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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first season pre-salting and after two events I have some questions.

The first event I was a little late getting it down as the snow had already started to accumulate and was coming down fast. I noticed no results from pre-salting that event. Should I have skipped the application or did I not put enough down?

The second event I got it down about 1hr before the snow started. The problem was that this is a very busy lot and it was full, therefore I could not get the most importand part of this lot, the parking spaces. This was a long, severe storm with several plowings. Again, no real results from pre-salting. Did I "plow away my results" with the first plowing during the middle of the storm? Should I have reapplied after each plowing?

What do you guys do during a large storm like this?(several feet)
How long before the snow can you pre-salt? To pre-salt this location when it's empty I would have to put it down 8 hrs before the snow, this seems way too early.

I would really like to get this pre-treating thing down, I have two properties that would greatly benifit from this. Lots of traffic and the parking spaces are always packed down with snow.

Thanks for your help.
Oh yea, I have been pre-treating with magic treated salt.
 

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Pre-treating with Magic Salt

Quick question first...where are you located? Just for general info.

We have seen good results and these are only GUIDELINES. I'm sure you will hear lots of other ideas. Try them, experiment because no one technique works for all scenarios. We are a Magic distributor and several of our customers use treated salt as a pre-treatment, but we mainly use liquid. That being said, here are a couple of observations based on our experience with Magic and Magic Salt:

1. You can pre-treat up to several days early. Some guys have even said they have had good results doing it a week or more in advance. Key here is that if you get any precip such as rain before the snow, you will not see the results you are looking for. The rain will wash/dilute the Magic and it will be much less effective. If you know a storm is going to happen tomorrow and temperatures will be below freezing so no rain occurs you should have a good formula for success.

2. Even prior to large storms we pre-treat all of our properties. One of the key benefits of Magic is that it prevents the snow from bonding to the pavement/concrete and forming hardpack or ice. For us, this is worth it alone. Then, when we do plow the results we see are black and wet pavement underneath. Significantly reduced clean-up and almost no icing incidents. Even when we plow with the storm we see great results. We typically salt with the storm also, at a reduced salt rate, just to ensure we have no ice problems.

We constantly try new things. We track what works and what didn't. Two of our properties are across the stree from each other and they are like night and day because of sun exposure, drainage, wind and drifting. You have to adjust your application techniques for these kinds of variances, but the payoff is worth it. We have seen great money savings because of reduced clean-up plowing and many less trips back for salting refreeze issues. It's working for us and better yet, for our customers.

This is a great place to exchange ideas! Pass along whatever you find.

Good luck!

Pete :usa
 

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I'm trying to figure out that same thing with a McDonalds that we plow .When and what to pretreat and how many times.
 

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You should of notices the ease of plowing, not that is had melted any snow. Pre-salting keeps the first part of the snow from adhearing. Where you had salted even if say 2" had accumulated, should of been easy to scrape off with the plow, and where you did not get would of been harder.

I found that it lets you use less salt in the end. Almost no hardpack or ice formed on the blacktop.

The salt will fall below small amounts of accumilated snow and have an effect.
 

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I'll lay down 500lbs. on a 75x75 foot area at one certain prop. that allows that.

Compared to the ones I do not pre-treat , there is a big difference clearing .

With a steel blade of course.
 

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HugePiles said:
I'll lay down 500lbs. on a 75x75 foot area at one certain prop. that allows that.

Compared to the ones I do not pre-treat , there is a big difference clearing .

With a steel blade of course.
Are you trying to pre-treat or reproduce the Bonneville Slat Flats? That much material is both unnecessary and environmentally irresponsible.
 

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Is there a formula for calculating how much by the sq ft? I want to start treating the properties I plow but don't know where to start with the pricing.
 

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I hope I'm misreading HugePiles number... did you mean 50 lbs? 500 lbs on 5600 square feet is irresponsible as Alan said. At the rate of 350 lbs per acre, you only need about 45 lbs of salt. For pretreating you could go even lighter. At your 500 lbs for your lot, you're applying at a rate of nearly 2 tons per acre, which is easily 10 to 11 times too much salt.

Pretreating with granular may not be as effective as some of the liquid options depending on when the application goes down, moisture content, traffic, etc. If you can get the granular app down just as the snow is falling and the pavement is becoming wet, you will have great results since you will be creating brine which will melt the new snow fall. If you wait until the snow has accumulated 1/2" you're making a reactive "de-icing" application which will require more salt to melt down. An application made after some accumulation is already on the ground will help the compacted snow from bonding to the pavement, but generally won't melt new snow falling. You've already given the snow an opportunity to accumulate and it will just continue to build up, where as on bare pavement that has a brine it will melt until the rate of snow fall is either too great to melt as it comes down or until your brine solution is too diluted to effectively keep the water from freezing.

Too soon with granular and the salt will scatter and won't stay in your target application area. As well, granular product left on pavement, in particular where people are walking, may become a slip/trip fall hazard.
 

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I was thinking the same thing that 500lbs was an awful lot for the area to be covered.Since the area that i have to do is alot bigger.

