4 Snow Removal Secrets to Successfully Plow Rural Areas

by Marge Lang 29. October 2013 08:00

When you plow rural areas, your team may encounter new application challenges along with different weather conditions which can greatly impact their ability to complete snow removal tasks successfully. Rural snow plowing has its own set of rules and guidelines to consider to ensure your drivers do a quality job while keeping themselves and your vehicles safe.

Learn the most effective ways to snow plow rural jobs.


1. Plan for Tricky Driveway and Lot Mixtures

Gravel or other dirt and stone mixture driveways are common in rural residences or commercial lots. This type of loose stone can present a challenge when plowing because it is difficult to gauge how well packed the gravel or stone is and where the edge is between the gravel and grass.

To overcome these obstacles, make sure you have a plow that can use skid shoes. These plow accessories enable you to set the scrapping height of the cutting edge of the plow blade. For gravel drives or lots, you will want to set the scrapping height for about one inch higher than the surface. This distance keeps the blade from digging in too far and ripping up grass or pushing a lot of gravel into the grass.

2. Use the Right Vehicle

Many times in rural areas, the job has tricky areas that could cause your truck and plow to easily get stuck. These instances require a durable, high-performance plow attached to a tractor or all-terrain vehicle (ATV). There are options available to utilize the features of a commercial grade plow on smaller off-road vehicles. Meyer's Path Pro plows are one model that is well-suited for the off-road demands of rural areas and are built to take the punishment less expensive brands can’t handle.

3. Prepare Before the Storm

Before the season starts, inspect the entire area for potential hazards such as holes, speed bumps, medians, low landscaping, fire hydrants and other obstacles that will be covered with snow.

Plowing with the storm is the key to overcoming the challenge of wind and vast open areas. In rural areas, it is common to find more open spaces because of fields or larger properties. Without many buildings to block the wind, gusts of any strength can make keeping up with the snow fall a challenge for even the largest fleets. These areas require more attention and constant maintenance when there is a storm.  Spreading sand or other de-icing materials as a preventative measure can help decrease problematic areas, keeping them from becoming too slick until your crew is able to clear them.

4. Communication Readiness

Part of the challenge in servicing rural areas is a fewer number of people around at a given time. This lack of activity can mean a driver who experiences some type of a stuck vehicle, medical emergency or other unplanned event may not have any immediate resources to offer assistance with their problem. Ensure your drivers are prepared and have the communication equipment and procedures necessary to receive help when it is needed. Establishing a type of buddy-system amongst your fleet can decrease the opportunity for driver emergencies due to lack of communication or attention.

Learn more industry insights to improve your fleet's efficiency this season with Meyer's free plowing tips guide

 

What other tips do you have for snow plowing rural applications? What lessons have your learned? 

13 Plowing Tips for Commercial Snow Removal

by Pete Robison 22. October 2013 08:00

Business owners expect and rely on your snow plow drivers to be quick and efficient when clearing their commercial properties. An unplowed driveway or parking lot means customers and employees can't access a business, which can cause missed opportunities in productivity and negative reviews for your service.

Parking lots and other commercial spaces may appLearn the best ways to snow plow commercial areas this winter.ear to be a fast job but there are important considerations to make as you prepare to service these accounts this winter. 

Preparing Commercial Accounts

·         Before the season starts, inspect the entire area for potential hazards such as holes, speed bumps, medians, low landscaping, fire hydrants and other obstacles that will be covered with snow.

·         Position markers or stakes with reflectors at least three feet off the ground to indicate boundaries, ditches, medians, shut-off valves and other areas that could cause damage when plowing.

·         Request a map or blueprint of the area to determine where to begin, open areas where snow can be stacked and other strategies to achieve the most efficient removal plan.

·         Ask for any restrictions as to where snow can be stacked or areas that the owner does not want plowed. 

·         Plan your removal so you are driving forward as much as possible.

·         Be sure you have the right equipment and vehicle to handle the demands of the job.

 

Plowing Commercial Areas

·         Always turn on warning flashers when plowing to alert any customer or employee that plowing is in progress.

·         Back-drag snow away from the front of buildings first, then push the cleared snow to the outer edges.

·         When plowing areas of 100,000 sq.ft. or more, it is usually most efficient to plow at right angles to the main artery, piling up windrows by back and forth passes in alternate lanes.

·         Create a large enough space to be able to accommodate cleared snow from future storms without blocking highly trafficked areas.

·         Do not pile snow close to handicapped spaces.

·         Begin plowing at the suggested accumulation for your property type: 1" for commercial and institutional areas; 2" for industrial establishments.

·         Avoid creating large piles near the end of driveways as they create visibility problems for vehicles entering and exiting the parking lot.

Inform your snow removal team of all the new account layouts and the strategies you have developed to ensure they can quickly and confidently clear each commercial property. Snow plow experts also recommend having your team ready to act when snow is expected as actual snowfall frequently exceeds the forecasted conditions.

Having a well-planned snow plow removal plan for commercial accounts greatly reduces the chances of having to implement expensive emergency actions and establishes your company as a leader in the snow removal industry.

What tips do you have for plowing large commercial properties?

Be a Professional!

by John Allin 15. October 2013 11:51
In my opinion, it is imperative we (in the snow business – as well as all other walks of life) project a professional image.  Customers need to be able to communicate with you.  You must have at least a cell phone – and nowadays maybe an iPhone or smart phone of some sort.  Sounds basic doesn’t it?  It is, however do you have the cell phone number accessible so customers can find you?  Nowadays have a Facebook page (even if you fight it, and get dragged in kicking-and-screaming); it is a cost of doing business.  Have business cards.  If you have a business phone line, put that on the cards. Including your phone number on the business card is optional, although most customers work from an “instant gratification” standpoint, wanting and demanding almost instant access to their suppliers, vendors and snow contractors.  For business cards, you don’t need to go to a print shop given the current technology available for use on any standard PC or laptop.  Pass your business cards out to everyone you see.  This “networking” can garner all kinds of attention, leads, and inevitably more business.  Signs on your truck help tremendously.  Have them professionally made.  It is worth the expense to project professionalism for your business.  
 

How to Prepare Your Snow Plow Crew and Have the Best Winter Ever

by Marge Lang 9. October 2013 16:00

You have already done your pre-season equipment check to prepare your vehicles for the mechanical demands of the winter season but another asset you need to prepare is the members of your plowing fleet crew.

Even if you have seasoned plow veterans on your staff, there are several important health, safety and productivity issues to pro-actively address to keep your team's efficiency high throughout the demands of the winter season.

 

Prep you snow plow fleet with these health, safety and productivity tips.

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Target the Customers You Want – Where You Want Them

by Pete Robison 1. October 2013 11:23

 

One question that comes up often among plowing contractors is “How do I get new customers when I’m competing against cutthroat one-truck operators who give away their time?”

 

Maybe that’s the wrong attitude.  Maybe as a contractor providing a service, you are in the position to interview the customers you want instead of quoting work “hit or miss.”  Target marketing is a key to success in any business.  Why should it be any different for snowplowing?

 

Learn how to target the customers you want.

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