Sidewalk Technology

One of the things to keep up with in any business is new advances in technology.  And the snow industry has seen plenty of it in recent years, particularly in sidewalk operations.  Learn how new sidewalk technology has revolutionized our business model.

Who here remembers the winter of 2014-2015?  We do, quite well.  That year, the Philadelphia region got over 75″ of snow, when typically we only see 30″ or 35″ in a good year.  It destroyed us — we simply couldn’t keep up.  Equipment was breaking down right and left because we overworked it and didn’t get a chance to maintain it.  Facility budgets were being exceeded left and right and payments slow to trickle in.  But these issues pale in comparison to the toll it took on our workforce.

Snow removal is especially hard on our shovel crews.  Exhausting doesn’t even begin to cover the physical exertion required in clearing walkways.   It’s grueling work, and even the youngest, strongest workers slow down after a couple hours.

And it’s expensive.  Since shovels are cheap, labor costs make up nearly the entire equation.  But how else do you get it done?  In our case, we looked for machines to help us do the job more efficiently.

Investing in new sidewalk technology

Following that train wreck of a season in 2014, we bought our first tractor, a used Ventrac 3000.  With straight plow and power brush attachments, we thought we were pretty much set for anything.

Sidewalk Technology - Ventrac 3000 sidewalk tractor with straight blade plow
Ventrac 3000 sidewalk tractor with straight blade plow

But in March 2017, we got several inches of wet snow, too heavy for the Ventrac to push in some cases.  Being a late season storm, it didn’t affect us much, but it showed we weren’t as prepared as we could have been.  If it snowed more than a few inches, we could have another potential disaster on our hands.

So we looked into ATVs.  Combined with a 5′ 6″ Boss V-XT V-plow, they are faster and more rugged, with the power to scrape even the heaviest snow.  This realization paid off big time in 2017-2018, with multiple late season storms that dumped upwards of 8″+ in certain areas.

Sidewalk Technology - Polaris ATV with Boss V-XT V-plow
Polaris ATV with Boss V-XT V-plow

But although they were more powerful than the Ventracs, they were also bigger and couldn’t fit down narrow walkways.

Fortunately, the industry had caught up and solutions were available.  This year in 2018, we bought our first Snowrator ZX4.  At only 34″ wide, we have no problem with width, and the 13HP Honda engine provides unmatched reliability.

Sidewalk Technology - Snowrator ZX4 with 48" straight plow
Snowrator ZX4 with 48″ straight plow

We’ll keep our eyes open for new sidewalk technology as it comes out.  And our services cover more than just sidewalks.  Check out some of our other equipment as well.  Winter storms can be unpredictable, but rest assured, we got you covered.  Give us a call at 1-866-600-PLOW or request a proposal today!

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