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What do large companies do for long storm payroll?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    If you generally have smaller storms "were in NJ", we only need one driver per truck or machine.

    What do you do when you have literally 48-80hrs worth of work straight before you can "take a break" or consider your storm work finished?

    The last monster storm we had, we had guys out 24+hrs and i had to tell most overnight that they needed to go home to sleep for at least 6hrs yet we needed drivers constantly for the entire storm even a day and a half after the storm stopped.

    Do you have "backup" crews? If you do, what do those employees get paid/compensated for since they rarely would ever be expected to work?

    How many hours do you let your main plow/crew work during a storm before pulling them off and having your other guys take over?

    I see it as being a negative for two reasons, although the guys currently working a lot of hours to start the storm are getting tired, theyre familiar with those sites they're handing. Bringing in backup drivers now fall out of the swing of things and possibly may not produce as good of results as your first string guys.

    I know this is only something that probably comes up in medium to large companies, but we're to the point that we have several trucks, employees and machines operating in a big storm.
  2. blowerman

    blowerman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,275

    Any one else going to chime in?
  3. cda817

    cda817 Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    What we have done on the longer storms is cycle drivers. Because typically on commercials on these longer storms the parking areas do not need to be kept open as they are usually closed. So we will have one or more driver covering the travel areas and fire lanes of several properties rather than having all the equipment running on each site through the entire storm. Then as soon as the storm breaks throw everything you have at it. We are in the same situation where we do not get these extended storms very often and having backup crews is not worth it.
  4. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    We do this but we also have a few backup operators that are use to running our machinery but do not want to plow every storm. Some of our places are 24 hrs and we can't leave. We also never generally work longer then 12 hr shifts also. The odd time we will run18-20 hrs but never more then that.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  5. plowking15

    plowking15 Member
    Messages: 91

    We have a camper trailer set up near our salt shed,that way we can catch some sleep if needed . Usually, we go home for 3-6 hours then back out. I work for a municipality ,so they have to keep up with the storm and we ,may respond to any emergency service calls to make sure driveway is clear. I'm one of the part timers,work winter only,the full timers work year round.I have heard of some companies setting up office trailers for their help to stay to sleep or wait for storm to start. We rarely have to call for backup,but do have some names.plowking
  6. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    If it's a multi day snow, we try to get in one clearing before 7:00 a.m.(depends on when it starts snowing) Then a short break before we might do a mid day touch up or clean rows. Take a break and re-clear it again during the night. I try to have back up guys so the shifts never exceed 12 hrs. straight for those times the snow just won't stop.

    I try to do the same thing, for years we would plow 20+ straight hours, now its just not worth it. My customers will still get at least Two plows in a 24 hour period.
  7. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i well point this out, some areas/situations are different then others, i have had this problem and it is hard ,when you only get one 20-30cm snowfall a year, to make sure you are covered. We have enough workers to easily do an average snow fall (5-10cm) here in a timely manner, and we keep 2-5 guys as back up, for sick/no shows/abnormal snowfall amount etc. circumstances. But sometimes you get a horrible/abnormal snowfall and it just puts you behind. It is easy for some of the guys equiped for heavy snowfalls to judge us guys that don't usually get the major snowfalls, BUT, what if some of you contractors that are used to a 30cm + snowfall a day, received a 200cm + snowfall over a couple days? could you honestly say you would be completely on top of it? I for one can tell you, i am equiped to handle average snowfalls for my area, better then most around my area, but sometimes we do get that snowfall that knocks everyone on their @ss, and then i judge my abilities of dealing with it, by how well i stack up against my competition, if all my lots are done before theirs then i must be doing alright. and for the skeptics that are going to critisize my post, if i kept the personnel and equipment to hand that 1 in a season horrible snowfall, i wouldn't have any customers willing to pay the prices i would have to charge. JMO
  8. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    We plan like this- 0-1- most likely just a salt run or 2, maybe spot plowing 5 hrs, 1 truck per route. 1-4 inches-2-6 trucks depending on the route and actual snow, each truck 6-7 hrs each. 4-8 inches,5-7trucks 12-14 hours each, 8-12 inches 5-7 trucks 18-20 hours each. We won't let drivers go more than 18 hrs EVER. we've found over the years letting guys go home is touchy, they'll over sleep, not answer the phone ETC, we set up our conference room as a bunk room with a bunch pf aerobeds and fleece sleeping bags and rotate guys through for 4-6 hours of sleep.
  9. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Well thought out. We either go back to the garage "not heated and no office on site" or my house south of the garage. I wouldnt be opposed to our normal guys staying here to sleep even in my own house for 4-6hrs or whatever, at least now i realize its not looked at oddly to request they stay there.

