Snow Blowers


Residential snow removal services

April 21st, 2014 admin Posted in Snow Plows No Comments »

residential snow removal servicesEvery year we see competing companies going from home to home in our neighborhood trying to sign up consumers for their annual snow remove services. When thy do sign a customer up, they stick narrow signs into the ground at the end of the driveway on both sides showing their name an telephone number.

These signs really serve two purposes. First it is a demarcation point to show the snow removal operator where the end of your driveway is and also where the driveway meets the lawn or whatever bounds your driveway. This is helpful for the operator so that they do not damage your lawn etc.

Advertising Residential Snow Removal Services

In addition, this is advertising to your neighbors that this company is providing this service to you and they even provide the phone number on the sign so that you can easily call them. Let’s face it the more people they can sign up on a street or within the area the less time they spend traveling between jobs. Let’s face it they make more money and really in the long run it reduces the cost for all customers since the costs can be averaged over more customers.

Price for Residential Snow Removal Services

Residential snow removal services can cost somewhere between $300 to $500 for the season depending on the size of the driveway and the length of the driveway. In most cases they will also prorate the cost across the number of months that you are signing up for making it easier to make all of your payments. They are pretty reasonable and will adjust the cost based on whether they clear the steps or not and walkways around your home.

Many people head south for the winter and will hire a snow removal service before they leave. In fact they can clear the snow for the full season or for only the time that you are away if you cannot arrange for a neighbor to clear the snow for you. Sometimes it is just easier to hire  residential snow removal services that you can depend on vs. relying on a neighbor who may or may not always clear the snow for you.

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Snow plow service pricing

April 7th, 2014 admin Posted in Snow Plows No Comments »

Snow plow service pricingSnow plow service pricing – Most people appear to pay somewhere around $300 to $400 for the season to have their driveways clear of snow. This level of snow plow service pricing is well within many consumers budgets and does not represent a large sum of money for them. The pricing is well within the price of a snow blower that can be purchased at one of the hardware stores.

Cost Comparisons – Snow Blower vs. Snow Plow service

For example a decent snow blower will cost you from $700 to $1500 depending on power and width of the snow blower. Of course there are even more expensive units, however for the average consumer with a regular driveway and average amount of snow, this is what most people will pay for an adequate snow blower. There is the initial upfront cost and there is the annual maintenance that is typically needed. This involves changing the oil, updating the spark plug, making sure there is enough air in the tires etc. All of these things are easy to do by the home owner and cost little for those people who do it themselves.

As a result, someone who is comparing a snow blower to the cost of hiring someone to clear the driveway they can consider a 3 to 5 year payback on the snow blower. This is pretty reasonable and most people will be willing to pay $300 to $400 for someone to clear their driveway of snow, knowing that they can do this over 5 years and still pay about the same as a snow blower. This is based on the initial up front cost of the snow blower. Other than the maintenance we just discussed, a decent snow blower if it is properly looked after, it should not need major repairs during the initial five years.

Snow Plow Service Pricing

Of course snow plow service pricing can vary a great deal with the size of the driveway, the number of times on average your driveway will need to be cleared and whether you want them to clear snow from your front steps or walkways around the house. Negotiate for the best price and decide how much you want to do yourself in terms of the amount of personal snow clearing work that you are willing to take on.

One of our neighbors is not handy what so ever and does not want to be bothered with having to start a snow blower and clear snow. His wife will shovel snow but he will not. As a result they have a snow plow service for the winter and they are quite satisfied. Their motivation is not money, rather it is the avoidance of having to deal with a loud, messy machine in terms of maintenance. Money is no object for them. This can easily be the decision for many people, however if money is a concern and if it is in short supply, you probably will be shoveling snow or buying a used snow blower to clear the snow from your driveway. Compared  to paying snow plow service pricing levels, a used snow blower is a much better solution in terms of overall cost. If you can fix your own, then you are much further ahead.

