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The worst work experience I ever had

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by roblandscape, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. roblandscape

    roblandscape Senior Member
    from Phila
    Messages: 185

    In S.e. Pa. we got 4-5 inches of solid ice, three hours after the storm stopped, the plow and snowblowers were useless. I would go to plow the stuff that looked like snow and the plow would go right on top of it. The only thing that worked was using bed edging spades to chip the ice. Luckily my commercials properties I did while it was sleeting and got them all clean, but my 20 residential drives were and still are a mess 3 days later. Luckily everyone is pretty understanding. I am done with residential next year. My truck and plow took a bad beating I am now hearing rattles when driving. This was no fun, I haven't been able to relax four four days. What a nightmare.

    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    I Hear Ya,

    I think that one of the only things that saved us is the fact that the March sun is strong and things started to break up around 10am on Saturday.
    We did everything twice once on Friday before the evening rush hour and then again Saturday morning. Had one of my trucks go down on Friday night (U-joints in the front drive shaft) and one Shovel broke:cry: other than that everything went well.
    I would really rather not see another Storm like that for a loooong time. we got about 5 inches of nice fluffy snow and then about 4 inches of pure sleet.
    The other thing that killed us was that the ground temp was warm before this event started so what did accumulate in the beginning started to turn to ice on the ground. This made it very difficult to scrape. But what can you do? I don't know about the rest of you but my plows were not designed to Push or Back-drag ICE.

    Happy Plowing and lets hope this is the last of it.

  3. Evan528

    Evan528 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 153

    This storm was enough to make me consider getting out of the snow business. I think I have had enough over the years and this just confirmed it! This storm I had machinery breaking down left and right! The one machine that was doing anything to move this ice was my toro dingo.....well from trying to pry such hard ice with it the machine blew a hydrolic hose and I had oil spraying out all over! I had my phone ringing off the hook from people wonderg when I would get them plowed out...... unfortunatly I couldnt even move this crap!!! They didint want to hear that! What a frustrating last few days:realmad: !!! Bring on spring!!!!!
  4. lawnboy11

    lawnboy11 Senior Member
    Messages: 263

    Pure torture. I'd rather have a foot of regular old snow, even wet snow. First Vaelntine's day was 2" of ice and then St. PAt's was 4". The way the slush was all the crap in the entire street was plowed onto the sidewalks and added 3-12 more inches of icy crap on top of that, after I had already finished the walks :realmad: sleet. I hate the plows, but not the guys driving them and I'm glad the roads were safe too.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  5. Mark in MD

    Mark in MD Member
    Messages: 40

    The snow / ice storm we got here in Maryland last month was the worst I've experienced in 12 years. Everything was fine until dusk, when the wet snow froze like rock. It stayed like that for two weeks.

    I had a church with a driveway on a main road -- the county plows had placed 12 inches of solic rock hard ice in the driveway.

    I was able to plow the parking lot by using a steel spade hand tool to chip a three inch slot (the ice was three inches deep) the width of the plow so I could fit the plow down into it. Thankfully, the plow edge was able to get underneath it and tear it up. That was a break.

    But that was nothing compared to clearing the driveway. I banged into it a couple times, but it was like slamming into a concrete wall. I had to take a pick axe and chop a slot on the left side of the driveway from the street to the paved lot, which was about ten feet distance. Then I had to do it again on the right side of the driveway, which formed a sort of puzzle piece which was independent of the rest of the ice. Then I backed my truck up and slammed into it like a battering ram. Finally the huge chunk of ice broke free, and I pushed it, whole, into a corner.

    Just clearing that tiny little driveway took me three hours. Worst job of my life.

    I ain't getting any younger. I am seriously questioning whether I want to continue doing this ****
  6. dirt digger

    dirt digger Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    my tractor with scraper blade picked it up ok...haha, but it took me about 45 minutes for a drive that should have taken 15
  7. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,829

    One of my accounts is a temple. Across the street from the temple is the Rabbi's house. In my contract i wound only do the house if I was called to do it. (Last year I plowed it at night when i was done with the temple, and the next day he tore me a new a**hole. Because it was 11:30 at night) When i finished the temple, it was 3:45 in the morning, there was no way i was doing it at that time. So I left and went to my other accounts. 6;30 i went home to take a nap. I got back up around 10am (st.pats day),temp was in the mid 40's and went to my other accounts to clean up around the cars that were there the night before. I never heard from the Rabbi. I assumed he didn't need me.... Well i got a call at 9:00 at night to plow his driveway. It is a 3 car driveway right on a main road, it was literally 12" thick of solid ice. I broke my a** trying to plow that. When i was done i knocked on his door and i told him that if he wanted it done he should have called me in the morning or afternoon, not at 9:00 at night. I said it was melting during the day it would have taken me 10 min tops, I was there almost an hour. It was a real killer.
  8. roblandscape

    roblandscape Senior Member
    from Phila
    Messages: 185

    I finally finished, it took me five days to complete my route, A 4-5 inch storm usually takes 6-7 hours to finish. I doubled all my driveways and comercials with an ice surcharge. I am also thinking about getting out of the Business this whole year has been crazy and I dont know if it is worth it to me anymore, I think I did more damage to my equipment and my back than money I made. Maybe I will just sell parts for plows, you know I will always stay busy with that.
  9. SkykingHD

