1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Pre Salting

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by JThompson, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. JThompson

    JThompson Member
    from NYC
    Messages: 71

    As a newbie to snow management maybe you could help me out on the topic of presalting. I understand it makes for a much easier clean up and overall better results. It will also help eliminate mininal snowfalls but how much snow will it melt for each type of product that can be used? And how do you guys sell it? I would think it would be a tough sell. Why would the customer want to pay for something that will make your job easier and then have to pay for salt again after you are done plowing? Do you tell them it will save you time and, as a result, can give them a better price? Is, in fact, your price higher if you do not pre salt? By how much? And isn't it somewhat of a pain- You have to go out just as the storm starts (or before), come back in, then go back out (assuming a storm that can be pushed with one trip here). But then again, if you're making money- that's what it's all about. And finally, how much do you put down to effectively pre salt? Sorry for all rookie questions! Thanks in advance and thanks for the responses on my previous posts!!
     
  2. capital

    capital Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    Pre Salting, or Pre Spraying are two different subjects, we Pre Spray our parking lots, for a variety of reasons, it is one of many things we use to reduce liability and insurance claims, for our clients and ourself. For the Pre Spray we sell it as a cost effective way to reduce compaction of snow in the parking lots , the brine does not allow the snow and ice to adhere to the pavement, their by reducing your cost for plowing, wear and tear, and time, and also will begin melting from below which reduces your cost on Calcium or other products to clean the lot free of ice and snow build up. What ever us do, you sell the entire package, not just the plow or ice melt, you sell your company and your capabilities to the max
     
  3. SkykingHD

    SkykingHD Senior Member
    Messages: 368

    What do you do when you pre salt and the snow doesnt come? how do you explain that to the customer? Here in Akron OHIO they would not pay the bill for a presalt that the snow didnt come.

    As far as accurate forcasts, well dont get me started.

    Dave
     
  4. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Jthompson,I sell the pretreating service and its am ust on commercial accounts,it isnt optional.I wont do the job without it,to much ice to deal with after in high traffic areas. Dave,if all the snow doenst come up in one area,plow it down as best you can,and reapply that area only,come back and scrape it again in an hour,If you are monitoring ground/air temps and have had the account you know how much you need after a few times,there is a small learning curve with a new account,it all depends on temps,traffic,and the relationship to the sun(north side) of building.You want just enough salt to keep the bond from forming between snow/ice and the blacktop.So we go light i nthe outer areas of the lot,and go heavu in the traffic areas,it works for us,you;ll get it down in time.
     
  5. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    John,
    What Dave meant was what if the snow storm doesn't materialize as forecast, not the snow not plowing up after a pretreat.

    I don't pre treat, but I salt with the storm similar to how we all plow with the storm. In other words, when the snow starts to accumulate, we salt to keep that bond from forming to keep conditions safe until plowing triggers are met. Then we would switch over to plowing, and salt the just plowed lots if required. This winter I was able to melt off several 1"-1.5" snowfalls with straight rock salt, without putting it down too much heavier than normal applications. I was surprised that we were able to do that, as temps were only in the low 20's for highs during those events. As far as it being a pain, that's not the case. We are in the snow & ice biz & we are out with the first flakes & get done well after snowfall has stopped. Just part of the biz.
     
  6. JThompson

    JThompson Member
    from NYC
    Messages: 71

    BRL,

    Do you include the salting you do during the storm as a separate line item on the bill or do you build it into the price of the job? Currently, we charge for the snow management services and charge separately for the salting. We find the customers like to see a breakdown. I also believe it is easier for the customer to accept a proposal for two services that add up to $1,000 (plowing - $800, salting- $200 for example) than one job for the same $1,000 (snow management- $1,000). The same result; just a little psychology. They feel like they are getting more for their money. Maybe I'm splitting hairs here.

    As far as going out when the first flakes start to fall, do you do that even if there is only 4" expected? Why not wait until the storm is done and only plow once instead of twice?

    Real rookie questions :eek: - How much salt do you apply per x amount of space? Does this change with the temp or type snow (wet, heavy, light, fluffy)? What about calcium- I've been told 2-4 oz per yard for calcium.

    Thanks to all for the help!
     
