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Loading Docks

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by 4speed, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. 4speed

    4speed Member
    Messages: 93

    I drive a tractor trailer,delivering retail goods for a living,plowing is a side job for me. I just want to share a problem that I have That you may or may not be aware of. I am not here to bash anyone,just trying to pass on a little information that may make someone else's life a little easier.
    A loading dock (pit) is a trap for a semi. You back in, unload, then try like heck to get yourself out with little weight on your drive tires. If you have to drop and hook to a different trailer it's even worse. Now you have no weight on your drives.
    I Have a friend ( a pro plower)who used to plow a local furniture store. It was a two bay pit, he would backdrag the open side then push the snow under the trailer spotted in the other door. It never occurred to him that the truck couldn't get through the snow until I told him how much trouble I was having at my deliveries.
    Last week it took me about ten or twelve tries to get into a dock that I always get on the first try,because there was so much ice on the pavement my steering tires couldn't bite, and I can almost always count on at least one of my stops having a windrow in front of the dock after a fresh snow.
    I Know you guys are working hard out there clearing those lots for the customers,but don't forget us out back. A snowy night makes a long night for us too! Thanks Guys .
  2. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    If I had a loading dock account, I'd try my best to keep it clear :waving:
    Why can't the building manager have some peon throw salt in those spots for you?
  3. GripTruk

    GripTruk Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    I used to plow a lot with a loading dock.
    One of the first questions was whether the dock would need to be clear.
    It turns out they didn't use it anymore so it was a pretty good palce to pile snow.
  4. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    Tire chains my man tire chains.... Try doing a drop-hook at one of those slick docks when it is -50f. When the temperature drops the grease on the fifth wheel becomes super-glue.
  5. snowinjoe

    snowinjoe Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    We have one account with a pit dock. We have to keep our eyes on it even when its not snowin. Depending on the direction of the wind. We put a box next to it with sand/salt in it. No calls yet to say someones stuck and the mix is getting used.
  6. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    They can be a bugger to get clean. Often, they're hard packed before the plow gets there. Backdragging snow uphill is a futile attempt at best. It requires a little more ballast than most situations. I haven't had the chance to use a plow with down pressure, but maybe they do better on docks. When I worked for a landscaper, they always left the docks for the loaders to clear. As an independent, I always tried to drop the plow under the front of the trailers or at least not leave a windrow there.
    As a driver in the paving industry I very rarely had to deal with those type of docks, but I know the problems involved. Now take one of those with a gravel surface instead of paved... that really sucks!
    I agree and suggest we all try and take care of the docks and truck drivers. After all, almost all of the goods you purchase were moved by truck at some point.
  7. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    4speed, we try our best to clear loading docks. As most have said it can be challenging at time backdragging them. Like you getting stuck with no weight on yout drive tires, we do have the same problems tying to pull weight out (a plow and a bunch of snow). Also as most have stated, by the time we get there there have already been trailers there and the snow is all hard packed... or there are trailers in there and we don't have access to them.

    Either way, we always back drag docks the best that we can. After they are clean we try and sand them the best we can. Being that most sand trucks are 2 wheel drive, that also tends to be a probelm being that you can ong get as close as you can without going down the ramp. :cool:
  8. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    could you try sanding while backing into the loading dock? that way there is sand to get traction on.
    most loading docks dont need alot of traction where the trailer sits, only where the tractor would sit.
  9. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Yes, you can do that. Honestly, I am not risking getting stuck or sliding into the building backing down a dock. It's just not worth it to me. What I normally do is back next to a dock, or drive the opposite way of the dock and just blast the snot out of it. Honestly I have never had any problems with docks, and have enver had any complaints. If I did however come across a case of a really steep dock, we have access to a back plow. :cool:
  10. sbrem

    sbrem Member
    Messages: 37

    The supermarket I plow has a loading dock out back. A lot of times there are trailers in it and I can't do much. When it's empty I try to clean it up the best that I can. Unfortunantly the loader I plow with gets the worst traction of any loader I have ever used or seen, so somtimes it seems like I have a harder time getting back out of the dock then the trucks do! It is especially bad when back dragging, which I have to do in the lower part of the dock. Oh well, I do the best I can with what I have to work with.

  11. Mick

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

    I don't know if this is a common problem with docks. I put in bid on a Post Office with a loading dock. As part on my "looking it over" I found that the plow wouldn't stay in contact with the surface while backblading. I'd have to lengthen the chain. But then it wouldn't lift high enough for angling in transport.

    But I didn't get the bid, so it didn't matter. For what they bid Post Offices around here, it's unlikely that I'll ever get one.
  12. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    I have a pit dock at an electric supply company. They (pit docks) are a PITA. I try to clean it out, but most times when I drop the blade I will spin out and lose traction, still have a devil of a time getting back out after lifting blade again. The last time I tried taking a couple feet at a time and that seemed to work better but after I talked to the building manager we agreed that they would take care of it themselves with the snow blower. I just keep the area to the west of the pit cleared so it won't drift in. The sand/salt thing didn't work very well either.

  13. Mark Witcher

    Mark Witcher Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I have about 5 pit style loading docks that I do.From 1 holers to 5 bay wide. Wal Mart,Toys R Us etc. I find them very easy to do. I drive in and back drag the first 30 ft and the turn around and back in just like a Semi and push them out clean.
  14. jt5019

    jt5019 Senior Member
    Messages: 853

    I have two Loading docks at one of my account they are always a pain.The snow drifts right in front of the doors. One storm last season it must have been a 6 foot drift it was almost impossible to backblade it out.One of them is double wide so i can push the heavy snow to the side then backblade in front of the door.I try to apply sand real heavy in front of them. I havnt had any complaints but im sure theres been a couple times where the trucks backing in didnt have much traction.
  15. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I do a pair of pit style docks at the grocery store I plow. Since backdragging is not the strongest suit of my V-plow, I push downhill first (forwards) and lift over the pile at the bottom, then backdrag all the loose stuff to the top and take it away. That takes away all the hardpack first. With the shoes on it leaves a little behind, but then I hit the dock with double salt. Never ever been a problem.
  16. trying to make

    trying to make Member
    Messages: 41

    I love loading docks.I have never had a complaint about the amount of 50/50 mix of ice melter and sand.Not even the time I had 2trucks with full hoppers that froze up.Drove in front of allready plowed loading dock,emptied both hoppers, Plowed it down the dock.Billed for it and got a thank you and 2 $20.00 gift cards from the manager of Giant grocerie store.

    SIPLOWGUY Senior Member
    Messages: 686

    I was doing a loading dock at the airport and was surprised to see the tractors getting stuck. Ever since I keep it clear for you guys. After all us guys in pick-ups are "truckers" too, just in a much smaller truck! LOL! :rolleyes:
  18. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    If I ever pushed the snow under the trailers in there I don't think I'd be returning for the job anytime soon.
  19. QMVA

    QMVA Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    What a coincidence my dad owns some furniture stores that I plow. :jester: I hate doing the "pits" though. I usually back drag the first layer. and get as much as I can. Usually in three sweeps for a two door dock. Then I go back and push whats left forward about two feet away from the dock and back drag it out. Then the snow I pulled out of the pit it in the grass. Haven't had a trucker complain yet. Heck our delivery truck dosn't even get stuck, and if you ever been in the furniture market you know its almost nothing in weight for a truck, unless its that cheep plywood crap. :angry: