There are four keys to running a successful snow removal operation according to David Ross, president of Snowscapes, a commercial snow removal company based in Hackensack, New Jersey:
- Specialize in serving a specific type of customer. Focusing on one particular sector allows your team to fine tune their operations, limiting waste and maximizing profit.
- Dedicate yourself and your team to delivering the highest quality service through education, certifications, training and detailed operational plans.
- Utilize top quality materials and machinery. The initial cost may be greater, but the loss suffered from inferior products and equipment will prove to be far greater.
- Never rest on your laurels.
Snowscapes began 30 years ago as a lawn care company. Like many such enterprises, the company added snow removal services in the winter months, but soon began to focus only on snow removal. After providing these services to both commercial and municipal customers, Ross made the decision to focus solely on commercial accounts.
The speed and efficacy of Entry along with low application labor costs make using Entry far more advantageous than applying a pellet or flake.
Utilizing Better Technology
In 2016, Ross learned about Secure Winter Products’ Entry, a de-icing and anti-icing fluid based upon formic technology. Entry quickly and reliably removes thin layers of ice and prevents new snow and ice from accumulating. In fact, Entry’s speed of melt is 30 to 50 seconds faster than the liquid the company was using previously. At a 50 percent concentration, the freezing point is reduced to approximately minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius).
Like other liquid de-icers and unlike most granular de-icers, Entry is readily biodegradable, does not contain chlorides that can damage ecosystems and eliminates the sticky, slippery residue on floors and carpets that is common with granular products and some liquids. And Entry has a virtually neutral pH of 7.8, lower than other liquid products which can cause damage to flooring and concrete surfaces. It is safer for pets, plants and metals and provides rapid and reliable results.
Saving Time and Money
Snowscapes used Entry during approximately 80 percent of the company’s 2016-2017 winter events. “The speed and efficacy of Entry, along with low application labor costs, make using Entry far more advantageous than applying a pellet or flake,” Ross notes. “We achieved greatly reduced application costs per 1,000 square feet compared to when we applied solids only.”
When we switched to a liquid de-icer, we chose one of the leading brands. We were pleased that it provided all the advertised advantages of liquid de-icers over granular products, and we felt that using a liquid enhanced our reputation.
As for the speed of melt, Ross says, “Most granular products take a minimum of five minutes to achieve an adequate melt, while some liquids take less than two minutes. Some liquids are more effective at lower temperatures than most granular de-icers, too.
“When we switched to a liquid de-icer, we chose one of the leading brands. We were pleased that it provided all the advertised advantages of liquid de-icers over granular products, and we felt that using a liquid enhanced our reputation. But, we’re always looking to improve our company’s processes. So, we kept the door open to finding another effective liquid de-icer.”
Delivering Quality Service
Now that Snowscapes focuses solely on its snow removal service, much of the summer months are spent training drivers/applicators and doing dry runs. “Because our typical customer has more complex surfaces—not simply large, square parking lots—we believe training helps us do the best job possible in the winter months,” Ross says. “High-traffic, high-liability areas are where the site’s employees and visitors might suffer a fall. It’s also where they might track de-icing materials into buildings, damaging the flooring and carpeting.”
For narrow sidewalks, Snowscapes uses sidewalk specific machinery equipped with spray tanks. For large walks, tank sprayers are attached to utility vehicles, pickup trucks or agricultural tractors, which apply the liquid de-icer from a spray nozzle extended from the side of the vehicle while driving parallel to the sidewalk.