  7. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    "As far as going out when the first flakes start to fall, do you do that even if there is only 4" expected? Why not wait until the storm is done and only plow once instead of twice?"

    Generally, we'll salt the beginning of the storm, then if we reach the 2" triggers, we start to plow. The "first flake" is kinda a figure of speech. It's more like first accumulation or first signs that the lots have slippery conditions that need treating, so we can watch the first few flakes fall during many events ;) So with 2" triggers, technically we'd plow the lots twice for that 4" storm you mention. But if its during hours they are closed, we'll let the full 4" come down then push them. It all depends on the timing of the storms.

    Salt applications are billed separate. We received I believe 8" of snow in January, but never dropped the plows once. The little snow falls were treated with salt apps. Also there are times that after plowing the pavement temps are warm enough that the lots become black & wet without a salt application. We generally have many more salt application runs than plow runs during our winters. So I wouldn't ever include salting in a plow price for those reasons. I had never thought of your psychology angle before, but it does sound like it might be true that it's easier for the customers to stomach.

    As far as amounts of salt, you can search here for "application rates" to find a few threads with many posts about that. I think the general consensus was around 300#'s \acre is average. Sometimes you need more, sometimes less will work.
     
  8. JThompson

    JThompson Member
    from NYC
    Messages: 71

    When you say you go out and plow every two inches during business hours, does this apply to residential as well? So far we only have condo developments, no commercial properties.

    How do you know how many plows to send out for a given storm to keep up with the every two inch rule given the wide variety of precipitation rates between storms?
     
  9. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    We will send pretty much all our trucks out to plow with the storm,usually at 3-4" intervals.Anything more and it gets too hard on the trucks,and takes too long.We will always use all the trucks,as you never know what can happen,you may end up getting another 8" of snow and you'll be way behind if you only use half the fleet.

    We apply this to the few residentials as well,as due to the limited room to pile snow,and the backdragging involved,it is much more difficult to plow higher amounts.

    We don't do a lot of pre-treating,as most of our properties are high traffic,which drags in a lot of salt form the roads,and helps prevent hardpack.If it's a late night storm,and the lots are empty, I may dump some salt AFTER the snow starts to accumulate.I have pre-applied a few times before the snow came,and it missed us,and we had bare lots full of just salt.Pretty embarrasing. :eek:
     
  10. SnowGodFather

    SnowGodFather Member
    Messages: 330

    So far you have had over 1 million dollars worth of advice here.

    I will add to it.

    Reasons some things are done the way they are is for;

    1) To generate income.

    2) Make things work in your favor

    3) Control the storm situation

    4) MONEY

    To control the storm and put things in your favor, presalting will do that. What ever you do, do not include a plow/salt all in one price. This will limit you to this combination. Separate price for salt, why, so you can go out and only salt. Some events might be long, you cannot get on the lot to plow it correctly, so you salt when the snow starts to accumulate, then periodically during the storm. Now when you come to clean the lot off, you have a much smaller amount of snow/slush to move.


    Not every storm will produce the same situation. Some will be long, some will be short, so you will have to learn when, how, how much, to apply, etc...

    There is a learning curve to everything, so just kinda roll with it, as your customers learn they way you will do things too.

    Some snows you can plow then salt and that's it, some you will have to salt 3-4 times plow once then salt again.

    Salt is a melting agent. It will melt snow and ice, plus give some traction.
     
  11. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Salt is an easy sell in these 1-800 lawyers times. Everytime you turn on thr TV you see the ads-for the lawyers. Proper oretreating eliminates snow from bonding to blacktop,casuing ice,and dangerous conditions.Comercial lots open for business are the best candidates for pre treating.Ice quickly forms in traffic lanes when no salt is used. The cosr of properly maintaining the lot is nothing in compairson to what it would cost if there were an accident and someone got hurt. On top of that its hard for companys to make $$ when they cant get deliverys out or in.
     
  12. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Great points. I don't do residential (except neighbors not done when I get done), but when I did they were basically on 6" triggers LOL. All the plows go out for each plowing storm, just may start the old beater later in the game ;) (all 2 of them LOL, subs added as needed. I had scaled back drastically this year from years past so I could sled with the kids, still only got to sled once :( ).

