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Seeking professional guidance - Snow Down South

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by greenguyslc, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. greenguyslc

    greenguyslc Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    As much as you may not associate snow plows with Alabama... we do have an occasional need. Lol. Unfortunately learning curve here is tough as we don't have many opportunities to learn. So...our usual scenario is Company X calls and ask if we can handle an approaching storm, and we agree. This starts our logistical hell...
    1st... To salt or not... Our typical storms come in as rain and change over to sleet, freezing rain, or snow. Sometimes the prediction is for an extensive amount, unless the front shifts in the last hour...so, when do you start salting, or do you? We may not see an accumulation of snow, but may have 1/2in or more of ice.
    2nd...Pre salt, salt after the fact, both, and push slush?

    3rd....FINDING SALTS...

    Basically I am asking what is your standard response to a potential storm of snow, and or Ice. Not seeking cost as much as your procedures. I understand cost, just not sure of the best practice for preventing ice and removing ice. Maybe recommend lbs per 1000 sq ft... we use bagged products, and usually whatever we can find. Safe Step and Lightning melt are two more common, and of course pool salts are also on the table..

    Any help or advice on handling these events would be appreciated. I simply wanna learn how to be more efficient and provide the best services I can for these businesses.
     
  2. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    I probably wouldn't pre-salt. If most the systems start as rain, it will just wash away.
     
  3. greenguyslc

    greenguyslc Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    we wait until it changes over... but then we are battling the weather, and sometimes we still have wet pavement we are dealing with.. but we will not salt in the rain..lol should have been clear
     
  4. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,551

    You mean y'll have shovels and plows?
     
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Duel use,in the summer shovel for cow sh!t and plow for the field.Thumbs Up
     
  6. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,551

    You really won't find a good answer because most if not all have contracts and resources lined up.

    Ur better off going to companies x before the season and try and sell them a retainer. Explain to unnatural may happen and you need them to pay some up front in case of it happens.

    Its kind of us preparing for a hurricane to hit in the Midwest, it happens but rarely.
     
  7. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,997

    Sounds like something to avoid,unless you can stockpile salt somewhere just to be ready.Tough to plan for an event that rarely happens.Is there enough money to be made if you get called,like 1000$ an hour? Reminds me how every tropical storm,hurricane,or Noreaster we get I wish I had a chipper! Still haven't done it ,thankfully
     
  8. jerpa

    jerpa Member
    Messages: 92

    As far as salting in an ice storm good luck. When conditions allow 1/2" of ice to accumulate you won't be able to spread enough salt to deal with that much moisture. If it is light sleet then it changes to snow then presalting will allow you to scrape the lots clean and probably deal with additional minor accumulations with more salt, especially if the ground is warmer.

    For salt supplies try to find someone that sells supplies for water softeners. Solar salt crystals will work just as well as ice melters if your ground temps aren't too cold and it is significantly cheaper. Around here its cheaper than 50lb bags of rock salt. It flows great through tailgate spreaders as well.
     
  9. greenguyslc

    greenguyslc Junior Member
    Messages: 10


    Thank you for the one real serious response. Retainers would never fly here because it is a rare event, yes.. we have real snow shovels. We have tailgate spreaders and we run a professional service to our clients as they need.

    You answered a real good question i had.. 1/2 inch of ice is really more common than 10 inches of snow, but we have seen both in the last 3 years... several times.

    I always carry about 3000 lbs of calcium chloride in the shop, but that gets me through one event. When we see some accumulation the problem is it seems to come in threes, and after the first... it is hard to find seconds. So presalting ... ahead of an ice event, is this going to help me clear the lots quicker on the tail end, or should I be saving the salts for after? and we spread about 15 to 20k lbs per 1000 sq... does that sound high, low, ??
     
  10. cwby_ram

    cwby_ram Senior Member
    Messages: 907

    For what it's worth, we presalt when the forecast is freezing rain. Takes less salt to keep it from freezing than to unfreeze it. Also give you a cleaner scrape if you can keep the ice from bonding to the surface. Up here we usually get enough action that we can get a bit of a brine leftover on the lot (to keep the next one from bonding too much). Obviously doesn't really work with rain turning to freezing rain. Makes judgment calls a bit tricky sometimes.
    15 to 20k lbs per 1000 seems astronomically high. Gotta be a typo? I've always heard somewhere between 750-1000/acre. If my quick rough math is right, I'm usually about 12#/1000 ft sq.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  11. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,919

    15-20,000 pounds per 1,000?

    I think you mixed something up.
     
  12. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,997

    We're talking "bama", those boys don't mess around!
     
  13. greenguyslc

    greenguyslc Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    lol...not suppose to have the k there... yes..15-20 LBS...lol Go Big or Go home... right?

    Thank You All.. your info is helping. Seems we are on the right track... Ice is just hard to really fight. Doesnt help much that every storm here is always so iffy until it happens. We had a complete turnaround in 12 hrs last week. Went from a 36 degree day and sun in forecast to 3/4 inch of ice... and that same week we had another event of ice that we went from 71 degrees at noon to 30 degrees at 4pm... and was 20 and sleeting at 3am next morning. Bama Weather... gotta love it
     
  14. cwby_ram

    cwby_ram Senior Member
    Messages: 907

    Ice sucks. Hate dealing with it. Sounds to me like you got it, though. I'd go a bit higher in ice, too, so 15-20# seems pretty reasonable to me.
     
  15. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 536

    Me thinks you need to talk to some good suppliers down there. Someone who knows about southern living. They can work up a few scenarios for you to apply. You have the advantage in that you are working with warm ground versus the perma frost of ND or Canada. Having a recipe or sop for upper MI won't do you much good down there. My gut reaction is for you to buy a couple truckloads of bag salt and sit on it till you need it, 10 pallets of CaCl, and 10 pallets of urea or 46-0-0. If customers are calling you like you say, then tell them to do it yourself, we will deliver the materials. If space is a concern, then get a poly tank and Mag cloride and make your own brine. I would think finding people who like to ice skate with a bag of salt would be harder to find for a one nite stand every three years
     
  16. jerpa

    jerpa Member
    Messages: 92

    Personally I wouldn't waste calcium chloride on lots during freezing rain. It's great for eating through ice once it's accumulated to help break the bond with pavement but it gets washed away almost instantly when it's still precipitating.

    And ice does suck all the way around.
     
  17. greenguyslc

    greenguyslc Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    We maintain a large number of restaurants and retail stores. They like to open asap. So JERPA you would think the pool salts of rock salt will be better on the front end? As opposed to calcium?

    As far as finding people to skate...lol well my crews are slow in winter so to them this is just a late shift... yeah we all think it sucks... but it pays in the end. Its a service my businesses really appreciate.
     
  18. jerpa

    jerpa Member
    Messages: 92

    IMO there is nothing better than plain old rock salt for freezing rain and solar salt is just washed rock salt.
     
  19. fordtruck661

    fordtruck661 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 404

    Why not not just keep 3 or more pallets of rock salt on hand and as you use one just order another one. If you are running low I would save what ever you need for the end of the storm. No sense in pre salting if it just refreezes and not having any salt once its over.
     
  20. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,997

    Heres another thought.I find that when fighting ice while its still raining bulk has the advantage of large size granulars,it doesn't wash away as fast as fine bagged,sort of a time release deal.Also offers some aid to traction.But the key is to spread it at silly high amounts.Ice / rain are the bane of winter property management, the most challenging scenario.:mad: