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Staking/marking properties

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Dr Who, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I have thought about staking a few//most of my properties so I do not end up hitting the curbs,speed bumps and other things that I do not know is there.

    See I usually end up with a lot of 1 timers, I have some commercial lots that I ended up with this year, in a snow/ice storm threw a landscaping company.
    I never know were things are until I hit them, so I am always going extra slow and it eats into my time.
    I am looking to speed things up for next winter, I want to get more properties and hopefully at least one more truck if not 2.

    My only concern is people stealing them, I know the fiberglass ones are fairly cheap, inf not close to the same price of wooden survey sticks/lathing.
    But around here we do not get a lot of snow, so the property owners will most likely not want them on there property, or people will steal them or even worse they will get moved around and I will end up hitting what I have already marked off.
    I do survey work and people are all the time moving the stakes for what ever reason, be it they are thinking they are being funny or they are trying to be hateful.

    I think these things are a great idea, but do you all that use them have problems with people messing with them, property owners complaining or removing them, people stealing them or moving them around so you end up hitting something?
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    never had one stolen....cuz I never use them
    thats why you look at the accounts....BEFORE snow flies
    if it is a 1 timer then you have no idea whats there anyway
  3. 496 BB

    496 BB Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    They are invaluable. I never really though you would need em but they are GREAT when you cant see crap on the ground from snow cover. Also great when you have employees and never been to certain lots before. That way they know where to plow.

    Never had anyone steal any that Ive seen at least. Im sure it will happen though. We use thin green ones that are fiberglass and they are hardly recognizable until you need em. If people b!tch about em tell em its either those for a couple months or you are taking out the damage clause in your contracts.

    I did a lot last week for someone who hadnt staked and trust me when I say I found EVERY grassy part of the edge of the parking lot. Blade tripping like crazy and thats annoying as hell.
  4. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    Oh boy, there is always something with you. My advice is that before you drop your blade anymore you have a meeting with your insurance company, if you have any, if you don't get some. The next immediate stop should be at a good contract lawyers office. Explain your concerns of everything from pricing to markers and have them draw up a contract. This will cost you about $300-1000. Is it worth ruining the rest of your life because you wanted to make money plowing, but just winged it. Those one time deals can destroy you real quick if things go wrong. Can you afford a $30,000 repair out of pocket?

    To answer your question though. You will always lose some stakes to breakage and whatnot, but generally you will get most back. You can sell them to the client, but then you better replace them when they break, or you just supply them and take your losses. I typically lease them to mine.
  5. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    ya put them in, I doubt people will steal them or move them. Plus now that the ground is frozen, if you put bigger ones in 4 or 5' markers and you put them in deep enough, they wont come out until the spring thaw. It works out well for me actually. I dont have to buy markers, my dad works at a steel bar manufacturing company. Once a month i go down and pick up all their miss cuts. usually a nice load and the bars range from 10-15 feet long. I just take the saw and cut them and hit them with some rustoleum hi vis paint and boom i have my markers for free basically. On residentials we will use the fiberglass ones becasue they wont want metal pipes all over but for commercial it works great.

    And I agree with 496. In our contract it states that by signing this agreement you are giving us permission to stake all obsticals on your property. Specific areas that the customer requests that the company places the snow or areas not to place the snow should be made known prior to property staking. Company is not held liable for any damage to the property in which the customer refused to allow staking. All stakes will be provided by the company. Stakes will range in height from 36"-60" in height.

    Also I see some people just going nuts with stakes, like one smalle little island has 10 stakes. Theres no need for that many. You dont need everysingle little bend in the concrete, but just a guide. Straight aways we put them every roughly every 50 feet. If we arent allowed to pile snow somewhere, thats when we put a lot of stakes there. We will put 60" stakes in a row to block off that area per say.
  6. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    Just thinking about staking Propertys Now.....:dizzy:......Try again next year........Move on to you Next Dilemma....:dizzy:....:help:
  7. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 595


    Helps finding the edges
    Saves on sod repairs
    Saves on plow repairs
    Helps you remember the property you visited when no snow on the ground
    Yes people mess with them - not enough to not stake

    I failed to stake an island one time - had enough snow that I could not tell where the curbing was and smacked it with a brand new v blade. You guessed - bent the wing.

    I would encourage you to stake your properties.
  8. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    I've been plowing a while<< lets just leave it at that!
    But I still stake driveways
    I hate the ones where the kids pull them up then in the spring you see a pile of gas you dug up right next to the 4-6 stakes you put up........

    In my contract i have a clause that states You are responsible for your property damage If your kids/guest play/ remove the Green driveway makers i use to guide my plow up your driveway. to avoid Wall,sprinkler,grass,and other objects that may be hidden once it snows.
    (thats not exactly what it says but its close!)

