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Ice and snow coming to STL.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by LarsonLawnCare, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. LarsonLawnCare

    LarsonLawnCare Member
    Messages: 55

    There is an ice and snow storm coming to the midwest around Tuesday/Wednesday. A few years back I remember something similar happening and I at the time had shovels only. I had to use metal shovels and it may have been the hardest work I have ever experienced. Removing chunks of ice from customers driveways. I have a schedule of about 25 driveways. I will not remove ice from a driveway again. What methods have you used? I don't want to leave my customers stranded but there isn't much I can do with ice besides putting down calcium or magnesium chloride. However, some of my customers do not want me to put any treatment on their driveways. Not sure what to tell them. Any suggestions you have for me would be appreciated...as I have little experience with this situation.
     
  2. jimmyzlc

    jimmyzlc Member
    Messages: 74

    Sand or brine if you got means to spread it.
     
  3. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Salt and Commercial grade ice melt are the only thing that will work that I know of.

    That is what we had to do during the 2" ice we got back in 05 I think it was.

    If you customers don't want you to use any de-ice material, well they are SOL....

    might put sand down to make the ice not so slick, but other then that...lots of ice melt...
     
  4. LarsonLawnCare

    LarsonLawnCare Member
    Messages: 55

    I just don't have a system of operations set up for this situation. I'm not sure exactly how to approach my customers about it. I've told them in a letter in the past that I can't do much about ice except for putting ice melt down. I may have to look into putting sand down for customers that don't want ice melt. Are there any side effects with sand? Any complaints about sand tracking into their houses? Effects on concrete, maybe scratch marks from tires spinning down to the concrete? I mow their lawns and trimming along drive/walkways wouldn't be fun with sand in there. Sand being left on their driveway after snow/ice melts. Is the typical protocol to go back and blow the sand off? I'm thinking about calling all customers and telling them that all I would be able to do is put ice melt down and getting there in a timely fashion may be a problem as the roads will likely be worse than just a snow. I also don't know what to do for pricing, I would like to get the same price for a typical snow removal, but I'm sure there will be complaints for that. I guess if there is snow above ice, I would be removing snow then treating the ice. I just need to find a good system of operations...any more help would be good!!!
     
  5. grassyfras

    grassyfras Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Just have plenty of calcium chloride on hand. It starts to melt and make the ice slushy in less than an hour. After that just clear with the blower. I think that is all you need for this storm.
     
  6. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    from what i have read on the nws page, your talking like .25 of ice then 8-12 inches of snow on top of it. so the clients that get the ice melt applications you just need to put it down a little heavier to handle that, the others I would contact and state, they are predicting this, i recommend putting down some ice melt to help aleviate the ice. You could also pretreat the drives. Explain you dont want a thick layer of ice accumulating so your applying before hand. Thats what I would do.
     
  7. LarsonLawnCare

    LarsonLawnCare Member
    Messages: 55

    I thought about pre-treating, but I've never done it before and I am not sure how it effects the snow that falls on top of it, I wasn't sure if it would just make more ice if I don't get to it in time. I'd rather have a dry snow instead of a heavy wet snow from the ice melt reacting with it. I have 150lbs of calcium chloride, 100lbs of magnesium chloride and 50 lbs of rocksalt. I hope it is enough... some driveways are very big, and I also maintain church walkways which usually takes about 40-50lbs of salt. Another question... I've been using containers that I just shake the salt out of but that gets kind of hard and doesn't cover everything well. I've considered a push spreader, but that would be hard to transport and putting salt back into bucked when not all used would be a pain. I've used a hand spreader, but that obviously doesn't hold enough.... any other suggestions (besides throwing by hand)?
     
  8. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    walk behind spreader hard to transport? what are you driving a Prius?
    they do not weigh much, if you are worried about the left over salt when you are done with a drive, well just don't put that much in it. If you have thrown the drive by hand, then you have an idea of what it takes, he spreader would use more then that..

    What I do is price the salt per pound applied on commercial lots, I take my cost and triple the price, ends up .35 a pound. Ice melt, I get 50c per pound, but no one wants to pay that extra 20c....

    If there is alot of ice, what I do is tell them that Iwill apply the ice melt and come back in a couple hours after it has worked it magic to clear it off with the truck/shovel. Then I end up getting the same price as if I pushed the snow and applied ice melt/salt afterwords. I get about 10-15.00 (salt, I do a little cheaper) for applying the ice melt on normal resy walkways & driveways (car-1/2W 2 car midsized car long). I allow for about 20#, but I hardly ever use that much. I can sell the same 50# bag to about 4-5 people... Works out nice, then I get 25-35 bucks to plow the ice away when its slush-ed up, if I have to throw a little more down afterwords, well they have already paid double my going rate, so I throw a little more down..
     
  9. LarsonLawnCare

    LarsonLawnCare Member
    Messages: 55

    Hard to transport meaning I don't have room for it in my 6' truck bed because I have 2 snow blowers, 2 back pack blowers (which I might not even bring this snow), 3 or 4 shovels, 2 buckets of salt, 3 or 4 bags of salt, gas cans, 6' aluminum ramps. I don't have room for anything else that is bulky. I was looking for a cargo carrier but am having trouble finding a good one and one that is local so I can use it by the snow coming Tuesday.
     
