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Plowing gravel drives

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by merrimacmill, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Hey everyone, I just got a call today to plow a 300 foot gravel driveway. If I take the job then I get to plow their neighbors driveway as well. Now I'm sure that the answer is obveous to everyone here but I've never plowed a gravel driveway before. How is it plowing a gravel driveway? Worth it or not? What sounds like a good price for one of these driveways? Thanks for any help. I'm going out this afternoon to check it out.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2007
  2. Mick

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

    How wide? Flat? Any backdragging? Then it's going to depend on your area. If you answer those, maybe someone around you will chime in.
  3. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    The guy told me they're flat, about 2 passes (one down the driveway and another back) and theres a small parking area at the end for a couple cars. I don't think theres any backdragging.
  4. Langlois Enterprise

    Langlois Enterprise Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Plowing gravel driveways

    I would make sure the ground is frozen, if not leave an inch or two of snow to be packed in the the wheels. Once you have built up a base you will be fine. Back dragging is not as hard on the gravel as plowing forward is. The other factor is the plow you are using, each type is a little different, V plow, down pressure, & weight of plow. Sometimes the experience is a learning curve, go for it!!! Just take it slow & clean up in the spring.

  5. grotecguy

    grotecguy Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    My drive is gravel & I hate raking rock out of the yard come springtime.

    I always have my window down and listen to what the plow is doing. Go slow. I start with the plow up just a bit and adjust from there. Listen for the plow to start digging in and bump it up a bit. When it quits bump it down just a bit. I guess I do my plowing by sonar.

    Try to pile most of the snow in 1 area to cut down on springtime cleanup.

    I guess you could also run shoes??
    Mark K
  6. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    mark, buy yourself a stihl kombi system, and get the paddle. they work great for flipping stones off the grass and back into the drive, plus then you have the unit to go buy the other things like pole chainsaw, edger, tiller, trimmer.

    charge more for gravel because you will have to take your time especially when they aren't frozen yet. remember you WANT to be driving on snow.
  7. snow7899

    snow7899 Senior Member
    Messages: 234

    I have to plow 2 gravel parking lots. I currently have a x-blade fisher, which is great on all my other lots, except for the gravel. The best setup i have used is a standard fisher with the shoes keeping the blade off the ground about a half to a full inch. good luck.
  8. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    I got there today to check out the drive and it was only about 100 feet long or less and about a pass wide (i'll do two, one comming in and one leaving) and they want all the snow at the end of the driveway. So theres no backdragging or anything. So I quoted $50 for a push after a 2-6 inch storm and $60 for a 7+ inch storm. They took it and signed the contract. But when I was leaving they said if its "not worth my time but I do a good job they can pay a little more to keep me comming back" so that made me feel like I bid to low :cry: . But you live you learn. What do you guys think?

    So today marks the day of my first real contract. I've been plowing our own lots for years now but this is my first year making money at it, instead of spending money. So about 15 minutes after that I get a call for another driveway, and then another and I signed contracts with all of them today. And now the snows flying. Thanks for all the help,

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2007
  9. Mick

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

    You're obviously happy with it, so don't second guess yourself or read into what they said. Do a good job and raise it a little (or more) next year. You'll soon figure out what your market is. Don't worry about it.
  10. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Sounds good, thanks for the help.
  11. Lubold8431

    Lubold8431 Member
    Messages: 92

    Sounds like you quoted a fair price. Thats what Im getting over here for a similar length driveway. I;m at the other end of the state. I plow gravel drives all the time, and I run a 8' FIsher with shoes. I tear up my own driveway more than anyone else's. Just a little springtime cleanup, and you're good to go.
  12. poncho62

    poncho62 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    If the ground stays frozen, gravel is no problem.....early and late winter (early spring) is when you have to be more careful
  13. Donny O.

    Donny O. Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    I have a couple gravel and a couple asphalt...even my own drive ways I have 1 gravel and 1 asphalt so i'm always taking shoes on and off. I jsut have them set about 1/2" off the ground and it takes 30 seconds to put them on and take them off. still dig up some grael on ocasion but it's not to bad.
  14. Daner

    Daner PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,187

    I do gravel drives all the time...I never use shoes...keep the weight off the blade until its frozen...at 50 bucks...My price would be higher...but you will still make money on It.
  15. DeereGuy

    DeereGuy Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    I'd take it and I'm just a few miles north of you. I still do alot of gravel and the x-blade can make it hard on the coast as things never stay frozen for long. The price is probably fair as things are crazy competitive this year.

    If its frozen you can lower your plow and try to work on full angle as it won't typically catch this way. If its not frozen just barely angle it and no real pressure. Touch down and pop it up. The trailing end may drag alittle but thats the nature of the beast. try to get it down in one shot. If you leave too much and you have to come back for another storm after the two inches you left has frozen, it may not be a fun time. As long as the drive is fairly well groomed and even it'll be easy. If its full of bumps it'll be awfull as you'll be porpoising all over the place making it worse. This is only true during warmups when you can't put the plow down as it causes to much damage. Really good gravel is never a problem but the sandy silty stuff well.. you get the picture.
  16. Pennings Garden

    Pennings Garden Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 242

    If the ground is not frozen you might want to run up and down the drive with your plow up to compact a little snow, if you truck is heavy enough (like mine with about a 1 1/2 ton of salt or other ballast) it will compact the snow enough that your plow will "glide" right over your tire tracks and not dig in to much.
  17. gravel

    Get a yard-guard for $80 and do all the gravel drives around for $50ea.

    Gravel is the norm here so are yard-guards--until things are rather permanently
    frozen and packed.

    You would be surprised that the pipe on the bottom of your blade will also
    clean paved drives/roads.

    I only have trouble with wet snow that got packed down from tire tracks or back

    Pea-stone is another matter.
    THAT,.. I can only back blade. And charge accordingly.
  18. mike psd

    mike psd PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,028

    as long as it solid base of modified or something like it gravy if have a guys with a rutted cow path that makes life much harder LOL . one place i go has a tight turn at the top of hill and when carry a full load it gets tricky . if the money is green and not gunna wreck you truck go for it
  19. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    What is a yard guard? I just got another gravel/dirt/stuff.. driveway today. It appears to be a yard that was just driven over so much that it turned into a driveway.
  20. yardsmith

    yardsmith Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    you have good AND bad-you may have underbid, but most of us NEVER get a customer to admit that. After 2 plows, if THEY bring it up, just humbly say, "you know I think I did figure that a little too low. Would 70 (or whatever) be ok?" Just don't jump it TOO much, & they'll prob. respect you for that. Then you'll def feel better.
    I drop my plow about 75% all the way down, & Listen for the gravel noise, then bump bump bump the plow up till I hear just a little bit of gravel scraping. Don't go too wide into the yard, & most of it should stay in the drive. Good luck