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Snow Removal: What Does it Take?

Snow removal in the Northern Virginia area is all over the place as far as snow totals and what is a "normal" year.  We have been plowing snow and managing ice for 25 years. One thing I have learned is that there is no such thing as "normal" when it comes to winter weather.  The individual snow totals can be anywhere from 1"-30"  as we have seen over the past few years.  The snow can be wet and heavy or dry and light which changes how you deal with it.. A lot of customers don't understand what it takes to be ready for snow even before the first flakes fall.  I would like to let you know what goes on behind the scenes here at Sunrise Landscape + Design prior to a snow event: First we have to send out contracts to our prior customers as well as to new customers or potential customers that will fit in our route.  After the contracts are in we have to determine that we have the proper equipment  and supplies to service those contracts.  If we need to add a plow you are looking at $5000+, snow blowers $1300, brooms $1600, salt spreaders/sanders can run $2600-$8000.  Loaders and trucks can be anywhere from $40K-$80K.  Even used equipment is $30+K and you never know what you are really getting.  Add snow shovels (minimum of 20-30 units to service out current contracts), rain suits for the guys (24-30 sets), and parts to fix any damaged machines from last year.  That is just the start; now we need to make sure we have enough sand and deicing materials in stock for at least 2 storms.  That equates to approximately 30 tons of sand