Does anybody do preseason training if so what is it?I have been thinking about putting castors on a plow and taking some of the new guys to actualy plow a lot so that they have some hands on training with me in the truck.
I do a few things, every year. Even with the vets that have a lot of time under their belts. Oh year, we always use the biggest truck, to make it as hard as possible ( so this year when the guys get into the F 250, after the course in the F 650, it's easy).
I do a cone course, with the blade up and down, when its down its on some really heavy duty casters. I do a back up test, over the road test, sand application test, useing non salted sand.
I never put a rookie in truck, without a year or two as a shoveler. This gets him some ride a long time, i try to get the ride a long time on the route he will get the following year. Everyone rookie starts on a residential route, and sees some commercial on small storms. Then from commercial, they stay there for a long time. They can move in two directions depending on their skills, equipment opperator, or priavte road plow truck driver (often seeing some commercial work as well as roads) Why do i put private roads as the hardest part. When you do a road, you have to be 10 times better than in a lot, because cars don't have much of a place to go, there are ditches, soft sholders in march, not a lot of room for a big truck.
I have one guy that is happy as a clam in the john deer tractor, has been doing it for 6 years now, doesn't even want to see a truck. So go figure.
One problem I have is no shovelers ride with plowers,they are a separate crew.My drivers are not allowed to get out of their truck,to help,to shovel,to jump batteries, nothing. It makes it easy whenthey are asked to help.I think I will try to do some castors,but I think I will use my BOSS so that I can give some hints on tight area techniques.I also have a guy who works for me full time who opperates my 4100 and that is all he wants to do.He shovels though,And I mean like a mad man I have to tell him to slow down,he literaly will flat out run with it and this is a four footer. It took me the first year to get him to wear sock and boots he was wearing tennees and no socks,do ask me I still am baffelled.I alway have to do a little training with him just to get him on the right track,He's a hard worker(30yrs old)just have to watch him but Its just fine with me, that tractor is as much machine as he will ever get.Geoff do you use any Cat Equip and have you thought of getting any of your operators certfied?
I haven't thought about getting the cat cerification for my operators. I do use cat loaders, backhoes, and exevators.
However i am looking at komatsu equipment, because of the cost savings. I admit cat builds a solid machine, however it is possible because of the nature of my biz. That some years i do a lot of major installs, and end up leasing equipment or buying equipment to handel the work load. The other years an exevator may sit idel for 3 weeks.
Geoff the only reason I asked was because at conexpo/Tinaha Hills CAT was really pushing that, and thought it might be a selling point.Both for excavation and snow. I have looked at Komatsu too, I have what is called a CAT 313bsr which is the same as a pc128uu. It was a grey market machine that I got at auction for a song,about 100,000 cheaper than a Komatsu new. The main problem w/komatsu here is our dealer is so bad and the cat dealer so good I can't see the total benifit.However I did just buy a new Fiat Allis crawler loader and saved a bunch but at least w/that I knew I was on my own.CAT has so much better service it would be hard to go else wear.Does any of you cat loaders have traction control?
Diggerman, a thought for you about your drivers not jump starting people. The very person you passed by could be the person who saves you or your workers valuable time and money. Of course, I remember when I need help who passed me by and who didn't. In other words, I wouldn't pull you out of a snowbank I you drove by me when I needed your help.
I'd love to sit around and think happy thoughts with you about how we all need to help our brother, but the reality is that the liability to my employees to the persons car is to great to take a chance. with 20 guys out plowing snow the odds are that several of them well meet someone who is need of help,the amount of lost work that I could incure leads me to this policy. Now there is no reason that a driver cannot call for a tow truck for them,but I would rather they stayed stuck and at home and out of my way.I am of the belief that there are far to many people on the snowy roads of this country just because they have a SUV,and they usually are in my way.So the the colder they stay and the more trouble they have the greater the odds that they just stay home the next time. Lastly if one of my drivers is stuck or needs a jump they are also not allowed to get help from anyone but our company for the same reason as above.
Diggerman, I can understand your reluctance to help the casual motorist who isn't bright enough to stay out of the weather. I am pretty much the same way, you drove in there, you can drive it out. The exception to that is other plow operators. It's rural here and we pretty much know each other. It's my standing policy that if you see another plower stuck you offer him the bad end of the tow strap. Ther eis one exception to that and it is a competitor who sat on the next lot from where my son was stuck and watched him try to shovel himself out. That was back when we had only one truck, maybe our second year plowing. I just hope I live long enough to see that SOB stuck (it happens to all of us sooner or later). I want to be able to ask him if he needs a tug, just before I remind him that so did my son, once upon a time, and THAT just before I plow him in deeper.
Like Alan, all of maine is spread out. Anyone who went to the SIMA conference, saw maine's most densely populated area, Portland. After portland everything spreads way out. My driver don't stop for motorist, unless it is an accident where people could be hurt. However if any one gets stuck plowing, even if its a guy with a bondo bucket. We offer a tow, they hook up to their truck with one of our chains, and we hook up to our truck.
However our policy is there truck is in nutural, and if we can't pull them out, they will have to call a tow truck. I don't want to have a guy back into us, during the towing operation.
Every truck has a 25' tow chain in it. It is on the pre plow check list. Check make sure its there.
Digger, maybe I didn't state myself clearer. I meant other plowers not casual motorist going for a spin, and I mean a spin, ha, ha. I don't waste alot of my precious time, however, I do give it a good faith effort to free up the person. But I would not jeopardise my own customers and bread and butter.
Thanks for the clarification,we are in a town of twenty thousand,people and twenty thousand students(big diff tween students and people) and it may take all of 20 min to get across town and you are never more than 3 to 4 min walk from a phone so help for most plow guys is real close,and most have cell phones and a buddy that works with them.
I whole heartedly agree with Alan.If its another plower compitition or not my guys will stop for a quick pull,but if its a competitor who has an attitude see ya later and my guys know who to help and who to fend for themselves.As far as citizens if its a situation where some one could be hurt my guys stop.But, if its kids foolin around in our lots doing donuts or something real constructive like that forget about it.We had kids get hung up on an entrance to 1 of our shopping centers and they came over to the loader operator with a 12ft pusher on the machine and asked if he could push them off the snowpile.The operator called me and told me these kids were foolin around while he was trying to clear the lot. So told him he can move there car and the snow bank together and make sure that they will have to call a wrecker to get them off the snowbank, when he stops pushing them.