    Do you pay them anything while sleeping/on break?
    Of course In the middle of a storm, them driving home/back in is risky in their cars and like you say, most times theyll over sleep or figure they already made descent $$$ for the 10-20hrs they worked, why go back in for another 10+.
  10. digit

    digit Member
    Messages: 94

    I have backups people that are just glad for a chance to push snow and have regular jobs I pay them the same as my regular guys and send them a gift card for Christmas.
    I have gotten motel rooms for my guys when I wanted them to help again in four hours or so .
  11. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Nobody would be able to keep up to a storm that size without any major hickups/hurdles.
    Anyone (public) attempting to go on with life in their usual way (going to the mall, movies etc) should be buried in a snow bank. Thats JMO.

    No client could expect perfect site conditons in 2-3 hours after a storm either. It would definitely be a challenge. Cities would be shut down for a long time I think.

    I could tell you it would be a very long and tiring 3 days of pushing with the storm, and month or so afterwards with removals and relocations...but very very profitable. Bring it on-all of my guys (including me) are well relaxed and itching to attack somethign like that.
    Could you imagine some of the drifts??? :D
  12. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    200 cm would be a dream storm considering our 10 year avg is 115cm in Toronto. I would have to buy all the guys snowmobiles to get to work.:D
  13. cda817

    cda817 Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    If we had a 6.5' snow storm the state would be closed for days as would almost every business. Equipment would run out of fuel eventually unless you are fortunate to have your own storage tank. Depending on the rate of snow fall you may not even be able to keep up with trucks and have to clear even the smallest residential with a loader. It would make for a long work week!
  14. smokin4by

    smokin4by Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 98

    what we do is take a look at our customers and talk to them to see if and when they are open when a large event happens. then we can adjust our routes to focus on properties that are open, and the ones that are closed get a break open to keep the main entrance open just to the building. that way if you can get open business' in good shape you can cut loose a few guys to get some sleep, and use your part timers or evening only guys to open up the business' that were no open. then once your normal guys get some rest they can come back to do your clean up, while your part timers go back to work.

    this way the part timers feel like they are getting something done (they can brag about pushing 10") and your normal crew can provide the service you expect, with out beating them down.

    if we can have our business' opened up and ready for business before the main roads are clean we feel like we did good.

    also think about on large lots moving the snow away from the buildings parking, but not clearing the whole lot at once. sometimes if the business has a 6 acre lot, but only has 10 employees, and limited customers we will clear 1/2 of it at once, then move our guys to other lots. then come back with pushers to clear the rest of the lot after the storm is done. but this is in extreme storms and only after being ok'ed buy the customer.
  15. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Around heretymusic the bigger the snowfall the more understanding our clients are in realizing that it will be difficult to provide the same level of service as a 4 inch or 10cm snowfall. We experienced that during a 63 centimeter blizzard. And the ones that do expect to get out and are downright nasty we drop like a dirty shirt. As far as hours go its up to the employee. Some guys right now on the crew are lusting after snow and they will be good for hours if the mother of all storms comes. Being the boss:)dizzy:Glorified Field Manager for the Finance/&Banks) I plow with the length of the storm and if that means sleeping over the steering wheel of the tractor :sleeping:, for a quick nod and gettin back at er, so be it.
    Around here anyone thats been in the business since the Big Storm of 99 has either equipped themselves for the worst case scenario or took on enuf work that they can handle (I did both) should the storehouses of snow be released from the heavens.
  16. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,215

