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Measuring snow

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by lumps, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. lumps

    lumps Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    So everyone has their pricing for various snow depths. My question is how everyone measures it. Do you measure it at the lot (which can vary by several inches from one end to the other), or do you go by a local weather source, or what?
  2. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,252

    ON site measurements, being as fair as possible.
  3. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    When I quote customers I make it clear that its measured at my house and that I will not drive around town trying to determine if they have 2" or 2 1/2". I tell them that it evens out over the winter and that I won't plow any other way. I haven't had any trouble yet.

    You can't spend your time and not get paid...... if its obvious they only have a dusting then maybe skip it, but why drive several miles to just turn around and go home?

    When its a larger storm and you gotta question if its 6 or 6 1/2" then I usually give the benefit of the doubt. I'm not out to scam anyone.
  4. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    i think you need to use the weather service or a local tv station
  5. Mick

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

    All my accounts have always been within a five mile radius - I've worked that down to a two mile radius the last couple years. I make it clear that snow depth is measured at my house and that's what I go by. When I start plowing, I plow all accounts in order (except the very last two which have a higher trigger than the others). If someone wants me to plow and it's clear I'm not going out, they can call and I'll be glad to come plow them. I carry a cell phone, so they can call and check if I'm plowing. I don't mind someone calling and find out I'm on the way - I can usually tell them I'll be there in so many minutes, hours etc.

    If you start measuring every lot, it's only going to lead to problems. Group your accounts by trigger depth, measure once and plow all with corresponding triggers. Avoid skipping around. Not only will you waste fuel and time, but get billing screwups.
  6. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Great advice Mick.
  7. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,513

    I have a yard stick I lean out the door (open it first) and stick it in the snow (the yard stick) in 3 or 4 places around my rout. takes about 15 seconds including writing it down.
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If I can't see the marker lights on my truck roof then I go out to plow.
  9. tls22

    tls22 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,263

    I would go off the NWS numbers, they are very easy to get. I went to class which was taught by chris james he said u can measure at the lot 6, then the owner could call saying well i live 15 min from lot and had 4 in my driveway!
  10. Mick

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

    If I can't see the marker lights on my truck roof then I DON'T go out to plow. Pull the covers over my head and don't answer the plone.:sleeping:
  11. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

  12. Makndust

    Makndust Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    All my accounts are within about 1 mile of my house. I do go out and check most lots. I know which ones drift and which ones blow clean or pile up. I usually use a ruler and check. 90% of mine are 1" accounts so if it is 3/4" and still snowing we go.
  13. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    same here..... check all the lots, but im pretty close , farthest one is 15 mins away
  14. ServiceOnSite

    ServiceOnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 928

    you have accounts that are 1'' of snow???/ im guessing retail commericial???
  15. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    i have accounts that see 1 flake, and i have to salt

    most commercial are zero tollerance,

    retail = zero t

    restrants , depeding might be 1 inch , might be ZT

    industrial is generally 2
  16. ServiceOnSite

    ServiceOnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 928

    i have retail that has to see one inch until salt then 2'' calls for plow and salt .
  17. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    i dont let the customer decide what they want done. once they meet the min depth , (what ever it is) then we plow /salt or both , based on what we think will be the most economical means. With the price of salt this year, i think we will be plowing the lots at 1 inch just to cut back on salt useage . Thats on lots that have trigger depths, we do alot of ZT so we treat as nessesary to maintane a clean and safe surface at all times
  18. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,195

    Thats what makes a seasonal price great. You agree on the trigger, usually 1 inch and plow accordingly. As for salting I prefer to let the client decide, removes all liability from me. Most of my large accounts its included. Smaller ones like banks, daycares, car dealers, its on call. If I happen to be out salting during business hours, and feel it would be necessary. I will call and ask them if they would like it done. They usually say yes, and appreciate the personal contact.
  19. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,885

    I started last year making a PDF copy on the computer of the storm data. You can do something similar, or just make printouts of the zip codes you handle around town, before/during or after a storm, print out the weather or the forcasted weather.

    At least so that companies cant later in the month dispute that we needed or didn't need to salt. We have the data showing it was below freezing etc.

    We either use one of two methods, whatever i feel is closer. If weather.com says that zip code got 12" and theres only 8" on the whole prop, ill charge the 8" rate. If i get there and theres 18", theyre getting charged 18, and i dont care what the weather channel says.

    Some of our places can get major drifts, not in the last two years but 05 i think was like that. Weather data said 19", i get over to my pops place when done, his roads still arnt plowed and you cant find a spot thats under 26" anywhere within a 500ft radius.

    If there is any drifting or uneveness, for half the property is 20" and half 10" , we take 3 quick measurements or estimates and round it off.

    lots of small drifts at 20" and the rest of the lot at 12" ill figure 14-15" .

    I generally wont ever estimate an inch or two high just to bump them into the next price bracket unless i honestly think theres that much more snow.

    We also try to not give out pricing some places do require like less than 3", 4-5", 6-8", 9-11", 12-15" , i mean seriously, youd have 10 prices and always be in the position to charge more or less within only an inch difference.

    If it snows 4" and most of the lot has 5"+, theyre in the 5-10" range.
  20. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,885

    yeah. good idea. We account for time in/out, onsite temp, general condition memo, inch height if its snowing hard or different than the last plowed site. When i handle the billing i check their rates against what we plowed onsite and thats that, seems easy for us at least.