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Trying to find out information about trends in snow removal industry

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by snowchicago, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. snowchicago

    snowchicago Junior Member
    from 60611
    Messages: 5


    I'm hoping readers/posters of this forum can help to educate me about some of the major trends in the snow removal industry for research I am currently doing.

    Snowblower usage is of particular interest to me as there are several manufacturers of snowblowers in Quebec. In the research I've done so far, I haven't found very much information with regards to snowblower use and application in the U.S. among private contractors.

    This is where you as end users (commercial/private snow removal contractors) can help me. Are you seeing more use of skid steers with mounted snow blowers than tractors with mounted snow blowers? I know the difference largely depends on the size of the snow removal job, but it seems to me that skid steers are getting more and more popular due to their maneuverability.

    What are popular size snowblower attachments based on hp requirements?

    The other thing I'm curious about is if there has been an increase in the amount outsourcing from government of snow removal jobs. For example, I know the City of Chicago is currently in the process of looking to outsource a portion of its snow removal for this winter. I've also heard of some smaller airports outsourcing snow removal as well.


    If there has been more outsourcing, are private contractors for snow removal purchasing some of the larger trucks/tractors with high-powered snow blowers (able to move between 1500 and 3000 tons of snow an hour) more often? What percentage of private contractors use large snow blowers for snow removal (think the large units requiring 200 hp carriers and more, or ones that are self-propelled and on mack/oshkosh type trucks)?

    Finally, the last thing I'd like to know is if small vehicles with plows attachments or blowers are being used for city sidewalks in the U.S? In Canada, many municipalities use skid-steer or small tractor (trackless) vehicles with an enclosed cab for clearing snow from city sidewalks.

    Early this year, a municipal worker from a city in Ontario posted a picture of a sidewalk unit that is used in his city:


    Are vehicles like this being widely used in the U.S for sidewalk clearing ? I know some cites in Alaska and Illinois have used them, but I'm not sure if these narrow tractors are the norm like they are in Canada.

    I'm very new to the snow industry, so any information you could share with me about trends in snow removal would be of great help.

    Thanks for reading,

    Maureen Moloney
    Quebec Government Office-Chicagoussmileyflagtymusic
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  2. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I live in rural midcoast Maine. I have only seen one skid mounted blower. A local Agway uses it to clear deep snow from their lot. Tbe nearest "city" (8K people) has used a self powered loader mounted blower for post storm cleanup to clear downtown streets directly into dump trucks. It's at least 72 inches wide, I believe its in excess of 100 hp. They use a JD 644 size machine to carry it Privatizing of snow removal has been used by the smaller rural towns basically forever It's much cheaper for the towns. The state has done some subbing out of major roadways over the past few years. The contractors to a better job, for less money. I suspect, and hope, that contractor use will continue.

    Please give as an idea what you ultimately hope to do with this info.
  4. snowchicago

    snowchicago Junior Member
    from 60611
    Messages: 5


    Thanks for your responses. I'm basically doing research on the snow removal industry to have a better idea of what's popular in the U.S versus Canada to help snow removal manufactures. Magazines like Snow Business and Snow and Ice have articles about ways to improve a contractor's business, but very little on equipment trends.

    Sidewalk compact tractors (trackless) aren't that cheap, so I wasn't sure if they were widely used in the U.S. or not. A Canadian manufacturer asked me recently about their use in the US market, and I wasn't able to find much information besides a few old bid notices from some city government sites. In Chicago, were I'm based, I haven't seen many sidewalk snow removal vehicles. But then again, we also don't get the same amount of snow as Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Minnesota, parts of Michigan and the Northeast.

    If there are other contractors, government streets/san workers, or snow removal experts who would like to talk about your area's usage of sidewalk tractors, snowblowers or outsourcing trends, I'd welcome the feedback.

  5. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    The options for sidewalks around here are one of the following;

    Skid steer with plow or v plow or snowblower, and drop salter,

    "Trackless" or "Holder" type machine with same setup,

    35-40 HP tractor with same setup.

    Municipalities do alot of outsourcing here (Greater Toronto Area), and rarely does this type of work in house with their own employees. They simply put it up for bids, and monitor with their own forces. They typically pay a stand by rate for the winter and an hourly operating rate-usually multi year deals. I know a few contractors who have as little as 25 units, and some with as many as 150 units dedicated to this type of work.
  6. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Maureen, here in Rochester NY, blowers are rare. The city uses a fleet of old 2wh drive sidewalk tractors with deep v-blades for most of the sidewalks. granted you will see the occasional 4x4 or bobcat toolcat but that is not the norm. In the town of Greece the sidewalks are cleared with a dedicated tracked sidewalk unit with v blade. Skid steers with blowers or loaders with blowers (for the roads) are only used when benching will no longer provide enough space. In Watertown NY they do have a fleet of the dedicated blower trucks to clear the roads since they get significant lake effect snow.
    I didn't even realize you could use a tractor with blower to do driveways until I saw fellow plowsite members from upnorth posting thats all they do.