    Thats just plan crazy talk. Small or big, it should make no difference. You either have the equipment to handle the snow or you dont. If every year you get a 30 cm storm then you should be ready to handle a 40cm storm. It is what separates the men from the boys.
    To go from being able to handle 5-10 cm storms and difficulty to handle 30 +cm. Then say guys who could handle 30cm+ go to 200 is insane. No offense guys in Toronto, but not even the army could save you from that one. Even here in Quebec we would be toast.
    It all has to do with your overall capacity to handle snow. We are equipped to handle a 30+ storm and still be at 80% capacity. In other words if 20% of my equipment fails, I will still get the job done in time. Now make it a 60cm storm, and my time parameters will be strained. Most of our equipment is set up to cycle through the routes in 4 hrs. So plowing with the storm in theory you could make 6 passes in a day. Now if your routes are set up in 8 hr cycles, that gives you 3 passes. So we each have a client across the street from each other and they are both the same size. We get a 30cm storm falling at 3cm an hr. Our first pass is at 3cm at roughly the same time. 4 hrs later I get to my client and there is another 12cm of snow. 4 hrs later we both come by again and I have another 12 cm of snow, but you have 24cm to do. Your second cycle is already going to take longer than 8 hrs. After 12 hrs we will have made 3 passes, my guys could take a 4 hr break, and then come back and finish up, just when you will be fininishing you second pass. So you see its not the the size of the company, its the capacity of snow you can handle in a specific time frame. The guy with the 8 hr cycle in theory should be making twice as much money. JMO :drinkup:
  17. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i respectfully disagree, to a point, i agree that you you should have a buffer of capacity for your snow removal. However, keep this in mind Neige, you have how many machines, and what budget to work with? using myself as a example, i have my loader, and two skidsteers, to handle snowfalls, now, we can do all of our work with just 2 of those 3 pieces of machinery, easily, however, if i get 4 times the snow over the same period, and i have all the machines going, assuming everything else is ok, guess what, i am not going to run as fast. Also keep this in mind, around here, with the amount of events we are used to, there is not way that a 4 hour circuit would pay for the equipment, we run on a 12 hour circuit, and a lot of guys here run on a 24 hour circuit. This may seem rediculous, BUT keep in mind that we expect 2-6 (2-4inches) plowable events as a average per month, and some times we get nothing. given what contracts i have, the money i would make off of them wouldn't pay for the machinery i have. then also keep in mind that we well get 1 DUMP (maybe) where we well see 12-24 inches, in a day or less, so a +36 inch event is incredibly hard for us as a community to deal with, all loaders and graders get rented by the city, you see many farmers in with their larger tractors, and every excavation company is out helping the city. I guess what i am saying Neige is every area has a average, and extreme amount they can handle, for us we can handle a average of 2-12 inches, no problem per day, double that, 12+ we are pushed to a limit (but usually handle it fine), 24+ (or a 80-110km wind) and i guarantee we well not be getting around to everyone in that day, mainly because at that amount our city is strained trying to keep the main roads open, and everyone is staying home unless they have heavy iron. to put this in a better perspective, i was in victoria a couple years ago when they received a snowfall that where i am from would have been a cake walk, the entire place shut down, EVERYTHING, that totally amazed me until someone pointed out, they don't have the equipment mobilized to even consider moving that much snow and it would be unrealistic to expect them to keep the equipment to do so.
  18. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Very nice Paul.

    Is it just me or has the snow plowing industry become another "I want it now" commodity? Kind of like pizza delivery.

    A 12 or 24 hour cycle would be totally unnaceptable in our market. In fact you would be out of business before you even began.

    You just had to throw the army comment in eh?? Kinda like a Ford vs GM thing. tymusic:drinkup:
  19. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    and how many events do you get to charge for in a season? what kind of money are we talking/event? because if you showed up twice in one day on a 5-10cm event here, and wanted to charge for it you wouldn't work in this town for long either, but that is just the different dynamics of our different regions.
  20. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    personally i would love to spend some time in other regions and see how it is done by different companies,