In this edition of Dealer Round Up, Snow Plow News ask dealers about the biggest innovations they’ve seen in the industry to reduce labor.
June 28, 2022 | Emma Tyborski
Efficiency is a huge topic in this industry, the snow is only there for a short time and you’ve got a limited amount of time to to clear it and manpower nowadays is very hard to find so sidewalk solutions for your bigger contractors is definitely an issue. UTVs are something we have definitely seen pick up in the last couple years, not only for the homeowner market, but in the commercial market, where you can put a small spreader in the bed and have a v-plow on the front. Then you’ve got stuff like the Snow Raider that can do sidewalks and on the plow side going to something like the expandable plow. The Western wideout or the Fisher xls or the SnowEx 8100 power plow, those plows cut down your time and they can carry 30 percent more snow, which will also cut down your time and how many trucks you need on the parking lot.
With the exception of more ATVs and UTVs, there hasn’t been a whole lot. The Snow Raiders been out for quite a few years, the Toro unit there’s some new accessories for that, but it’s been a lot more going into the UTV market that gives the ability to put a person inside a cab instead of out in the elements. It’s really hard to get somebody to go do sidewalks when it’s 10 degrees below zero out and the wind is blowing. We put them in a cab they’re happy to go out and work more.
So as far as efficiencies, especially with now, we have a constraint on labor, I think there’s a couple things and I’m a big proponent of the switch and go. I think that’s a great solution, but there’s a new product that’s out of Finland that’s here at the show today it’s called Hilltip and they have a pretty awesome setup. It’s a modular style salt spreader, so you can get multiple different sizes by just adding a center unit, but it’s a polyurethane spreader that’s actually hauled out that doubles as tanks for your brine. It comes equipped with a geo fencing software, so that you can actually control when the salt turns on and when the brine starts, based on how you design your geofence. It also is controlled by ground speed, it’s pretty revolutionary and they’re a new company over in Europe and they’re taking over Europe like crazy. They’ve just been introduced to the U.S. and I can’t wait to get my hands on one, because they’re pretty awesome equipment.
Well the biggest thing is the Snow Raiders and new Mag unit. That’s gonna basically do whatever they can to eliminate people, they never break down, they never call in sick, they’re pretty good.
Now because we can’t find help, everybody and their brother either has the little articulated wheel loaders like the Bobcat 28, the Aviant, the Multi-Quip, the Kanga Mini loaders, the Boxer Power Mini stand on skid steers, the Toro Dingos or Bobcat mt55 walk pens with snow removal attachments. Or you get guys that are going to like the BOSS Snow Raider or the Ventrac stand-on unit. There’s also a couple other companies that are coming up with their own versions that are coming out. You’re getting a lot of guys that are going to UTVs and ATVs because, again you could pay a guy 25 an hour and tell them “hey you’re going to set a nice warm cab you’re going to get to whip around the park on a little UTV” and they’re like “yeah I’m ready to do that!”, so that’s something you’re seeing a lot in the market.
Another thing you see a lot of guys doing too is walk behind power brooms, that was something the industry’s always done, but you’re seeing those become more and more popular. Also the walk behind push snow shovels, like the Snow Dozer and stuff like that; one of my customers has over a hundred of them for his sidewalk guys. The other thing is going to brine on the sidewalks. You’re pre-treating costs, and cost of putting material down and the fact that it works instantaneously, because you’re skipping this entire step of physics, you’re going from a solid crystal to a brine, it’s already in liquid form, so it’s working instantaneously. So that’s some of the stuff we’re seeing for sidewalks. If you haven’t done it yet, you need to seriously consider buying that kind of equipment.