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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking at going in some different directions next year,and would like some input as to what others are using for large lots.

We currently use loaders for doing large areas,and they are also useful for stacking and removal.They are very expensive though.

I have been debating between more loaders,5 tons with big blades,and tractors.I have seen quite a few big tractors running large containment plows,and they seem to do an incredible job at moving huge amounts of snow.They don't seem to have any problems with the weight associated with these large plows.

Just wondering what you guys think is the best piece of heavy equipment for plowing large lots.Being versatile is important to,so that same piece of equipment can be used for other things as well.
 

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From what I've seen loaders and box plows still seem to be the most efficient for large lots. If versatility is your goal then you could buy (or rent ) different size boxes for the same loader. In this area I've seen no large tractors (that you would find on a farm) or other equipment except loaders, backhoes, skids and trucks of all different sizes.

When you say expensive do you mean to buy or to rent? We sub all of our large loader work and while it is expensive its considerably cheaper than owning or long term leasing the equipment. The down side is you are at the mercy (some what) of the subs and their problems.
 

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I use large tractors because I have them avalible to me due to farming. They work great for methe biggest tractor I use has a large blade on it(seepic below). Since thoe pictures a welder Fabed wings for it. For big lots a compination skidsteer and tractor team is hard to beat.
 

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Someone around here has an old NYS Thruway truck with a large (12'?) front plow and a large wing. I've never seen him in a parking lot, so I don't know how well it would work, but seems to me it would really push some snow with about a 20' clear pass.
 

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I've seen alot of tractors as well. Personally I would go with a tractor and a box plow. I would think you should be able to set one up cheaper then a loader.
 

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Wyldman - you bring up a very good question. I have often wondered why we don't see more farm tractors pushing snow. (at least in this area)

I believe the reason is that people use what they have. Alot of large properties (again in this area) are done by those in the construction/earth moving businesses thats why we see alot of backhoes & loaders w/ pushers. When I was still working on the family farm & also pushing snow, I used 1 of are 4WD farm tractors in large lots because it was available. Now that I must justify the cost and pay for such equipment, just for pushing snow it gets a little more involved. I am trying to expand my operation but at this time I can service my accounts with the mighty cummins & blizzard 810(w/ some subs also) so I can't justify the added cost of the larger equipment even though it would be much more efficient. When I can get 1 more large seasonal account I will have to add more equipment, and before I buy another truck I will buy a farm tractor.

Why a farm tractor over a loader or backhoe? I have run them all (w/pushers on them) and loaders & backhoes don't push snow like a farm tractor of the same hp. Get a 150hp 4WD with an 18speed powershift transmission and u can move snow fast. They work nice w/ a pusher on the front and a 3pt hitch blower on the rear.

The best part of all is that green, blue, or red equipment is alot less expensive than yellow. I see alot of guys paying 40k+ for there 1ton diesels, you can get a good 5yr old tractor for that and really move some snow. If you have to buy stuff brand new then you won't get anything over like 65hp 4wd for under 50k - 60k but thats enough for a backhoe sized pusher.

I all basically boils down to having accounts that pay enough $$$ to justify the purchase for pushing snow only. A large majority of the loaders that I see w/pushers on them are not owned specifically for snow. The company ownes the equipment for summer work, and pushes snow in the winter too keep it busy. While this equipment may be very efficiant, its not payed for strictly with snow dollars.

The other thing that I'm working on is renting the tractors from farmers that doesn't like making payments and seeing their equipment sit under the snow not being used in the winter months.

Sorry for such a long post everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Excellent post Matthew,no need to aplogize for the length of it.

Those are some of the main reasons I looking at tractors over loaders.We just lease the loaders,and they are still very expensive.The tractors seem a lot less expensive,and a little faster.There are also a lot of good tax breaks,financing options,etc on the farm equipment right now.I have to check into it,but I have heard they are a lot cheaper to insure as well.

I am looking at a blade\plow similar to the Team storm containment plows.The main blade is 12-14 feet wide,with two independant 4 foot wings on either end.Moves a lot of snow,and very useful for tighter areas with little spillage.

I have two 5 tons,which still have the wing towers for a side wing.I just found them too awkward to use,and you need two people,and driver and a wing man,as the controls are on the pass side floor.They are OK for big long runs,but are a PITA to manuever around small obstacles,like shopping carts stalls,and islands.The tractors and loaders seem much better for this.
 

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MDsnowPRO -
How well do the duels work in snow? I have often wondered if duels would be better or worse but I have not gotten a chance to try them.
 

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I think a lot will depend on what kind of obstacles your lot(s) will have. If it is wide open then a large pusher box (14') on a backhoe would be a great way to go. You can drop the pusher and stack or load in a second if you need to. If you have many islands in your parking area I would look at a large skidsteer (773 class or larger) and a nice pusher for it. Again you can drop the box and use the bucket for tight curb clean-ups, etc. Can't beat the manuevarability. Combine either one of those with a truck and a sidewing and I think you would have a compact sopution that will handle most lots that you will encounter. Use the trucks to windrow a few passes and grab the snow with the pusher and off you go!

Plus, with a skidsteer, you get the versitility you are looking for. If you don't already have a backhoe then I thin you may want to consider the skidsteer option as these are by far one of the most versitile all-season machines out there. The reason I would recommend the larger skidsteer is two-fold. First, you want the weight of the larger machine so you cab put on a decent sized pusher box, say 12'. Second, you want a high flow machine so you can get a kicka$$ blower like Pelican! Seriously, the high flow is a must have option IMHO. Just too many great tools out there that need that kind of muscle to run them. Also, they are easily transported with a pick-up....

I worked for a contractor that had some older Case articulated loaders with 14' pushers on them that did great....until we had to use them in a lot that looked like it was designed by a pinball machine designer. They were useless because of the way you had to get the snow out. I would have traded the large machine for a Bobcat with a 8' box in a second....just too many islands. (Any of you guys around here know the Fishkill, NY Wally World?)


Good luck!!
 

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They work great. Just have to have a plow big enough to clear the wheel ways. I like the tractor becaue the rear wheels have independant brakes. So you can lock one side up and turn on a dime. The thing has tons of power. Last year one of my driver took out a whole curbline and never knew it(how he didnt notice....i dont know). As for a blower we have on to BUT i have no pics. THis is a buddies blower working in the big storm last Feb
 

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sounds like it's time to make a custom machine wyldman!
 

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It really depends on the layout of the lot. Wide open with long runs is too much for a skid steer. Don't get me wrong, they have their place. Backhoes do OK with longer runs, but loaders are just awesome. Try making a 300' run with a 20' box with a big loader, and guess what? It can do it no problem. With a skid steer, and a truck, and one loader with a 20' box on it, you would be amazed at how quickly an open lot can be cleared. Backhoes and skid steers will break traction, and that adds time fast. Loaders don't as easily. Don't get me wrong, they can break traction under specific conditions. In those conditions, you can drop the box and run the bucket.

On the flip side like Herk said, a lot that looks like it was designed by a pinball designer, (I say the "island fairy" sprinkled islands all over the lot) and that 20' pusher is next to useless.

The thing to remember, is that you are trying to clear large areas. Using any type of plow, you are just moving the snow to one side or the other. If there are islands, or a place to stack not far away, then a wide blade may be enough. If it is a long run to the stacking area, then a pusher is the key. The more snow you can move at one time, the better.

Wyldman, have you considered buying the box plows, and leasing/renting/using subs for the tractors or loaders?

Then you have the versatility of moving the box plows where you need them, as you take on new accounts, or turnover your customer base (for whatever reasons). Then all you need is the machine to hook up and push them.

Not sure if there is an hourly cap on the rentals or leased units, but you can almost cut it in half using box plows instead of just running the buckets. Once the cost of the box plows is recovered, the profits will add up. Those Storms are nice units, but they are pricey. I would start with cheaper box plows, and move up to a Storm in the future.

Just my $0.02

~Chuck
 

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Chuck, great point about looking further down the road at the profits and how quickly you recoup the price of a pusher box. Although, the subs may get a bit pooched when they see their hours cut because productivity rises.

