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Newbies ask, “What equipment do we need?”

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by holmy, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. holmy

    holmy Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Hi All,

    So pleased to find this forum! We need help!

    We’re under contract to purchase a 40-acre property in Conifer, CO (just west of Denver). The house is at about 9700 ft elevation and we’re told it’s in a “snow belt” and so gets more on average the nearby areas.

    We’ll be responsible for plowing almost one mile of private dirt road from our house down to the county-maintained black top (there’s about 800 feet in elevation gain from the paved road to the house). The road is mainly on north and east-facing slopes, and in many sections has thick, young trees along the edge. We’ll be living there year-round, although no previous owner ever has. My hubby can work from home on occasion, but we plan to keep the road open throughout the winter.

    We’re hoping you all can help us fully understand just what we’re in for…

    - What kind of equipment would you recommend we purchase (on a moderate budget) for efficient snow removal?

    - About how long does it take to plow one mile of road when there’s say 6 inches, 1 foot, 2 feet, and 3 feet of snow?

    - What kind of contingency-plan equipment do you recommend (i.e., snow mobiles with trailers).

    - Are we crazy to be considering dealing with that much snow and road every winter? :)

    Our (under-educated) idea so far is to maybe get a 4WD dump truck with a plow and a CAT with plow and front loader attachments.

    Any and all insights, ideas, recommendations, and stories are GREATLY appreciated!!


    Mike & Julie H.
  2. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    What's a moderate budget?
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    What you want to buy are some guys dream equipment. What ever you buy make sure it big enough but not carried away. Not sure what the snow totals are there or how much drifting you get but, when you plow make sure you push it far enough over even if you need to plow the side of the road it won't take long to fill in.You might even consider a snow blower attachment for you cat.If you can give more details we can help you.
  4. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    Hello...click the link in this thread and you'll be all set. Heck, your neighbors would even pay you to run up and down their driveway :nod:

    All kidding aside, you would be fine using a pickup truck with a decent plow. Other options would be to use a skid steer with a plow or blower or a tractor with a rear blower.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide on.
  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Search for threads by g.moore he is in the same situation. Read his posts. He is using a lot more truck then plow. He is actually using a 1500 class plow on a high torque truck, and basically beating the living crap out of it. I'll send him a PM and see if I can get him involved in the disscusion.

    Welcome to Plowsite.
  6. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    basic pick up truck 4x4 with a plow, i would consider a salter, with that much change in elevation

    a cat, or other machine , with a blower - if you cant maintaine it on a very regular basis. a trunk will not go through more than 8 inches of snow, unless you know how to do it proprly an blower could , just takes longer
  7. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    ?????? wonder what i'm doing wrong, cause i can move 8" of snow with a truck.
  8. holmy

    holmy Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    << What's a moderate budget? >>

    Yes, I suppose "moderate" is an extremely relative term. :)

    For us, that means around $20,000 to start. We'd like to spend as little as $10,000 but know that's probably not realistic. If we REALLY stretched it, we could maybe go as high as $30,000.

    We have a line on an older CAT for maybe as little as $3,000. Not sure about the details yet. Also still trying to get more info on typical snowfall depths up there.

    << If you can give more details we can help you. >>

    Which details do you have in mind? :)

    Mike & Julie H.
  9. Mick

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

    You're kidding with $30,000 aren't you? Hi, Julie, it's Mick. I referred you here. You should be able to get a decent used 3/4 ton pick and good 8' plow for around $15,000. Make sure it's four-wheel-drive. That's plenty for one mile of private road; especially if you'll plow "with the storm" or every 4-6". Main thing after that is to make sure there are places to "push off" the snow every so often and learn how to "throw" the snow off to the side if needed. This means going fast enough so the snow goes up and over the snow on the side of the road, so you don't get closed in from narrowing lane of snow. I plow several private drives from 1/4 to a mile and the technique is the same regardless of length. Someone suggested salt - ok unless your road is gravel or dirt. Then go with sand or a sand/salt mix (10% salt to keep the sand from clumping). Get a tailgate model spreader and sand just the curves and hills.

    A $15,000 set up is way enough. For a private drive, it could actually be a beater. You wouldn't need to register it.
  10. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    For $15k I will deliver this truck to your front door. 2001 Ford F-350 w/ 8'6" Hiniker V


    (And I can certainly get you better pictures if you're interested, this photo was taken with my cell phone)
  11. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    will it have one of those christmas tree air fresheners hanging from the rear view?:rolleyes::D
  12. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    No, that's extra :waving: :jester:
  13. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    basher, ? i thought they said dirt road, with 800 feet change in elevation over 1 mile, thats alot.

    im sure we all know that you push snow down hill, but when you get to the bottom, you need to come back up. 8 inches, is alot , if its heavy wet snow,

    and im keeping in mind they never have plowed snow before? right?

    i try not to let my accounts pile up over 4-6 inches, 8 to me seems hard on the equiptment, but YES ur right it can be done:nod:

    this of cousrse is assuming that the homeowner will be home the entire time its snowing to keep it plowed.... what happens after 12 inches, and the owner is not home? he might need a 4 wheeler to get to the top, just to get to the truck

    back to the question, if ur able to keep up with the snow, and are home to do so, a used plow truck ,would be just fine, save ur money

    if your gone alot, or have high paying jobs ... might want a blower of some kind as a back up, in case it piles up

    Camden - nice truck -
  14. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    It's not ideal but it can be done, check out what g.moore uses to do about the same thing. I'd consider a V if possible to make life easier, but a properly ballasted truck with the right tires and plow...

    They live in a place where they need to have a steep learning curve. If i left knowing it was going to snow and no one was home to keep it clear, I'd leave the plow truck at the bottom;)
  15. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    lol, good thinking, i hope they take that advice
  16. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Just for curiosity, I would get a couple quotes, on a contractor doing your drive, just to see how much your really saving.
  17. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    That's a good idea:nod:
  18. jomofo

    jomofo Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    Howdy - I'm in the same boat as you - just moved to Idaho Springs CO and have about 2/3 of a mile to plow. I bought a new Dodge 2500 in order to take advantage of the lifetime warranty... Got that and a new Boss 9'2" VXT plow with all the trimmings for just over $40K.

    Welcome to the neighborhood, and good luck!
  19. nicksplowing

    nicksplowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,226

  20. heavyiron

    heavyiron Member
    Messages: 96


    Depending on your background and experience with equipment, a used 3/4 ton + truck in good shape would be a fine starting point. A v - plow makes sense for your application. I'd think about picking up the CAT ( I assume your talking a tracked machine like a dozer or crawler loader ) if it's in OK shape and the price is right because you may need something for when it's really deep or drifted or you just need to push piles back. They are not super hard to get the hang of, however if you don't have a lot of experience running equipment you can get into a lot of trouble very quick with steel tracks on frozen ground if you're on a hill. ( and if you get a crawler stuck your really up the creek ). Besides the winter application it may be handy for property maintenance and grading your road....

    If you want to plow yourself, snag a truck and plow. Maybe sit tight on the heavy equipment - see how often you actually need it. Call a local excavator to begin with if you do and if it makes sense, buy a used machine. They can be money pits, thought...

    Good luck!