Snow Pro September/October 2020

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A Machine for All Seasons: Autonomous Robot Provides Snow and Lawn Care Abilities NO. 3 2020

How Fabric Structures Can Be Used for Sand and Salt Storage

Know When to Invest in

SNOW EQUIPMENT An AC Business Media Supplement

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The Perfect Storm

Number 3 - September/October 2020


his has been a year like no other. It represents the perfect storm of problems hitting the customer base of so many snow contractors. Industry leaders agree that the 2020 winter will be a tumultuous one for contractors for a variety of reasons. On the macro level, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue having a significant impact. The overall economic impact on property and facility management will likely lead to budgets being lowered. In addition, retail sites and other facilities are going to close permanently or be slow to reopen and COVID-19 has forced many into the new reality and accepted method of working from home. There are also going to be several new cleanliness and sanitation policies that everyone working on a property need to be aware of and comply with. Looking at long term weather forecasting, the winter of 2020-21 appears to be headed for a rebound. The winter of 201920 had low snow and ice accumulation in several parts of North America. After lower snow years, the averages historically ‘catchup’ and produce average to above average snowfall in areas that were low the previous year. If you supplement your summer lawn care business with snow removal during the winter months, you’re hoping for a lot of snow this year. You may be in luck. The Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast bodes well for more snow this winter. A preliminary note states that the Great Lakes region is expected to get it’s “fair share of snow” while above average levels are expected to fall in the Dakotas and further west. There is even the possibility of a blizzard to hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states during the second week of February. Not exactly breaking news that it’s going to snow more in November than January, but these early predictions still give you an idea of what to expect this winter.

You may be in luck. The Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast bodes well for more snow this winter.

Ryan Whisner (920) 542-1238


04 Knowing When to Invest in Snow Equipment

LMN’s Mark Bradley shares how to invest in larger equipment while maintaining a high profit margin

08 Know How to Change Snow Attachments in 4 Common Weather Conditions

Choose the right snow attachment or combination of attachments to suit your unique needs

14 A Machine for All Seasons: Au-

tonomous Robot Provides Snow and Lawn Care Abilities

Left Hand Robotics has added large area mowing capabilities to its autonomous robot, enabling use of the machine throughout the entire year

18 How Fabric Structures Can Be

Used for Sand and Salt Storage and Fleet Management There are many structural benefits to storing sand and salt in a fabric structure

20 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website

If your company doesn’t have a digital presence, it simply doesn’t exist for many consumers

24 Snow and Ice Removal Products SNOW PRO | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

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By Ryan Whisner

Knowing When to Invest In SNOW EQUIPMENT L

arger equipment is always an option to consider for contractors involved in industrial or commercial snow removal. In a presentation during SIMA’s Summer Pop-Up event, LMN CEO Mark Bradley shared how contractors can invest in the right snow equipment while still maintaining a reasonable profit margin.

Obtaining Equipment There are three primary ways for contractors to buy or obtain equipment. First, they can own equipment which is nice if it’s owned outright, and a lot of contractors like to invest in equipment, pay things off and not have any debt. Secondly, Bradley says there’s leasing equipment which allows a little easier access to equipment in terms of borrowing and obtaining equipment. “There are payments and quite often there’s a fixed term associated with the lease that can easily be crafted to match up with contract duration,” he says. The

option often overlooked and to some not utilized enough is winter rentals. “With winter rentals often, the price is very similar to leasing, and you’re only responsible to pay for the equipment during the season, that you’re renting,” Bradley says. “It kind of eliminates the need for maintenance and allows you to enter into contracts that may not be as long term, as you might like.” There are benefits to all three methods. Bradley says for most successful contractors they’ll probably use a blend of all three. “I don’t think that there’s necessarily one way of doing things,” he says. “I think that’s what I’ve learned from doing workshops and really working with a lot of snow contractors over the years is that often they think that they have to use one method of obtaining their snow equipment, rather than maybe using a mix.” He added that it is important for contractors to see the value of considering using the full kind of toolbox of access to equipment, whether it be ownership, leasing, or rentals.