I was all set to order Turkey Wings and presented this to a contractor I worked for. I explained to him that since I could be far more productive that a modest increase in my rate would be in order. He declined so I didn't order the wings. I would have been cutting my own throat by reducing the hours I spent on the same project. I wasn't trying to make it all up with the rate, but I did feel that something was in order. I wish I could find a way to justify the cost for myself because I think they are a good piece of gear. But in my current position, I only use my boss' plows and other equipment. My plow is pretty much only for my hacienda this year. :cool:

Yeah, its pretty cool watching airport snow gangs go at it with the big Cats ands 'Matsu's with those HUGE pushers!!! Although it is interesting to note that in Scandinavia and the Netherlands almost all you see doing lot work and airports are huge tractors with blades and blowers..... And I have to think those folk know a little about snow removal. Just an observation.....
 

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We went on a tour of Denver International Airport with SIMA. They use plows, brooms, and blowers to clear runways in one pass. It is awesome. BRL was there too, maybe he remembers how long it takes them... I think it was less than 12 minutes for them to clear it full width down to blacktop.

On the "cutting hours" subject, I too had a problem finding subs because of that. Most want a minimum of 8 hours, which is usually not a problem, though I could not put it in writing.... What I tried to do was offer a premuim rate (meaning the high end of the scale for the area). Also remind them that they are using your pusher 90+% of the time, so they won't have to worry about eating up the bucket cutting edge. They will not be liable for scraping up pavement, which is common running just the bucket on the larger iron... There will be less wear on the machine because the won't be using the bucket to stack, just raising the loader arms with the pusher attached.... anything you can think of that will benefit them in other ways can help win them over.

Now, just as an example, they might want $80 per hour for a given piece of equipment, but for $105 per hour running the pusher, they might bite. It's not easy to win them over. These are the guys that run for hours on end just to make what they feel they need from a storm, who never bid per push, who apply salt by the ton.....

It can be a hard sell. I never had a contractor who used a pusher for the first time tell me they didn't like it. It took getting used to, yes, some were scared of it, but in the end, they loved running them. There is definitely a learning curve.

When the competition comes to town running pushers, and they start stealing jobs left and right, it usually helps open their eyes....

~Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We are currently leasing all the loaders and blades,all maintenance included.They are pricey,but still turn a nice profit.

I have looked at a few big tractors,and I can buy them for less than we pay for leasing the loaders.I will own them in the long run.I hate throwing away money.

I was just looking for more feedback on the tractors.I know the Team storm plows are pricey,but I will most likely fab my own similar setups.
 

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Across the street from me in the plaza where Home Depot is and the adjoining Walmart lot all they use are loaders with big angle adjustable plows on them.
I think they have 5-6 of them,1 skid steer plus a couple of salt trucks.
I know they just rented the smallest one they have from the True Value down the road for the whole winter season.

The bulk of the equipment sits there all summer and doesn't move so the must be getting good money for the jobs. The same company does a bunch of plaza's over in Albany too. But i think they use box plows over there due to the tighter confines.

Dan
 

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Well this is right up my alley. We run everything from a skidsteer, NewHolland TCD 40 tractor, backhoes, trucks, and 3 to 8 yard loaders.

Our 20' Daniels plow with pusher kit will be here on Wed. After talking to Greg and Wade at Daniels, I am convinced this is a great combo. If my theory is correct, boxes will be a thing of the past for us. With this plow you have both a plow and a box.

Now as for large tractors, we are going to try some next year with these Daniels plows on them. After doing my own resaerch I believe tractors get better traction than loaders and may be faster.

Pete you are right about Wallyworld and a pinball machine. They must have over a thousand carts out there at night. We still run a 16' plow and 16' box over there though. and alot of salt!

Good Luck
 

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Great thread

I have been waiting for someone to start a thread about this subject iam at a juntion in our buss were i need to make some choices like Mathew said we spend 40k for a truck yet i still end up with pushing 8.5 at a time just a paraphrase but you know what i mean, i have been offered large propertys and i have always turned them down do to the mistrust i have in subs i use only loader subs for extreme stacking and removal when ness i own a old city 5ton which i very seldom run to haul snow.

My intrest is also like Wlymans i want to know what tractors would be best brands size etc this past storm i seen two JD'S with box plows they looked like they were doing the job very well so any feedback on tractors would be great !!
 
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