Snowplowing contractors are doing the best they can with the circumstances they face. Don't listen to the negative stories about a snowplowing contractor...Don't Eat (listen to) the Yellow Snow!
Most of your snowplowing contractors are in the landscaping industry. It is essential for these contractors to create year round cash flow to keep employees and make equipment & truck payments. They usually have the proper equipment and trucks to easily transition into this snowplowing service. Most snowplowing contractors are just breaking even with costs (materials, labor, and equipment payments).
It is a myth that these contractors are "making a king's ransom" with pushing snow & salting. It takes a tremendous amount of capital investment to transition their current equipment & trucks to perform this task. It costs almost $5,000 to purchase & install a new plow onto a truck! Salt spreaders can run as high as $10,000. Typically, your labor costs is at a higher hourly rate than normal. It is hard to get someone out in the middle of the night or on holidays to push snow. In the normal work force, employees are paid more for "midnight" shifts and not having guaranteed hours or days. If you are an "On Call" employee, you are usually paid a premium wage. Fuel expense is definitely a concern these days. With high fuel costs and the continued stop & go method of pushing snow, fuel has become a major factor to the bottom line. The other major factor is the wear & tear on your equipment & trucks. Snowplowing definitely reduces the useful life of these assets. The transmission, rear ends, shocks,springs & struts, front ends, tires, & engine take a tremendous beating to perform the snowplowing task. Salt spreading vehicles rust out at a tremendous rate from the effects of salt on the beds. My projection is that your equipment & trucks lose about 25% of their useful life from snowplowing year in , year out. Maintenance and Replacement costs of equipment & trucks will definitely reduce any chance of long term profits from snowplowing, and will even reduce their profits from their normal business of landscaping.
The next time you hear or talk negative about those snowplowing contractors.. remember they are performing a momentous task at virtually no profit! This service allows you to get to work, your kids get to school, or grandma get to her doctor's appointment.