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Just Ice Management Anybody?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Remsen1, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Remsen1

    Remsen1 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    Does anybody on here do ice control ONLY?

    In my area there is a plow truck for approximately every 15-20 homes it seems. So many people doing it for some extra cash or to stay busy through the winter or even doing it for free. 1 in every 5 half ton and up 4x4 seems to have a plow too. I can see where spreading de-icer would increase customer attraction cause there are far fewer of these units.

    I used to plow, and want something to bring in some PROFIT in the winter. I think my truck is too light for serious plowing (01 V6 F-150), even if I beefed up the suspension, I'm not confident that the tranny would hold up to it. However I had an idea that maybe I could do Ice Management only. Maybe 15-20 small sized accounts ie banks, gas stations, small grocery, residential. My question is does anybody else on here do ice control only?

    I can think of some concerns already, like arriving and it hasn't been plowed yet.

    I'm also considering getting a bigger truck and doing plowing and ice control, but that's a whole new thread.

    Your thoughts are welcome!
  2. Mick

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

    I had the same thought a couple of years ago and went through almost exactly what you're talking about. There were too many plows out there for the market and not enough sanders. I bought a one ton just to put a two yard sander on. Since there were so many plows already, I targeted marketing to the sanding. It didn't work, mainly for the reasons you pointed out. People in my area who want sanding, want it as an added service; plowing and sanding. You'll find people who want plowing only and then you'll find those who want plowing and sanding. But I've found very few who want just sanding - although I do get a few calls like that. These will usually be people who plow their own driveway. Now they have an ice skating rink for whatever reason. I've gotten accounts BECAUSE I had the sander, but the primary service was the plowing; they wanted the sander available "just in case" so I'd get the plowing. If I'd depended on sanding only, I'd have made only a couple of hundred dollars all winter.

    I can't tell where you're from and your area might be totally different, especially if it's more urban. If you were to do only sanding (or salting), there are a couple of points you'd need to keep in mind besides the mechanics of ice control. First is the liability - realize that you need to share responsibility with every plow guy you follow. In the case of a lawsuit, they'll go after both insurance companies and you will have the last person to treat the area. The other is logistics - you will want to somehow avoid making more than one trip to a particular site. Nothing worse than going to a job to find it hasn't been plowed yet. This happened to me as a customer several years ago. One guy plowed my driveway, but he didn't have a sander so I had another guy sand it. The next snowstorm, the sander showed up first. He went ahead and sanded on top of the snow. Then it got plowed a couple of hours later so the sanding was wasted. I wasn't especially thrilled about paying for sanding, though. If I hadn't started plowing the next winter, I was planning to just have the guy with the sander do both.

    Now if I had to divide my income between the plowing and sanding, I'd say it wasn't worth the cost of the one ton and sander. But, I charge more than others around here simply because I do offer sanding. Like I said, I get those accounts where people either want plowing and sanding each time (I have several of those) or I get the ones who just want sanding when they call for it. What I don't get is the "price shoppers". People who hire me are willing to pay for service.
  3. Remsen1

    Remsen1 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    Thanks for taking the time. It sounds like you seperated yourself from the other plowers by adding value to your service. It also sounds like you won some customers this way and you got the kind of customers that we all want, the ones who know that they need to spend some money for exceptional service.
  4. lindsayC

    lindsayC Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I see your location is in Maine, mine is in New Brunswick. the problem in Maine is that not every storm is the same.One may have dry snow changing to wet snow then prehaps some freezing rain on top of it all.Deicers must be put down at the right time, put it down too late and you will loose your shirt tring to deice 2" of ice after the temperature goes below say minus 12 degrees celcius.Plowing and salting go hand in hand but don"t let yourself be talked into deicing every storm cold snows will not bond to ashphalt unless you use salt at the wrong time or if the temperature goes up and softens the snow pack and it turns into ice. If you are going into the business buy the spreader with the truck and you won't loose business to the guy who did