Snow Plowing

I wantded to see what other park owners do for snow plowing in their park. Do you contract out for it or do you have a manager do it. We are currently contracting out and its costing us a lot of money. We have a husband wife management team with a nice sized truck and were thinking of installing a snowplow on the front which we could purchase for approx $800. Has anyone gone this route and what were your results? Also, do you usually wait until there is an accumualtion of at least a few inches before you plow?

Thanks for any input

I contract out my snow removal. I do not have a manager so that option is not available although I could possibly approach any one of many tenants with the same offer.

Personally I find many tenants quite demanding regarding snow removal and as such prefer the work to be done by someone other than a tenant.

The down side of a contractor is that they have many other customers which means my property does not necessarily get first response.

On the other hand my guy has all necessary insurance liability coverage and is of course responsible for all his own vehicle repairs. If you provide a plow to a manager are you also responsible for their insurance coverage as well as ware and tear to their vehicle ?

I have found with pricing the larger contractors price high as they would rather not have my business preferring larger contracts (restaurants, gas stations, parking lots etc) therefor I have found a small local guy that also does my grass cutting in the summer.

I have looked at buy or hire snow plowing many times and it always came out better to hire when all the costs are considered. Suppose you buy a truck for $10,000 that lasts 10 years. That is $1000 annually. Insurance $1000 at least, repairs - hydraulics aren’t cheap plus tires and vehicle maintenance, budget $1000 which is probably low. Then you still have to pay for the drivers time say $80 per storm (a major plow and plus a couple of clean up sweeps) x 12 storms another $1000. So it costs $3000 to $4000 a year plus taxes, gas and registration. If the vehicle or plow breaks during a storm, you are stuck and will have to hire someone immediately $$ whereas the contractors have a backup vehicle or an arrangement with other contractors to cover. They may have a bigger truck for heavy snows that would stress your truck and access to a payloader to pile up snow if it is really bad. Another thing is they can sand with a sander on the back. If you ask for a fixed season rate, they quote high to cover themselves. But usually you can get a per plow rate or hourly rate plus sand.

@AndyR - bringing this thread back from the dead because it’s winter time, and Andy’s post is the only one which discussed plow costs. I would challenge Andy’s numbers - based on an assumption the park owner buys a used plow truck exclusively for plowing and it gets no other use (and thus no other wear and tear) - and that the park has an indoor structure in which to store the truck.

Purchase price - Andy says $10K I say $5K.
Annual opportunity cost of capital (10% to be conservative) at $500
Annual depreciation (10 year schedule): $500
Insurance - Andy says $1K I say $500.
Annual repairs - Andy says $1000 / yr maintenance. I say $250. Again, I assume the truck sits in the garage on a trickle charger and in the summer gets driven around the block once a week to keep the fluids circulated.
Fuel - one tank per season at $80
Driver fee - Andy says $80 per plow. I say $40 - simply part of the manager’s job description in an age of electronic payments/statements/applications that have lightened on-site work loads considerably.

Total annual fixed costs including OCC: $1,830.

My current fixed bids per season before salt: $1,250 per month for six months = $7,500.

Annual savings: $5,670.

Value creation at 10 cap = $55,670.


I wrote about this last year (I think it was) and the decision for me came down to what is easier to supervise – your own employee or your contractor. The money factor is only part of the equation.