Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats forever. Whoever coined this saying understood the inherent value of investing in education, regardless of the trade. Snow and ice management is no exception.
Sure, you could focus your energy on getting people in the seats of your snowplow trucks. After some trial and error, they’d eventually get the hang of things. However, what does an untrained employee (or even an improperly trained employee) cost you? It could be a bit of time and money or it could be your entire business.
While necessity is the mother of invention, good old-fashioned training puts knowledge and confidence at the disposal of your workforce; no inventiveness needed. We’ve compiled a list of snowplow training resources to get you started on a path of cultivating a fleet of informed, experienced, and skilled plow operators. When all is said and done you’ll be glad you put in the work.
Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA)
Video training is one of the best methods of putting together a consistent snowplow operator training course. Why reinvent the wheel by creating your own curriculum when someone has already done the work to put together professional videos that give you everything you need to know about snow and ice management?
Chris at SIMA has 3 or 6 video packages sold at a flat rate that can instantly give you all the training you need at your fingertips, any time of the day. The videos can be downloaded, so you can load them onto company laptops, CDs, thumb drives, or any manner of electronic device to give your drivers training resources on-the-go.
Advanced Snow Management Training (ASM)
If your fleet is already up to snuff on the basics, then SIMA’s Advanced Snow Management training (ASM) might be your next step to refining already-existing skills.
ASM goes a step further from SIMA’s basic online training by providing videos, course books, and quizzes. Investing in ASM will turn your operation into a veritable training camp. When your employees are your biggest investment, then it’s worth spending the extra money to ensure they spread that value throughout your business.
Accredited Snow Contractor’s Association (ASCA)
At just $15 per course, the Accredited Snow Contractor’s Association (ASCA) provides you a piecemeal approach to training. However, completing each level (100 through 600) will earn you a certification, so it makes sense to have your employees complete a full level to show off their accredited ASCA certification.
The ASCA snowplow driver training courses are essentially slideshows (think of a PowerPoint presentation) with a quiz at the end. While they’re a bit drier than the snowplow training videos that SIMA centers their curriculum around, the certification adds clout to your operation; it tells your clients that you invest in your professionalism and expertise.
Build Your Own Using Clear Roads Training Resources
You can’t beat free. Clear Roads offers a variety of training programs for no cost on their handy training resource hub. They offer a mixture of videos, PowerPoint presentations, text-based courses, and quizzes that span topics such as plowing operations, safety training, plowing techniques, and all-around safety.
While what they offer is free, it’s not organized in any specific way. It would be up to you to put it together in an appropriate fashion as part of a large training curriculum.
FAAC Commercial Snow Plow Truck Simulator
We thought this was a fun one to add to the list. It’s a bit pricey and might not be the best solution for everyone. However, you can’t deny that it would certainly catch the attention of your drivers better than a PowerPoint or a video!
FAAC Commercial offers a fully-rendered snow plow truck simulator that puts you into the four-dimensional seat of a rendered snowplow. There’s nothing quite like learning from your mistakes when your mistakes have no repercussions—every crash, mishap, or accident in a simulator can be fixed by the flick of a “reset” button, so anyone can hop into the seat and get the feel for snow and ice removal without the real-world threat of failure.
VISTA offers you two options for training; a downloadable video or a DVD. Truthfully, it might be harder to find a DVD player and television than a smartphone, laptop, or tablet in this day and age. We’re also proponents of giving your drivers every opportunity to complete their training, so gluing them to a TV might not be the best idea.
For just $49 for an “on-demand video” or $200 for a DVD, you can learn about snow plowing techniques from a reputable source. Spring for a second video or DVD and learn a little more about plow operation.
Remember; Experience is an Investment.
Giving your drivers knowledge and experience makes them more valuable to you. It strengthens their morale, makes them more productive, and thereby allows you to grow your business larger without growing your man-hours.
A formal training process is a step toward cultivating a company culture full of accountable employees that value expertise. In the end, it’s one of the best investments you can make in your future as a business owner.