Unless you live in Toronto and snowblow (then you have 24 hours to get them done) most customers want to get out and go to work. We try to play it according to the schools. This works because most residentials we plow are families. The routes start with sommercial and condos being opened first. Then we go to all the driveways and then come back to clean commercials and sand.
With overnight snows this means we start plowing about 3am and are are done with residentials about 8-9am. This is of course very variable depending on amounts and time of snowfall. I have had very few complaints on timing in my 8 years of plowing.
Early in the morning keeps the annoyance factor down:
no school buses, no half-awake commuters, nobody flagging you to wait while they brush off and move cars, few pedestrians (but they do seem to dress in black and jog behind the trucks from time to time), beats garbage day and the dogs are asleep. That said, we can;t do them all in the dark, so breakfast for the one driver who works into the daylight is at the morning rush time. Then back to work.
John, you bring up a very good point. We all need to get in a break from time to time. The scheduling of these breaks can give you a safer operation by being off the streets during peak congested traffic time.
As you say the man who plows into the daylight hours needs fortification in the form of getting blood back into the legs and food into the system.
Also it is a very good time to do a visual check of the equipment since it is first light and you may have overlooked a problem that was hidden by the night.
I try to get my guys that break around 8. After everything has been hit once. Then we go back out to clean and finish. This is the optimum plan. Remember weather does not always cooperate. Important to be flexible.
I agree 100%. Another way to avoid peak rush hour would be to try to route a fairly large but unoccupied lot during that time so even though the driver is still hard at it he is out of harms (and rush hour idiots) way.
Reading these replies re residentials honestly surprises me. I have never had a problem doing res drives during daylight hours on a 6am to 11:30 pm shift.
I can think of a few reasons for this-
We service mainy elderly & or SUV driving customers.
The drives are small & our snowfalls would rarely if ever actually disable customers from getting their car out.
Our customers are generally year around contracts with whom we have a good working relationship.
We provide a full sevice cleaning, walks & steps, which I imagine many late night plow & go's do not.
Perhaps a combination of these factors have allowed us to clear snow during daylight hours.
In the huge storm we had in 1999 there were a few complaints but they were from snow only, not full season, contracts. Customers seemed generally understanding.
Larger drives & commercial contracts must, of coarse, be completed before the sun rises
out there 24/7. does not matter what time it is. I also offer full service. We run the blower, shovel, plow with the strobe on, never had a complaint. Had one crazy lady about a half a block from where we were working hanging out her window one night when it was about 5 degrees out yelling at us to go home & do we know what time it is, but my customer told me later she's always doing that, day or night so don't sweat it. (I didn't). If I could control the storm, I would prefer to work from around 9pm to 7-8 in the am. Hell, If I could control the storm, I wouldn't be plowing!!!!
We gave up 95% of our residential drives , DONT LIKE RESIDENTIAL were staying all commercial well almost. We maintain 15 driveways average 250' we make a pass no matter what time to get out as emergency's happen so every 4" we clear a pass till the storms end then the FINAL cleanig!
We do all of our plowing overnight starting about 10PM. This of course varies depending on the time of the storm. Fighting the traffic during the day makes it impossible to plow profitably. We've never had a noise complaint.
I totally agree. Plowing homes at night is the best way to go. Especially for the end of the driveway where you need to pull the truck out into the street. Nothing worse than wasting time waiting for an opening in traffic so you can do your job. I'll plow all night, use my blower up near the garage etc. whatever I need to do and I have never had a complaint about the noise. The only problem I've ever run into at night is the "yahoo's" out in the SUV's running through snow banks etc. Still waiting for the day that one gets stuck and asks me to pull them out.