So if you apply a pretreatment then during the storm and then at the end would you charge for 3 applications of salt?
 

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I do believe that Mr"HugePiles" aka Santo is trying to stir the pot- there is no way that much salt could be applied in that small of an area- at least not without coming out 2-3" thick. At that rate of course you won't have any problem removing the snow there- it will all melt off before you could get there to remove it!

Bill
 

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We typically set up our contracts so that it is basically charged "per storm". Say we use 6 tons of salt. 1 as a pre-treat and the other throughout and after the storm. We would just list it as 6 tons, not 2 or 3 applications. We do this because if we tried to charge per application we may need to make two trips instead of one heavy one, etc to get the amount down that we feel is needed. It just works better for us that way. Structure your contracts as they work for you.....

LawnLad, we have actually had decent feedback, but as you said not as good as liquid, with a granular pre-treatment even several days in advance. Where it has been best is the high traffic areas where the salt gets crushed into the traffic lanes. I agree that if it is a heavy granular pre-treament you could cause a condition that may be a little slippery because of the granuals but I would think that that would have to be a pretty heavy application...maybe somewhere in the 500 lbs per 5K feet! :scramble Kidding about the rate, but I do think that would only be an issue if you were laying it down pretty heavy. And BTW, that was a great explaination about how the pre-treatment works! I understand how it works, but sometimes am at a loss to describe it well. I'll be "borrowing" some of your work! Hope you don't mind....

Anyway, I will certainly solicit more info from our customers that are using granular (if the darn rain ever quits and we actually get snow again) and pass whatever I can onto the board.


Pete :usa
 

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Seems like most of the question about Pre-treating has been covered. It all depends on the results you are looking for to decide if it works or not.

I do like to pre-treat the heavy traffic lots and I use this method when selling seasonal service contracts with salt pricing included. The most bennefit I see from pre treating is the reduced bonding effect.

As most said even if the pre-treat does not melt down the entire snowfall, when you do plow you will get a pretty clean looking job almost instantly. For me this leads to a nice surface to reapply salt with quicker melting action reducing the possibility of reforming ice. Most important to me is plowing goes quicker, less wear and tear on the equipment, the lot looks and stay clear longer, and the customer is very happy.

In my area I see almost NO ONE useing any liquid. I as starting to ask more question about WHY this is in an attempt to determine if it is just not working or if the market demand is just not there. Bottom line, if the client WILL NOT pay for it, no matter if it works or not I can see putting money into equipment to do it. I would love to find a way to work it into my program.

As for salting with the storm, I have found it to be a roll of the dice. With time and experience I have learned to pay attention not only to the weather during the strom, but also the forecast 24hrs following the storm. This has helped me better understand the effectness of salting during a storm with temps too high or too low for salt to be effective.


As for billing by APPLICATION or by BULK TON I have found that all of my clients this season demanded per-application bill rates. Where in years past they would jast ask with the the bulk ton rate. I think this is from several contractors in the area chaning wording making the client think they are getting something different. Therefore, leading to the client asking for something different. I do not see the client coming up with this on their own.

I came up with a modified bill plan that has been working well so far with no complaints. I give a per-application flat rate for what should melt down and prevent reforming for between 1"- 2" of average snowfall. Than I increase billing by .25 as the higher demand for salt is justified. I still use the market bill rate for bulk ton pricing but just break it down. All in all it works out the same as bulk ton billing but for some reason the clients are hooked on a "I want to know what I am going to pay when the truck comes" and they can see when there is more or less snowfall. When the bill comes and shows 3 tons of salt, I belive the client has no idea what 3 tons of salt looks like nor do they have any idea how much should have been used. They just think,"WOW 3 TONS of salt that is alot of salt". When I have attempted to explain coverage rates all I see in their eyes is :huh .

Just sharing what has worked for me in my area and market. This will and does differ from region to region like most any other service type industry.
 

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This picture shows the sidewalk in the forground that was not pretreated and was walked on and plowed and snowblown throughout the storm. The Black and Wet road in the background was pre-treated when the first flake fell, was plowed and driven on by students all throughout the storm. It was hit with a light coat a little over halfway through the storm and then again just before the storm ended. The storm started late Friday night and ended early Sunday evening.
 

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Did SIMA teach you how to do that?:notworthy plowing! :zoom :feedback
 

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Posted in another thread here (not happy with M1000), but the picture tells the story anyway. Similar results to what gordyo is showing. The pre-treatment prevents the bond, easier to plow and a better clean-up result.

Not a SIMA member yet....can't get the boss to spend the $$$.


Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm located in Saratoga Springs, NY - never finished my profile, sorry.

All of the benifits of pre-salting that you guys are giving are exactly why I'm trying to figure this method out. I just have not been able to get the same results as it seems you get. Part of the problem could be that this is also my first season with magic, and I'm playing around with application rates. I think I'm not putting enough down to get that wet blacktop under the snow. The very busy parking spaces in front of the plaza get packed down and take days to see blacktop, this I do not like.

