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Useful Stats for Snow Removal Businesses

Useful Stats for Snow Removal Businesses

Justin Rollin

Maybe you’re new to the industry. Or maybe you have enough things in your head and simply want a cheat sheet to consult when making calculations related to your snow removal business. Whatever the case, we’ve done our homework so you don’t have to yours.

Take a look at the most common questions and answers when calculating the scope and cost of a snow removal job.

How many square feet is a mile of road?

This figure might astound you, but there are 27,878,400 square feet in a single mile of road. While this calculation probably isn’t very popular to most people, for people in the snow and ice removal business it’s a good piece of knowledge to have when estimated our salt needs.
How much does a ton of salt cost?

While the market certainly varies based on your location and the year, you can average that a 50-pound bag of salt will run you between $6-8. Let’s divide 2,000 (the number of pounds in a ton) by 50 (pound bag), which gives us 40. Multiply 40 by the 7 (the average between $6-8), which gives us $280.
To put it simply, a ton of salt is typically made up of 40 individual 50-pound bags, which end up costing a total of $280.

How much does a ton of salt cover?

There is no hard-and-fast truth to how much your rock salt will cover. So many factors come into play like the thickness of the snow, the temperature, and whether the surface has been plowed yet.

However, it’s generally agreed that a ton of rock salt will cover about 128,000 square feet of surface area.

How much does a cubic yard of salt weigh?

Bulk rock salt typically weighs about 80 pounds per cubic foot. There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard, which means that a cubic yard of rock salt (27*80) comes out to 2,160 pounds, which is just over a ton.

To summarize, 1 cubic yard of rock salt weighs 1 ton and a ton of rock salt will typically take up 1 cubic yard to store. The more you know!

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How much does a cubic yard of sand weigh?

On the other hand, a cubic yard of sand is generally much heavier than rock salt. It weighs, on average, about 3,000 pounds per cubic yard or about 1.5 tons.

How much does a cubic yard of sand cover?

An inch of coverage of sand will mean that a cubic yard of sand should cover 300 square feet at a 1-inch depth. In most cases you’ll spread even less than that on an icy surface, so you could effectively double or triple that figure.

What is the average size of a parking lot?

There is no “average” size for a parking lot. Lots vary wildly, from their size to their shape. However, the average size of a standard parking space (per ADA specifications) is 180 square feet. One good look at a potential client’s parking lot could be enough to count the parking spaces and extrapolate that figure in your head.

Average snowfall and number of winter events for my area

We suggest consulting historical data that is readily available online for average snowfall rates in a given area. We suggest this tool, which is easy to use. However, the average yearly snowfall across the Midwest is 51 inches with an average of about 30 days of snow out of the year.

How much does snow compact when you plow it?

Snow compaction is definitely a component that you understand more and more as you get into the snow removal business. There is no easy figure to calculate how much snow will compact as you plow it. However, the rule of thumb is that light snow will take up more space (compact less) while wet, heavy snow will be much more compacted, which means you can move more of it at a time.

How many parking lots can one driver plow in an hour?

Not all parking lots are the same. Some require more finesse and some clients are spaced so far apart that you might spend some of your time traveling to the next lot. However, it’s reasonable to assume that the average parking lot can be plowed in about 30-40 minutes, which means that a seasoned plow drive could theoretically plow 1.5-2 parking lots in an hour. However, it’s hard to estimate due to the number of factors at play.

How many accounts can a solo operator handle?

When a fellow plow driver inevitably asks this question to other members in the field, the answer is usually, “you’ll know once you’ve reached your limit.” The truth is, everybody works differently. Just like the old children’s story “The Tortoise and the Hare”, slow and steady is just as effective as doing your work as quickly as possible.

With that said, the average solo driver can usually hit about 25-30 parking lots in a 48-hour window.