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Snow Plowing Companies

February 21st, 2014 admin Posted in Snow Plows No Comments »

Snow plowing companies come in all sizes and shapes. By this we mean that some are large organizations that provide snow clearing services all over the city that you live in while others might be small one person operations that only clear snow on the city block that you live on. One example that we know of was a gentleman who cleared snow for several of his neighbors every day during the winter. He was happy to do this for a reasonable price, since he did not travel during the winter and was looking for something to do. He made enough money to pay for his snow blower and to replace one that he had had for many years. He enjoyed getting outside and he enjoys the fresh air.

Types of Snow Plowing Operators

Some people will use a snow blower that is off loaded from a small truck as they travel from customer to customer. Their cost is low, they have minimal equipment and while they will have more customers than your neighbor, they will still be a small one man operation as a rule.

Some companies use a truck with a blade on the front. You probably have seen them rushing around from house to house, driving into the driveway, dropping the blade and pulling the snow down the driveway. Once they have the snow off the driveway, they push the snow up into large snow banks that can get quite high on your lawn.

Other snow plowing companies use a tractor with a combination blade and snow blower. these machines often do the best job. The snow can be directed almost wherever it is needed and there is no huge snow bank on your front lawn. Both companies using this equipment can also have Teflon coated blades which will not mark your driveway. Anyone with interlocking brick on their driveways will appreciate this extra feature.

There are front mounted and rear mounted snow blowers on tractors. Both types work equally well. Front mounted snow blowers on tractors will also have a blade on the back to scrape snow and ice off the driveway down to the pavement. With all of this equipment how does a consumer decide which company to choose from and what are some of the criteria?

Which type is better?

Aside from price, how often will they clear the snow from your driveway? How much snow must fall before they will come and clear your driveway? Do they use Teflon coated blades to protect your driveway? Do they return after the street snow plow operators have passed and left a large amount of snow in your driveway? All of the above types of equipment work equally well. It really depends on the commitment and care of the operator regarding the quality of the job. Some operators do a better job than others and references are probably better than others to weed out the bad operators. If this does happen to you, make sure you let the operator know as well as the owner of the company.

The last thing snow plowing companies want is to get a bad reputation because one of their operators is not doing a good job! They understand that in addition to neighbors talking, the internet is another powerful tool to leave comments and influence someones company reputation. Check for comments before you hire someone to make sure that the provide great service to all of their customers.

 

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Snow Plow Service

January 21st, 2014 admin Posted in Snow Plows No Comments »

Many consumers arrange for snow plow service every year and this usually includes just clearing their driveways of snow and perhaps the steps leading to their front door. The operator will use a snow plow or blade on the front of a truck or perhaps a tractor to remove the snow from their driveway.

They will drag the snow down the driveway and then push it up onto the lawn as a means of clearing it. The excess snow cannot be left on the street and it cannot be left on the driveway so the only place left is to push it onto the front lawn. During this process the blade of the snow plow sometimes may dig into the lawn a bit and take some of the sod along with it. This leaves and unsightly mess to clean up in the spring for the home owner.

Alternatives to Destroying Your Lawn

One alternative that many snow plow operators will use is that they will essentially extend the length of the driveway into the road a bit and use this space to store the extra snow. This will only work for some customers depending on the space on the road and how far back the city snow plow pushes the snow back off the road.

Another approach is to ask the snow plow company you deal with to use a snow blower mounted on the front of a truck or a tractor. This approach will ensure that all of the snow is blown well away and not create large snow banks.

Finally when the banks get too high, operators may have to arrange for the snow to be removed and trucked away to a snow dump. This is an expensive proposition and homeowners must be careful just who pays for this service and how it is reflected in your contract.

Regardless of which approach is used, the operator should mark the end of your driveway and also the sides of your driveway with markers to indicate where the edges are. This will help to ensure that the amount of damage is kept to a minimum.

City Removal of Snow Banks

In the writers case we have over 10 foot high snow banks in front of our home based on the city pushing snow off the street and also the snow plow service that we hired. Fortunately for us the city also comes along halfway through the season and trucks away most of the snow so that we do not have such large snow banks.

