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Sidewalk Production ?s, ATV/Blower/Shovel

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by forestfireguy, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    OK, here's the deal, we're a good sized snow contractor at least by local standards, we typically run 6 sidewalk crews each storm and for the most part have done sidewalks hourly, as we all know more and more bids are going to fixed prices for sidewalk service, same as plowing 0-3.9,4-7.9 etc. When doing this work hourly, it is what it is and our rate is profitable for us. Problem is the fixed prices, especially on larger jobs, obivously the fixed price makes it to our advantage to be done faster, we have a several single stage blowers and several 2 stage monsters as well. I've seen what a quad with a plow can do and I just know it's the way to go to reduce costs and insure profit on the fixed price jobs. My boss, despite much debate is of the mind that a quad is a toy, not a tool. My argument is that it can be both, I've seen a quad perform work that I estimate would be about 5 man hours of labor in 1. Then you hang a little spreader on it and you gain on calcium as well. Is my estimate reasonable for production or am I out of my tree?
  2. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Im not sure it is a 5 to 1 ratio, but there is a time savings in running a quad to move snow as long as you dont let it pile up too deep.
  3. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 535

    well it depends on what kind of tree you are in. Keith Richards fell out of a coconut tree but he was never in the snow removal business.

    Two disadvantages to consider in your planning. What do you do with the quad for the other 8 months? and because of the low ground pressure of the ATV what would happen in a heavy wet snowstorm?

    Consider a toro dingo. You can take a broom, a blower, and a plow with you and have all your options covered. Additional attachments might allow you to work year round. And you can work some mighty tough small areas.

    DGODGR Senior Member
    from s/w co
    Messages: 639

    The ATV will out perform the blower at least 5 to 1....in the right situation. Wet, heavy snows can be a problem, for the ATV, if you let it pile up. Wet, heavy snows will be a problem for a blower (at least a 2 stage blower) too. The ATV needs to have room to windrow the snow to the side. The blower needs to have somewhere to throw the snow. The ATV can plow at about 7 MPH, and can usually cover our (48") sidewalks in one pass. Our blower usually operates just below walking speed (1-2 MPH?) but also has to make two passes to cover the entire width of the sidewalk.
  5. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    The blower needs to have somewhere to throw the snow. The ATV can plow at about 7 MPH, and can usually cover our (48") sidewalks in one pass.

    This is along the lines of what I'm thinking, though I was thinking more like 5 MPH to be conservative, also the times savings spreading calcium are potentially huge. I am really not too concerned with the other 8 months as we own a quad that spends the summer at the bosses lake house and we'd likely grab a sub with a quad and 4x4 pickup that can move the quad site to site. I am talking about big sites, 8-10 MH shovel places. Sidewalks are our biggest challenge, We route our plowing to run about 6 hrs per truck on a 0-4" storm, the same storm can very easily result in 18-20 MH of shoveling per crew(generally 2 men) We tried more guys, didn't work out well. As stated we have the blowers, large and small and the big ones really only work out in the big storms, as the wet ones make the blowers even slower. The loading and unloading a big blower is tough in wet, slippery conditions. We do not run trailers when the roads are snow covered.
  6. goatboy1

    goatboy1 Member
    Messages: 47

    didn't know you have a blower for your dingo....but you'll still freeze your a.. off at night.
  7. JohnRoscoe

    JohnRoscoe Senior Member
    Messages: 209

    I kind of agree with your boss, BUT, I'm seriously investigating a small tractor-mounted blower on a lawn tractor for our sidewalk guys,

    IMO, ATVs have three huge drawbacks:
    1. Too easy to cause damage through either cowboying, running in too high of a gear, or just lack of control
    2. no good plow options available, so it beats you and whatever surface you're plowing up, especially control joints on a sidewalk,
    3. not very maneuverable in a closed-in sidewalk setting.
  8. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Also, not sure if price is an issue for you.. a shovel is $10, a blower is $1000 and a quad with plow is probably $6K.

    I don't have a quad but my neighbor does. He flies down the sidewalk in prettty decent sized storms. But, there's plenty of room to push it too.

    My feeling is that they all have their limits. I think no matter what, the shovel is the least desirable if you have money to get a machine. Saving time is great, but whats the payback on that time for you? You have to do a lot of walks to pay off the ATV.

    From the responses here it seems like the ATV needs a backup anyway...shovel, blower or whatever. If you get a lot of light storms in your area it seems like a good investment. I'd stick with a wider blower if you get heavy stuff a lot.
    If it were me and I could find a way to leave it on site then Id get the quad. As long as you can plow with the storm I dont see an issue and frankly, if you had it there, it might become handy for other areas besides the walks. But, get a nice heavy coat whatever you decide.

    I hate the idea of shovelers, man hrs, and the associated problems with them. Equip breaks down but seems more reliable than the sidewalk crew who don't show up or peeter out with abad back. I take the equip every time over labor.