What’s the Most Efficient Crew Size for Sidewalk Snow Removal?

by Pete Robison 18. March 2014 10:06


Since sidewalk snow removal emerged as a separate specialty business, finding the most efficient crew size has been the subject of heated debate.  Given today’s competitive labor market and the need for higher productivity and increased quality, we should take another look at sizing sidewalk snow removal crews.

 

If you break it down, sidewalk snow removal is really a series of solo, one-person tasks which don’t always benefit from the addition of another worker.  Unlike landscape installation or construction, sidewalk maintenance crews don’t handle heavy or awkward equipment requiring more than one person to improve efficiency.  Given this lack of synergistic benefit on a per task basis, we should think of our teams as combinations of one-person crews.

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Larger Crews Don’t Always Improve Quality

by Marge Lang 25. February 2014 08:37

The biggest myth in snow and ice management is that larger crews mean better quality.  It was born from the fallacy that it takes more time to do a job properly, and that speed is a detriment to quality.  It simply isn’t true.  Quality is the result of trained people operating the correct equipment according to set procedures.  In large crews where accountability is minimal, quality is often sacrificed.

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Post-Season Plow Maintenance Tips

by Marge Lang 18. February 2014 08:22

From sub-zero temperatures to nasty snow storms, it’s been difficult for much of the country – and especially those in the snow and ice management industry - to keep up with Old Man Winter this season.

With so much attention being paid to keeping your plow and vehicle on the road right now, it’s important to remember that eventually that last snowflake is going to fly, the temperatures will warm up, and you will be able to store your plow.

Like you do during the plowing season, you can and should take steps during the post-season to ensure your plow and vehicle operate to the best of their potential for many years to come. 

Cleaning Cycle. Post-season maintenance is essential to keeping your plow in peak working condition.

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Plowing in High Winds- Why This is the Worst Factor to Fight

by Pete Robison 11. February 2014 09:17

The snow stopped. You should be able to get in your plow and clear the roads easily, right? 

Not necessarily. High winds and drifting snow can sometimes make the task a challenge.

 

“Snow Drifts” by amandabanana87 CC BY 2.0

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Managing Front Line Workers is Essential to Your Bottom Line

by Marge Lang 4. February 2014 10:40

Effective management of front line employees can help your snow and ice management business thrive.Managing people in the snow and ice management industry, whether on-site or in multiple locations, is a complex issue.  In most organizations people are hard working, but productivity increase announcements are often perceived as a demand for front line workers (specifically those in sidewalk snow removal) to try harder.  This isn’t necessarily true – usually it’s about working more effectively and being accountable for the results. 

 

People are by nature territorial.  They tend to accept more responsibility and be more accountable when their territory is well defined.  Sometimes it’s difficult for workers to fully grasp the scope of their territory or responsibility because in our industry the areas are so large and/or spread out.  It’s hard for management to keep track of individual performances if workers don’t know the outline of their territories.

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Be Ready to Quote Potential Customers All Year Long

by Pete Robison 28. January 2014 10:54

 

When potential customers call for a plowing service quote, most contractors ask why they’re looking to change vendors.  It’s a fair question.  If customers are unhappy with the service they’re getting, it’s worth taking time to find out the root of their unhappiness.  It’s possible the contractor is undercharging and needs to shortcut the job to turn a profit.  If so, be frank and explain that they are not paying enough for the service and that you’re more expensive – but the quality of work will be better. 

 

Customers who want better service at the same price aren’t looking for quality and dependability – they’re looking for the impossible.  If they’re just “price checking,” you might want to pass unless you need practice quoting work without getting anything in return.  Price shoppers are a fickle group, and they’re likely to change contractors on a whim just to save a buck. 

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Proper Injury Management Can Boost Your Bottom Line

by Marge Lang 21. January 2014 09:43

Workers compensation claims can put your company out of business if you don’t take them seriously. While injury prevention should be your primary concern, workplace accidents do happen and must be dealt with quickly.  Disregarding the importance of injury management can be disastrous, resulting in increased premiums, decreased worker productivity and an adverse effect on your bottom line. 

 

Make no mistake – this issue should be viewed as injury "management," since you can actively govern employee care and get your employees back to work quickly. 

 

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4 Tips on How to Plow Bridges Safely

by Pete Robison 14. January 2014 08:10

For many reasons, plowing a bridge is not like plowing a road. To make sure you clear snow and ice from a bridge effectively and safely, we’ve compiled some tips below.

 

Plan Ahead

Inspect the bridge(s) before snowfall for potential hazards, and make a note of snow that will have to be removed from trapped areas. Although hauling is expensive, it may be necessary to prevent snow and ice melting materials from being pushed into waterways or onto motorists below. A recent crash in Canada shows the danger of leaving snow buildup on guard rails.

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How to Stay Warm on the Job—A Cold Weather Checklist

by Marge Lang 7. January 2014 07:52

Icy toes and frozen fingers go hand-in-hand with spending time outside in the winter. But when it's your job to work outside, not being prepared for cold weather can have serious consequences. Here's our quick checklist to make sure you're ready to tackle anything mother nature has to throw at you this winter.

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5 Quick and Easy Maintenance Tips for In-Season Snow Plow Maintenance

by Marge Lang 30. December 2013 08:17

Winter weather can take a toll on your vehicle, making mid-season checks vitally important in preventing costly breakdowns on your snow removal fleet. The following are simple maintenance steps you can take throughout the plowing season to keep your vehicles running at their peak performance:

 

 

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