Both neighbors beside us as well as across the street have this problem and we are certainly very happy when the city clears the banks of snow away. This avoids any potential flood in the spring when drains are plugged and the snow is melting with nowhere to go for the water. The other reason we are so happy about this is that a narrow street is actually a fire hazard, since the firetrucks may not be able to get down the street if there is an emergency of some kind. Even parked cars on a narrow street can make it very difficult for these emergency vehicles to move down the street and do their job.

If you are hiring a snow plow service, always obtain a contract that accurately spells out the service you will receive, how often snow will be cleared from your driveway and when it will be cleared. This is the best approach to protect yourself and get the service that you expected.

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Snow Plowing Company

January 7th, 2014 admin Posted in Snow Plows No Comments »

It is still not too late in the season to hire a snow plowing company to clear your driveway. Although it is already January, snow plow companies are still taking contracts for the season and most will prorate their seasonal fees to reduce their charges for the year. You may still pay a little more on a monthly basis compared to signing up for the full season, however you will save money overall by waiting until January to sign a contract. Of course the risk was that you had to shovel snow a couple of times which convinced you more than ever that you should have hired a snow plowing contractor back in November! The winter of 2014 has been particularly difficult for urban homeowners between the amount of snow and the very cold weather. Snow plowing companies have been kept very busy this year and you may have trouble finding one this late in the season who is able to take on more clients. They also may charge a bit more as well if they are really busy and just do not need the extra business.

Services Offered by Snow Plowing companies

A snow plow company offers various services including clearing snow from your driveway, clearing the sidewalk up to your home and also the steps to your front door. For the full service treatment, expect to pay a little more than you would just for the driveway. There is also the timing of the snow clearance that should be discussed as part of your contract.

If you need your driveway clear before you go to work and come home at night, then you should include this in the contract. The same should apply to clearing whatever snow the city snow plow leaves in your driveway as well. They seem to fill our driveways at the most inopportune times just when we need to get out of our driveways or are coming home from work.

Snow Clearing Contractors

From a snow plow company’s perspective, they really would prefer to follow the city snow plow so that they do not have to make several trips. This way they can clear your driveway of snow and also clear whatever snow that the city snow plow leaves in your driveway at the same time. The timing may be less than convenient for you. However consider that even if your driveway is clear, if the street is still full of snow you will still have to navigate down a snow filled street and risk getting stuck!

The other factor to keep in mind is how much snow will need to fall before your snow plowing company will come along to clean your driveway. Two inches of snow fall can be quite a bit of snow and if that is the limit of what must fall before they will clear your driveway you may be a little frustrated.

Consider all contracts carefully and if it is not written down and signed by both parties, then there is little chance of the service being delivered exactly the way you want to and little chance of enforcing it either.

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Snow Plow Companies

December 21st, 2013 admin Posted in Snow Plows No Comments »

Do you really want a snow plow company with a blade clearing snow from your new driveway? What kind of a job will a snowplow company do for you? There are all kinds of issues associated with people who use a blade on the front of a truck to clear your driveway.

For example you can end up with the blade overlapping on your grass and removing a bunch of of your sod from your lawn. This makes an unsightly mess when the snow melts in the spring.

What about the impact on interlock?
Will the blade damage the surface and leave scratch marks on your new interlocked driveway. Some snowplow operators will use Teflon blades to make sure that there are no scraping or scratch marks left on asphalt driveways as well as interlock driveways.

These are questions to ask yourself when hiring a snow plow company. In addition to price, clearing times, how much snow must fall before they clear the driveway. Some companies will only clear snow after 5 cm or two and a half inches of snow fall. This may be acceptable for many people however for some they may want the snowplow to clear snow from the driveway more often.

Also what happens when the city snowplow operator clears snow off the street and creates a snowdrift at the end of your driveway? will the snowplow contractor come back and clear the snow from the end of your driveway? They will eventually get to the job, but how long will you have to wait and will it be cleared before you go to work in the morning?

Make sure these details are spelled out in the contract.

