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How do YOU plow large lots?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by SWC, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. SWC

    SWC Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 134

    What's your plan of action when it comes to plowing large parking lots like Wal-Mart?

    I've seen some good graphics posted on here that illustrate several good techniques for plowing residential drives, and thought it would be interesting see how everyone goes about clearing large commercial lots.

    Great site guys, keep up the good work.

    Think Snow
  2. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I push everything to the nearest outskirts of the property as possoble.

    SNOWPIMP Member
    Messages: 89

    I windrow as much as possible making a circle track out of the lot and only pushing on the return! I have got some flack from new guys for it till they see I am done in half the time as them! My trucks don't break from the constant forward reverse shifting and all the abuse the brakes take when you stop at the pile then stop again to go forward!

    I have gotten so good at mapping lots that I bring 3 trucks and a car to the shopping mall and the main contractor pays me for 4 trucks! My Job at the mall is to drive around and make all the other contractors do it my way!
  4. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I have 2 pretty good size lots. On a 6 inch snow one lot takes 12 man hours to push and the other takes 7 man hours to push. We generally use 4 trucks on each lot. We start with the oddball corners and entrances, back dragging the necessary spots and clearing the entrances. You want to avoid having to move snow through a section that has already been completed. You need to be conicious of how sections connect and overlap. We have predetermined were we will stack snow. We usually wind row into sections carrying the runs to the end of the lot. Each section is then piled to lite poles or end of the row islands. We always try to use the wind to our advantage. You can plow a lot that is a block long and have the wind blow so much snow back on to what you have already plowed that you need to do it again. The most important thing is to make sure that you are not plowing the same area twice. Think before you plow. Just because your plowing snow doesn't mean you are doing it efficiently. A good driver will have a plan of attack that will allow him to complete the section he is plowing in the least amount of time.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2004

    SNOWPIMP Member
    Messages: 89

    Well put JMR that was what I was trying to say But didn't want to type that much! I swear I have given that same speech about three dozen times each season! I bet about an average of 5 times to each new driver hahahaha!
  6. Turfmower

    Turfmower Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    I make laps too going in reverse slow you down.
  7. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    We do what I was told is called "radius plowing". On large lots it works great ,but you need 4-5 trucks. Start with a Rt angled plow and push across, lift at the end and go around, drop plow and push to the end, lift. It's a blast to do because you are always going forward. You get more speed on the return leg with way less fatigue of turning and looking. Charging and cooling systems are less challenged too with the RPMs being higher. All the trucks just play train, following each other around and around. When the snow gets too deep at the end of the push area two trucks last in line will pile the snow. The leader slows down to give them time to do it. The light poles are cleared of snow as we go along.
  8. 84deisel

    84deisel Senior Member
    Messages: 697

    I cheat and use my 96 Ln9000 with a 12' baker plow
  9. ghostrunner

    ghostrunner Member
    from PA
    Messages: 50


    We get dizzy going into circles plowing the whole time then when we get a long pile in the middle we chip away at it and send it to the end.
  10. Snow Jaw

    Snow Jaw Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    you will need one those big tractors with a 32 foot plow in back of the 3pt, here the picture.
  11. Snow Jaw

    Snow Jaw Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    HEY JMR,
    you could hire me to do big plowing business.. I will bring it to Omaha if you want.. $$$$payup

    well it's not near me right now but plan on it for fall of 04.
  12. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    I did "redius" plowing once last year with my uncle. HUGE parking lot in New Hampshire where he lives. Ten trucks maybe 4" of powder so you could push for a while. Start at one end push all the way down and lift blade my uncle and his employees are CRAZY good thing they block off the lot before they start because they like to do 75 MPH on the return leg and slam on the breaks when they get to the end.
  13. Snow Jaw

    Snow Jaw Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Man that must be a WILD RIDE!! going 75 mph.. were't the cops out watching?
  14. SWC

    SWC Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 134

    75MPH I bet they burn a lot of fuel, and brake pads too.

    I plowed a Wal-Mart the last snow we got, and once I got enough cleared to make a big circle I started radious plowing.

