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Okay, smart guys.....

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LwnmwrMan22, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I've been away from the forum for a while, so if this was already discussed, I apologize.

    I see sooooooo many guys here that swear, "salt, salt, salt".

    Over Christmas, we had 4-8" of snow on Christmas Eve, then for 12 hours a fairly heavy rain on Christmas day, then 4-6" more snow on Saturday.

    By the time we got done plowing, there was about .5-1" of solid ice at the bottom.

    Not because of anything we did, it just rained on Christmas Day in Minnesota.

    Now, to follow that, we had 2-3 weeks of temps where the AVERAGE temp, not the low, not the high, but the AVERAGE temp was roughly 0, -2 in that range. Highs around 5-8, lows -10 -> -18.

    For all the guys that salt salt salt and say "you have to have bare blacktop", how would you have gone about this?

    Mostly cloudy days, so no available sunlight.
  2. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    I think this one is very simple. You are running your account coverage too thin and can not service properly in a reasonably amount of time.

    Plowing takes no break for holidays and routes should be done in hours not days. You should kept track of the weather. Plowed, salted .... watched the rain situation ... maybe salted toward the end to keep the brine flowing .... You get the idea. Waiting till it's all over or not having proper coverage simply set you up for issues.
  3. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    We had freezing drizzle on the 24th, and rain on the 25, and i think snow on the 26th but i feel the same way you do. It is not always possible to have "bare pavement conditions". I have a contract that wants bare pavement conditions at all times and i told them i would not sign their scope of services due to that and the fact they sent me it after i signed the contract. I don't believe that its always possible to have bare pavement conditions, especially in the north like we are. Salt only works to 5 above and calcium chloride is very expensive. I get a great deal and get calcium chloride for around $3.50 a 50lb bag but i am limited on how much i can get so i have to make it last, I use around 250lb at one account and 125lb at another every time out and that covers the complete lot and walks. I think that people are used to the winter conditions where we live and expect slippery conditions in the winter time
  4. unit28

    unit28 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,634

    -20 wind chills too,
    not sure of the ground temp, the humidity had to be up for for it to rain
    If that matters to salt.

    I was driving through giant water puddles XMas night, but no slush because the temps dive bombed, then snow on top of that. The CC I threw at it just did not brine at all.
    So my guess would have been to salt using the CC like a mofo then go hibernate
    and turn the phone off. It's been three weeks and just now the temps like right now is 19. The high yesterday was 22. Little bit of fog today so the air is warming up, but the hard pack just sits there looking at me with evil eyes.
  5. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    For us, the rain seemed to fall with and on top of the last few inches of snow. The temps dropped within about four hours... we could not be everywhere at once, and since our contracts don't all demand it we focused on our zero toloerance accounts. They saw equipment more frequently and yes.... salt, salt, salt... probably 6-8 apps at least.

    One medium sized medical center got a bill for one storm equal to that of a whole winter on a 60-80 unit condo... We didn't even get a phone call... just a check already!
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,253

    Well, since the title says smart guys, I figured this one would be right up my alley. Although it really should say smart guys\gals. But I digress.

    Interesting, I would love to be enlightened on the -20 wind chill comment.

    The humidity part would be of great interest as well.

    Do tell!


    Think for now I'll sit back and have some :popcorn:
  7. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    Hey mark ...... I dunno. We had rain, freezing rain then a mix before and as temp dropped. we were able to keep the ice from rocking up before a few inches dropped with no real problem. My basic rock salt with a little kick kept it flowing for 3-4 hours at a time. I then had a crew out and all was good. But, it was through Christmas which was tough but, that is winter. Not like lawn care which can happen when it happens :D
  8. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    The snow on X-mas eve should have nothing to do with any thing, that should have been plowed away and the heavy rain on x-mas day would have created "bare blacktop" without the use of to much salt (may a pre-treatment, or a treatment after).
    When it turned back to snow I would have salted and plowed on Saturday and try to get it out of the way before it got that cold, with the use of a little salt you should not have 0.5" of ice...

    But who am I? I'm just a "smartguy"...
  9. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Timing is everything. Weather practices no religion and doesn't recognize holidays.
    If everyone elses lots are in the same state then I would guess you did everything you could or at the very least met area standards. If not, then :help:, chalk it up to a learning experience.:drinkup:
  10. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    Ya know 2COR is another smart cookie too! ;)

  11. unit28

    unit28 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,634

    I was just stating the facts of the weather conditions.
    Sure the conditions were brutally cold, the moisture was there to make it work but it didn't happen on my feeble attempt.
    It was blowing and drifting too. My guess is with the winds and dropping temps[where the snow came back in} the available moisture disapated faster than what the salt with CC would do in working comditions.
  12. Dissociative

    Dissociative 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,066

    that's kinda harsh Scott.....over the holiday i can see a lot of lots getting a little screwed up with those conditions
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  13. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,145

    The snow on the few days through and around christmas was a mess for everyone around here. For those that say you should have had bare blacktop no matter what you should move up here Im sure you could be a million dollar business overnight. As now 2 weeks later 9 of 10 lots are still an inch thick in ice and hardpack. It didnt snow christmas eve stop then again on christmas it snowed straight threw with rain in the middle. Im not saying you couldnt have done better the lots we are on are clean now and we worked 80 hrs in 4 days through chritsmas to make it that way and "keep up" the best we could. Most went through normal salt budgets by now and so on and I know alot of contractors that did what they could with out having to send in a bill 5-10 times larger than a normal snow. So for the people who sit on the internet in other states and tell someone they are not good at what they do because they do it where they are is rediculous.
  14. snowman55

    snowman55 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    lawnmower I hear you that was the worst I've seen since 1991. the only pavement sites have 0 tol specs so at my descetion we salted (treated salt + 100# calclor per ton) them every visit during strom. some 1 acre lots got 10 apps of a ton. they have bare pavement . townhomes and apts are still brutal. they won't budget for 0 tolerance so by monday when the ok came it it was below zero and too late.
  15. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    Me personally: I would have plowed the 4-8'' then salted, then salted again after the rain was over and temps dropped, then plowed the 4-6'' then salted, then maybe plowed again after the salt loosened up the "ice" a bit, then salted again, should be all good. We worked christmas eve, christmas night, and then over the next weekend, NBD. payup
  16. Rickslawn

    Rickslawn Junior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 20

    And whats the customer gonna say when you bill them for numerous saltings? He,s probably gonna wet himself.
    Most of the lots here still have icey areas,its not because of poor workmanship. Its just the temps have been to low for the product to work. Unless you use the 400.00 a ton stuff that works at 13 below. And nobody wants to pay for that either.

  17. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    most of our customers what say when is the bill due? if you say you're going to provide clean parking lots, then price it accordingly so that when you have some tougher storms over the year, you can afford to treat your salt, etc.
  18. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    A good customer will say to himself/herself "my contractor rocks. I made the right choice going someone who can service my site repeatedly throughout the worst day and keep my site good and safe."
  19. TKLAWN

    TKLAWN PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,637

    What good does it do to salt repeatidly if the high temps are in the single digits??. We plowed our lots three times over the x-mas storm and our lots looked better than most but still had ice pack. It's finally warmer this week so we are out scraping and stacking piles at our cost just so we have somewhere to go with it for next time. As far as i'm concerned everone was in the same boat for this one.
  20. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    Are you on a seasonal price contract??? If not, the customer should be charged for scraping and stacking. What would happen if you get a big event and piles needed to be pushed back to keep lanes open???