When you hire a snow removal contractor for your property, it is important to find out what kind of equipment they will use to handle snow removal on your property. The wrong equipment can mean below standard snow removal and possibly cost over-runs for you. Just like you want a certified electrician, and not your local handy man, to replace your building’s transformer, you want a professional commercial snow removal team protecting your property during the winter.
This week we had a chance to talk to Jered Shuknecht, Marketing Director at Pro-Tech Manufacturing and Distribution, Inc., a manufacturer of containment (box) plows in Rochester, New York. Shuknecht shares with us why skid steers, end loaders, and backhoes, as well as box plows, are necessary for commercial snow removal and why you should care as a property owner or property manager whether or not your contractor uses them.
Shuknecht started the conversation with employees, which honestly threw us for a loop. How does a box plow help with employees? “Plowing is hard to do, even with containment plows, but using containment (box) plows is a lot easier.” Shuknecht went on to share it is easier to train an employee to plow with quality and for the employee to be successful at doing a good job with a box plow on a skid steer instead of a truck and a standard plow. This is especially true when plowing large areas where windrowing snow is not an option.
Not only is it easier for employees to do a good job on your property, you need less employees overall. “Our testing showed our containment plows can move up to 500% more snow than a truck plow.” So, what took four people using four trucks with four plows in a large parking lot can now be done with a single employee in less time.
“You basically decrease the need for equipment and staff members,” Shuknecht points out. That allows your contractor to hire better quality employees, train them well, and whom you can be sure are on site every time the snow flies, ready to move snow in a professional manner.
Containment plows like Pro-Tech Sno Pushers, are simpler pieces of equipment than a truck plow. The truck plow has its own electrical, hydraulics, controls plus extra frame and hinge parts that don’t exist on a box plow. The containment plows are mounted on machines meant for rugged work on construction sites, while your average truck is primarily designed as a machine for driving on paved roads.
It is not just the plow that breaks because truck plows are hard on truck transmissions, electrical systems, and other systems on the truck. While commercial snow removal companies will use some truck plows, you will also find they rely significantly on other equipment as well.
In the end those differences in equipment mean less maintenance and less equipment break downs. Maybe you are a property manager who has struggled with the same excuses year after year “we would have had your lot clean, but we had an equipment breakdown,” all the while you are thinking that lawyers don’t care why your property was not clear, they just know your property was not clean while they file a slip-and-fall lawsuit against you.
That means there is real value to you as a customer just knowing the contractor’s equipment is unlikely to break down at inconvenient times.
Shuknecht observes about companies that invest in specialized commercial snow removal equipment, “It points to the seriousness, professionalism, and commitment a contractor has to the commercial sector.” Shuknecht chuckled as he shared that his dad’s old truck with the old plow might be fine “for clearing snow for his 20 buddies,” but it is not what you want for a commercial property.
Faster cleaning is good for the contractor, but it is good for you too. Think back to the four truck plows needed to clear a lot, racing through, trying to avoid your customers and employees while they are racing around your lot…talk about stress for everyone. Now “just one loader can move slowly along, clearing your lot faster, without getting in anyone’s way,” Shuknecht points out.
Faster cleaning then translates to a better customer and employee experience on your end because the snow removal crew is done fast with no one feeling like they keep on getting in the way.
There are two key things a box plow can do that a truck plow can’t which impacts you as a property owner. First, a truck plow can’t effectively stack snow. “A truck plow does not have the ability to stack snow and shelf it. They just don’t have the height clearance,” Shuknecht notes.
With a truck plow, you generally are not going to see snow stacks higher than 4 feet, but even a small skid steer can push snow over 10 feet high. Shuknecht goes on, “A truck plow pushes (the snow) horizontally and windrows snow instead of pushing it forward and stacking it vertically.” In other words, since the pile can’t go up, it goes out…over your parking lot, taking up space that could have been used for paying customers or for employees.
The other thing a truck plow can’t do well is back drag, or pull back the snow. This is especially important for parking lots that are in use during a snow storm. A skid steer with something like the Pro-Tech Pullback Sno Pusher can reach between parked vehicles to clear out a vacant parking spot of its snow. That does not work with a truck plow.
Most truck plows don’t even clean down to the pavement when pulling the snow backward. The few truck plows that can clean backward still do not capture all of the snow, instead losing snow around the edges of the plow, leaving piles of snow next to the vehicles that are parked adjacent to the spot just cleared. A skid steer with the right box plow can grab all of the snow out of one parking spot at a time without leaving snow pushed up against parked vehicles.
While today’s discussion focused on plows, the conversation goes far beyond just plows. For example, at Sneller Snow & Grounds, we use special pieces of equipment to treat busy sidewalks, software for documentation, live monitoring so you can get instant updates regarding the progress of snow removal on your property, and other tools that meet the needs of commercial clients.
If you have a commercial property and are serious about keeping your lot and walks safe, you definitely need to ensure the company you hire has the right equipment to do the job right. Pro Tech has spent 25 years building containment plows used on commercial properties and Jered Shuknecht told us “we are known for our commitment to quality in our products and our customer service.”
The team at Sneller has been helping commercial property owners keep their property safe for decades. We would like to extend to you our own promise of commitment to excellent service for your commercial snow removal needs. Give us a call today for a free snow removal quote!