plowing universities?


I go to a large college in VA. I had to go there today to do some paperwork and the plowing was the worst job i have seen in my life. They managed to plow the main road. but none of the parking lots were plowed at all. they took maybe one pass to clear the lanes in the lot, but not the spaces. And there weren't any cars parked there. The loading docks for the main building on campus weren't even cleared. I went to the building maintence facility to try to get an RFP and there were 5 plow trucks sitting, doing nothing. The maintence guys said the they don't put the plowing job out for bid, and the reason it wasn't plowed well was because the VP said not to, to save money because class wasn't in session.

That might be believable, but they did the same horrible job with the storm we had in december.

I'm ticked that my school can't provide a higher level of service. And I also see a business opportunity.

any ideas as to how to convince them to put plowing out for bid, or to do a better job.

a palustris

new york
I also go to a large university. Trust me... it's not worth even trying. My school is on 1200 acres. 26,000 people go there. They could be a lot more proficient I think at cleaning up snow... but whatever. If they are trying to cut costs doing it themselves, and cutting jobs, and hiking tuitions, and other BS stuff... they will not have the money to sub out plowing.

Somerville MA.
Direct them to this site. I'm not joking, if they can't pickup on why they should plow the lots in a safe manner after a few hours of reading this site (or sima's website) than you can't help them.

BTW forget about getting them to subcontract it to you or anyone else. They invested in all that equipment for a reason.

I live next to Tufts University and have talked to some of their maintaince personnel over the years. From what I have been told the building department has to justify its budget (and jobs) and new trucks and plows (they purchased new trucks in each of the last two years) go along way to helping them do that. Some of the larger Universities around here do contract out some of their work since they have no choice (Harvard and MIT have enormous facilities) but they have been very cheap in our experience and we have stopped submitting bids to them. BTW talk to Gordyo he manages snow at a college in Massachusetts so maybe he can help you out. Good luck.


the one thing i have going for me is that most of the school's plowing equipment is pretty old. Dodge sno commanders. The one guy i saw plowing, was just cutting through a parking lot, he hit thirty and dropped the blade, there was a lot of snow his blade didn't scrape up in his path.
Saving Money?

We have the same situation at my work. They don't want to spend any money on snow removal unless we get several inches, and by that time almost the whole lot is one big compacted sheet of ice (lots of tractor/trailers). Never any salt. Every year I see people fall down-myself included on a few occasions. I was just saying the other day how inexpensive that snow removal/ice control is going to seem after they have just ONE person sue. And it really is just a matter of time-especially in today's litigious society.


Senior Member
BTW talk to Gordyo he manages snow at a college in Massachusetts so maybe he can help you out.

Ok I will chime in.

I have been at the college I work for for 16 years. We have all our own equipment with the exception of a Bobcat that I lease from a Landscape Contractor. 2 4x4 Dump Trucks, 2 4x4 Pickup Trucks, 1 Loader, 1 Backhoe, 2 Utility Tractors and a V-Box. Most of this equipment would be here even if the college was in Miami Florida because it is needed by the Grounds Dept. If this stuff was not plowing snow in the winter it would be sitting idle. What contractor likes to see his equipment sit?? It's not making money if it is sitting. We are not being fiscally responsable with our resources if we purchase a $42,000 dump truck that does not plow snow and just sits in the winter waiting for spring. Snow and Ice is a major part of the Grounds Depts. jobs in the winter. This is how they justify keeping grounds staff on year round. Most College and Universities Grounds staff provide the snow removal equipment, operators, and oversite for it, and the custodial dept. provides labor for shoveling. Working snow and ice at a College or University that is a hussle and bussle of activity 24/7 is alot different then working snow at a shopping mall or a large facility that closes at night and everyone goes home. The stress level at a facility that is open 24/7 with people walking and driving everywere is immense, (Just ask JCurtis who runs snow at a Hospital). I can understand why the level of service goes down when there is noone around for a month. In my case we still do everything, just not as fast and right away as we would if the students were on campus. It is still done within one day of a storm. By the way you will probably be interested to note that I spend half my Snow Removal budget before even one snowflake falls to the ground purchasing Salt, Ice Melt, Shovels, Spare parts etc. etc. Last year I didn't spend my whole budget all winter. This year I have already gone through my whole budget and winter is only half over.
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