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How long does your route take?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Crumm, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I am just wondering how long you guys take to get all your customers plowed out. Lets say for example you get a 6" dump tonight. How long would it take you to get it all cleaned up? It seems like some guys bite off more than they can chew (low ballers) while the other guys can't get enough accounts since they are making what they should. What do you think is the happy medium so that you can make some $$$ but provide a good service? 6 hours?, 10 hours?. Around here some lots don't get plowed for several days after a storm. I hope the land owner realizes he is getting what he paid for.
  2. Mick

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

    Ironic you asked that this morning. Yesterday, I did the "dry run" to get times established. Never exceeded travel speed I'd be doing with the plow on and waited at each place to simulate plowing.

    I came up with 3 hours and 30 minutes. Get to the first place at 3:50AM (so she can be out by 5:00) and get done with the last one at 7:20. I have arrival and depart times for every place. I was pretty generous with times, so it would be a true average. Eleven customers and covers 57 miles. Total comes to $137/hr for a 3" to 6".

    That's assuming one customer finds someone else. They would be the final one and are pretty far off the route. They called last year when they couldn't find anyone close. They are paying $40 to plow about 30 feet of double wide space. Takes about five minutes, but they're about ten miles off the route. I told them it was awful high and I've think I've lined them up with someone else, but haven't heard back yet.

    I'm really ok with what I've got. I'd take a few more if they were in my existing route. I've already turned down several that weren't. The most I'd want to go is five hours.
  3. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I would think that five hours is very reasonable. I think most people understand that you can't be everywhere at once but if they get home from work in the evening and the morning snow is still in there driveway they might be a little less understanding.
  4. Jimmyed

    Jimmyed Junior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 27

    usually 20+ hours. We get any that open the next day or are open first.
  5. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    Are your customers of the "satisfied" variety? If I was paying for my snow removal I think I would want plowed out a little quicker than that.
  6. dfor

    dfor PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 57

    About 5 hours.
  7. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    Sorry, I had to chuckle at the fact someone would drive their route and try to predict how long it would take to complete it. There are too many variables to consider with weather conditions / traffic etc. Mother nature does not drop snow on a set schedule, however some forecasters have tried to predict "exact" snowfalls and we all know how that goes :rolleyes: . So for those of us who play in the snow when it does hit the ground, we go and plow until it is completed. Never get in a hurry...always be SAFE and when your done...relax and enjoy your job well done feeling.
  8. Mick

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

    Really, it works for me. 90% of the time, the snow will start late evening or night. People want it cleared to get out to go to work. Snowfall during the day is irrelevant. So my route gets set on that basis and that not everyone leaves at the same time. The first one leaves by 5:00; then some from 5:30 to 6:15, then another by 9:30. Some don't care; they have 4wd vehicles to get out, so they can be done anytime. Another guy doesn't care whether it's done in the morning, he just wants it done by the time he comes home in the afternoon. Anyone will drive on 3", so that's a factor. If I need to plow during the day, I can adjust the times accordingly. All the driveways are short and take, at most, 5 - 10 minutes, with very little variance due to depth. One private road is done toward the end of the route. By far the most time is spent traveling from one place to the next; this travel time will not vary significantly. Over the past four years since I've been plowing, this has been shown over and over. Whether I had 3" (the trigger) or 12", it came out the same. (By short, I mean 50' to 100').

    Oh, and traffic is a non-issue. There is no traffic to contend with. Even later in the day, traffic here is not a problem. If I have to wait at stop sign for more than 30 seconds, I get upset at "Grand Central Station". This is usually only in tourist season, so when I'm plowing, it's just not a problem.

    Plowing snow around here is just a whole different thing than some are used to. "Trails" of snow are insignificant. All of my plowing is on gravel or hardpack except for one four-unit apartment building. Anti-icing is NEVER done, except for maybe decks. Mostly, it's "pull in" "drop the plow and drive straight forward; stack at the end". Perhaps some backdragging from the garage, but then angle the blade, drive forward and push to the side. I do not shovel anything. De-icing (actually sanding) is only done on request and only then when it's so icy that cars can't get traction. All in all, just a lot higher tolerance for snow conditions. A lot of people around here just drive on it to pack it down and only want plowed if it's over the bumper (I turn them down all the time).
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2004
  9. kl0an

    kl0an Senior Member
    Messages: 215

    I work a full time job so I do one commercial before work that take about a half hour, two residentials at lunch, and one after work. A co-worker is my backup and I am also his backup because we both travel to the bush from time to time. He has a much larger route but, it's still done around our regular work hours. The morning client I have was actually one of his because he doesn't even plow in the wee morning hours..

