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couple of plow questions

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by jason1083, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. jason1083

    jason1083 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I am with a neighborhood association that pays for snow plowing on our streets Our contractor (a collection of seasonally off construction guys) has done some not so great jobs the past two years I am trying to ask a few questions to understand what may have been going on.

    1) about 8-10" of snow, kinda powdery not wet, came through with a large stake truck with a big salt spreader in back, so I am sure there was enough power and ballast. Problem was the plow was bowing under (the bottom edge was kicking back towards the truck and the top was almost laying flat on the ground.) I am assuming some sort of problem with the plow am I correct? If so any ideas?

    2) had about 3 inches of wettish snow on friday. Guy plowed got to the curb okay, but seemed like it wasnt scraping good where the cars ran over it. It was in the day time and was near or slightly above freezing. Plow was about 3-4 hours after the storm ended. I seen a parking lot that was plowed way later (nighttime temp was below freezing) and had way more traffic, but it looked 100 times better. Did our contractor do something wrong?
    equipment: F 350 diesel 4x4 extended cab, long bed. Large straight blade red plow (western?)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  2. jkiser96

    jkiser96 Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    Did this guy salt anything in your addition, if not that could be why the parking lot looked so much better than the streets because most businesses get salt. Anytime you get a few inches of snow and then cars driving on it then it will pack to a very ice pack. Also what is the trigger for these guys to start plowing at, it is is 3" then that is why it tok a while to get there because these guys ar edoing there 2" trigger stuff. I would have a meeting with them & ask if there is anything you can do to better these situations.
  3. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266


    For your questions...
    (1) the plow was probably a full trip plow, which as it sounds trips completely when it hits something that folds it down. My feeling is that if there was 8-10" of snow he was moving all at once, the truck & plow were under some considerable strain (even if it was fairly light). Also if he was doing it all at once, he's not doing you much of a service in the meantime and could be leaving you in a bigger situation should he break down abusing his equipment. It might not be a big deal with a bunch of contractors handling the association.

    (2) the "smaller" plows don't often have down pressure (Snoway is the one brand out there that has it), and will subsequently ride up on packed snow. The attack angle, sometimes adjustable but not sure on Westerns, can dictate how much the cutting edge digs into packed snow, which is one reason why you'd see a difference in results from place to place. Pre-treating lots & salt application after plowing will have a big effect on subsequent plowing results too.

    Hope these help you a little

  4. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    1 8-10 is alot of snow how fast did it fall? these r streets anything more then 2 inchs is impassible JMO it depends what ur home owners r used to driving in.

    2 when cars hard pack it salt is about ur only option once u have removed the lose stuff. thou if the snow is falling at to great of a rate this isnt gonna do anything. in a devlopment there isnt a ton of street traffic persay like a normal street so there isnt alot of traffic to change the surface temp.

    and 3 i know this wasnt askd but not everybody should plow snow. its not as easy as it looks
  5. jason1083

    jason1083 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    just askin cause it never seemed to have as much issue in the past... maybe just the way it came.

    yeh I see your point about the trigger (ours is 3") Trying to redo it so its down to 2.

    About not everyone plowing snow: I hear ya (although last couple years seems like everybody who could get a truck loan was a landscaper and a snow plower).
  6. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Your probably not going to like my comments but.....

    1st, for someone trying to just get a better idea about the ins-and-outs of snow plowing, you sure throw out some industry specific buzz words, and post way more info about whats going on then the average homeowner ever knows and your dialect is more like someone in their young teens- this makes me question the validity of who you say you are.

    2nd, IF you are an HOA, then in my experience the Association doesn't pay for salt (or its your call which you never do ask for it) Has a high trigger depth (3" or greater), And awarded the contract to the lowest bidder. BUT expects bare pavement, prompt service and new expensive looking equipment.

    Having a high trigger depth just allows tires to pack the snow down, if no salting or pretreating is done, this allows the snow/ice crystals to lock into the pavement making removal very difficult. A high trigger depth also puts you at the back of the route sheet, thus delaying the time frame for plowing. Many many factors get weighed to determine when to start plowing- personally for me to wait till 8-10" would never happen, only when we have had a true blizzard have my accounts gotten to 7" and that was in a 4 hour time frame.

    What you described about the plow laying flat is a western and is a full trip designed to protect the equipment from damage. I have heard lots of people make comments about the type of equipment being used to clear their driveway or lot, it shouldn't make a difference as long as the end result is the contractual obligations are being met.

