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What to buy

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by gsphunter, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. gsphunter

    gsphunter Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Hey guys looking for opinions from people who run dedicated sidewalk crews. I currently have one sidewalk crew down from two last year. My sidewalk guys really only have two small and one mid sized apartment complexes to take care of as the snow is falling. They can wrap all three of those up as the snow tapers off, but their next account is where we are in dire need of ideas.

    I picked up 86 residential homes last year, all of which are in two separate clusters. One section has 37 homes and the other has 49 homes. My shovel crew has three of my full time guys on it and we bring in subs/temps to fill out the rest of the labor requirements. We are currently running 4 snowblowers in there and the rest shovels. Our ideal number of guys is between 10 and 15 depending on the snow fall.

    My goal is to cut the number of laborers as much as possible. Bringing in temps for a job like this is tough because half of them end up leaving before all the driveways are finished leaving my full time guys demoralized and flat beat.

    Guys that run a lot of sidewalk/driveway work, what is the single best piece of equipment you think you have for clearing a large number of driveways.

    I've been looking at UTV's, skidloaders, more and bigger snowblowers, etc..., but my main goal is to reduce the number of people needed.
  2. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Skidsteer I think is the fastest I ran a sidewalk crew up to this year. Changed it To where each rig took care there own walks with 418 blowers / shovel My ATV is stored at my one of my complex to big for the little blowers
    I added a Skid this year it does the drives and small lots.
    I use have a guy doing walks for me was good but ended up finding very well paid job So last I hired another guy and damn he was so hard on my stuff. So this year I drop a lot of the big walk jobs Less Stress on me now
  3. gsphunter

    gsphunter Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I hear you on the stress. Those driveways are definitely my biggest stress generator in a storm, but the money is good enough to make me want to hold onto them. Everything is billed hourly, so at least I don't have to sweat whether or not we are going to come out ahead on the deal. The other plus is that the checks are always there about a week after invoices go out.

    I'm leaning towards a skid loader with a poly edged plow, because we could use the skid loader in our landscape business as well. I would prefer having tracks for our landscape side of the business, but I hear that tire machines are way better in the snow, although I do know guys that run rubber tracked machines for snow that say they do fine. Any input on that?
  4. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,401

    We have both a CTL and mtl. Personally I just deal with if you don't get a ton of snow. The ctl does fine unless there's a ton of ice, then it'll skate sometimes. Haven't seen the mtl have any problems.

    Ctls are invaluable to landscaping
  5. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    not sure it helps but since you said sidewalks/driveways that includes me since that's ALL I do.

    I'm using a half ton with a boss v blade for the driveways. a few min each driveway and then snow blow the sidewalks and shovel the steps.

    if I were in your situation where I'm doing that many homes right next to each other I'd be getting a skid steer and do the driveways all that way. snow blow the sidewalks and shovel the steps.
  6. JohnDeere2320

    JohnDeere2320 Member
    Messages: 51

    I use a John Deere 2320 with a 54" front mount blower on all my residential accounts. It is much faster than any type of plow because you don't have to handle the snow twice. Also, all of the residentials in my area have 5 foot wide sidewalks so the 54" is about the perfect width.
  7. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    I have lots of walk crews.. Use lots of guys from C list every storm...
    They all quit and leave us screwed..
    So new rule has been workin great.. If you quit before the job is done then there is no pay... It has worked great.. Tell them they get paid cash when job is completed.. People call like crazy.. Sure some still quit and cry about being paid.. I tell them ur a grown man and made a deal.. Half of them are dope feens.. Few have been great and show every time.
    I would use a UTV, having the bed for tools and bags is great.. If you could swing a V plow on it would be tits. Go all out and have it heated..
  8. gsphunter

    gsphunter Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I was thinking about doing that exact thing. I pull my temps off of craigslist too and thought about doing exactly what you said. No pay for quitting early. Minimum $100 for showing up if we send you home before you would make $100 and paying immediately at the end of the job.

    I've also looked at the big blowers but on an average year, we don't get that much snow, so outside of our truck plows and salt spreaders, I really don't like tying up a bunch of capital in equipment that is solely used for snow. The skid loader has obvious benefits to my landscape business.
  9. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    curious how do you handle the snow TWICE with a plow???
  10. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,794

    Backdrag it out, once, then push it up on the ends of the driveway, twice
  11. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    It Works..

    Skid loaders are a must.. I just bought my 2nd mainly to back up my first which is down again. Also mini skid steer are a must have.. I don't think i could landscape with out one.. LOL.

    We use the UTV for lots of mulch jobs, lots of commercial props, and huge homes with hills and large back yards.. Beats the hell out of the wheel barrel
  12. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I just back up into the driveway and push it out and across the street, once.
  13. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    We also run a small John Deere, a 2305. We also have a blower but due to the light snow we get out west we use a front blade most days.
    Works well for us, we only have the one side walk crew and they plow all the side walks at our commercial properties and about 45 houses. They could do more if ever thing was bunched close together. Also this crew only has two guys on it.
    We went with the tractor because its versatility, it was also about half the price of a skid steer.
  14. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,401

    That is illegal in most places.

    Plus the spill over is dangerous
  15. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    not in my neck of the woods. plus the pile is pushed back far enough there is no spill over.

    most neighborhoods have a grass strip or median to dump the snow. very few people pile it at the end of there drive.

    heck most home owners shoot all there snow directly into the street when doing it themselves.
  16. jvm81

    jvm81 Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 381

    We use nh tractors with front mount snowblowera. Works great
  17. rcn971

    rcn971 Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    You better hope one of those "dope fiends" doesn't read this and have instant collaboration of their story when they go to the labor board.....cause you will be the only one crying then. Why would you even post this? They deserve to be paid for their time regardless of whether or not they quit mid way. You know what you are bringing on when you place that ad.

    Not trying to cause an argument over this, but this type of business practice is what gives contractors a bad name.
  18. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    if it's agreed upon ahead of time it's legal AND binding.

    meaning if someone hires on with the agreement you have to complete the job before getting paid there isn't anything that can be done if they quit early and don't get paid.
  19. rcn971

    rcn971 Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    You cannot hire an hourly wage employee and tell them if they don't finish the job they don't get paid for the hours they worked, legally, whether they agreed to it or not.
    A Few Federal Workplace Rights published by US News

    1. Your employer can't withhold your paycheck for poor performance. No matter how poorly you perform, your employer can't dock your salary. Make an error that costs the business thousands of dollars? Break an important piece of equipment? These are costs of doing business for your employer, and it can't come out of your paycheck. Of course, if you really mess up, you might get fired, but you still must be paid for all the hours you worked.

    2. You must receive your paycheck promptly. Most state laws dictate how soon you must receive your paycheck after a pay period ends. In some states, your employer may even be required to pay you additional money on top of your wages as a penalty if your paycheck is late.

    3. Whether you're eligible for overtime pay isn't up to your employer; the government decides. The federal government divides all types of jobs into one of two categories: exempt and non-exempt. If your job is categorized as non-exempt, your employer must pay you overtime (time and a half) for all hours you work above 40 in any given week. Your categorization is not up to your employer; it's determined by government guidelines.

    4. Your employer cannot ask, require, or even allow you to work off the clock. If you're a non-exempt employee, you must be paid for all time worked. You can't waive this right. Moreover, your employer cannot give you comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

    5. Your employer can't stop you from discussing your salary with your co-workers. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) says that employers can't prevent employees from discussing wages among themselves. Many employers have policies against this anyway, but these policies violate the law.

    6. Similarly, your employer can't stop you from discussing your working conditions with your co-workers. Here again, NLRA protects you. The reason for the law is that employees wouldn't be able to organize if they were forbidden from talking with each other about such important issues.

    7. Promises made in your employee handbook are often binding. Circumstances vary, but in many cases, courts have ruled that promises made in employee handbooks are legally binding. In particular, pay attention to whether your company writes that it "will" or "shall" take particular actions; those statements are more likely to be binding than statements that your employer "may" or "can" do something.

    8. Your employer can't pay you as a contractor while treating you like an employee. If your employer controls when, where, and how you work, the government says you're an employee—and your company needs to pay your payroll taxes and offer you the same benefits it offers to regular employees.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  20. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    who said anything about hiring an HOURLY WAGE employee? I'd come up with a fixed number and tell them ahead of time you quit early, no pay.