  10. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    how many people work with you? Back pack blowers are all right, but a good wide shovel is more efficient than a blower i think. We usually stock our trucks to the storm. If we are only getting like a 1" snow fall, the only thing in the truck is the 36 or 48" plow shovels, salt, and the spreaders. No need for the blowers the shovels are faster. This storm that were supposed to get will see the snow blowers in the truck, heavy duty shovels, and then the salt and spreader. What size snow blowers are you using? 2 stage blowers or are you using single stage? If your using single stage get those ramps out of there.

    I dont think that you have enough ice melting materials. Secondly Why do you use both cal and mag? there are great ice melt products out on the market now that use the mix of the 3 (sodium, calcium, and mag) which are much cheaper than the just straight cal or mag. Plus with cal when the temps are warmer 15-30* it actually doesnt work as well. With mag you need to apply more 10sqft then you do with ice melt or cal. Both Ice melt and calcium are applied at anywhere from 1lb per 80 sqft on the low end to 1lb per 40 sqft on the high end. Mag on the low end is 1lb per 10sqft. Just is a wasted product to me. I can apply a good icemelter at about $0.40-.45/lb where both cal and mag are going to run $.5-.55/lb applied and i wont use any less.

    As far as a spreader goes, dont get a huge one. Find a small spyker spreader or a small earthway spreader. No need for anything huge.

    Pretreat (medium to heavy application), clear snow off. Then dont salt, just keep clearing snow off. By that time the ice part of the storm will be over and you will have straight snow. After the final clearing, salt again and your done no problems
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  11. LarsonLawnCare

    LarsonLawnCare Member
    Messages: 55

    I work by myself, but hopefully I will get one or two people to help. My backpack blowers work great in a 1" to 3" powder snow. I have a 2 stage blower and a single stage, so I need the ramps. I didn't do much research on the Mag, I was told it is better for the concrete and environment etc. I didn't know it doesn't work as good. I haven't seen any mixed ice melters, the calcium I have is 90-95% then has other stuff I guess. I'll have to do some research. The reason I go with the calcium and Magnesium is because it is supposed to be safer for the driveways. I have several customers that are worried about their driveways with the cheap salt stuff. I have a small Scott's spreader I might give it a try for my larger driveways and walkways. There is only sleet down on the ground which is more manageable than the ice would have been. I will not pre-treat, I will remove what I can then apply ice melt. I think I have enough ice melt. Every other snow, I have only needed about 120lbs of ice melt, and I am ready with 300lbs this snow.
     
  12. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Ah,to much crap to be hauling around!

    Buy a small inclosed trailer, that way you can keep all that crap in it, stuff won't get stolen out of your truck. and its great storage when your not using it, don't have to load and unload all the time, just hook up to it and go..
     
  13. LarsonLawnCare

    LarsonLawnCare Member
    Messages: 55

    Well, I made it out gave it an attempt, but the sleet underneath has proven to be too much for my snow blowers I told my customers that I will have to come back when the snow softens up because if I remove the snow on top of the sleet, it will smooth it out making it a slippery surface compared to the sleet that your feet and tires sink into a bit giving traction. I told them before hand that I would remove the snow from the ice then put ice melt down, but I don't want to do that because it is supposed to be -3 degrees tonight which would refreeze every thing tonight making it even worse of a situation. I feel like I have let my customers down, all are understanding, but I feel like I should have been able to make it happen... but I tried and tried and I just don't want to make things worse for everyone. My decision has much regret.
     
  14. grassyfras

    grassyfras Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    This just sucks.
     
  15. LarsonLawnCare

    LarsonLawnCare Member
    Messages: 55

    Yea it does, I only got 3 done today. There was no way I was going to shovel 25+ driveways down to concrete with this stuff underneath. Here is a question for you guys out there... I decided to lock up my 2 stage and single stage blower along with 2 cans of gas on the bed of my truck. I plan to leave it out there over night. It will be -3 degrees tonight. I figure since the equipment is out with me all day in the cold it can handle it. the only problem that may arise is moisture, but with it being so cold, no moisture will get into the oil or gas? Also, it would just be in my garage where it would only be 10 degrees or so warmer. Good idea or bad idea???
     
  16. Don Rauch

    Don Rauch Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    How those drives coming along ??wesport
    You either put a chemical down when it started sleeting or going the the other route scrap a layer off then apply chemical wait ,come back then start CHOPPING ,SCRAPING .That crap will be their along time till the 14th .Snow blower work not a chance .You have to pretreat just as we do parking lots ,small city .Sorry for the cost to the customer ,but thats the deal .
    good luck
    DR
     
  17. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    You local supplier will carry icemelt, they wont tell you what the ratio is, but icemelt is primarly finely screened sodium (rock salt) with a little calcium and magnesium added into it to help it be effective at lower temperatures.