Creating a Budget According to Bradley, step one in really becoming aware of what makes sense when it comes to planning, and obtaining

Avant Te




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equipment is creating an equipment budget. “Really what happens when you create a budget for your company is, you enter your labor and material and equipment and subcontractors and overhead items,” he says, noting that the job can be accomplished in a few hours using the LMN software. “Really what we want to do here is, focus on all of the equipment expenses whether their lease payments, whether it’s ownership, with or without payments.” There are three primary ways for contractors to buy or obtain equipment. First, they can own equipment which is nice if it’s owned outright, and a lot of contractors like to invest in equipment, pay things off and not have any debt. Secondly, Bradley says there’s leasing equipment which allows a little easier access to equipment in terms of borrowing and obtaining equipment. “There are payments and quite often there’s a fixed term associated with the lease that can easily be crafted to match up with contract duration,” he says. Once a budget is in place, it allows a contractor to start pricing snow contracts a little bit more accurately and creatively to drive the sales process. “We can become a little bit more competitive where we need to, and really price snow with profit in mind, as opposed to just top line revenue,” Bradley says. Many contractors involved in snow removal start it out of necessity. Bradley himself started his landscape company with a pickup truck and a wheelbarrow. “What I really found was, as things evolved and I started adding more pickup trucks and adding more equipment, I started trying to find snow contracts that sort of matched up with my equipment,” he says. In the process Bradley notes he made some big mistakes in terms of what he should have been focused on to drive profitability. As an example, he suggested at the end of the day, for a pickup truck and a snowplow and a sidewalk crew on an industry property is going to cost about $12,500 and the contract is about $25,000 for a $12,500 profit. “At the end of the day that’s great profit, and who wouldn’t want to be in a business where you can net 50 percent, and in the snow business that is a very viable profitability,” Bradley says. “We see this a lot and I think that’s why contractors get excited about doing snow because there are a lot of opportunities that look just like this.” Over the years, he says the mistake he made was as more and more contracts came in with more properties, he would just add a truck and make more and


Having the right equipment for a job leads to happier customers and can lead to better profits.

more profit. “The problem inevitably, becomes at some point you don’t need more pickup trucks in the summer, and if you’re snow busines is scaling, you have to start to look outside of the way you’ve always done things,” he says. “ That’s where budgeting and estimating with a little bit deeper knowledge and a little bit more financial know how really becomes important.”

Pricing for Profit Using his original concept of an industrial property, Bradley said switching the pickup truck for a loader maintains the overall cost and profit. “This is where a lot of contractors stop and they say well, geez it doesn’t make sense to invest in that big equipment,” he says. “They might say, well, I’m a little opposed to buying large equipment because I’m just not sure if I’m going to have any use for it in the summer, and that’s I think what scares a lot of contractors off of investing in larger equipment.” Bradley says he made the same mistake for many years. Where it becomes profitable to run a scenario like this with a loader, is when you really kind of skip past doing one property, and really start to focus on a route. “Everything looks great with the loader because there’s there are very similar numbers to the pickup truck, but where it really gets to be exciting is, what if we go into that neighborhood and now rather than that one pickup truck spending the better part of a shift plowing that one property we find four properties in that neighborhood,” he says, adding that a loader has a lot more capacity to plow snow than a pickup truck, so with the same operator four properties can be plowed on the same street with perhaps an additional sidewalk laborer or crew. “At the end of the day we’re really not spending a lot more labor hours than we were with our pickup truck piling one of these properties,” Bradley says. “With the same number of labor hours, and the same


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Even if a contractor owns a piece of equipment, there’s still an annual cost associated with it, even if there aren’t any payments, because it’s always depreciating. It is important to budget for that depreciation when it comes time to estimate and price snow projects.

Case Construction Equipment

number of units of equipment just a different piece of equipment, we’re able to produce a lot more revenue.” Returning to his example, he says cost would be around $45,000 to cover the four properties and contract value would be around $125,000. “This is where you become super profitable in the snow business,” Bradley says. “It’s all about route densification and using larger equipment.” He notes that having the right equipment for a job leads to happier customers. In addition, with good equipment that is safer and easier on the body, employees are happy as well. Also, more referrals come in from neighboring properties because they can see the quality, speed and efficiency of the work associated with having the right tool for the job. “Ultimately as a business owner, there’s a lot more profit,” Bradley says, adding that there’s less unbilled time so it’s easier to get more work. He admits that contractors can drop their price a little bit when they‘ve got that route densification with the bigger equipment, because the guy with a pickup truck just can’t compete. The focus again becomes how to acquire the equipment.

