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Plowing efficiency

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by PLOW PLOW PLOW, Dec 13, 2011.


    PLOW PLOW PLOW Junior Member
    from MIDWEST
    Messages: 7

    Has anyone ever done a time study on how much faster you could plow a half inch of snow vs. 2" of snow? Just curious if anyone knows how fast you can plow an acre with a half inch of snow on the lot?
  2. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,027

    Around here, a half inch is not something you plow. I'm sure some do but I don't.
    That's just a salting. 2" is usually the trigger for plowing. So if you were to say 2" vs 4", it wouldn't be much time difference.
    But 2" vs like 8" then ya you may have some difference. But you shouldn't wait Until the last minute to plow.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    It's not how much snow is on the ground,it's the guy running the plow will determine how long it will take.
  4. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I agree with Grandview. Keep in mind that faster isn't always better. Obviously the faster you go, the faster you get done, BUT, you also wear out your gear quicker in some cases. If you have 3" of snow on the ground, it will be easier to push, so in theory, you could go faster. If you try and haul a$$ while pushing 12" of snow, it may be possible, but you will pay for it by the added stresses you put on truck and plow.

    In my limited experience plowing commercially (I have been running loaders and plows for years privately), it would seem a little dumb to me if you were to try and go like a wild man on a commercial lot? There are so many dangers present that even going slowly and methodically, you may end up hitting something or someone?

    I always go at the same speed when plowing, so whether I had 4" or 10" it took the same amount of time. Once you get past 11" or so, it would take longer, as I had more spill over rolling past the bucket and I would have to make more passes. It gets even worse with a straight blade plow, as the deeper the snow, the more spill over I would get. If I added wings to the side, it would take me less time.

    It is really going to depend on quite a few factors? The plow size, operator experience, snow depth, layout of the lot etc. I am not sure that anyone can really give you an exact answer other than yourself. Hopefully you have experience running your rig in different scenarios and know before you bid on a property how long each one will take?
  5. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    This is the most accurate sound answer you will get on this topic Grandview hit this one out of the ball park.

    It depends on you, how fast you want to run, your type of blade or equipment being used, easy of plowing this one acre. Is there Islands, light poles, island sdwks, Parking signs stuff like that And the most important thing is how you want that property to look when your through. ( I.E trail offs, crumbs,) are piles pushed back far enough to allow for another push or two to be placed there without wasting clients money having to needlessly move piles that do not need to be moved! You will get some to comment on this post that they can do a acre with 1” of snow in 15 minutes. Again this goes back to Grandview’s point and my thoughts, it depends on the person and the equipment they are using on that said property, how much snow is on the ground and how hard you want to push your equipment. We here do not beat the crap out of ours . I have watched guys racing up and down lots without ever stopping and I mean stopping at all!! No hesitation between the forwards movement to directly in to the backwards movement
  6. BruceK

    BruceK Senior Member
    Messages: 432

    I have noticed an inch does make a difference. I have also noticed the wetness of the snow can make a difference too. A 20-1 snow raito plows much differently than a 12-1 ratio. All my lots take over an hour. I bill by the minute. I've never had a customer question why one 4" snowfall takes 65 minutes and the next 4" fall takes 92 minutes. This has really happpened. I don't beleive depth is always the best comparison.
  7. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

  8. TPC Services

    TPC Services Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    WOW I m.:dizzy:
  9. BruceK

    BruceK Senior Member
    Messages: 432

  10. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Hmm, never heard of by the minute before and now have heard of it twice in 2 days. From a customer and a provider.

    Sorry to Hijack.

    PLOW PLOW PLOW Junior Member
    from MIDWEST
    Messages: 7

    I appreciate the responses and understand fully that there are variables. Since my original question was vague in nature, I will ask it this way.

