Follow these basic tips and best practices for residential plowing

Whether you are a homeowner or a snow removal contractor with multiple residential accounts, the same basic rules apply. Plan snow removal in advance, and you’ll avoid problems when the snow flies.

For short straight driveways, staking the area may not be necessary. However, if it’s a driveway with multiple curves, or a drive that expands to accommodate two or more cars, then staking is always a good idea. Even if you are only plowing your own driveway, having the parameters of the job outlined by whip stakes helps avoid costly mistakes with the lawn or landscaping.

If you own a business, investing in both a plow and a spreader for remediation of ice is always recommended. If you are plowing your own driveway, you may only need a plow. However, if your driveway is longer or has curves, investing in a spreader for ice removal can also be very helpful.

Once an inch or so of snow is on the ground, you should consider plowing to avoid snow buildup, which will only complicate the job. That often means plowing during a snowstorm, which has its own pitfalls. See our previous post for more on this subject here.

If you are a contractor with multiple residential accounts, it’s best to plow during off hours like early in the morning before the local rush hour, or during the afternoon, if the snow is steady throughout the day. Plowing early in the morning will free up your clients’ vehicles so they can get to work or run errands. That makes your snow removal more valuable. It will also enhance your reputation for service.

Of course, if you service multiple accounts, you need to determine client priority based on both the quickest route to get multiple jobs done as well as the needs of your client base. Check with your clients prior to the snow season to see just what their transportation needs are, and make your determinations accordingly.

For short straight driveways, back dragging the snow works best, especially if there is a car or cars in the drive. Start as close as you can to the top of the driveway and work your way back toward the street, pulling snow with you.

Never rely on mirrors or on-board vehicle cameras when backing up. Always turn around and see where you are going. But don’t stick your head out the window, which could invite personal injury. Always be cognizant of pedestrians, pets and other vehicles. Remember: courtesy is always the best policy.

Pull the snow backward until you have found an appropriate place where it can be piled up. Remember that you may plow once, twice or even three times or more before the original snow pile melts, so make sure you give yourself enough room to pile snow for future events.

Use common sense when selecting a place to pile snow, Make sure that when it melts it will drain, and won’t damage property. Never pile snow on someone else’s property, public streets or sidewalks. If you plan on taking snow across the street to a tree lawn on the other side, check with your local municipality to make sure it’s legal. Never pile snow where it may obstruct traffic or someone’s view of the traffic. Always avoid piling snow near fire hydrants, mailboxes or electrical boxes. While it’s a good idea to pile snow near a drain, never cover a drain with piled snow.

For longer residential driveways, you may want to back in and push the snow toward the street. Or if the driveway is clear, you can start at the road and push the snow back toward the end of the drive. Once again, the rules for piling snow apply. Make sure you give yourself enough room for subsequent snow events.

For lighter, fluffy snow, you may be able to plow an entire drive all at once. However, heavier, wet snow may require that you make multiple passes with the plow, lowering it each time. This also reduces the wear and tear on your vehicle. Never plow a residential drive at speeds above 10 miles per hour.

Plowing a gravel drive is a job that has its own set of rules and pitfalls. See this previous post for information on how to plow gravel drives. If you have any other questions on residential plowing, please contact your local Meyer dealer or representative. They are a great resource themselves and often know others in the business who can answer your questions as well.

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