    HOA's are a whole different ball game that I can't understand. I don't know if the individual homeowners don't realize their money can be better spent, or if the committees in charge are simply pocketing a lot of the money from the winter budget. (See Chuck Smith's post in the thread with his name for an example) I have subs that are working HOA sites also. I will be out for hours & sometimes a day or more before I see one sub's trucks leave (he is on call at their discretion for salt\sand, and a 2"+ trigger for plowing automatically) We had a string of less than 2" snows in January that created days of very dangerous slippery & icy conditions that we were out treating for days, yet I'd pass his site & the trucks sat. Couldn't believe that the tenants accepted those situations while trying to get to their cars in the AM, or walk or whatever. Another buddy salts, ATV's walks, runs a back hoe, and 2 plows as a sub for a large LCO that does several large condo\ townhouse type sites (thousands of units, miles of walks, miles of lanes, etc.) They don't start any walks til the snow is done, and they only salt when called out by the HOA. Unbelievable way to manage those kinds of sites if you ask me. I'm glad I don't live in any of them. Maybe they got each tenant to sign individual hold harmless agreements, but I can't believe that with thousands of units involved.
     
  13. capital

    capital Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    Noticed that no one has brought up the tax question. Each State is different, so can not comment, but needs to be brought up. In Iowa Snow removal is not a taxable event, but Ice control is, so u have to line item what your billing, IE presalting with brine is taxable while shovel work and snow plows are not. Sand is a taxable item as is calcium or anything else done to control ice. As far as the question of when to switch and start plowing, we do all of our ice control up to 7 days out. Brine once sprayed will sit on the pavement and hold in place until it snows. Have had a learning curve with the clients to explain why we pre spray sometimes 7 days out. Their cost is reduced and they have all noticed that their parking lots are clearer the day after it snows. In small snow events as others have said, either their is no plowing or it is reduced by a large margin. Also your wear and tear on the equipment this year has been a huge savings. We run 5 plows and have not replaced a blade yet this year. Most years we would be on are 2nd set for all trucks already. Now if I can get the employees to not abuse their plows will be in heaven.
     
  14. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    I agree with John D. The main reason I got into pre-salting was due to liability issues. How due you handle a slip and fall case at a high traffic location, that you have not serviced yet due to trigger depths.

    Here in the Chicago Land area we had five to six snowfalls that left about an inch on the ground over an entire afternoon(4 to 5 hours). How else can you keep the lot safe, during business hours, if the lot is not pre-salted!

    Chuck B.
     
  15. SnowGodFather

    SnowGodFather Member
    Messages: 330

    Once you make an attempt, you become liable.

    By pre salting you become liable.

    This is general, state what you need to in your contracts to explain what you have to.
     
  16. JThompson

    JThompson Member
    from NYC
    Messages: 71

    Just to clarify, if you do nothing as your trigger has not yet been met, you are not liable?
     
  17. SnowGodFather

    SnowGodFather Member
    Messages: 330


    You are charging sales tax on materials, but not for labor.
     
  18. SnowGodFather

    SnowGodFather Member
    Messages: 330

    If you pre-salt, did you make an attempt?

    If you did nothing it is an act of god. Still general. Can you be held liable for an act of god?

    What does your contract state? I am not a lawyer (but I play one on TV J/K) you do nothing you should not be held liable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2003
  19. Mick

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

    This past winter, I had a customer who got around the liability real neat. I don't think he intended it that way, but that's the way it worked. I generally use 3" as a trigger. He said fine, but wanted me to use my own judgment as when I should plow and/or sand.

    I plowed or sanded (sometimes both) any accumulation - a couple of times I was plowing an inch from a dirt road. Big money each month and never a word of protest. Told me he expected to have me again next winter. Now I need ten more just like it.
     
  20. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    I guess it comes down to the following questions:

    What would you rather have happen.
    a.) Do to no pre-salting - having slippery conditions that contribute to a slip and fall claim.
    b.) Pre-salt - in which case the slip and fall claim should not occur.

    When it comes down to trigger depths/salting applications, you also have to consider other factors and use your best judgment. I would rather play the game on the safe side.

    Unfortunately, either way you slice it, your most likely going to spend some money fighting a slip and fall claim!

    Chuck B.