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Sidewalk Crews

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by bodaggin, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. bodaggin

    bodaggin Banned
    from Canada
    Messages: 29

    I am looking to get some ideas from the guys who use sidewalk crews. I am thinking down the road as I grow in size, how to efficiently service each kind of property, and how I will allocate those crews. Can someone who uses sidewalk crews, please shed some light on how you allocate the crews, and the structure you use that helps increase your efficiency.

    Thanks
     
  2. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    Im new to the business, but i do have a sidewalk crew, mainly because I started with just a blower last year and have now gotten a plow. I just have one guy driving the plow, one guy to shovel that rides with him. Then my sidewalk crew has their own truck with 2 blowers and a walk behind spreader. If we ever get behind I figure I can send them to a driveway to get it done quick, while still doing their route.
     
  3. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 639

    I send a reliable hard working guy out in a van with a single stage blower, spreader and bag salt. If we have a big storm he will pull a trailer with two 2 stage blowers. One for a backup. Usually he can handle all of my accounts. He takes care of about 10 medium size jobs.
     
  4. viper881

    viper881 Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    I do not do very much in the side walk area. But the crew that i do goes in a group of 2 instead of 1 so they get the job done quicker and get more breaks inbetween shoveling places. They salt and shovel...i found that blowers were less reliable then my workers themselves! So no snowblowers just shovels. They use the 38' and 48' inch shovels which are great for 2 inchs and way quicker then single stage blowers and quieter! I found high school students at church, or friends of friends to hire.
     
  5. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Well my first advice is stay away from sidewalks as much as you can! Chances are they will leave you high and dry more time than not and if you have a 4-5 hour sidewalk route like we do your in a real bind many times. We've been through a few guys this year and we've hardly went out. Just be aware, your most likely in for many disappointments. I guess some other advice would be to get enough sidewalk accounts to make it worth they're while, no one wants to go out for an hour or two and hire at least a handful of guys so you have a few to pick from if guy #1 doesn't show up.
     
  6. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    We run 4 sidewalk crews. Each crew usually has between 4-6 people depending on the type of storm. Efficiency is key and we have a set routine and schedule. Each crew has a box truck equipped with 2 stage snowblowers, single stage snowblowers, shovels, ice scrapers and ice melt. As far as ice melt goes, we actually mount two 55 gallon drums inside the truck. We cut a hole in the floor and install a pipe with a spicket on the end. When the crew needs to fill spreaders with ice melt, all they have to do is stick the spreader under the side of the truck and open the spicket. This has proven to be a huge time saver. Two of our crews also have ride on john deere machines with snowblowers. Our accounts are all very close, so we just drive the sidewalk machine site to site. The bigger snowblower opens everything up, and the sidewalk crews follow doing all the clean-up, ice melting and stair shoveling.
     
  7. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Sounds like a nice system Matt. Love to see pics of that set up.
     
  8. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    My 2 man crew has 6 hrs of walks and 15 small tight driveways
    58'' front plow and 48 rear pull plow on ATV Push icemelt spreader 2 shovels
    They drive truck and small tilt trailer

    The Sidewalk crew route is pretty tight when doing walks they only have unload 4 times in the 6 hrs
     
  9. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    Giving them the right tools and setup is important. We run cube vans that are each equipped with an atv, and several single stage snowblowers, shovels and a pallet of ice melt. We also cut plastic 55 gallon drums in half to fill with bulk rock salt. Everything stays nice and dry. Having a few really reliable guys as the leaders and then a call list of "others" seems to work well for us.
     
  10. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 639

    If I didnt do walks I wouldnt get any accounts. Actually sidewalks can be more profitable than plowing.
     
  11. bodaggin

    bodaggin Banned
    from Canada
    Messages: 29

    Brilliant idea for quick salt refilling.

    For the rest of you. So do you put your sidewalk crews on sidewalk only properties? Or send them to properties with sidewalks and driveways and your plow guy just does drives and the sidewalk crew just does sidewalks.
     
  12. Knockah22

    Knockah22 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Please snaps some pics of your box truck setup, sounds awesome!
     
  13. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    We only have a few sidewalks only properties, mainly they are working on properties where plowing is also done, we make it the sidewalk guys responsibility to make sure the walks and bottom side of curbs are cleared so the plower will be able to fully clear the fronts of buildings/ infront of garages at condos.
     
  14. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,044

    I am on my second season, so we are VERY small, since its me running everything and I have 3 friends working for me, 1 has a plow. We do have 3 lots that can take awhile, and a few sidewalk accounts. So if the sidewalk guys get done before my plow, I will send them to a driveway or two, just to help so that the customers are happy. My plow guy gets stuck sometimes at one lot because the people come out and move their cars, but no complaints since it stops us from having to go back haha.
     
  15. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Since I got so many requests, I have taken some pictures of the one of the newer trucks we set up this fall. I hope these help explain how we do it.....

    DSC00047.jpg
     
  16. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Heres a shot of the dispenser. We made this so it kind of works like a knife in case there are chunks in the line. Before we used to use a pvc end with an on/off type switch, but this knife setup works better and doesnt get stuck like pvc did.

    DSC00050.jpg
     
  17. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Shot of the barrels. Under the tarp we have a metal screen so bigger chunks don't end up in the barrels...

    DSC00049.jpg
     
  18. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Shot of the rear. Sometimes we put a full pallet of ice melt in the back.....Heavier snowstorms we also put a quad in here sometimes. The split gate has worked well for us. We have tried full gates before, but this is more versatile for loading.

    DSC00048.jpg
     
  19. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Heres a shot of one of our sidewalk machines. Without these machines and blowers last year, we would've never been able to keep up since we got absolutely slammed last January. These machines are the workhorse of the sidewalk crews. Extremely nimble, yet definatley powerful enough.

    DSC00051.jpg
     
  20. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Last shot.... One of our other box trucks set up....

    bread truck inside.jpg