Often, the holdup back reason for most contractors to not scale up the size of the equipment is they don’t need it in the summer. “I think that’s where it becomes very compelling to look at seasonal rentals, or even seasonal subcontractors who could perform that work with the larger equipment or renting from a dealership that has loaders for rent in the winter,” Bradley says, noting that with the rental options you’re only paying for what you’re using and it makes for a very competitive bid. Bradley says subcontractors are another option, although he described it as essentially as renting equipment with someone in the seat. “My thought is, it’s easier to rent equipment and put somebody in the seat because in most cases, then you’re managing that person, where sometimes with subcontractors it’s difficult to get the same level of quality, same level of training same level of management that you can with your own staff,” he says. “Some subcontractors work fine if you have the right systems in place.” He has always felt that it is not worth being concerned with the long-term equity in the equipment. “If I make a 50 percent profit off renting equipment or subcontracting equipment during the winter months. I’m just not concerned about creating long term wealth, out of equipment,” Bradley says. “I more concerned about creating that immediate profit, and it’s much easier to scale up and down when you’ve got the ability to really do that without putting out a lot of cash or entering into a long term lease arrangement that might be burdensome in the offseason.”

CAT Cons tru


There are three primary ways for contractors to buy or obtain equipment: own outright, lease, or winter rental. Most successful contractors use a mix of all three methods.



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By Nick Arndt


Know How to Change Snow Attachments in

Common Weather Conditions


rooms, blowers, pushers, and plows. Snow and ice contractors often rely on numerous snow attachments to get their essential work done. Most dealerships offer numerous types and brands of snow attachments, giving customers great opportunity to choose the right attachment or combination of attachments to suit their unique needs. The attachment needed typically depends on three things: the type of property, the contract agreement, and the weather conditions.

First Considerations Before even heading out to blow, plow, or sweep away the snow, companies need to think about attachments when making an equipment purchase. Attachment flexibility is especially important for smaller, growing companies that may need one piece of equipment to accomplish several tasks and accommodate a variety of attachments. Compact equipment like skid steers and tractors have several options for attachments and commonly used by contractors who demand flexibility. Conversely, established


companies with many similar accounts can usually justify job-specific equipment, often larger equipment like wheel loaders. These large machines typically don’t ever swap out attachments during a weather event or in response to varying conditions. They’re used for one task, servicing large areas with a snow pusher. Those who are brand loyal to a certain type of equipment manufacturer will find that the machines’ hitches or connecting elements (such as electrical plug-ins, connecting pin sizes, and hydraulic fittings) are designed only to work with attachments from that same manufacturer. However, standard aftermarket hitches are sometimes available and can be designed to work with various manufacturer attachments. Take, for example, a Zuidberg Brand Front Hitch system built for most brands and models of compact tractors. This solution allows an end-user to run any number of standard Category 1 implements. Before making an equipment purchase, consider both current and future attachment needs, and choose a hitch solution that will adapt to your snow management business. While equipment, type of hitch, and brands of attachments chosen will be different for every contractor, one tip is advised for all to ensure an easy attachment swap on the job: practice.


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Box pushers work efficiently, both moving snow and containing it while it’s pushed to a designated location for collection.

A hydraulic wing pusher operates in three unique ways, making it one of the most common and popular snow attachments.

Practice Makes Perfect Most hitches and mounting systems are designed to make changing out snow attachments relatively easy, but it tends to take a few tries and practice to understand and get comfortable with the process. Don’t skip any part of the swap-over procedure. The act of physically removing and mounting attachments may be straightforward, but it’s often the hydraulic, PTO, or electrical elements specific to each attachment that are hardest to get right. Be sure the entire crew has had ample time to practice in a controlled, stress-free environment. And speaking of those on-the-job scenarios, here are four of the most common types of weather conditions, with a few examples of suitable attachments and tips to swap them out.

1. Light Snow For compact equipment users, investing in flexible solutions to handle light snow—around three inches or fewer—can make or break expenses for the season. Light snow attachments are the most frequently changed, so make sure crews understand the hitch systems, PTO, and electric connectors, and help they may need to swap solutions. Smaller units can bring unexpected challenges due to limited hitch visibility, and some swap-overs may require two people. Oftentimes an inexpensive straight-blade attachment is both the most effective solution for light snow and the most affordable. The thicker moldboard and cutting edge are designed for down pressure and scraping. For zero-tolerance accounts, brooms are a staple for handling light snow up to three inches and leave an extremely clean finished product. Progressive contractors are now also using turbine blower attachments on light snow events.


