In this edition of Dealer Round Up, Snow Plow News ask dealers for the best plows, trucks and spreaders for clearing strip mall parking lots.
June 29, 2022 | Emma Tyborski
For the small to medium-sized snow removal contractor that’s doing the small strip malls, stuff that’s got an acre, two acre parking lots, a truck is right at that border line being the right vehicle, because you can only move so much snow with a truck and only so much capability. You’re going to be really looking at more of an F450 for carrying capacity, I would say something like the Western Wideout, Wide Out XL, the Fisher XLS, the Buyer SnowDogg 810 Power Plow, or the BOSS Power Expanding Plow would be something to be the most efficient.
When it comes to spreaders, as you know, the industry’s changing. I wouldn’t say a spreader really, I’d be looking at putting a brine sprayer on. The brine is coming to the future and you can do a lot more with the brine and it gives you more versatility with one guy on truck. But again, once you start getting over that two acre range that’s when you need to stop screwing around with the trucks, get equipment on it, you make more money with a skid steer and it’s more efficient. You’re far more efficient with a wheel loader than a truck, so the trucks are a necessary evil in this industry for the small stuff, but you get to a point where it’s not the right vehicle to have in the operation.
For a strip mall, a payloader and a dedicated salt truck are needed. If you’re trying to do an entire strip mall or a larger plaza, anything over an acre with a pickup truck, you’re over taxing the truck and plow. You should be into a skid steer or some type of a compact loader for larger areas. The truck should be used for cut out, clean out, and prep and maybe doing your final, but trying to plow and salt with the same truck in that application, you’re gonna kill the truck.
I’m a huge proponent of the switch and go product incorporating that into snow and ice. So that’s going to require a class 5 vehicle. I really like the new Chevy medium duties, you can even get it in a 6,500, which is a 23,000 GVW truck. You add the switch and go, you can you can go from dump body to a salt spreader in five minutes with one guy, that’s a pretty versatile piece of equipment.
Then as far as the plow, you need to throw on an 8-6-11 XLS, preferably in stainless steel, but then you can go out and have a wingspan up to 11 feet on a pretty big truck with maybe a four and a half yard hopper that’s attached to a body that you can take on and off. I think that’s the the best the best weapon in the arsenal right now.
For the bigger lots it all comes down to speed and efficiency, so the bigger trucks are going to be better. So the new 6500 Chevys or F600s that you can fit a a good 10-foot plow on, vee or a straight with a big sander at least a three to four yard unit would probably be the most efficient. I do like trucks that have detachable bodies so you can use it one day as a plow truck and the next day back as a dump truck without going through the hassle of removing a big unit like a four or five yard sander.
As far as a parking lot plow, definitely an expandable plow if you’re strictly doing parking lots always keeping up with the snow, your Western Wideout, your Fisher XLS, your SnowEx Expandable, those are by far the most efficient blades out there. But if you’re mixing in driveways and you’re coming in after a storm, you definitely should be looking at a v-plow. The v-plow overall we feel is the best thing on the market to to hit a bunch of different options, because you can break through in the vee and then you can scoop it and still carry a lot of snow, not as much as an expandable, but those are our two biggest options that we would definitely recommend.
As far as the truck goes, I’m not specific to the brand of anything, but if you’re doing parking lots you definitely need a one ton or larger. For driveways you should have three quarter. The market is opening for half ton trucks, there’s a lot more plow options now to fit the lighter trucks and we see a lot more homeowners going with half tons, but for the most part they’re not built for commercial use. Trucks should be in the three-quarter or one-ton market for your commercial plow guys.