We had a chance to talk to Paul Rasevic at Rasevic Snow Services recently to learn about his business. Rasevic Snow Services is headquartered in Bathesda, Maryland, and services central Maryland (including Baltimore), Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia.
- Employees, Full Time: 38
- Employees, Seasonal: 750
- Equipment: everything from shovels to 8 yard loaders to snow melters
- Favorite Snow Plow: Western
- Favorite Loader Plow: Protech
How Did You Get Into the Snow and Ice Industry?
“My brother (Mark) and I have been shoveling sidewalks since we were eight years old. It is all we know. We started clearing snow professionally to keep our landscaping team busy year round; we got into it so we would not have to lay off people. We have never laid anyone off.”
What Makes Rasevic Different Than Everyone Else?
Paul related the intensity to which they bring to aggressively pursuing the goals set for their customers is what sets them apart. The Rasevic team staffs their main site as a command center with several additional satellite locations servicing the crews.
The Rasevic team will actually begin work 48 hours in advance of a significant snow event, even staffing the main site with a cook around the clock during big events to help keep the crews productive in the field.
“It is the intensity with which we attack the event, staying 24/7, until everything is done.” We reckon it is this focus and intensity that draws a lot of zero tolerance clients to the Rasevic front door, ensuring people on the properties they service stay safe during the winter.
Where Does that Huge Temporary Workforce Come From?
Rasevic Snow services gets most of their temporary crew from industries there are generally shut down in the winter months. Landscapers, roofers, construction trades, and the concrete industry is usually laying off during the same months the Rasevics need them most, allowing the Rasevic Payroll to swell 20 times what they carry in the summer months.
It is not just the intensity with which the Rasevic team serve their clients that help them win. About ten years ago, they “blew up Excel” with the business planning they were trying to do. The Rasevics developed proprietary software that manages everything from accounting to staffing. Accounts are setup in the software during the preseason client signups, then during a snow event, everything from staffing to billing only takes a few clicks
The Rasevics also found they have a knack for sourcing snow and ice removal deicing products in a scarce market. It started when big clients who sourced their own salt couldn’t find more when their stores ran out, yet the Rasevics could find the materials just fine. That ability to source deicing materials gave birth to Snow and Ice Salt and Chemicals Unlimited (SISCU), where they will sell everything from rock salt to premium deicers to brine to driveway markers to gloves.
The new business, which started three years ago, has been a boon not only for the Rasevic clients, but fellow snow removal contractors who are trying to watch their costs carefully as well. The combined buying power allows the Rasevics to get the best materials pricing allowing them to pass on the savings.
SISCU sees a lot of magnesium products get used in their area and has become a preferred supplier for many magnesium products. Magnesium has several advantages including working in lower temperatures, needing smaller quantities to do the same job as rock salt, and it is more friendly to buildings, landscaping, pets, and the environment.
Snow and Philosophy?
An interesting fact is Mark Rasevic, one of the co-owners, has a degree in philosophy. While it does not seem to relate, the critical thinking skills taught in philosophy is an asset to Mark as he needs to help prevent or solve issues on almost a daily basis.
One Last Word
Before we ended our conversation, Paul pointed out that the family’s participation in the industry is twofold. “It is what we have always done, it is who we are and it is what we do.” He quickly followed it up, “It is really about helping people. Keeping people safe while providing a living for a lot of families.” I think Paul speaks for a lot of contractors.
Join the conversation on our Facebook Page, why are you in the Snow and Ice Management Industry?