Most brooms can be used as soon as snow hits the ground, making them an ideal tool for zero-tolerance contractors that maintain busy, high-pedestrian properties.

Tackling light snow with a variety of attachments is critical to profitability and efficiency of a snow removal operation, so make sure these options are available before a purchase is made. Once in the fleet and before the season’s first dusting, these should be the first that the crew takes thorough time with to practice and get comfortable with swapping.

2. Heavy Snow As contractors realize the value of being “light-snow ready” as the default, they’ll need to adjust when a big system comes through dropping three inches of snow or more. Heavy snow conditions are best served by snowblowers, particularly for those operating compact equipment. Attachment practice is especially important with snowblowers prior to the first major storm of the year. If the blowers have been on the pallet racking since the summer, it’s important the crew both understand what’s needed to get them ready for use and the safety


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PUSHING AHEAD. THAT’S WHAT WE DO. Your business and Ford. Together, there’s nothing we can’t get through. As the leader in commercial vehicles,* Ford is uniquely qualified to help seize the new normal. And to make it work for you.


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When used on tractors, certain snow attachments can be paired for added versatility.

long forgotten by the first heavy snow of the season which may not be until closer to Christmas.

3. Snow Drifts

measures to attach, such as exercising extra caution when connecting PTO shafts. Keep in mind, blowers are much heavier than brooms, blades, and turbines so the added weight brings unique challenges when swapping in. Oftentimes, the first major event comes after it’s well into the snow season. Don’t neglect to continue practicing with the crew frequently, as initial training from September may be

Drifting snow is extremely challenging to predict. Winds can pick up, often with very little notice, causing drift conditions of varying depths. This means contractors perhaps need to be even more poised and ready to swap attachments with drifting snow than with any other weather conditions. Depending on the snow, drifts may be tackled any numbers of attachments including blades, brooms, and snowblower. Like light snow, the key is to be ready to go from one to the next to the next and quickly. Remember practice makes perfect. Additionally, choosing an attachment system that is swap-friendly is particularly critical in the Northern Plains of the U.S. or other high-wind areas.

4. Wet Snow Every spring, an amazing phenomenon occurs in the



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Final Thoughts

equipment damage that leads to stressful and costly downtime happens to the hardest-working attachments. While an investment in an extra or back-up attachment may seem hard to justify on the front end, contractors with ready-to-go attachments benefit greatly in the long run. Those interested in having a spare of the most used attachment(s) can look to used attachments as good, economical options for backups. The bottom line for snow and ice contractors is the safety of the communities they serve depends on their ability to effectively service clients which ties directly back to how quickly they can swap out the right attachment for the current weather scenario. Growing contractors especially need to invest in solutions and training that allow them flexibility to meet varying contract obligations and utilize a multi-attachment approach to snow management.

As someone who works with snow and ice contractors of all sizes, I’ll leave one last tip that applies to all, regardless of weather conditions. Snow attachments live a tough life. I find most

Nick Arndt is an account manager for RDO Equipment Co. in Moorhead, MN. Connect with him on Instagram @ rdonicka. For more information visit

snow removal industry. Just as crews are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, a late-season storm drops inches of extra-dense, wet, thick snow. Even though it happens year after year, it always seems to throw contractors for a loop. Wet snow is nearly impossible to broom, completely impossible to move with air, and incredibly difficult to clear snowblower augers and impellers (think mowing wet grass—the same principles apply). The straight blade, an often-overlooked attachment, is the best choice for wet snow. Because it’s likely an attachment most contractors have been using all season long, switching it back in for this late-season snow should be a quick and comfortable process.

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By Sara Jensen

A MACHINE FOR ALL SEASONS: Autonomous Robot Provides Snow and Lawn Care Abilities

Left Hand Robotics has added large area mowing capabilities to its autonomous robot, enabling use of the machine throughout the entire year.


eft Hand Robotics first introduced its autonomous snow clearing robot in 2017. Since then it has been expanding the presence of its machines into the market and the applications in which the machine can be used. As such, the company has introduced a new attachment for the autonomous machine enabling large area autonomous mowing. “So far in the United States no other company [is offering] a gasoline-powered large area mower that we know of,” says Mike Ott, CTO of Left Hand Robotics. He notes that while smaller battery-powered robots similar to a Roomba have been available for several years, nothing yet has entered the market like what Left Hand Robotics now offers. “What we’ve done is basically taken our autonomous platform that we started out with for snow clearing and launched the ability do mowing with the machine,” says Ott.

