Plowing times versus depth

In another thread ADM services said they had a lot that took less than two hours with 2-4" of snow and 10 hours with 12". I'm wondering if others of you find it takes this much longer for a heavy snow.

If I charge based on 2-4" accumulations how do I cover myself so if we get an 8-12" storm I get paid for the work I do without charging T&M??? In Adm's case, I would have to charge 5x as much, or for five plowings.

According to a book I have, the time would only increase from one hour to do 50,000 square feet at a 4" depth to two hours to plow the same area at a 12" depth. Do these numbers line up with your experience or would ADM's experience likely be more typical???

Is there an unknown factor that could have taken ADM longer (wet, heavy snow )? How do I plan for these things since I am generally going to be plowing 4" and less and base my per push rate on 2-4" plow times?

John Allin Addict
Erie, PA
This is not, in any way, based upon scientific theory - but gut feel tells me that it shouldn't take 5 times as long from 4" to 12". It DOES take longer, no doubt, but 5 times "feels" wrong - unless the moisture content of the snow is significantly higher. Type of equipment makes a difference too. If you're using a 14 ft. snowpusher on that 50,000 feet, the uptime would be negligible but with 7 1/2 ft straight blades it would be much more. My "guess" would be about double on that size lot. The time frame changes with larger lots. A 50 acre lot would take longer simply because you cannot 'roll' that much snow with a pickup. And you would tax even a loader more with a longer run, even with a snow pusher.

A bit vague, but hope that helps. I'm sure you'll get much more arguement on this as the thread gets longer. Gotta be lots of different opinions on this one out there.


Senior Member
Moisture content is ONE factor.

Where you have to push the snow TO is another. If you have a 1 acre lot and all the snow has to go in 1 spot, 12" could easily take 5x longer if you have only a pick-up w/ 7.5' straight blade.

It's those HEAVY snows where you start to be thankful for all those (otherwise pesky) parking lot islands.

Basically to CYA, you state that 6" or over accumulation will result in charging for 2 trips.