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Thinking of Plowing

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by CCSnow, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. CCSnow

    CCSnow Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    I work for a church and we have a 2 locations one is a 3 acre lot with a .15 mile drive and the other is a 2.3 acre lot which only about 1.5 acres of it get plowed, so in total about 5 acres get plowed.

    We currently are paying a little under $40,000 a year to have a contract with a company to do the plowing so we are thinking of going in house to potentially save money by having an employee as a groundskeeper do snow removal in the winter and mowing in the summer since we have about 30 acres of land. We are by the Michigan/Indiana border so we get the occasional lake effect. We currently already do our own salting with a Tgs600 Boss spreader that works pretty well.

    Just a few questions.

    1. Do you think a single plow will be able to do both lots effectively?

    2. What kind of insurance do we need to plow our own lot since we are not doing it for income?

    3. How long do you think it would take to do both lots in a standard 3-4 inch dusting? The 3 acre lot is only curbed on 2 sides and the drive is not curbed at all. The 1.5 acre lot is curbed 2 sides but the current people just push the snow into the unused acre of the lot. I know all lots are different so it may be hard to guess.

    Thank you for the input!
  2. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 877

    I would think you could answer questios 1 and 3 by looking at your current contractor's operations. Is he using a single truck and, if so, how long is it taking him. I wouldn't think you'd need any additional insurance since the church is plowing for itself (I assume the church would own and insure the equipment).

    Should have a backup plan in case your equipment breaks down. If you're mowing with a tractor, could put a blower and loader on it to use as a backup and to push snowpiles back.
  3. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    Depends when if you get a snow right before a service. And if your guy doesn't mind the long 27/7 hours of snow removal. Plus what happens if the truck breaks down, or your guy doesn't show at 1 am on Sunday before church (or whenever you guys do church services).

    Insurance is something you'd have to talk to your insurance agent about, not sure how that works for you.
  4. skorum03

    skorum03 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,994

    Big thing to think about is how much you are going to pay the maintenance guy. Will it be a salary or a hourly rate? Then add the cost of a truck and other snow removal and lawn care equipment costs to the cost of the employee and you can kind of get an idea of what would be better for you. Worst thing about doing it in house is when things break down it is your problem, not the contractor's. Most, not all, maybe not even most, but some contractors are prepared to handle breakdowns of equipment and are still able to get things done by the time they need to be done.
  5. Diesel Dan

    Diesel Dan Senior Member
    Messages: 219

    Your paying an awful lot for just plowing..
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,239

    Lots of other good suggestions.

    Just remember, the grass is always greener.

    PS Have you ever shopped for pricing? $40K for 5 acres for your area does seem very high.
  7. skorum03

    skorum03 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,994

    I thought the same for the $40K. Was wondering if that was the whole year and included summer stuff since it is a 30 acre property.
  8. CCSnow

    CCSnow Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Thanks for all of the input. I am not in charge of the contract so I don't have it on hand but I heard the price and felt like we should be getting a little better service especially with how much we are charged. This is only for snow removal, I know at one of the locations they are responsible for the walks in the contract so that may be another reason it is slightly higher.

    I think the contract is at 5 am if there is an inch of snow on the walks they will do the walks by 8 and they will do the lots if there is 3 inches of snow. Last year was a busy year and they came out 32 times. During the week the larger location is used by a day care so it needs to be cleared by 8 before the parents show up with their kids. Generally from what I see they use 2 trucks, one at each location.

    We do all of the lawn work with some hourly workers and some volunteers but it becomes inconsistent because people won't do their section or they have trouble with coordination on who is using the equipment when. There is only about 15-20 acres that needs mowed because of the parking lots, buildings and 2 small ponds. My thought is that you could eliminate all of that with hiring a salary worker to do all of that and then plowing in the winter and doing some maintenance during the slower months.

    It seems like it is a plausible plan if we are able to come up with a backup in case something happens to the plow truck or groundskeeper. The lots only need to be fully plowed in the morning on Sunday to be honest because during the week it is only filled a quarter of the way so it will give him more time to work on it then. Searching around it looks like you should expect 1 hr/acre so it would roughly be 5 hours to clear both lots. I need to look into what the insurance would be or try and convince the person in charge of the contract to look at other companies after this season is done.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  9. skorum03

    skorum03 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,994

    Maybe get some prices from other companies in the area first, just to see
  10. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    Your case will be a little different, but fighting snow and ice is a tough business. There is a lot to think about as far as ice management, all the equipment you need, salt storage, and much more. Who will be the one up all hours of the night watching the weather? $40k does seem high, but for 2 trucks and the amount of snow you get, it might not be bad. Since we don't know the difficulty of the lots, it's hard to say. I suggest to shop around a bit, but don't just go with the cheapest guy. Do your homework and choose the best contractor for the price. Last thing you want to do is invest 10k or more (assuming you already have a truck to put the plow and salter on) on equipment, just to realize you can't handle the work to meet your deadline. Don't let a light snow year scare you away from your contractor if they're doing a good job.

    Just my two cents, take it or leave it. Wish you the best.
  11. Sawboy

    Sawboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,700

    I'll add this as well, if it snows on Monday and Thursday, but "the whole lot doesn't need plowed until Sunday", and you follow that logic through to the execution stage, you'll hate your life on Sunday morning.