Automatic detection eases change of operation Ott says that from the beginning, the RT-1000 autonomous robot for turf and snow—as the machine is now called—was designed with the ability to support different front and rear attachments. Adding an attachment for large area mowing allows the machine to now be used in places such as sports complexes, sod farms, city parks, large corporate lawns and more. “That’s a


major market improvement for us because there are people out there looking for that kind of equipment,” he says. The main benefit to enabling use of additional attachments is the autonomous machine can now be used all year long. It can go from snow clearing to mowing simply by changing the attachment at the front of the machine. “Eighty percent or more of the investment cost is now used 12 months out of the year,” says Ott. All of the technology resides within the tractor— the autonomous navigation, obstacle detection, etc.—so there is a common platform no matter what type of application the machine is being used in. Once it detects a different attachment has been added, software changes occur which ensure the machine operates accordingly. When an attachment is added to the tractor, it is able to recognize what type of attachment it is based on the electrical connections that are made. If a snow clearing broom is added, the software can assume the machine is being used in winter conditions and therefore immediately use a blend of Left Hand Robotics’ obstacle detection sensors which are tailored for use in snow. Radar and LIDAR sensors are included on every machine; it’s just how the software blends feedback from those two different sensors which changes based on the attachment placed on the autonomous machine, says Ott. “What our software does is dynamically


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change the blend of sensors we’re using for obstacle detection because in the wintertime when you’re brooming snow you have to rely more heavily on radar to see through the snow cloud,” he explains. “But in the summertime, we rely more heavily on LIDAR for obstacle detection.” Radar is best for snow conditions because its radio waves have the ability to “see” through the snow cloud created by the broom as it clears snow or during a heavy snowfall. Currently available Lidar sensors, on the other hand, use light waves to “see” which are not able to detect objects that might be beyond the snow cloud, explains Ott. “Newer Lidar sensors are hitting the market now at a price point that we can tolerate that do give us better capabilities to detect objects even behind the snow cloud we generate with the broom, and our engineers are constantly evaluating those newer sensors to ensure we are using the best possible technology,” he says.

Updates and future developments While the RT-1000 is much the same as the original design, some technology improvements have been made in conjunction with the introduction to the market of more advanced technologies. One area has been to increase the dead reckoning capabilities which equates to the machine’s ability to drive for distances even if the cellular or GPS signal is lost. This is achieved by sensing the positions and speeds of the wheels. Ott says this has helped increase the machine’s range when oper-

ating under trees, canopies or near tall buildings which have historically hampered GPS signal quality. The company is also getting ready to roll out additional attachments. For snow clearing applications, some customers require a V-blade as a means of moving snow. A V-blade has been developed and is currently being tested with the machine before making it available to customers. There’s also some other R&D work the company is undertaking for possible other use cases for the machine which it hopes to launch in the near future. Ott says autonomous equipment like the RT-1000 is growing in interest and acceptance, especially as a way of addressing labor shortages in the lawn and landscape, and other similar industries. Being able to operate several autonomous machines at a job site allows more work to be done by fewer people, and for those people to possibly focus on other tasks. And while electrification is also a topic of interest in the industry, for now it’s not feasible for the company’s machine. “Electrification is not anytime soon going to work for snow clearing,” he says. This is because batteries don’t like cold weather and don’t have the range necessary for snow removal applications without needing to stop in the midst of the work to recharge for several hours, which would hinder productivity. “These machines, for snow clearing, having to be able to run continuously for days on end,” says Ott. “And right now battery technology is just not there.” So as long as the RT-1000 is intended to be a dualpurpose machine—with one of those purposes being snow


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clearing—pure electric is not on the short-term horizon. However, Ott says hybrid electric machines are something the company is looking at as a possibility. It would likely consist of a smaller internal combustion engine, elimination of hydraulic components, and use of electric motors everywhere. “That is in the realm of possibility, even for snow clearing,” he says. This would help with the “green” push many are making to move away from hydraulics in the lawn and landscape industry to eliminate leaks that could potentially cause damage or contamination. “We understand

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that and can see it coming into view on our radar,” says Ott. “But for right now there are already so many challenges in this area to tackle, the navigation and obstacle detection specifically, that trying to master another kind of powertrain technology would be difficult for us.” He notes that it’s already a leap for many of the customers that would be using this type of equipment to move to autonomous machines. “And then if you also at the same time are trying to get them to make that leap from internal combustion and hydraulics to full electric, it’s [something] that a lot of them just aren’t yet comfortable with. “That was another aspect which guided us away from launching a purely electric machine from the very beginning,” says Ott. “We already have a steep adoption curve with autonomy.” For now, Left Hand Robotics is focusing on expanding use of its current product in the market and launching its dealer network across North America.