    That all said, if you have a contract and its not being met, the question is it because of unrealistic expectations, a poor quality contractor, or a contract that needs to be way more specific and a budget that can handle the higher level of service.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  7. jason1083

    jason1083 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thank you to everyone who posted, you have been very helpful

    I am 24, I do not have a problem with what you think of me.
    I did do some research first. I merely asked about what I was not sure about. As for knowing more than the average homeowner, I take pride in that.
    I personally do not care what the equipment looks like as long as it can handle the job. I understand about salt, however the consensus of the board is that $110 a ton is too much to spend. we have almost 9 miles of streets in our neighborhood, so I am thinking salt would get expensive quick ($500 plus per application?). Budget is unfortunately not unlimited, we ask $25 per year per house to pay for snow plowing (1268 houses), since we have no legal power to compel them to pay (we are classified as a 50c4 "civic improvement association"), we are lucky to see 50% paid.
    The reason I asked about the plow tipping out is that it made a mess and when tipped out had a hard time getting the snow to the curb.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  8. jkitterman

    jkitterman Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    Do you have to keep up snow services? How long is your season? I think you need to look at what you can get for the amount of average money collected per month and see what services that will cover. You may be able to drop services for streets if there aren't enough willing participants. As for salting, you need to get an idea of how much needs to be used according to temperatures. You may need to get a knowledgeable contractor and go over what snow removal details and the costs. I have a feeling you are getting exactly what you are paying for.
  9. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    $31,000+ per year is plenty of money, have the association buy a 4500/5500 series truck equip it with a 9' blade and a SideWing with a veebox or under tailgate salter. Rent a shipping container and put it in a cul-de-sac to store bulk salt, rent a bobcat to load and keep it locked up in the shipping container. out of the 1268 houses i am sure you can find people to plow and salt for free on a rotational bases. if done a 2" trigger, very little salt will be needed and buying it bulk will cost you not $110 per ton but more like $20-$50.
  10. jkitterman

    jkitterman Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    He said he is lucky to get 50% of households paying so you are looking at about 15,000. There is a lot more to his story. Read all his posts.
  11. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    If YOU have read all of his posts, you'll note that I have replied in-depth with good info, and its the HOA's own fault they don't go collect the $25. $15,000 in lost revenue could meen all the difference.
  12. jason1083

    jason1083 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    thank you to everyone the information is invaluable.
    I like Grn Mtn's idea about getting something so we can collect on the money better. I am going to talk to some attorneys and see what they say. Maybe something like a condo association does or some kinda special assessment district through the city.
  13. Krieger91

    Krieger91 Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    He also pointed out, Grn Mtn, that the type of association they have has no legal power to compel people to pay. From the sounds of it, paying for their snow removal is similar to giving donations.
  14. scjjcj

    scjjcj Junior Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 20

    GRN Mnt,

    people like you are the reason I stopped looking for help on this site.
  15. Buster F

    Buster F Senior Member
    Messages: 208

    First of all this thread should be in the commercial section. It sounds like there are alot of factors involved that are working against this association. 1 - the high trigger depth would have them placed at the bottom of most contractors lists. 2 - how is the contract setup, per push, by the inch or? 3 - with 9 miles of roads your contractor should have a dedicated piece of equipment on site as soon as it hits trigger depth and plow with the storm til its over (i'm sure he could pick up a few driveways within the association as well, thus making it worth his while to commit a piece for the whole storm). These are just a few of my thoughts regarding this situation - i hope i could help. BTW - i read Grn mtn's replys and tend to agree with most of what he said - i don't know why you guys are jumping on him
  16. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 275

    No it shouldn't. The thread starter is NOT a person in the profession of taking money for plowing. He is asking the pros for advice. This section is exactly what that is for ie pro's helping homeowners, property managers, hoa's etc
  17. tkrepairs

    tkrepairs Senior Member
    from maine
    Messages: 186

    what are the penalties for not paying association fees? the answer is there are no penalties if they are not enforced. is there a "president" or whatever of the association? or a committee? figure out the best way to take action on enforcing fee collection so this situation can be improved. thats what i would say....
  18. jkitterman

    jkitterman Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    I am guessing they set up the group for snow removal after the homes were in. I am guessing they aren't association fees really. We have to wait for reply from Jason to find out.
  19. jason1083

    jason1083 Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    well basically the city of Detroit never plows, the association wasin place, they decided to do the snowplowing as a service to the residents (used to get ice ruts to where you couldn't turn into your driveway). its more of a donation than an association fee (no legal power to make people pay). I am seeing now its not so much the plow contractor, its this d*mn weird winter. We have a president and a board of directors (the president overpaid the guy $300 after he missed several streets completely). Am I wrong in thinking that if we have a contract with him for all the streets and he misses several, that he should come do those and not try and charge extra for his mistake?
  20. tkrepairs

    tkrepairs Senior Member
    from maine
    Messages: 186

    definately!!!! he broke the contract, he at least owes you whats in the contract, im not sure what other actions can be taken but he at least has to complete the contract.