I think that I'm going to try opening up the spreader a little more and see if that helps, thanks for all the help and I'll let you know how I make out.
 

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I have a few questions on pre treating..

I don’t do snowplowing myself yet but looking to do it next year.

I can’t figure out how you would sell your client on pre treating. I would think they will question you when you send them a bill for salting during a snow event. They will ask why you salted 4 times during the storm.

I understand salting before or just when the snow starts to come down, you would tell them you salted it to reduce the possibilities of ice buildup underneath. I wouldn’t tell them that it makes it easier to plow because they don’t care for that.
How do you have time to hit your lots 4+ times in a storm to salt them especially if you’re plowing and then salting after you plow and move onto the next site beeing a sole operator.

Most of you guys have a few commercial lots and the bulk of your other contracts are homeowners, what about those of you that are independent and have only commerical?


I Live in Ontario Canada and we don’t get 2' storms we get 2" and 4" storms usually in my area and a storm only last 8 or 12hrs.

The salting rates are really cut throat especially in the Toronto where it’s put down for $70 a ton and your cost is $60.

I have the opportunity to buy treated salt locally for $37 more then un treated salt. How do I sell treated salt to my clients?

1) Don’t tell them I use treated salt charge going rate for salting but charge for more then I actually use?

2) Tell then I use treated and tell them the advantages and charge more?

3) Hopefully use less material since it’s treated and make up the cost that way?
:feedback
 

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You don't need to sell it to your clients but to yourself. I only used treated salt, and since the liquid comes from Pickering, I pay a lot more for it then you would, being next door. Frist you can obtain better results with half the application rate, so base your charges on untreated salt and use treated salt. Most of my contracts are seasonal, so my customer don't care how, when or how much I plow or salt, just results. I'm doing a mall this year, 1 of 2 owned by the same company (I don't do the other) the property manager told me I must be using a LOT more salt and doing a much better job plowing because I haven't had to use any sand ( which he hates because it tracks) and the lot is bare. Keeping an eye on the competition, he salts more then I do, usually has to retreat in the evening, and at more then double the application rate, I know it's costing me a lot less to keep my lot in better shape.

Bill
 

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Excellent response nsmilligan! I agree with you 100%. Good point about the sand. The property owners will see reduced cleanup costs come spring. Treated salt will cost you less in the long run. Cut your salt application back about 50% to start with. Adjust from your obtained results and go from there. Keep track of what you use and do the math on the costs, you should be happy!

With liability like it is down here in the USA we can't afford NOT to do everything possible to eliminate ice and the associated "slip and fall".

Good luck!

Pete
 

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I pre-treat my commercial accounts, almost all of which are seasonal contracts. There are only two which are priced by service, the other 8 are fixed price contracts, including salting.

On the per service accounts I don't tell them when I salt. I have found that salting before, or at the beginning of, an event keeps the pavement wet and ice/pack free. It does not, nor do I intend it to, keep the lot free of snow beyond a very small fall. I plow at normal accumulations and in moderate storms 8-10" I have wet pavement with black spots showing after the final plowing.

In a really big storm I may have to salt at the end of the storm to bring things back to black, but not as heavily as if I had not pre-treated.

Customer gets billed for each service, so on a typical 2-6" storm they would see one salting and one, maybe two plowings. On a monster storm they see two saltings and however many plowings it took to keep up with it.

The contract accounts get the same treatment, and since there is no billing for services nobody knows what was done. As long as they get bare pavement they are happy. If it's a location that has a lot of traffic I may hit it with salt heavily and let traffic move the slush around between plow passes.

If the storm is threatening to get out of control I will salt heavily to buy some time. As an example the local McDs is contracted. I figured $125 per push and $50 per salt run (500 lbs) My normal pre-treat is about 300 lbs on that site. But I can follow that up with 6-700 lbs if I need to buy time and that site will stay slushy while I do other places. My cost for that heavy application will be around $25 for material and 10 minutes to lay it down. But that frees up a truck to earn another $120 or so while it is working elsewhere. I'll gladly trade a salting for a full push any time I can make it work.

A pre- treated site won't form a pack layer. In addition to being safer throughout the storm it is also easier to plow because our truck can get traction. If you lay salt in loose snow the snow will get "mealy" but not be able to pack, so traffic and pedestrians can still move in relative safety.

There are no rules set in stone for salting. Every site is different in regards to traffic and site conditions. The safe way is probably to overapply when you're working on a large scale. On my level and because I do virtually all of the applications myself, I ahve learned the nuances of each site. Because of that I know where I need to apply heavier. Kinney's needs more on the north side of the building. FAHC has a drifting problem in the staff parking area. If I salt heavily in the entrance to McDs I hardly need to put any down on the drive through as traffic will carry it there.

I started by applying lightly and monitoring results, making a second app if needed. Don't need to make many second apps now that I know how my machines apply and where to put it. And I know that north sides or areas that have shrubbery along the pavement will need more material in those areas.

Sorry if I rambled a little.
 
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