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From dusting to blizzard, from sidewalks to parking lots, Wacker Neuson skid steers, wheel loaders and telehandlers easily manage what Mother Nature delivers. Standard universal attachment plates on all machines make changing a variety of snow removal attachments fast and hassle-free. So, when the snow starts blowing, you have all it takes to clear the way.

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By Brett Bodzinski



tate and local governments are largely responsible for maintaining and clearing roads of snow and ice during the winter months. If state governments or local municipalities are unprepared for snow removal and the maintenance of roads and other infrastructure, it could result in dangerous driving conditions that could likely have a significant negative impact on travel and commerce throughout the affected area. To maintain roadways effectively and efficiently, these operations need a reliable structure to keep deicing agents, such as sand and salt, shielded from the elements, as well as having a space to store and maintain vehicles and equipment, so they can successfully deliver the deicing agents and clear roadways. There may be no better structure to accommodate all these needs than a fabric structure. Over the past several decades, fabric structures have been rapidly rising in popularity and are becoming the standard structural solution in many industries. This is largely due to the fact that they provide a versatile design and a low cost per square foot that allows operations to obtain a building that best compliments their operation without the large investment in time and money that often accompanies traditional buildings. Fabric structures have proven to be especially effective for municipalities and larger snow and ice contractors looking to store sand and salt, as well as manage and maintain their fleets. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ It is incredibly important that materials like salt and sand be stored in a safe and dry environment. If exposed to the wind and precipitation, these materials could be rendered useless and can even contaminate streams, wells, and groundwater, negatively impacting the surrounding environment. There are many direct opera-

ClearSpan Fabric Structures


tional benefits from using a fabric structure that are experienced right away, such as a lower price point compared to traditional solutions, faster project timelines and an abundance of customization options to suit specific needs. Fabric structures feature many structural benefits, like the cover, frame, and clear span design that provide an advantage for storing sand and salt.

Cover-Up When contractors or government entities are looking at investing in a fabric structure, they should be looking for a structure that is clad with a strong polyethylene fabric cover. A polyethylene fabric cover offers protection for sand and salt from high winds, rain, and snow, keeping the material together, dry, and ready to use year-round. These durable covers allow light to filter through, creating a well-lit environment that is soft on the eyes, while also increasing visibility and creating a comfortable atmosphere for crews to work in. Since natural sunlight can permeate through these fabric covers during the day, operations can reduce the amount of supplemental lighting needed to preform regular job duties, resulting in lower energy bills and a greater return on investment.

Frame and Design What operations want to look for under a fabric cover is a sturdy galvanized steel frame. A galvanized steel frame not only provides strength and stability to the structure, but it is also resistant to corrosion, making it ideal for storing salt and any other types of corrosive materials that can degrade a structure over time. Depending on the layout, some fabric structures can even provide natural ventilation that limits mois-


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ture and condensation from affecting any material stored inside of the building. Many fabric structures feature a clear span design, meaning that the building is designed in such a way that it features no internal support posts. The lack of support columns on the inside of the structure provides operations with the maximum amount of usable space for storage. In addition to wide open space, fabric structures often feature high clearances making it easier for large vehicles and equipment to access the material, leading to a more fluid operation



Quick Solution Fabric structures can even be built in a faction of the time it takes to construct a traditional building. The time it takes to build a 15,000 to 20,000 square foot fabric structure from the start of the design process to the end of installation can take some companies as little as 60 days, allowing governments and contractors quick access to a structural solution that can be provided to them at a much lower cost per square foot. While they are famously versatile, reputable companies that manufacture these structures can custom design a structure down to the tiniest details and engineer them to withstand local snow and wind loads, allowing for greater durability and smoother operating efficiency. Fabric structures can be customized to fulfil any fleet management need, whether it’s a dispatch office, maintenance facility or even just a storage garage. Businesses can see huge returns on the purchase of a fabric building, as they can keep vehicles