Most snow plow companies operating in urban areas will also leave markers at the end of the driveway on both sides to indicate where the edge of the driveway actually is. This helps them avoid cutting into the lawn or going on to the lawn when they’re clearing snow from the driveway. They are about 3 feet tall and are easily seen by the snowplow company operator.

These signs at the end of the driveway left by the snowplow companies are also a form of advertising. Most of them are about 3 inches wide and 3 feet tall and have the name of the snowplow company as well as the phone number so that your neighbors can see who you’re using and decide for themselves if they would like to get the same company to clear snow off the driveway during the winter.

Our neighbor has hired a snowplow company to clear snow off the driveway and also to shovel the snow from the steps leading into his house. This is a service that many companies will provide however he also has one car that is left permanently on the driveway. The snowplow operator cannot get close to the car for fear of damaging the car. The snow showers when they arrive will also shovel the snow from around the car so that he does not have to be concerned about that.

Typically there are two crews. The first one will clear the snow using a snowblower on the tractor. The second crew will show up several hours later and clear the snow from the steps and also from around the cars mentioned. He is quite well-off and does not mind paying for this extra work. I’m quite sure that he pays a lot for the service.

Whether you just need your driveway cleared of snow, or would like extra services such as Clearing snow from around your parked car and the steps leading into your house always negotiate the best price that you can. Many Snow plow companies will provide a discount if you sign up with them early on the season, while others will discount the fees if you decide to only hire them for a couple months. They will prorate the annual cost of clearing snow from your driveway over the number of months that you actually need the service.

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Extreme Snow Plowing

February 21st, 2013 admin Posted in Snow Plows 1 Comment »

Jet Engine Snow Plows

If I had not seen the picture I am not sure that I would have believe this to be possible. Using jet engines to clear snow from runways and other areas that need not only the snow removed, but everything melted as well. This particular picture tops the list of extreme snow clearing operations. Apparently this picture was taken in Russia where they have mounted Kiimov VK-1 jet engines on the front of trucks. These engines are normally mounted on Mig 15’s. This is one of the most unusual kind of snow plows that the writers have ever seen!

Although these extreme snow plows with jet engines, probably would be effective, there would be some practical issues that might be problematic with this configuration. The snow would be blown into the air and we suspect that it would be very difficult to see in these conditions, especially if you happen to be blowing snow into the wind. It would be a total white out under this condition.

Also what happens to the snow when it melts? The exhaust from the jet engines will be very hot and will melt a lot of the snow. The water will puddle in places and will refreeze as soon as the jet engines are moved onto another area. This would make for very icy conditions after these trucks have passed. Maybe it is not a big issue, however if I was driving on a road after these guys had been in operation, I would be very careful indeed.

The amount of fuel that would be used to run these engines would be prohibitively expensive. It costs a great deal to run airplanes with jet engines and this would be the same. I am not sure that it would be cost effective to run these jet engines as extreme snow plows for very long.

Major Train Snow Plow

Another type of extreme snow plow that is actually much more effective and common are the snow plow trains shown in this picture.

These trains should probably be called extreme snow blowing instead of extreme snow plowing, however when you consider the size of this machine and the power behind it we think that it qualifies for an extreme snow plow as well. These machines are typically used in the mountains were they get a lot of snow and where there are avalanches from time to time and the snow must be cleared from the tracks.

This particular extreme snow plow has two engines with the front engine mounted with this snow blower that is the size of a small house on the front. There is another car behind it, probably for supplies and carrying extra fuel. The last car is something you do not see much of these days. It follows up the rear of the snow plow train and provides a place for the crew to relax in when they need to take a break from work.

They could be out on the tracks for days clearing snow and cannot easily get back to an urban setting for a day or evening off. We suspect that there are bunks, a small kitchen and a dining area in the caboose for the crew during down time from snow blowing.

These are two examples of extreme snow plowing services. The first one probably is effective but not very economical or friendly to the earth. The second is a more practical design and likely very effective as well as necessary.  If you have more and have pictures, please send them along.

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