Advice and products to help you break into the snow removal business.
“People in the industry are called snow fighters,” says Craig Geller, president of Pro-Tech Manufacturing and Distribution. “Like firefighters, they deal with a natural event that’s unpredictable.” Because of this, landscape professionals looking to enter the realm of snow and ice management need to first switch their mindset to one of dealing with people’s safety.
In that vein, James Truan, vice president of sales and marketing for SnowEx, says while some contractors only get into plowing, they should also consider spreading. “Not only can it be profitable, but it can also reduce liability exposure.”
Like any other venture, planning is key. Learn all you can about the equipment you’ll use, as well as snow conditions and weather patterns for your area. Offering a mix of contracts that include hourly rates, seasonal rates and per event rates put you in a better position to succeed.
When it comes to deciding on the actual equipment, maximize your fleet. “For example, a landscaper’s pickup can be equipped with a plow and spreader to start offering the most basic services,” Truan says.
Geller agrees, saying starting with your capital piece of equipment — be it a backhoe, skid steer or agriculture tractor – helps increase efficiency and profitability. From there you can choose attachments. “It’s only an incremental investment to pick up an angle plow, blower, broom, pusher or spreader,” Geller says.
Check out the products in this section for more information on the equipment you need to get started. Educational and training resources like the Snow and Ice Management Association, and local dealers are also good places to start.
A plow with a mind of its own
The Blizzard Speedwing snowplow has wings that automatically change position to maximize plowing efficiency. For example, if an operator is windrowing, the trailing wing folds back in line with the moldboard, and the leading wing stays forward to catch more snow. This position also reduces spill-off, and the entire blade is in a useable position.
Plow through snow on your ATV
The Path Pro Plow from Meyer Products moves snow from tight areas that plow trucks can’t access. The Path Pro is available in 50-, 60- and 72-inch widths with flared wings to scoop and funnel snow. A 65-degree attack angle works to clear a path, and the unit also is available with automatic self-angling for more efficient plowing.
The John Deere SB2176 snow blower has a quick-attach feature, allowing operators to mount the blower without removing the loader. The blower is driven by a three-point, hydraulic power pack that attaches to the rear of the tractor. It features a 76-inch working width and automatic auger speed control to prevent clogs.
Throw snow back where it belongs
Grasshopper’s Driftbuster snowthrower works to clear snow from driveways, sidewalks and other high-traffic areas. The Driftbuster works by combining a high-speed auger, heavy-duty scraper blades and a 180-degree discharge spout that throws snow up to 30 feet away. The seasonal change from mowing to throwing snow is done by attaching the snowthrower to any Grasshopper FrontMount power unit. e plow also features a floating receiver. A high-density rubber blade option also is available.
Avalanche’s 500 Series snow pusher is a box plow that has a sectional steel trip edge for scraping packed snow. Self-leveling wear shoes keep the plow on the ground at all times, regardless of the angle, and the plow also features a floating receiver. A high-density rubber blade option also is available.
Case Construction offers multiple snow removal attachments for its nine Alpha Series skid steer models. Available attachments include snow buckets, high- and standard-flow snow blowers, heavy- and standard-duty snow blades and snow pushers. The snow blowers throw snow up to 45 feet, and the snow push attachment clears large volumes of snow with an optional pull back kit.
Extend your capabilities
The Wide-Out adjustable wing snowplow from Western provides operators with three positions in one plow: an 8-foot straight blade, 9-foot scoop and 10-foot extended straight blade. The wings hydraulically and independently extend with the use of one button, giving the operator more control over the job.
Avoid piling, stacking
Pro-Tech’s Sno Blower skid steer attachments help snow removal professionals move large amounts of snow quickly, especially in situations where piling or stacking snow is prohibited. Operators can use the attachments to clear drifts, large driveways or long stretches of pavement. Two attachment models are available.
Hiniker’s VF Series flare-wing, trip-edge V-plows have deep curl-flared wings to fling snow higher and farther away. For safety, the pivot point is located 9 inches above ground level to protect against high obstacles like curbs or parking barriers. The V-plow comes in 8 1/2- or 9 1/2-foot widths and is equipped with quad halogen headlights to shine through swirling snow.
Plow in three modes
With the XTremeV V-plow from Fisher, operators can plow in a V, straight or scoop mode depending on snow conditions and customer needs. The V-plow features hydraulics, Fisher’s trip-edge design and it attaches using the Minute Mount 2 on/off system. Available in 7.5- to 9.5-foot sizes, the plow comes in stainless or powder-coated steel.
Earthway Products’ S25ss Spray-Pro push sprayer not only sprays pesticides and herbicides during a landscaper’s main season, but it also is designed to spray ice control products during the winter months. The Spray-Pro has a stainless steel chassis and adjustable spray system to better manage sidewalks and parking lots.
Brush it away
The Ventrac Power Broom sweeps away snow, leaves, dirt, light gravel and other materials from parking lots, sidewalks and other surfaces. The broom is made of heavy-duty nylon bristles, strong enough to push away snow without damaging the surface underneath. A hydraulic cylinder can angle the broom from side to side without the operator leaving his seat.
Minimize surface damage
FallLine’s polyurethane bucket edges are made for light- and medium-duty bucket applications where operators feel plowing surface damage may be a concern, like on pavers or textured walkways. The edges consist of a heavy-duty polyurethane compound with an encased steel plate and are 2 1/2-inches thick and come in 6- or 8-inch widths.
Control Bobcat’s snow utility blade from inside the cab. A double-action cylinder angles the blade 30 degrees to the left or right. The blade oscillates 5 degrees to stay in with the surface and is orange to be more visible in the dark. The box-style mainframe is a heavy-duty design, efficient for large-frame loaders.
By Jennifer M. Holloway