ClearSpan Fabric Structures

Fabric structures can also benefit government and contractors by being used for fleet management purposes. Fabric structures can offer greater storage space than a simple garage can provide, and some manufacturers even offer warranties on covers and frames, extending the longevity and usable life of the structure. Storing vehicles inside of a fabric building prevents unnecessary expenses by reducing the need to constantly repair damaged equipment. Keeping vehicles indoors is the easiest way to stop any preventable wear, extending the length of time between costly repairs. Without proper storage, noticeable damage in the form of corrosion, rust, and rot can begin to occur. When these vehicles are in use during the harsh winter weather it is normal to expect some wear, but damage from improper storage is completely preventable and can negatively affect any operation’s bottom line.

Fabric structures feature many structural benefits, like the cover, frame, and clear span design that provide an advantage for storing sand and salt.

sheltered, organized and well-maintained inside of one structure. One of the greatest benefits of using a fabric structure is that although they are strong enough to be permanent, they can be easily relocated without sacrificing any strength or durability. A variety of foundation options can be used, and they can be built just about anywhere, like open ground, in a parking lot or even atop an existing foundation. More traditional foundation options include concrete blocks and pads, wooden posts or blocks, pony walls, and more can all be used with fabric structures designed for a range of foundations. Some manufacturers also offer more innovative options, such as helical anchors and shipping containers. Fabric structures provide governments and larger contractors with many more benefits than other structures traditionally used. With all their benefits, fabric structures should be considered the go-to building solution for any operation that manages roadways during harsh winters. Brett Bodzinski is a Content Specialist for ClearSpan Structures in South Windsor, CT. For more information visit


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By Pam Haskell


Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website

If your company doesn’t have a digital presence, it simply doesn’t exist for many consumers


he world has changed and the days of scanning through the Yellow Pages to find the service we need are over. We live in a digital age where business transactions can be taken care of online and appointments can be organized by simply filling in an online calendar. Almost everything is digital now. If your company doesn’t have a digital presence, it simply doesn’t exist for many consumers, especially the generations that have grown up with the internet. This is why it is a necessity for your business to have a website. No matter what your business does or how established it is, it should have an up-to-date website for your customers and potential employees to access. Even if it’s only a one-page website, your business needs to be online to be able to get noticed and get more customers. The landscaping industry has been slower to embrace the shift to the digital age. Some small business owners still don’t understand how much they are missing by not having a presence online. Others still believe it is a waste of money due to it not being effective. Here are some of the most common reasons business owners cite for not wanting a website and why these misconceptions hold their businesses back:

company is far too small to get any real use out of a website. Many small business owners believe websites are only useful for large, multi-million dollar businesses that work on a global scale. This couldn’t be more wrong. Think of your website as your 24/7 salesman. Your website helps to show your company to potential new customers at all times of the day, every day of the week. You can show what products you stock, advertise services and answer common questions your customers ask, significantly shrinking the sales cycle while you’re at it.

My Business is Too Small A lot of small business owners believe that their



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I Don’t Sell Online Many company owners think websites are only for businesses that sell products. A website isn’t just for selling physical products. ‘Brochure’ websites are a fantastic chance to advertise your services to people searching for what you do. Modern consumers want to know about your company and reputation before they decide to v commit to working with you. They want to see what people are saying about you online, figure out how your business is doing, where they can find you and when you’re open. The way people do business has changed drastically over the years which is why it’s important to keep up with the latest innovations and stay relevant. If you think that your customers aren’t using a desktop computer or a laptop then you may be right —but almost everybody in the U.S. has access to a device that can get online. People browse through websites, social media, and apps on their mobile devices like phones and tablets. ‘Computer users’ are now ‘internet users’ and they’re everywhere. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of U.S. adults use the internet regularly. Approximately 77

percent of these own a smartphone. The web traffic generated from mobile phones overtook desktop web traffic years ago, which means getting a mobile-ready website up and running for your business is more important than ever if you want to continue attracting customers to your company.