    For most of my commercial work like subdivisions and some churches/ temples i dont stake all the time. Due to the reason that they are SOOO big and most i've been doing since i was a kid.
    So i know where almost every pot whole, speed bump, big rock, etc are! Just because i've had to scoop my face off the windshield so many times!
  9. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,143

    I'm going to send you the bill for a new keyboard. I just spit tea all over it. :D The mental picture I had in my head when I read that had me LOL
  10. tjslider

    tjslider Member
    Messages: 42

    I second that!!!


    Keep the white stuff fallin'
  11. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    I'm gonna guess that the ground has no frost in it right now?

    We use stakes on some stuff, and not on others. We charge some accounts for them, but most we don't.
  12. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Nope, the ground don't stay frozen here for very long, maybe a week at best. We get cold, it snows, get about 2-3 inches sticking, 3-4 days later its all gone and the ground is thawed out and muddy as can be. I would say that we have more Non-frozen ground in the winter then we do frozen ground, generaly speaking....
  13. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    that is what I am tying to do, get all my ducks in a row for next year, but then again...its 40 now and no snow on the mud/ground :)...
  14. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Yeah, there is always something with me, I am asking questions to learn what to do and what not to do....
    You see, things are way different here, and I have very limited resources to ask about plowing snow, I have my good friend who plowed 20 years ago, but other then him I don't have anyone to learn from.
    I have only been plowing for 3 years, I have mainly done sub work for some landscaping companies that have no idea how to do any snow removal. I do a better job then the people that I work for not to mention the other landscaping companies.

    The only reason I joined this site was to learn how to plow snow the correct way and the professional way, I do not want to be some fly by night guy. I am in this for the long hall, why? because I have always wanted to plow snow and I enjoy it (for now).

    I have insurance, I got it a few months ago, the first 2 years, no I did not have it and I really do not need it this year because I do more sub work then anything else. But I got the insurance because I did not want to pay for any damages that I did or anyone falling since most of the people I do on call or 1 time do not want to pay for ice melt/salt. So it was a pre-caution to cover my but if something happens. Does my snow plowing cover the cost of insurance? yeah, do I make a profit after words? yeah, am I breaking even? yeah. But I am covered and that is all that matters....

    as for talking to my insurance company (state farm) what good would that do, they have no ideas about snow removal, contracts or anything like that. They had a hard time getting me a policy as it were, but I got one now.

    as for lawyers, "contracts? why do you need a contract? your just plowing snow. Insurance? yeah you may need that, but d owe get enough snow even to plow?"

    This is why I ask a lot of questions, I am trying to learn from you Yankees :) up north
    that get snow for 6 months out of the year, rather then our 3-5 snows in 3 months total.
    We do not get that much snow, 6 inches here is a catastrophe, so I have no one to really rely on for good sound/working advice. That is were you guys come in, you deal with winter weather for months at a time, you all have tried a lot of things, some work and some don't. I want to learn this, I want to do my job right, the right way, not half-azzed like everyone else does around here.
    I want to learn how to walk into any state during any size storm and know what to do (for the most part). that way if we ever got hit with something crazy like 12 inches, I would know what to do were as everyone else would be scratching there head....

    I want to be able to run with the big dogs if the situation is called for, not sitting on the porch licking my tail.. so therefor I ask questions, lots of questions as that is how we learn..... :)
  15. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    see that is the problem I have been having, every property I do has been someone calling me cause it needs to be done right then. I have got hooked up with a land scape company this year, I got them out of a jam (someone stole one of there plows). I now have 6 of there properties, but the first time I did them, it was 3 inches of snow on top of 2 inches ice..
    the rest are the same way, and I got them all in the same storm. I had never seen the properties before and most I will never see again. You see, people down here do not plan for snow, they do not even think about getting there lots plowed until they are so slick people complain about them, then they may call someone to try to clear it.

    We hardly get any snow, when it does snow everyone freaks out. We get 3 inches, then people call wanting you to do there lot, after its done snowing and after its been driven on all day....
    No for thought at all in snow removal, getting people to call before the snow for a walk over and a good quote, well that just don't happen.
  16. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Everyone is talking about contracts, I have tried and tried to get the people that I do plow for to sign a contract, but so far no one will.
    I have tried several times, talked to the few customers I have (most have more then one property) about the contracts and that they NEED to sign them. But I still have not gotten one signed, all I get it the run around or I have to look it over again crap.

    Ok, so if they do not sign, then I do not plow, right? well if that was the case, I would have 2 resy drives that I get a total of 70 bucks (no contract, I have just been doing it for the past 3 years). yeah, that will not even pay for my insurance...

    So what do I do? I just keep plowing them when they call, I tell them that they have to either sign the contract or call me, I will not go to the property unless I have one or the other....