    Once we start getting serious snow, I know I'll add more.

    Oh, and I have to plow MY OWN DANG house out cause the CITY will drive by and block off BOTH my driveways!! :realmad: :gunsfiring: :mad:
  10. My average is around 10-12 hours once the plow hits the ground. I Have acquired a nice mixture of Commercial, Residential streets and Churches. Everything works rather well considering that everyone needs cleared at different times. :cool: No Driveways, people around here are too cheap and to many DIY's :angel:
  11. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    I can relate to that. People around here just drive on it and pack it down. Once there driveway gets so rough and rutted that they can't stay on it they call for a plow. I nicely tell them that I can't plow concrete with a pickup and that they need to call for a grader or loader. I was thinking after paying for a loader last winter they would look at things differently this year but nope they are still packing the snow.
  12. jt5019

    jt5019 Senior Member
    Messages: 853

    All depends on the road conditions sometimes it takes a while to get around.Also on the larger storms the city crews dont hit the side roads till later on so that delays us a bit.On average a 6 inch storm would take me about 8 hours then a couple more hours later on to clean up the commercial lots.
  13. haligan125

    haligan125 Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 64

    I like your comment about how plowing here in Maine is different, and I totally agree. I read about all kinds of stuff on here that just doesn't relate up here, one thing i wont do though is plow a will call, but once you get everyone trained you are all set, i don't sand, and i don't shovel, although that may change this year at a new place. As far as route length, I don't skip around based on when people need to get out, I just start my route and go in order unless there is an emergency issue, also 20+ hours isn't too bad, if you break everyone out, then go back and clean up. One thing though, I don't leave "trails" like Mitch said we do, and I NEVER plow across the street as that is illegal and a sign of lazy plowing.
  14. DJC

    DJC Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    with out 2 trucks should get done in 6 hrs. each. Most contracts are for every 2-3 inches.
  15. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    7-9 hours for the contract route.. That doesn't include any flagdowns I might get.
  16. Makndust

    Makndust Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    In a perfect world I start with the Town Pump truck stop at 2:00AM, finish by 4:00AM, next the school till 6:00AM, next Albertsons foods till 6:30AM, next MVR till 7:00AM, next the electric coop till 7:30AM, next the optomitrist till 8:00AM, next Pamida discount store till 9:30AM, then Comfort Inn Hotel till 11:00AM. Thats in a perfect word, usually I finish between 12 noon and 1:00 PM, then I sand. realistically I would say that I am in the truck for about 12 hours (if it quits snowing), if not then who knows.
    Actoully I have never made a full run, my wife used to run the pickup while I ran one of the ATV's. Now that I gave up the ATV accounts to a friend I get to enjoy the comforts of a pickup cab. You may laugh, but she was by far my best operator in the pickup. When she pulled onto a lot, the ATV's left otherwise we could get run over.
  17. Mark Witcher

    Mark Witcher Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    My route averages 12 hrs. It once took us 17 hrs until we got a pusher blade for the backhoe on our biggest account. Commercials come first, residents are on the bottom of the food chain.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2004
  18. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    It takes me about 9 hours and then again if needed and cleanup. Plus sometimes I just screw around when they're all done because I love to plow snow. :nod:
  19. Boast Enterpris

    Boast Enterpris Senior Member
    Messages: 745

    Takes me about 7-9 hours (2-4 inches) depending on conditions. LIke The Boss said, sometimes when I get finished I just screw around making piles higher & every inch of parking area clean. :waving:
  20. Tarkus

    Tarkus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,113

    It varies but try to keep my regular route at 6 to 8 hrs and have time to straglers that other contractors have dropped the ball on from time to time. Myself I would like to be a bit under booked than over because it seems that I always pick some up during the season.