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new to salting

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by AGLawnCare, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. AGLawnCare

    AGLawnCare Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I think this has been asked and answered but I could not find it so I would appreciate help. I just started salting this year and I don’t think I set enough guidelines down with the lots I’m salting. How do you know when to go out I mean if it rains and then turns real cold do you go out and salt. How much snow do you need to go out. Do you go out when it starts coming down or as soon as it sticks or what? Say you salt and then 3 inches piles up on top of the salt that you dropped do you plow then salt again? Please help.

    Thanks you guys
  2. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    Excellant question. I have been plowing for 4 years, but just started salting this year also. I'm interested in reading some of the responses that you get.
  3. Joe3113

    Joe3113 Member
    Messages: 44

    In my contracts I state that salting is done at my discression and the the client can call me if he feels it is necessary. I would salt before it snows and then again after you finished plowing this give you the best chance of having a nice clean lot in the end. Keep in mind that you could be held liable for someone who slips and falls because it was not salted. You have the insurance for a reason. So use your disgresion and salt when you think it is needed. You may have to make several trips to your accounts , but in the long run it should be worth it. JMO
  4. 4evergreenlawns

    4evergreenlawns Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    There are several different Salting methods and schools of thought.

    Alway remember that salt is a De-icing agent not a Anti-icing agent.

    De-icing consist of melting ice more than anything. With this in mind as the snow and ice melt it also dilutes the effectness of the salt along with creating liquid that will refreeze. Thus the need for more than one application depending on surface temps, air temps, and water present.

    There is a benifit to salt before a snow event (Pre-Treat) but ONLY if spreading of salt later in conjuction with plowing will result in a clear lot. For example: salting during a 2"-4" snow event where temps will aid in the melting of snow and forming ice would be helpful. However, salting during a storm might not be as useful where plowing with the storm is more effect and salting heavy toward the end of the storm will best aid in the melting action leading to a clear lot.

    Salting will also aids in creating a barrier preventing snow and ice from bonding to the surface but in a steading rain and above freezing temps salt will most likely be a waste of time and material leading to no noticable effect.

    Freezing rain with below freezing temps is a totaly different situation. Salting during and after will best result in clearing the lot and lessing the chance of reforming ice and the resivaul salt continues to melt and reduce bonding.

    As for non-plowable events you have to look at the trigger set in the contract and what conditions your client expect between 0 and the trigger. Weather conditions must also be taken into consideration when salting. A trace to about 2" might be total controled by multiable salt applications and med to heavy spread rates but timing is key.

    I have been salting for several years now and have increased my salting services at time has gone on. Once you start salting the liablity goes up and sometimes you have to salt more to keep on top of it reguardless of what the client want or will pay for. That is was the margins on salt are much higher and in SOME cases you WILL make more money in salting than in plowing.

    Some client ONLY want salt when they call for it. With these clients, early in the season I call them when ever I think salt might be needed and'or when I know I am going to be seriving the seasonal clients. Pretty much if my trucks are out salting I try to call the other clients. After they refuse salt several times and I have documented several attepmts to offer salt I leave it up to them to call as stated in the contract. I let them tell me, "Ron, we will call when we think we need salt". That why I feel I have made all reasonable attempts to advise the client but it was there POLICY not to salt unless THEY called for it.

    I only service commercial accounts. Went from 4 accounts three years ago to 30 this year. When I started offering salt I was also not sure when to salt. So what I used t determine if salt was needed was simple. If the county, city, or state trucks were out salting than so was I. If the client questioned WHY are you salting, I would say do you see the salt truck on the road? Than I guess salt is needed, right? As time went on I learned when and how much salt was needed. There was a learning curve but that is normal. I tend to over service my seasonal clients, but this has paid off in several ways. I fell it has cut down on the labor put into the job. Salting twice and controlling a 1"-3" event will result in less labor and increase the margin for the event. Is creat a cleaner and quicker clear lot then what they see going on at other lots, and is has need to referal business.

    IMO the key to good commercial service is when the client says something to the effect of, "Your service is good because I NEVER have to call you, I know that when the flakes are flying you are going to be right there". These are the seasonal customers I want. I do nothing else but sit around waiting for snow from Nov.thru March. My clients now this by the way we service their account. I was salt to help in meeting this demand.

    Hope that helps.
  5. Tom Smith

    Tom Smith Senior Member
    from IL
    Messages: 149

    Put in your contract .... not responsiable for slip and fall accidents.... solves that problem
  6. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    DO NOT use that as your sole means of defence. Plain and simple, contracts are made to be broken. All a good lawyer has to do is prove you were negligent. You promise to plow and salt a parking lot. Thus, making the lot clear of snow and ice. All a lawyer has to say is you did not do your job well enough as to eliminate ALL the snow and ice. Now, your contract has been broken by YOU.

    I would build on the "not responsible" clause by adding that complete plows may not clear all drive \ walk surfaces down to bare pavement. Also not responsible for time frame DURRING snowfall event. In your contract, address every possible senario and explain the consequences.

    Lastly, I would create a separate contract for the customer to sign called a release of subborgation. This helps prevent the property owners insurance from coming after your insurance in the event an accident occurs. In this contract, also ask the property owner to have you \ your business listed as additional insured on their policy. Although it sounds like a lot of work, it is almost always as simple as a phone call to the property owners insurance carrier. It may cost the owner $10.00 to $100.00 to initiate but well worth it in the long run. Most larger commercial accounts insist on having your insurance company list them as additional insured also.

    Sorry for the long post. Wifey is a commercial insurance broker. If anyone has any questions about insurance, I would be happy to forward them to her.

    Christopher A. Kinkade
  7. jt5019

    jt5019 Senior Member
    Messages: 853

    I usually wait till i have the whole lot plowed then put down a good application of salt.If its during business hours i will plow then sand/salt the main travel areas. Come back later and clean up. I found if you keep salting during the storm if its coming down hard enough the snow just covers it right away so its kind of a waist.
  8. boehmri

    boehmri Junior Member
    Messages: 3

  9. PlowRider

    PlowRider Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    :confused: If you salt twice before and after plowing do you charge the account twice payup Or is it just a light application of salt and they are only charged once???