    Every time I say anything about a contract to someone I just quoted a price, they freak out or they just tell me they do not want to have there snow cleared or they only want it this time and never again. I think the word contract scares them, I have talked to at least 12 separate people this winter and not a one will sign the thing. I have only 3 people that I plow for out of the 12 that I said the word contract to. I have probably priced lots to 15 or so more different people that I never got to the word contract, it never got past the price...

    Now people do have contracts for snow removal here, but they are contracts for Everything all year, not just snow. Companies have contracts that are for land scaping, mowing, fall clean up and snow plowing. Because in Lexington if you do not mow your grass, you get a heavy fine, 500.00 min for the city to mow it for you. Snow, well no one cares about that, it will melt off in a few days anyway....Oh wait, you have had a couple dozen customers complain about the slick lot, well I guess we need to call someone cheap to come clean it off....

    If I went to some commercial properties this summer/fall and talked to them about snow plowing for the winter, they would laugh me off the property since "its 80 degree out and it doesn"t not snow that much here, I will worry about it when its winter/snowing"

    Like I said before, I am on this site to learn how to do things right, I want to be able to work any were in the country plowing snow and know what I am supposed to do. I am somewhat green, I have 3 years under my belt, that may be a total of 15 plowing events, if that.
    Its a whole different world down here when it comes to snow, so please people do not think me some ignorant fly by night guy, I am trying to learn....

    Lexington Ky is the hardest place to make a living as a small service business, people here are just stupid. They want to have something done by the big names, just so they can complain about the costs, or to brag about there big name service they get.
    The little guy, well if he has been in business for 20 years, yeah they will do fine, but just starting out...good luck getting any business or paid!

    But, this fall/late summer I am going to try anyway to get my own lots With a contract, how am I going to do this? I am going to do it the way that I know how, and that is what I learned from you guys on this site. If it does not work, well my stuff is paid for, I will drop my insurance and just keep my 2 resy drives clean and keep my road clear (that I do not get paid for).
    But if I do get the jobs, its cause I was knowledgeable, professional and knew alot more about clearing snow then anyone else in this stupid town...why? the people on plowsite gave me the tools I needed....I hope :)
  17. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    see, this is what I thought...

    I had never seen any ting staked out before, that was until last Feb (i think it was) I was up in southern Pa, outside Lebanon I think it was (were they have that great Bologna). Anyway, I was up at the National Cemetery doing some surveying, there was all these survey stakes with red/orange paint on them... Whats that for? Oh they marked off the road and sidewalks so they know were they are at when they are plowing.

    I thought that was one great idea, and it seemed to work since it snowed 17 inches that weekend (surveying in 17 inches is not fun). I thought it would be a great idea for me to use when I plow lots, only problem was I do not get the job until its snowed, then I am just guessing...
    I did not stake off my 2 resy drives, I wish I had, I just do not know what they would think about it. I need to talk to them about it, but one is an 80yr old lady and the other one I have only met once and would not know her if I seen her at the store....

    one good thing is we do not really get a lot of snow, so you can usually tell were the curbs are,most of the time. its the things that are level with the drive/lot or the parking stops that get the snow thrown on them from the sidewalks that I hate the most.. well that and the stupid speed bumps.

    Speaking of speed bumps, how do you all mark them? sit a stake in a bucket of dirt on either side of it (if its pavement on both sides)? That is what I thought about doing, if I had the properties full time.

    STIHL GUY Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 663

    we have fiberglass stakes and nobody steals them...there pretty durable as well...ive run plenty over and they just spring back into place lol...its always good to know whats around you and what you need to look out for
  19. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Good luck getting someone here to pay for stakes, you do good to get them to pay for salt/ice melt and that is after you have to almost beg them to let you plow there snow.

    I have a hard time getting the snow plowing job or get paid for it after words, salt..yeah I end up using most of what I buy on my own drive or just storing it till the next snow. I hardly ever get to put any down, and if I do its rare as no one will pay for it.
    I usually end up just putting some down in the high traffic areas for free, just to cover my tail if someone were to fall. But I do not do this that often as i can not afford to give salt or ice melt away. And I only do it if there is ice there, if I can get the snow/ice off, well I just leave it. But if there is some thick ice, I will throw a hand full down...

    getting them to pay for stakes, I do not think that there is a property in this town that is staked off and I am sure that no one would know why there there or that they are just an un-necessary expense/ eye sore....
  20. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I when to the website of the dude that is a sponsor on this site for the fiberglass ones. That is what I would what to have, but I was afraid of them getting taken, so I figured the wooden ones would be better, since they are just wood...

    I may try the wooden ones next year, see if they get messed with then maybe get some fiberglass ones to try....