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Big job, big problem?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by michigan Joe, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. michigan Joe

    michigan Joe Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Hello everyone its been some time since my first year in the buisness and I'm working on getting my second year in line. I just landed a good job plowing a neighborhood near my house. My problem is the enterance to the neighborhood is about a quarter mile up a steep hill.(a very steep hill) I'm driving a 04' f-250 w/ a 8' western plow. There are also a couple driveways off the enterance that are pretty intimidating themselves. If anyone can give me a couple tips on how to approach this it would be most appreciated.
  2. Vaughn Schultz

    Vaughn Schultz PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,565

    Plow going down hill :rolleyes:
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Couple of ways. First thing - Plow "with the storm". Start when the snow is maybe 3-4 inches. Keep it plowed as it storms, getting a feel for how deep it can get and still drive up it. Next, drive up the hill with the plow up and plow downhill. I plow a short driveway that's VERY steep and have often used this one - Start to plow by plowing to the side rather than uphill. Take a couple of swipes, pushing the snow to the side. This gives you room to get a good run. With the plow fully angled, I could plow to the top. But be careful it doesn't "kick your truck sideways" - you might wind up not being able to go forward or backwards. I used that on that 50' driveway with a 14" snowfall, but it wasn't the most fun I've had plowing. Oh, maybe I should also tell you - I was using a 3500 diesel with 4x4, all new Discover M&S tires were studded, I had taken off the inside wheels of the duals and had about 1500 pounds of ballast and had a few years of experience with it. In other words, the first couple are probably best.

    As you plow downhill, be sure not to get into a situation where you can't back out. It's possible to get snow built up in front of the plow and not be able to go forward. By plowing every few inches, you will avoid that. Never "bump" the plow up to get over built up snow - it's likely to get behind the moldboard and you will be unable to back up (nor go forward). By plowing downhill on a steep hill, you can also use the snow as a brake if the surface underneath gets slick. If you find that you're having difficulty keeping control, keep the moldboard straight as you plow. Then, slow way down (the snow should actually stop the truck) and angle left or right to get rid of that load. Then straighten the moldboard for another load. If you're sanding/salting, use the exact opposite tactics if possible - Start sanding/salting from the bottom and work up. You can keep control better this way and if you do lose traction, you'll slide back on the material you just spread - gaining control to proceed to the top. Better than sliding all the way to the botton or over the side. If unable to start spreading from the bottom, I will get as far to one side or the other as possible to get the tires onto gravel, grass, etc, for better traction. I've had a couple where the sides were open ditches and had to start at the top - in that case I'd start in the middle, put it in the lowest gear it had, aim toward the middle of the bottom and "let her go" - but stay off the brake regardless of what happens. I've found that steering has more effect than braking. Braking simply made things worse. Be sure to spread material as you go - no use wasting the trip.
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    On reading this again - I have a question. Are you going to be plowing the road to the "entrance"? I responded as if you are. If not, then make that a condition - you can commence services until you have "access". If you can't get in, they can't get out. Let them know you can't assure of when they'll be plowed or you'll be at the mercy of the person who plows the road. (Been there, done that, not going to do it again.)

    Illustration - I have an one account where I plow a driveway in a home owner association but not the common association road. If the road is unplowed when I get there, it is in the agreement we have that I will plow one lane as far as her driveway and charge her for that in addition to her driveway. The problem for her is that she also got charged "her share" for whoever plowed the rest of the driveway. But that's her problem, not mine.
  5. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I used to plow a VERY steep hill... not that long (about 150 ft) but almost straight up. There was a house at the bottom and it was a shared drivewy.

    Mick is right--plow down if you can, but don't be a cowboy.

    I want to mention one other thing...ice.

    In the drive I did, there were a LOT of springs at the top of the hill...depending on which year there might be water flowing down the drive all year. One year, I had to sand/salt almost every other day as the days would get just warm enough for the sun to melt the top, then it would freeze over.

    The upshot...how well do you know the property?? If not very well, take some time early on to scope it out. Sliding down a steep hill with a plow on the front of your truck is NO FUN. I did it many times and thank God nobody was at the bottom.

    If you just got the account, do as much up- front info gathering as possible...sometimes these jobs are availabe for a reason! :salute:
  6. Killswitch

    Killswitch Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Plow downhill.


    Ooops....already covered. I figured it was obvious.

  7. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,238

    Buy some Cooper M&S tires along with plowing downhill if possible. They will make a huge difference.
  8. Killswitch

    Killswitch Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Oh and price the hell out of it, but Im sure someones already done it on the cheap over the years and trained the client improperly.

    Retrain them if you can. Sounds like a job loaded with issues for whoever does it.

    Be cool.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2005
  9. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    make sure to carry sand/salt as ballast so when you get stuck (and you will at least once) you have some to help free yourself. It's also a good idea to carry chains, at least "emergency chains" that strap on when you're atuck to help get out. Don;t plow with the emergency chains, they're only to get unstuck.