    SkykingHD Senior Member
    Messages: 368

    plow with the storm

    When you have conditions like you all described you need to plow with the storm. When the conditions exist that break your trucks get the equipment that is necessary to do that job. Rent a loader or skid steer or what ever is needed.

    I have a rule if we are for casting a large snow fall I plow with the storm. I have plowed 2 or 3 times during a snow fall as I don't want to overtax my equipment. When a job comes in that I feel will damage the equipment I back away from that job. You cant do it all.

    The last big storm we had we plowed all lots 2 to 3 times. The calls that came in after all the snow fell I told them we were not taking on new customers. My equipment is not tore up. My bread and butter accounts were taken care of and this is better than the competition did during that storm. Now next season I will get the jobs that were not kept open during the storm.

    We have a 1.6 yard loader and would use that to plow the 14 inches of snow. But they have to pay for a loader. We do not remove snow with a loader at plow prices.
  10. starc

    starc Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    I dump on the salt in those situations, then go back a couple hours later.
  11. tl-s4now

    tl-s4now Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    The Rabbi couldn't use the phone until sun-down because of shabbos:eek:

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,312

    bought a used v-box this yr . what great timing seems like all we did this yr was salt,salt and more salt. didnt have any problems since the sun was strong on sunday.did wear out 2 shovelers and did 40 hrs straight. if any of you guys are getting out of buss..im looking for a v-plow for next season

  13. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    It was definitely a storm that you didn't want to wait around till the end of to go out. we had a healthy 5 inches or so on the ground here at 9:00 pm and I went out and hit everyone. The next morning what was left of the snow fall had a lot of rain on it too. The ground was so soft that it really couldn't be plowed. I ended up back dragging one customer with pea stone drive and it was like dragging puddles around. I didn't want to do it, but he said I should. It was pretty ugly. If I hadn't gone out the night before and got everyone will the snow was still sort of snow and the ground was semi frozen it would have been a complete nightmare. But, man it was heavy and it was hard on the truck and plow.
  14. roblandscape

    roblandscape Senior Member
    from Phila
    Messages: 185

    Wow 2 Shovelers 40 hrs. straight in this ice? Man you must have found those:cry: hybrid mexicans
  15. chev_4x4

    chev_4x4 Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    This storm was absolutely a pain in the arse. Started Friday morning when the weather schmucks said it would be raining (it was sleet). The rain that was supposed to turn to snow/ sleet was sleet the entire storm. all day Friday and into early sat am. Worked cleaning my accounts until yesterday. The one shopping center I have me and another guy stayed at all day Fri to keep it open. While I was there it was a killer. Then I went to our commercial accounts that had only had some passes made to keep the lanes open and the plow just disappeared and they were a killer to plow and the sidewalks were even hard. The shopping center ended up being the easiest account to do. Not to mention the troubles with getting salt. I seriously thought this was going to be an easy storm. Only had 2 out of the 4 trucks prepped for the storm. The newest truck/ plow ended up having issues got the other pickup on the road in mid storm. And to think before this storm nothing broke. Luckily the plow was warrantied and the other break was a shovel, and my ass. I picked up a new account hadn't been touched until I showed up Sunday afternoon. it was a solid sheet of ice. Just kept scraping off the top layer and let the sun melt some more. Sorry for rambling on there guys but Wednesday was my first day without shoveling or plowing any sleet.
  16. Quality SR

    Quality SR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,829

    lol. He looked pissed off. But to wait until night after everything had frozen up is stupid. Oh well next year he will have a wake up call at 3:00 in the morning if it snows:cry:
  17. xlr8

    xlr8 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    I always plow with the storm, however these 2 storms would have been easier to wait to the end. I know this cause I did all my drives once starting at 6 pm fri. , broke down at 5 am sat got 3 hours sleep then fixed truck. I was able to start plowing again at 2 pm sat. and what a pain 3" of sleet locked up like concrete finished up at about 8 pm sat and I was beat up. One of my Friends was out of state and had asked me to "make one pass" , I was there at 8am on sun and it was heavy but was the easiest plowing i did with that storm. The thought of quiting definitely crossed my mind many times with that one.Oh well WTF