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Would you contract out site monitoring?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by WinterWatch, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. WinterWatch

    WinterWatch Junior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 2

    Hey all,

    Doing a little market research here. I've been in the snow business for 6 years and am considering a new venture this winter. I'd love input from fellow commercial snow plow services

    I'd like to start an overnight weather/site condition monitoring service for snow contractors in my area. Services would run from 9pm to 6am and include:
    - An email at 8pm summing up the overnight forecast, with opinions from 3 different weather services
    - Monitoring all areas of the city, once every 3 hours during the service period. Monitoring points would be approximately 2 miles apart.
    - Monitoring would consist of visual check of conditions, air temp, dew point, ground temp, wind speed, snow depth if any.
    - A mass email would be sent if any snow was imminent or beginning during the service period
    - A wake up call would be made for up to 2 people per company if snow begins to accumulate, or other predetermined conditions exist
    - An email at the end of the night summing up the nights conditions would be sent

    This service would be billed at a monthly rate. I could also add specific sites to my monitoring list for an additional fee (which could be billed to the customer as a premium service).

    My questions to you are:
    - Would you be interested in a service like this?
    - Would this service save you money over having your own staff monitor?
    - How much would this service be worth to you? How much would you be willing to pay for it?
    - How much would it be worth to pay for specific site monitoring?
    - Should I add or change anything?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!

  2. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    I don't know why anybody would pay for those services when it can be had for free. My company has done snow removal for 28 yrs without it, so it would be a no for me.
  3. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    Depends on price but I'd go for it. You'd have to be 100% reliable, no mistakes.
  4. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    What kind of liability insurance do you plan on having? If you can't be held responsible you're of little value.

    It's not a horrible idea. I pondered this 20+ years ago. Back then it would have had more value as it was normal for a whole lot of operations to miss the boat. That's when my networking base began. I helped a lot of fellow snow fighters out with very valuable information. The technology just wasn't there. You wouldn't be able to compete with monitoring system we already have in place.

    I'm with WIPEN...this will be a difficult aspect for you to capitalize on. Good luck to you though!
  5. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    If I knew I could go to bed the night before an anticipated storm and not have to wake up every 1.5-2 hours to look outside I'd be all over it. The worst part about being in this business for me is the interrupted sleep. I know it's the nature of the beast but if you could take that away I'd love this line of work even more. Once it's "go-time" I can work around the clock, it's getting to that point that sucks.
  6. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    I agree with Camden.
  7. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    I hear what you're saying Camden, but this would not lessen the anxiety for me at all. I would still have to check for myself, and that would defeat the whole purpose of it.
  8. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 944

    While all that stuff would be great, for me it would just be down to this 1) is it for day to snow and how likely? This would need to be know many hours before the storm to get people and equipment ready 2) and then when it starts snowing, call me. The rest seams pointless to me, but I am also a one man band with an open schedule so others companies may differ
  9. WinterWatch

    WinterWatch Junior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 2

    Thanks for the input.

    One of the main benefits, I believe, would be enabling business owners and their employees to get a little more sleep. Nothing worse than waking up every couple hours before a big storm to plow for 20h+ straight. It would benefit safety and reduce costly accidents when on the job.

    I'd have the same liability insurance as a plow operator. With air and ground temp readings, as well as pre-determined criteria based on industry standards before alerting operators, this would help with your due-diligence if a complaint or lawsuit were to arise. We'd monitor air and surface conditions and alert if there was a risk of ice formation.

    Also, you could tell your customers with confidence that their sites were being monitored 3 times a night. Would be a good competitive edge.
  10. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I guess I would be a no also. If I know the storm is coming, I try to stock up on sleep before it gets here. Having someone else do the monitoring is fine as long as it works as it should, but if you miss one time, then my business looks bad, not yours.
  11. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,123

    I would have to say no. With all the info that I can get for free off weather sites and knowing how different the snow falls can be just 1/2 mile apart. It really has to be done at my sites and I would not sleep anyway.
  12. mtnbktrek

    mtnbktrek Senior Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 144

    Mayb if you warm up the trucks/equipment and clean the snow off and have a hot coffee in the holder but other than that
    Bwahhhh HAHAHA!
  13. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I have a computer with 4 weather sites at the ready, and if 3 agree, I set my alarm accordingly.
  14. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Isn't that what wives and girlfriends are for?
  15. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    While you may be able to sell it, we'd never buy it.

    If snow is pending (we plow roughly 25-30 times per year), we're sitting in the office watching the radar or getting up every hour to check. When it starts moving in, the snow, we are out in a few trucks moving around checking things.

    There would be just too much of a delay on that judgement call of what you are going to do. Call any size of business and tell them it's snowed a half inch and I personally think it's too late for good service.

    Late / early morning snowfalls are tricky and require considerable juggling and judgement of what we are doing where - like someone else said, I wouldn't be able to sleep anyways.
  16. 94gt331

    94gt331 Senior Member
    from usa
    Messages: 293

    I agree totally with WIPensFan, I would also be checking myself all hours of the night like I have been doing over the last 8 years. But still on a note I still would consider the service if it was priced right, I think especially with the early wake up call would be nice for a peace of mind, because even though we prepare, it's a nightmare when we wake up and there's snow on the ground that we weren't prepared for.