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Neighborhood plowing questions

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by gasjr4wd, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    I've never done neighborhoods... but have been doing driveways and small to medium lots and things like that for about 15 years. I also do my own street for free just because...
    I was recently voted (drafted) in as VP in our local civic association mainly to handle the plowing bid for us. We aren't a high end place by no means... more of a first time buyers homes. (475 houses)
    What should I be looking/asking for in bids with doing neighborhoods? I know many guys that will not touch them. I think I know why. You can't please everyone. I totally understand that and really not worried about that.
    I'm not even sure what I don't know about doing neighborhoods.
    Should I be mainly contact smaller guys or larger plow companies?
    Note we aren't talking removal. Not much sanding or salting. Just pushing.

    Looking for someone to point me in the right direction.:dizzy:
  2. Drakeslayer

    Drakeslayer 2000 Club Member
    from Carver
    Messages: 2,803

    Contact the larger ones. They are usually the ones willing to lose money just to gain more revenue.
  3. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    475 homes, is that driveways too ? We have done HOA work in the past, but it was either drives only, drives & sidewalks or drives & roads both. The roads are the easy part, depending on annual snowfall in your area. I can't see your location & without knowing about the specifics (drives, etc), I'd be giving you a bs answer.
  4. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    You have no idea how funny* your reply is...:laughing:
    No driveways, no sidewalks. Just the roads... and there has been times in the past once or twice that they just did the three "main" high traffic roads, I think 'cause of budget reasons.
    Location is northern Delaware.
    Should I be giving the amount of miles when asking for quotes?
    (not to confuse you - The average lot width is about 55' so we really aren't talking long roads.)

    *These are the same dumb people that complain about the snow not being plowed, didn't pay their dues, but put their snow from their own sidewalks and driveways back into the street, even after it's plowed.
  5. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    I would give the mileage (lane miles if possible), to the contractors. Depending on the amount of snow you may need to find contractors with larger equipment for pushing back backs, there are alot of variables there. A small operation with pickup is fine in most areas. It is just in the large storms, high accumulation areas (we get 100+ inches here), where you need to widen out or push back the windrow once it becomes too high for the snow to go over it becomes an issue. The solution may be as simple as a back up contractor with the heavy stuff that can help off hours, just make sure you plan appropriately.
  6. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    I agree with RLM. I've done HOA's streets. You will need to tell the contractor clearly, what the trigger is. Tell the contractor what level of service you would like to see. Do you want him to plow during the storm? After the storm only? My beef with HOA's is typically they want top level service at "come only once" prices. Good comunication and a written contract can go along way to reduce problems. Also, make sure the contrator has the equipment to handle a heavy snow event. Are you able to service the hood? Or is that a conflict of interest?
  7. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    Yes, I agree about HOA's issues and the "don't plow this time but maybe next time, we will call you" BS, and this one has been one of them in the past, they have pissed off a few plow guys because of this. Personally if I have a job setup I want to plow with the storm, not after everyone has driven on it. I hear soo many times people complain about there being ice from the tire tracks, and I tell them they waited too long...
    In the past they have had some guys that didn't even do all the streets, or said they couldn't get down the hill on one. Total BS.
    Can I do the hood? I guess I could. I have a Suzuki Samurai (nothing on it stock) with a sno-way in it I've had for about 15 years that has been great. It would take me a little longer... but could be done. Remember, I do my street. However, I really, really don't want to. I do also now have a Dodge Ram 3500 SRW but no plow for it, yet.
    Did I mention I didn't want to plow the hood? :| :yow!:

    side note - we have about 8 guys in the hood with plows. I've thought about asking each guy take a street - see if anyone would do it for free or for a few $.
    And yes, I have thought about maybe that's the reason why I was voted in as vp, hoping I would do it.
    My challenge is getting the others in the HOA to understand what needs to be set in stone for trigger and such, then to _stick_ to it. I understand why but getting people who don't plow to understand... another thing.:dizzy:
  8. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Get three reputable contractors to give you bids. Price for each storm, based on accumulation. Trigger 2" or 3". After you have the bids, present them to the HOA and explain they will get what they pay for.

    Asking guys to plow the street they live on is problematic. I would never do it for free. You shouldn't have to do it for free either. You do it for free, and everybody expects it to be free. BTW The suzuki just isn't the machine for streets.

    Insurance is also a big issue. Explain to the HOA the importance of hiring an insured contractor. Its hard for me to believe a 400+ house HOA does not have 5k for snow removal.
  9. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    I was going to get at least 6 bids. Am in the process of asking other HOA's who they use.
    Not an issue to explain what they get... and I only do my (small) street because they have to deal with my messy yard, working on cars/trucks till late at night, etc. :eek:
    We all help each other out. Plus it takes me all of 5 minutes and my wife hates to drive in the snow. As long as I can get her out she's happy. If I don't have to drive her to work, I'm happy. If it's really bad I drop the plow as I leave the development to do a single lane out to the main road...
    As for others doing it for free, wasn't really my idea. I figured a few $ for a up and down and thats it. Screw the cars parked on the street.

    I know exactly how much $ they have and how long it took them to collect it... and no, it's not anything close to 5K. If there was some magic way to get people to pay the huge $10 or $15 dues we would do it. A few of us thought of doing it street by street.
    i.e. If 75% of a single street pays, they get plowed. But that wouldn't work as everyone would use that street to get out and increase traffic on that street. That I know for a fact.
    I've been here for over 20 years. All this is an ongoing issue.
    Many years there was no plowing.

    **off topic**
    As for the Zuk not being a street machine... I know it's no 1 ton pusher but as I said, it's not stock (I think the body is the only thing that is) and I've been doing this for 15 years with the same rig and plow. It would not be the first choice for doing streets. The winter we got hammered with three big storms in a row, I waited to do our street till it stopped to see if I could do the 24" in one push. Not easy, don't want to do it all the time, but it did it.
    Most of the time I wish it had a wider blade, heater box needs to be clean out of leaves, needs a muffler, the 33" muds are getting a little dry rot, and I wish the 650lbs of sand in the back didn't smack into the back of my seat, but it pushes snow. :laughing: