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Snowblowers vs shoveling

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by snowplower1, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    For the last 30 years we have only used a snowblower on one property, it was a really large one.
    I am wondering if anyone can give me some first hand experience on whether or not there is a snowblower that is worth the money and is faster than shoveling.
    I am wondering this as I want to make my shoveling crew as efficient as I can as we have quite a lot of sidewalk to cover this year.
    In the past it has always been easy with just shovels, usually could knock each one off in 10-15 and get 15-20 properties done in a morning. But now I have 8 or so properties that are probably going to take around 20-25 minutes to shovel. Any help on whether snowblowers will really speed up this process or if shoveling is as always still faster. Thanks guys!
  2. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,676

    The only time we get the blowers out is for heavy storms. Shoveling is always faster than blowers for us, just a matter of not killing the crew on big storms.
  3. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Agree and then u load and unload fuel up and hope no break downs
    I'd rather pay an extra guy or two then rely on a snow blower most are junk
  4. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    That's where I've always been with them, I've always said it takes longer to unload and load them and fuel them and figure out why is not starting than it does to just pay to shovel
  5. Spence92

    Spence92 Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I use my blower for 4+ inches... anything below that I just shovel
  6. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    Alright, what kind of blower do you use that is good for bigger snows such as that? Does it go pretty quick?
  7. GMCHD plower

    GMCHD plower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,831

    Like Spence I usually will shovel anything less than 4", over that however I use blowers, I have a Troy built single stage (POS but has saved me a few times), a Honda 520 Single stage, and a Yard Machine 2 stage. 9/10 times I'll take the Homda, for a little single stage blower it is an animal, it will blow 4-6" just about as fast as you can walk, only down fall is it is a little heavy due to being a 4stroke
  8. Spence92

    Spence92 Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I only use single stages mostly 20" toros
    Then for all the light stuff I have wide shovels to nock out the walks real fast.

    I wear them out pretty quick, I do not like 2 stages so I plan on buying a single stage every year.
  9. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    For me, some guys like shovels and other like blowers. I've got 3 single stage that some use and others don't like bothering with them. U just try to keep people happy. Shovel is cheaper, no gas, and faster most of the time. For big storms that we can't keep up with I have two 2 stages. They are pretty slow but it doesn't kill the guys. Those who aren't using 2 stage use the single stage and just chop at the snow. For the most part people are happy.
    You may also loom into The Snow Plow shovels. I picked up a few Snow Graders this year. Seem like they will make the jobs fly.
  10. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,910

    We just switched to thesnowplow shovels last year for the little bit of hand work we do. WELL worth it!

    Ventrac does most of our walks, what it can't get are done with either compact 24 Ariens or single stage Honda's or by hand. Anything 4+ gets the Honda's and under that gets shoveled. All (98%) of our walks are 48+ inches wide, so aside from not being able to get the Ventrac to it (rare) we don't do much hand work. The Ventrac cut out just over 50 man hours per event. Less than 3 seasons pays for the machine in labor savings, plus not having to deal with the extra 9 guys that never want to show up to make 15 bucks an hour. Not to mention salt savings.]

    I should say, light snows (2-4 inches of fluffy powder) backpack blowers kick ass, along with a turbine blower on the Ventrac. Our guys literally run down walks with backpacks clearing them, it's impressive.
  11. cj7plowing

    cj7plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    I have my guys use back pack leaf blowers for 2" or less.
    I have a bunch of 621 and 721 toros and they have been really good. I am really impressed at the amount of snow they move. we use them to about 8" I am gonna buy two more 721s this year.

    I look at it this way. the first two jobs the shovelers might be faster but as the work goes on they start slowing down and the snow blower is still going as fast as it was at the first job. time is money and you only get a certain amount of time to clear the jobsites. I also found that my shovelers are more inclined to show up if they know they don't have to brake there ass.

    when we get slammed with snow I have 4 big 2 stage john deere blowers, that will eat almost 20" of snow. they are absolute beast, they are the same as the snapper snow blowers. They have been very good as far as brake downs and these ones are 4 years old now.
  12. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    I have been looking into those 721 toro blowers. i have heard so many good things about them. I may pick one up this year for the big snows. last year i had 2 of my best workers shoveling but they're no longer with me which sucks because they were so fast and did such a nice job now i worry that i won't be able to find quite as good of workers.
  13. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    Which shovels did you get? Like I said I picked up the snow grader and am a little worried about not having enough pressure on the blade. Ever used these? I may pick up a couple 3' and 4' shovels for clean up and quick work for those 1/2-3" snows. I'll see what everyone and myself like best.