Winter rental revenue: Let it snow
01/14/2013

The right mix of attachments can generate winter rental revenue

 

Many contractors pick up snow removal jobs in the winter to supplement their income during slow construction months and if you have the right equipment to meet the season’s demands, your rental business can reap additional revenue and profit through the winter as well.

From snow blades, pushes and blowers to sweepers and buckets, understanding the uses and benefits of each is crucial to having a productive and efficient snow removal arsenal ready for your customers.

“Depending on your location and its snow conditions, your customers will need specific attachments to address the difficulties that come with each type of snow,” says Dave Aldrich, dealer development and service manager for FFC Attachments, Dexter, Mich., a Paladin Attachments company.

“Uneven terrain, confined spaces, barriers and highly traveled areas create other obstacles that can be overcome with a versatile inventory,” he says.

  • Light, dry snowfall. Consider stocking your inventory with snow blades, which are designed to handle light, dry snow on roadways, in residential areas or business parking lots. These attachments are available in widths ranging from 60 in. to 12 ft. A snow blade can move snow up to 6 in. deep straight forward or to the side using a 30-degree angle to the left or right. When angled, the snow rolls from the forward-most edge of the curved blade and is placed by the rear-most edge. In areas where ground conditions aren’t visible, blades with trip edges provide additional safety, keeping the entire blade from stumbling over manhole covers or uneven terrain.

Sweeper attachments also should be added to your inventory as they work best on dry snow and are most commonly used for depths up to 3 in. Variable speeds allow for snow with moderate moisture to be swept away as well. Polywire brushes break up compacted snow and penetrate into concrete grooves and pavement to more effectively remove all snow and help restore traction. Sweepers are appropriate in areas where snow has been primarily removed, but the conditions call for a cleaner surface, or on heavily traveled roadways/sidewalks where the snow has been compacted.

  • Heavy, dry snowfall. Snow blowers create the best solution for customers experiencing heavy, dry snowfall of more than 2 ft. The attachment’s typical in-cab electronically controlled adjustable chute rotates left and right, while the deflector controls the height of the discharge, allowing customers to position the material exactly where they want it.
  • Heavy, wet snowfall. Dedicated snow buckets often are required to move heavy, wet snow. The moisture that can plug a snow blower is easily picked up and carried in a bucket. Bucket design provides the strength to pick up heavy material that other snow attachments can’t handle. Caution customers about the importance of weight relationship between the bucket and skid-steer. For instance, if they put a 2-yd. bucket on a 1,500-lb. skid-steer and overload it with snow, it may tip the skid-steer.

High-tech snow blades also operate in a variety of positions, providing added versatility to penetrate drifts and clear snow. V-shaped blades can push material, work as a traditional blade or pull material away from a barrier. Their design is effective for sidewalks, driveways and parking lots or for pulling material away from curbing, fencing or building exteriors. The common in-cab advanced hydraulic controls are used to position the blade as needed for a wide range of conditions and applications.

Snow push attachments are effective in applications where material needs to be pushed or piled. Available in sizes ranging from 10 to 12 ft. wide and 30 to 48 in. high, the box construction gathers material inside as it moves forward to handle greater depths of snow while also having the structure to take on heavy, wet material. Because it has no moving parts, a snow push attachment is considered a more cost-effective snow removal tool.

“Buckets, blades and snow blowers create a strong foundation of equipment that can handle a variety of conditions and applications,” Aldrich says. “Depending on your regional weather conditions, you may need to expand your inventory to include other attachments, such as sweepers, pushes and high-tech blades.”

To ensure you are getting the maximum return on investment from your snow attachment inventory, keep them clean. If not cleaned properly before storage, the snow and ice left in or on the unit can cause costly damage.

John Thomas is vice president of marketing and business development for Paladin Attachments, which includes FFC Attachments, Dexter, Mich. For more information, visit paladinattachments.com.