How to Land Snow Removal Jobs with the Right Equipment

With snow removal jobs, the right equipment can make or break your profitability. If your machines are too small, you might not be able to properly load trucks, or they may not have the required horsepower to take on bigger jobs. Too large, and you can tear up surfaces and lose maneuverability to get all your jobs completed.

If you do landscaping, concrete or other work in the warmer months and want to add snow removal in the winter, these tips can help ensure you have the right machines and attachments for the types of jobs you want to take on.

HEAVY EQUIPMENT FOR SNOW REMOVAL JOBS
For small jobs, a lot of new snow removal companies will opt for skid steer or compact track loaders because the tracks help reduce ground disturbance and improve flotation in soft ground conditions — but wheels typically cause fewer issues on asphalt and concrete.

Not only that, but tracks can also cost you more to replace and require more technical assistance to change or fix than tires do. It’s worth it to find out if tired machines like compact wheel loaders (around 120 hp or less) can knock out the work you’re looking at.

When it comes to attachments for compact wheel loaders used for snow removal, snow pushers are a solid option because wheel loader cabs are higher up, giving you excellent visibility of what’s happening in front of you.

If you’re looking for the right blade (or even broom), be sure that it’s larger than the width of the machine you’re putting it on. When you calculate the width of your loader, be sure it’s fully articulated.

You can also consider rollout buckets built with good capacity. Attachment price points make a difference in your profitability, and fewer moving parts in cold temperatures is always better. Be sure to describe the types of snow removal jobs you want to take on and your Volvo dealer can help you determine if snow-specific attachments or buckets are the better option for your location.

For larger snow removal jobs like airports and large distribution centers, we recommend wheel loader models in the 300 hp range. For smaller projects and for snow removal within cities, we typically see loaders in the 170 hp up to 300 hp range because larger wheel loaders are usually too big to drive around in cities or in built-up areas.

For larger wheel loaders, a lot of customers use or mount snow blowers. Snow blowers are preferred because they remove large amounts of snow by throwing it up to 150 feet away, or by loading snow into trucks so it can be removed from streets, parking lots, etc.

Regardless of the attachment(s) you choose, it’s a good idea to get a hydraulic quick coupler to make switching them out fast and easy. As an example, it will allow you to use a snow pusher to pile the snow in one area and then quickly switch attachments to load your truck — and you can do it all from the cab without having to mess around with the cold and wind.

It’s also a good idea to look for wheel loaders that feature high-flow hydraulics if you opt for attachments other than buckets. You also want models that give you the ability to select full differential locks for the front and the rear, giving all tires additional power when needed. When this lock is released, the machines will have better control in less-than-perfect conditions like snow and ice.

ELECTRIC WHEEL LOADERS FOR SNOW REMOVAL
You may be wondering, “Is an electric wheel loader a good option for snow removal?” — and the answer is they certainly can be if you’re able to invest in the new technology and keep them working. These machines will greatly reduce noise, which can be an advantage for nighttime and early morning snow removal jobs. And with more and more people working remotely from home, they’re also ideal for HOA jobs and other neighborhood work where snow removal can be done during the day without disturbing homeowners.

Fully electric machines also eliminate the need for fuel and other engine-related supplies which, over time, can help pay you back faster. There are also a lot of financial incentives that can help cut your costs to invest in electric models if that’s a route you’d like to consider. If you’d like to talk more about electric wheel loaders used for snow removal, be sure to talk with your Volvo dealer.

FINAL SNOW REMOVAL EQUIPMENT TIPS

Remember, snow removal jobs are often done in the dark, so be sure to get the best lighting possible when choosing your machines.
If you use a broom, note that the speed of the broom can change in wetter snow, which may impact how fast you can get a job done.
Ask about winter tires, heaters, heated mirrors and so on — anything that reduces how much you or your operators have to get on and off the machines.
Operate at speeds that keep you in control. Do your best to prevent the ice from causing unnecessary machine damage — or worse, inadvertently hurting someone.

Snow removal jobs can become a profitable part of your business when you have the right machines matched with the right kinds of attachments. If you’re looking to prepare for the cold weather work, talk to your local Volvo dealer who can help you pair up machines and attachments ideally suited for your specific area.

By Darren Ashton and Eric Yeomans

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