    If all other factors are equal such as the type of snow being the same each time, the same average joe driving, and cart corrals, light poles, landscape islands, etc. are the same each time, in general terms or averages, how long would it take to plow an acre at a shopping center with a 2"-3" accumulation? If someone were to plow at 1/2 an inch, how much faster could you plow that half inch than the 2"-3"? If anyone wants to guess, I will be happy to hear their guesses, I really want to know if anyone has any real data?

    Again, there are variables, but in general, is it possible that by plowing off a half inch of snow, you would use less salt? Or, to ask a different question, how much more salt would you use per acre to melt off 1.5 inches vs. a dusting or after you have plowed?
  12. NickT

    NickT Senior Member
    Messages: 707

  13. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You keep plowing 1/2 snows your going to spend more money on cutting edges then salt.If you can get a full blade of snow,it won't take any longer.

    I think I might have to start charging for advice!payup
  14. Mass-hole

    Mass-hole Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 35

    I think you will find most everyone has or should have tracked this sort of data. I use GPS devices on my trucks and equipment to record performance during each event, and other data. This helps us price jobs more accurately, and determine employee productivity. Even if you don't have GPS units, you can get permission from employees to track them via their cell phones, or just compare your labor costs on smaller events with labor costs on bigger events. Personally, I don't find the difference between a half inch and one inch to be very meaningful. I'd compare 0-3 with 3-6 where you are looking at one push vs two.

    Regarding your comment about the amount of salt necessary to clear a lot with 1/2 inch of snow vs a dusting, the labor savings from not plowing outweigh the added salt costs.
  15. Indy

    Indy Senior Member
    Messages: 704

    + - $ 1.67 a min is $100. and hour, that's the only way I work, the best choice would be a yearly contract like GV's, but I am not there with my customers so this is how I plow.

    I have seen guys that get paid by the job do job literally twice as fast as a guy that plows by the hour. As for me and the guy I work with, we know if we milk the clock and over bill there is likely a dozen guy waiting to have the work, so, we JUST DO A GREAT JOB everytime, no excuses.
  16. Fourbycb

    Fourbycb Senior Member
    Messages: 574


    PLOW PLOW PLOW Junior Member
    from MIDWEST
    Messages: 7

    Plowing vs. Salting

    SCENARIO: Take a 6 acre lot. On average it takes 6 hours to plow this lot, an acre per hour with 2 inches on the ground. 95% of the time, you will salt after you plow. As a general rule, anything less than 2 inches, you just salt. For the sake of this scenario, we will use 1,000 pounds per acre as a base or starting point for average conditions. Is that fair?

    QUESTION 1. On those occasions when you plow, do you use less salt than on a day when you salt away an inch or so? If so, how much less? Would you use less salt on a half inch than you would on an inch? If so, how much?

    QUESTION 2. If you plowed less than 2 inches, how much faster could you plow an inch vs. 2 inches? Could you plow half an inch faster than 1 inch? If so, how much faster?

    QUESTION 3. Does anyone think there is any financial benefit to plowing smaller accumulations and putting down less salt rather than just salting?

    QUESTION 4. Who uses a route system for their salt trucks and how long do you schedule your salting runs for per truck?

    QUESTION 5. At what depth, given similar water content and temperatures, would you consider plowing where the concept of using less salt might be financially beneficial?
  18. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Your coming down to safety now.1/2 ,2 inch you can only plow so fast. Salt depends on temp to ,just not how much snow is on the ground. Plus are you putting it down at night or in the morning when they are just opening up?Is it going to be sunny out there are a lot of things to consider on this.
  19. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    Experience tells you what to do, asked and answered above.
  20. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    A lot of these questions can't be answered. I have a few lots that I do the same thing in front of the building as I do in the back of the building and the results are different. When it comes to salting, just a simple sun vs. shade will affect your lot. I have one lot that sits on the other side of a dike levey and never seems to need salt, unless we get an ice storm. The only thing we can contribute is the water content underground giving warmer temperatures. Their are so many variables.