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How to route two trucks

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by madskier1986, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. madskier1986

    madskier1986 Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I am not new to plowing but with last year being my first year and with little snow I don't know everything. This year, my business continued to grow where I just finished adding a second truck. My question for this forum is regarding efficiency factors with two trucks. I currently have 7 commercial sites and 60 driveways. I hope to be around 80 driveways by the first snowfall.

    Now do I break the route apart and have two separate routes? Or do we work together. The timing of the storm really would factor in, but let say its a storm where we start plowing at 8pm and commercial does not need to be completed until 6am.
  2. Mike NY

    Mike NY Senior Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 108

    I am a two truck operation as well. Mostly depends on timing of the storm and depth of snow and overall conditions.
    In a light snow and timing of the event are good, I divide and conquer.
    In poor conditions with a lot of snow, I leapfrog.
    (It sucks to make the call that you are stuck but its worse if the other truck is in the next county).
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    All depends you could have both trucks out working commercials together no matter how same they are. Then you split up and do driveways on the way back in.
  4. buckhigh

    buckhigh Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    Second year plowing and have that many drives. I commend you. What's the secret?
  5. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 595

    Both trucks working the route together is generally inefficient as both will be traveling the same route. I suggest one list with one starting at the beginning and the other working backwards from the end. Conditions some times warrant different strategies as mentioned above. Jumping around to catch this or that also lends itself to inefficiency so plowing sequentially is generally the best way to go.

    You painted kind of an extreme scenario and I don't know your definition of a "storm", but ten hour routes are too long to properly service your clients for a routine snow event. An ideal route would be five to six hours long.
  6. jbart06

    jbart06 Member
    Messages: 48

    ME TOO!!!! Ive been trying at this game for 3 years and dont have that many driveways. Im still 90% sub work with 10% my own stuff
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Driveways are a dime a dozen.
  8. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    Over the years I went from 1, to two, up to 3 + a skid, and now I'm back down to 1.

    I'll say this: routing can and does change given storm timing, etc. I change up my route depending on the event timing considering open times, rush hour traffic, etc. I don't know what your commercials look like, but some can easily justify 2 trucks on site (or far more), and if you have more than one truck on some sites, you're just getting in each other's way. When it comes to the residentials, I'd route each one as tightly as possible with little to no overlap. Windshield time doesn't make you money.

    Getting stuck is a consideration for sure, but at least for me, that's a rarity-I can only think of two times I've been stuck in the recent past (within 5 years or so), and one is forgivable since I was trying to clear a vacant parking lot that hadn't been plowed all winter to prepare it for a snow dump site.
  9. buckhigh

    buckhigh Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    Especially when people are quoting them $250 for the season!
  10. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    All depends on what you route is laid out on the map. If it was all drives I would say start on the outsides and work towards each other, but with commercials thrown in it changes things.

    What kind of commercial accounts?

    This is what I used to have;

    10 commercial accounts, ranging in size from a 10 min dentist parking lot to a 3 acre shopping center.

    3 private roads ranging from a 15 min single dirt lane to a 1 mile 2 lane with a culdesac

    45 drives packed close together.

    without knowing these details and seeing a map, there is no way fro us to give you any advice.

    You do NEED to set a route, each truck should have set responsibilities and only have a small number of over lap to help each other out if one finishes before the other. if you don't have set responsibilities accounts get forgotten and cleared to late.

    The way I had it set up my last year of plowing was 1 truck doing just commercials and on the large commercials it was just a matter of assisting a skid steer or backhoe and spreading salt. The other truck would do the drives and private roads.
  11. madskier1986

    madskier1986 Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Thank you everybody for the quick responses. I guess the only thing to do is have a bunch of routes pre-planned so I am not stressing out when it decides to snow. I like the idea of splitting the trucks up after completing the commercials lot that need to be cleared ASAP. Which is only two of seven. And I do agree that 10 hours is two long to properly service the clients.

    Regarding the trick for that many driveways, I really don't know. I honestly though that 60 drives were not a lot. I take a very professional approach with my clients and keep in contact when they is a storm on the way. All it takes is a simple email that let them know we are aware of the coming storm. I am no way the cheapest guy in town too. People call and tell me they paid $200 last year, blah, blah, blah. I say good luck.

    To get technical about my properties, the commercial stuff 5 are my own and 2 I am being subcontracted. My 5 take no more than 20 to 30 minutes to complete. The two new ones this year could take up to an hour on one of them. Its a big warehouse with a huge open parking lot. This wings on my new plow should help cut down time.

    The majority of my driveways are clustered with in a 3 mile radius, but this year I went out side the circle and now have about 1/3 of my client spread out.

    I guess we will see what happens when mother nature decided to snow here. I hope that she give me an easy one to plow, but probably not.
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    40 inches of snow is below average for us!
  13. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    The route will depend on how good of an operator you have for another truck. Some drivers have no idea how to plow snow properly. They are inefficient and do not know where to stack snow. I'd be more inclined to have him work with me for the first while and then if he's got what it takes split the route up. I generally always have a new guy work with one of my veteran guys.