I've been doing an apartment building. This year the manager had someone put down a fine gravel on top of the existing asphalt, I haven't spoken to him about it yet but it is a real pain to plow. The gravel just comes up with the snow no matter what you do. I am thinking maybe I had better write him a letter telling him I won't be responsible for any damage to the gravel surface.
    By damage I mean removal of gravel!
  7. ybnorml

    ybnorml Member
    Messages: 37

    I tried adjusting the shoes from 1/2 inch to the highest which is about 1-3/4" The shoes dig in immediately then the plow digs right in, trips the plow or I spin. I "practiced" for a while. Bumping the plow up, etc. Uneven drive also. Not at all flat. Up a slight hill.

    I'm not too worried about this drive in particular, but I'm concerned with drives like this that people may want me to do. I understand I can choose what I want. Just wondering what you guys do in these conditons. Usually in January the ground is hard and this wouldn't be a problem. But not this year. They are calling for near 60* in a few days, so that's not going to help :eek:
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2005
  8. jpunlimited

    jpunlimited Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    I am a gravel magnet

    I seem to attract gravel driveways. there are so many on the cape.
    there are lots of methods. here is mine, go in and drive over the snow. back plow out to the street this lays down the track to glide on and then go for it. I do use the skids set pretty high. then lower them at the end if it is not close enough. people know it is a pain and will pay more.
  9. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    jpunlimited's method is similar to one I use on my mom's driveway. I back drag the whole driveway. It leaves some snow behind but that's good as you want to form a base for future plowings. Also, we'll let the first snowfall just sit there and get packed down, no plowing. My mom has crushed rock over her gravel driveway...back dragging or not plowing the first couple of snowfalls is the only way to leave the crushed rock where it belongs. Good luck, but it's really not that bad once you find a process that works for you.

  10. ybnorml

    ybnorml Member
    Messages: 37

    Thanks Buck for the reply. I will try back-dragging first. The first snow-fall we got was 9" this year. I had to go at the top of the drive and push down. There was no way I could push up. My truck no likey.........spin......

  11. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    oopppss double post
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2005
  12. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    for my moms drive, like the others i dont plow the first few events. I drive up and down the drive about a dozen times and then let it freeze up. Since i dont get to her drive until the next day, or later the same day i am not in a real hurry since all my other accounts have been done.
    when i do plow the first few times i just go real slow and manually float the plow. when i feel it starting to grab i bump it up alittle. since this is my only plow this one gravel drive i dont bother to put the shoes on.
  13. bolensdriver

    bolensdriver Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    I hate gravel driveways, one time in 2001 I think it was, we had a storm that dropped 29 inches of snow. For one, we have 38 inches within fourteen hours only two days before, so I have no place to plow the snow. When we got the 29 inches, it was heavy & wet snow, and the ground was so unfrozen, and I had to plow some dirt driveways. I had to keep my plow up a good 3 inches.
  14. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    another thing you will notice. It is always the free ones that will get you. I never brake down on a paid job, never clip a mail box on a paid job, never have to wait on someone to move on a paid job, never have to hang around after I am finished and BS on a paid job. but on a free one like neighbor, family,etc. they are the ones that will get you.

    Backblading or just packing down the snow till the ground freezes is the only way to handle dirt drivees.
  15. OneBadDodge06

    OneBadDodge06 Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 731

    I absolutely refuse to do any kind of gravel or dirt. I've made a $40,000 investment in truck/plow and no way is a crappy driveway going to ruin my stuff for a just a few bucks.
  16. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Gravel drives aren't bad and unless you go like a bat out of hell your not going to mess up your truck (and if you're going that fast your going to break it anyway). All I do is gravel, 2 family driveways and the gravel lot at the family business, there's a learning curve but it's just as easy as pavement after a while.

    Like was said above back drag the first few snowfalls if the ground isn't frozen yet and build up a nice base. From then on it's smooth sailing.
  17. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    i take em it says not respon for damage
  18. 85F150

    85F150 Senior Member
    Messages: 340

    around here it is the most popular drive, in the city i just back drag because teh driv eis maybe 30 ft, but in the country they are usualy over a 100 ft. When i first started plowing i used the shoes ant set the blade up about 3-4"s which worked decently. I can feel it alot better now and i can go across teh top without an issue with no shoes. same thing when i have to push my parents place and open it like a 300 ft lot, i have to be careful across teh yard. but i take it slow and have no issues.
  19. stumper1620

    stumper1620 Senior Member
    Messages: 222

    same here couple paved all others, some gravel, dirt or worse, i agree completely, i don't worry about scratching my plow, now when a branch pops in front of me and scrapes my truck or hits my light bar then i get pi**ed off. by the end of a "GOOD" winter, i say good which, this one is NOT. you will have enough scrapes, scratches chips & maybe even a dent in the plow, just don't scratch or worse dent the truck.
    as for the soft surface, ya i've done my share of furrows this year, some times when its too soft the best thing is pads off or as high as they go and back blade only. :drinkup:
  20. infineon954

    infineon954 Senior Member
    Messages: 235

    turning down gravel driveways is turning away business. They take more experience and special attention. Most of the time you'll find yourself backdragging them. Other times you may not be able to do them at all. I find that shoes are about pointless.You can only do the best you can. I reccomend never pushing them unless its frozen over...Good Luck!!