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Portable Snow Melters? +,-'s ???

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Oshkosh, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    Anyone else weighing the profitability of owning a portable snow melter and contracting it out to local commercial contractors?
    Around me the following three or four days after a storm most of the commercial is doing snow removal.Trailer dumps,Tri-Axles and Loaders everywhere.Today everyone is working like crazy as there is another couple of inches predicted tonight.
    A little town info, we are a heavy tourist area with many large hotels/motels,Outlet malls and ski areas all within 45 minutes.Our population goes from approx 4,000 year round to 30,000 in the season(s).We have Wal-Mart,Home Depot and Lowes in town to name a few allot going on for a small town.
    In town the town sets up snow dumps along the main routes so getting rid(Trucking) of the snow isn't an issue (Yet).The town considers it good business to supply areas for snow dumps and I have to agree.Keeping everything consumer friendly.....Good for the bottom line.
    The biggest negative I see with the different manufactures of snow melter's numbers is the fuel usage,big dollars $$$ per hour.Initial cost is large but in the long run,not so bad....
    Any one thought about any of this????

    NEUSWEDE Senior Member
    Messages: 949

    I am weighing the options. I have an account for next year that has a lot of snow that has to be removed right away with all snow gone in less than 2 hours after the storm so it would be great to use it for my needs and then contract it to others.

    But I am in the same boat, they take 60+ gallons of Diesel an hour and the high price tag on the machine and if it breaks down kind SOL and have to scramble to find trucking. I have been looking at the Snow Dragon 900 only handles 75 CU yards per hour. Another down side is you have to fill it with water prior to melting which means hooking up to a hydrant and I am sure that is illegal.

    but on the fence.
  3. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    The fuel usage is a big concern...

    The fuel usage is my big concern. Some of the units in that size range use up to 120 gallons per hour.Would need a fuel truck to keep fueled and running.Most only have a couple hour to half a day run time "PITA".
    Thats the equivilent of approx four tri-axles($65ph) rented in fuel useage alone. If the dump sites are close as they are here(within 5-10 minutes) I dont think the melter numbers add up. If you figure 15 yards per truck that would be five truck loads an hour to equal the 75yd melters output.
    I like the Snow Dragon it looks like a nice machine/design.
    Another concern would be if a 75 yd per hour machine would be fast enough to keep contractors interested ?
    Most of the guys here are loading with 4-6yd buckets,I almost think that one loader would get ahead of the melter...And I think a larger melter would be to big to fit into allot of areas here....With a four yard loader that would be one bucket every three minutes to run the melter at capacity.
    The more that I think the more that I am thinking it wouldnt be right in this(my) area,Yet!

    NEUSWEDE Senior Member
    Messages: 949

    My thoughts exactly I think these are better suited for more urban areas where traffic is difficult and snow dumps are far away. I know these are a big item in NYC. I am in Portland and dumps seem to be farest from my site like 20 miles. I think I have tracked down a close place for my needs which would limit the amount of trucks and milage.
  5. Silentroo

    Silentroo Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    I have used on for a number of years. It is a HUGE savings over hauling. Well not huge but it is a savings. I have 2 65 acre accounts that require hauling in outer subards and a couple of hospitals. I have two at this point and rent them out after I am done, or use them on other properties rather than stack or haul. My customers would not change from it, and always laugh at the lowballers who come in talking about doing the lot....

    We have never really had a problem with the loader keeping up or the melter keeping up. We generally stack in the 4 corners and move the machine.

    All my clients say they know the trucks cost money and seeing them sit and wait just STEAMS them. With the melter it looks like you are working hard even if you are sitting.

    In three years I have only had one break down. most fixxes are Easier than what you do to a plow and fedex will have you the part the next day. Yeah I had to go to the manager with my hat in my hand but he was far more cool with it than I would have been.

    Bottom line is we were under contract to have it all out in 7am 24 hours from the end of the storm and we we 3 out of 4 piles done....
  6. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    What models are you...

    Thanks for the input...
    What models do you guys run?
    What have you seen for fuel usage on average+-?
    What are you using for a loader/bucket size?
    Just trying as are others to weigh the pros and cons...
    Thanks again