Bigger isn’t always better. That fact is especially true in the snow and ice removal business. Your fleet of snowplows should fit your clientele and their properties.
If you choose under-powered equipment, you’ll find yourself running an inefficient business that can’t meet demand. Too big and powerful? The chances of damaging your client’s property increase. Worse yet, you might not even be able to get your plow onto their lot. We’ve been in this business for 22 years now; we know plows. Let’s go over the 8 major considerations to make when choosing the best snowplows for your fleet.
Consider Your Vehicle (size, power, & type)
There are so many vehicles that will accommodate a plow blade, from a pickup truck to a four-wheeler. When choosing a plow blade its most important to consider the constraints of your vehicle; a snowplow for a truck will be different than a plow for a smaller vehicle. These considerations include the physical size of the vehicle, its horsepower, as well as the actual type of vehicle you’ll be operating.
Want a tip from our decades of experience? Don’t get the biggest plow that your vehicle can fit. Instead, go a tier lower; doing this will give you better traction, maneuverability, and overall performance.
Choose a Plow that is Appropriate for Your Properties
Before you pick a plow type or even a fleet vehicle, first ask yourself who your clientele is and what their properties look like. You wouldn’t want to mount a snow plow onto your massive F250 only to find that the majority of your clients are residential and have tight properties that make it hard to traverse in such a large vehicle.
The same is true for your plow blade. If your clientele is mostly commercial, then you’ll want a V-shaped plow that is at least 8 feet wide. For residential jobs, a smaller plow is all that you’ll need.
Pick a Plow Design
There are two primary plow blade designs on the market, one of which we just mentioned. When choosing a plow design, you’ll be asked to go with either a V-plow (shaped in a V) or a straight-plow. While both blade designs perform well, v-shaped plows give you more control and move more snow.
If you’re in the business of snow removal, then you probably want to invest in the costlier V-shape design since it allows you to put snow in a specific area; a feature that is probably important to many of your clients.
Find a Credible Dealer that Sells Quality Plow Brands
It’s natural for your plow blade to accrue a lot of wear and tear. Most of all, its performance is integral to your business’s reputation. With that said, you need to find a plow dealer that you can trust. That means a dealer that sets their prices competitively but is also easy to contact, fair to work with and one that can provide repair and maintenance services when your plow needs some TLC. The last thing you want to do is frantically look for where to buy a snowplow in a panic; find a dealer before you need one.
While it might be tempting to skimp on your blade by choosing a generic brand we’d suggest you spend the extra money to get a quality, reputable blade from a well-known brand like Meyer, Boss, or Western. Work with your local dealer on their snowplow prices. There is always wiggle room especially if you’re a repeat customer.
Stay Within Your Budget but Think Long-Term
If you’ve been at your snow removal business for a while, then you’re probably familiar with finding that careful balance between upfront investment and the long-term benefit of spending a little more. If not, we can’t reiterate enough that, while your budget is important, so too is the quality of your equipment.
Pick a plow blade that fits your budget but think long-term as well. Make sure you build a fleet that’ll last you. It’s important to remember that if you cheap out in the short term you’ll suffer (sometimes more) in the long-term.
Ask Yourself if You Can Get by with Used Equipment
New or used? That question is difficult to answer. The benefits of new equipment are obvious; it requires less maintenance, it’s state-of-the-art, and it makes your business looks good to your clients.
However, a used plow blade in good condition, manufactured by a well-known brand, can get you just as far as a brand new one. Before you slam your credit card on the counter of your nearest plow dealer and ask for that brand spanking new blade we suggest you ask them what they have that’s been lightly used. You might be surprised by what you find.
Consider Your Blade Material (Weigh Their benefits)
In general, there are three material types that plow blades are made of.
Polycarbonate: quickly becoming the go-to blade for many professional snowplow drivers, polycarbonate blades are nearly frictionless, which means snow and ice slide right off of them. Poly blades tend to be the most expensive option.
Stainless Steel: stainless steel blades are heavy duty and durable. However, they are prone to denting due to the “softness” of the material. However, nothing beats the look of a freshly polished stainless steel blade as it gleams in the bright winter sun; it’s a crowd-pleaser.
Mild Steel/Carbon Steel: many steel blades have a “mild steel” or powder-coated carbon steel edge on them, which benefits from being extra-hardened by the carbonization process. A plow blade with a carbon steel edge will suffer less wear-and-tear than pure stainless steel.
Keep Accessories in Mind
Every plow comes with a control for your lift system and mounting system, which is typically situated in the cabin of your vehicle. Controllers can be simple or complicated based on the particular manufacturer. If you have employees, then we’d recommend you go as simpler as possible so you’re not spending too much time training your team.
Beyond that, look into plow blades and vehicle setups that allow for extra lighting (you’ll need it in the middle of a nighttime blizzard) as well as reflective plow markers. To be honest, the more you can customize your fleet, the more versatility you have as situations change, demand increases, and your business evolves. There are other investments you can make, too, think about a remote control system, plow kits with well-known easy installation, and even a hydraulic lifting system.
Rule of Thumb: Look into the Future
If we had to hammer one thing home, it’s that you should look at where you want your business to go and not so much where it’s at. This means choosing vehicles, plow blades, and accessories that suit the forecasted growth of your business. You want your fleet to grow with you, not to become undersized as soon as more clients roll in. Your buying choices should sustain you rather than be a reaction to your present needs.