The last several weeks have seen a record shattering avalanche of snow bombard the North East. The frustration of canceled plans, dangerous conditions, long commutes, and shoveling for hours has left New England completely drained of any leftover holiday cheer. Through the haze of falling snow, one thing has become clear: having a clean parking lot is actually a competitive advantage for a business or organization. With so much snow in such a short period, Mother Nature has quality snow removal at a premium.
Map your Parking Lot
One of the best strategies to employ is mapping the parking lot you will be plowing. Familiarize yourself with the parking lot prior to snow day. Know the entrances and exits and any weird or tricky corners. Know the curbs and landscape around the lot. All these things should be considered before you start or even give a quote for the job.
Plowing a parking lot is different than plowing a driveway. Of course the general guidelines are still in play. However, efficiency becomes important with parking lots. The worst thing you can do is have to plow a significant area twice. Such strategies as windrowing and back-dragging can help cut down your man hours, fuel costs, and wear and tear expenses. Most importantly, you will be done with the job sooner, keeping your customer happy and allowing you to move on to the next job. Remember, plowing snow across a road is illegal in many areas, so check your local regulations first.
Here’s a quick checklist to run through before you head out:
- Emergency / supply kit – jumper cables, hydraulic fluid, etc.
- Vehicle maintenance – lights, fluids, strobe light
- Plow maintenance – Cutting edge, bolts fastened properly, ballast distribution
Though straight forward, it’s always worth taking the time to double check all necessities. A break or shutdown in the middle of a job leaves a dangerous parking lot and an angry owner.
9 Things to Keep in Mind When Plowing the Parking Lot
Here are some tips that are specific to parking lot plowing contrasted with a conventional driveway.
- If a significant amount of snow is expected, plow with the storm. Allowing more than 4 inches of snow to accumulate can make conditions dangerous and very difficult to plow.
- Try to keep water drains and catch basins clear as much as possible.
- Use back-dragging to move snow away from buildings, but don’t let it pile up in the middle as that can be difficult to move.
- When piling snow, always plan for the next storm, pushing the piles back far enough to for future plowing.
- Do not pile snow near handicapped parking areas.
- Plow in straight lines if possible and move to the outer edges of the lot. Keep the wind direction in mind–and pile snow downwind to minimize drifting later.
- Plow snow during low-traffic hours and always be cautious of cars and people in the lot.
- Once the majority of the snow is removed from the lot, it’s time to do the cleanup work. Start by plowing next to curbs. Be sure to square off corners where possible and limit piles where people pull out to main roads.
- Don’t leave trails of snow behind. When those turn rock hard they will be impossible to move and very slippery.
The Use of Magic Salt
A commercial plowman should consider using Magic Salt™, a highly effective ice melting product even at temperatures as low as -30°. Products like this are more effective than traditional sand/salt mixtures. In fact they create snow “burn off” in which the snow begins to melt with no plowing. They are also less corrosive and more biodegradable and environmentally friendly. For customers who have concrete or brick surfaces, it is much friendlier to those surfaces than traditional salt.
If you are looking for a great commercial plowing contractor, the blizzard-tested plowing veterans at New England Enterprises of Marlborough, MA prioritize maintaining safe surfaces for each customer. Please contact us with and questions or to request our 24 hour a day, seven day a week services.