    I only got up to about 35MPH on the return, then made a plow, came back around and cleaned up the spilliage on the next lap.

    Made the work go alot quicker.

    Of course I had plow what I could get the first trip out, because of traffic, then I came back at 2:00 am and finished it up after the traffic cleared out.

    I did Wal-Mart, a Lowes, and a couple of other large lots, Wal-Mart was definately the hardest to plow, because of the late-night traffic.

    I'm not complaining though.payup
  15. SCSIndust

    SCSIndust Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    Could someone post a diagram of radius plowing? I have been avoiding huge lots, mainly because I wasn't sure how to attack them the most efficient way possible. I know my guys would love to plow some large lots. Besides, i really need to expand my plowing resume, and do more of different lots.
  16. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    yea i thought 75 MPH was kind of stupid too all it would take is to hit a patch of ice or something and youd slam into a poll or someone elses truck. Id do 40 MPH max but most of the time 30.
  17. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    If you have a lot with a building in the center and pavement all the way around it(like a tipical large shoping center) basicly start right up next to the building edging it out pushing away from the building(dont worry about being perfect especially on the corners since you can clean em up on the next pass or at the end). Once you have made enough laps around the building that the back is clear(loading docks or what ever, the back ussually dont have as much pavement) then I start turning around at each end and always windrowing away from the building. When I say turn around I also just basicly turn as tight of a u turn as possible, not worring about moving snow or making a mess or plowing plowed pavement, the blade stays down and I am angling it to the oposite side for the next pass. I worry about clean up later. You can "cicle the waggons" so to speak by having a truck following behind attacking the windrow you are blasting out. Moving fairly fast and keeping the snow moving and spreading is a big plus. In a large lot that snow goes on all the sideds and there isnt really a building to go around I will make a swipe down the center and start widening my center track turning around at the ends not really worring about plowing clear pavement or doing circils in snow not moving it any real direction because I will clear it eventually. I always try to avoid backing at all costs. You cant push snow in reverse, its harder on the equipment, you arnt as safe backing and you can move as fast backwards. It may take some time to turn around and you will be wasting motion but its still quicker/better in the long run. I also try to avoid stacking snow at all costs but like everything sometimes it and backing cant be avoided. Every lot is different and ussuall the lot will be differnt depending on conditions but its a learing curve like everything. I much prefer big lots......I dont really like the small stuff and despise res drives. Every body has thier tastes though

    I've got a V so clean up is a real snap for me......prowings seem to help out quite a bit cleaning up and also in larger lots. I large lots larger is better and momentum and keeping the snow rolling with higher speeds helps a ton. Its a heck of a strain on a truck to plow a walmart sized lot at 5 mph :cry: Big lots that are tore up can realy suck since you will need to drop your speed
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2004
  18. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    heres how I do most things over 1 acre

  19. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    Oh.....yeah you make a good point........if its heavy sometimes I will kinda do what you do.......you plow over stuff thats already been plowed but sometimes you gota do it to move the snow. Sometimes on stuff you can just make a couple of swipes down the lenght of the windrow and perpendicular to it from the windrow to the edge were you want to move it to move a chunk of the pile so you can start windrowing to it. It depends on the situation......and ussually not every return pass will be down the middle. I've got a pretty heavy truck and try to plow with it and we ussually dont get dumped on so most of the time I can just keep attacking the same windrow line. Maybe I will try to get artistic like nate :p Gime a sec :)
  20. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    With the radius plowing if the snow is too deep or heavy/wet you have to divide the lot into sections. And radius plow 1/2's or 1/4's of the lot. If you don't, the built up ridge will be like riding a cement highway divider. You soon defeat the advantages of radius plowing. Now you have to hunker down and do 3/4 power pushes just to move it 12 inches. Truck don't like that! Cooling system, charging system and transmission now will pay the bill.
    But it is a blast to do, it gets to be a Ford vers Chevy contest. As long as we watch out for "Dangerous Dodge" He tends to back into the path of the train pushing snow across the lot.