• Spring trip on cutting edge • 34” high mouldboard • Lateral float • Two angle cylinders • Hydraulic 35º angle either direction • Replaceable, reversible steel cutting edge • Replaceable, reversible rubber cutting edge (OPTIONAL) • Skid shoes • Cross-over relief valve protection • Heavy duty construction • Available in 9’ 10’ 12’ 14’ widths • 2 Year Commercial Warranty

• 34” high mouldboard • Spring trip on cutting edge • Bucket edge mount or Qtach available • Replaceable, reversible steel cutting edge • Replaceable, reversible rubber cutting edge (OPTIONAL) • Skid shoes optional • 36” deep fixed endplates • Available in 10’ 12’ 14’ widths • 2 Year Commercial Warranty



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©Eightshot Studio -

I Don’t Have The Budget Websites are an investment, just like hiring the right staff and having the correct equipment to be able to serve your customers. Websites don’t have to be an expensive, luxury item, you can get a website that’s comfortable for your needs and in-keeping with your marketing budget. Your website doesn’t need to be 72 pages in size, it just needs to exist online and it needs to get noticed by Google and other search engines. Once you see new customers coming through the door who found you online, your website will be an investment you’ll be happy to have made. Below is a list of five reasons why your business needs a website:

in your area looking for lawn maintenance, landscaping or whatever services your company’s niche is.

3. Credibility Is Higher Among Consumers If you don’t have a website your customers may have less trust in you and decide to put the fate of their lawn in the hands of one of your competitors. Consumers tend to make judgements on a company’s credibility based on whether or not they have a website, online reviews, social media presence and also the professionalism of your website. When a customer comes to your website you have less than ten seconds to impress them and give them what they came for. If you don’t

1. Consumers Won’t Consider You Seriously

2. People Search Online For Services One of the biggest benefits of being a small, local business and having a website is that you can be where your customers are. Your customers will be looking for a business that is in their local area and they’ll be doing this by searching on Google or another search engine. When you have a website and get it optimized for search engines, then you’re sure to attract the people



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make a good impression on them, they’ll leave your site without taking you into consideration. t r As well as this, customers use a io n f us tor c e websites to check credentials, read reviews ©v and see if you have any awards for your work. If you don’t have a website they’ll assume you’ve got something to hide. -s

We live in the digital age and people spend a lot of their time on the internet. A website can be your number one marketing asset as a huge percentage of Americans spend up to five hours a day on their mobile phones and the majority of this time is spent surfing the web. Because of this, consumers expect businesses to have a website up and running for them to look at. They want to be able to get as much information as they can about your business as quickly and as easily as possible. If you don’t have a website and they can’t find you online, they’re going to go to your competitor who already has an informative and impressive website.

4. Outlet to Answer Frequently Asked Questions When people visit a website, they want to find out information about your company. They expect to get this information immediately and not have to search through pages upon pages of content to find a phone


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number. Within the first couple of seconds or so of landing on your website they should know the answers to these questions: • Who you are • What services/products you offer • How they can contact you We live in a world where consumers want information immediately and don’t have time to wait around for it. This means that your company should have a fully functional website with the correct information that every customer will need when looking into your company.

5. Everyone Else Is Doing It You can get ahead of your competitors by creating a website that is optimized for search engines. This will help get you to the top of Google, so when potential new customers search for service providers in their area, they’ll find you not your competitors. The only way to pull ahead of them is to invest in a website that can outrank the opposition on Google and bring in more clients to your business. If your competitors have websites that are selling products customers are searching for guess who wins? Creating a website helps you remain competitive. Don’t give online shoppers an easy reason to buy form another brand. To figure out how to out-do your competitors online, Chili Pepper Design offers an online competitor analysis service showing you how your competitors are doing online and most importantly, how you can do better. Pam Haskell is the owner of the website design & development company Chili Pepper Design (cpdesignco. com). She helps businesses in the landscaping and outdoor living space create and maintain a modern web presence along with online marketing and reputation management services.

©Richelle -


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SNOW & ICE REMOVAL ○ Winter Equipment Offers Razor XL Carbide Insert Snowplow Cutting Edge System Winter Equipment offers its Razor XL carbide insert snowplow cutting edge system with superior cutting and long blade life. Designed to clear packed snow and ice to reveal a safe road surface with minimal salt and chemical treatment, the aggressive blades can be used on city streets, rural roads, and parking lots. Features include:

• Three interlocking Razor XL cutting edges that have pre-welded wear bars and abrasion-resistant covers • A HammerHead carbide radius tip offers 30 percent more carbide, and allows for premium performance on multiple attack angles • An integrated, heat-treated, steel cover protects from impact and is welded on for easy installation • Heavy-duty steel adaptor plate and two Winter PlowGuards reinforced with Winter’s proprietary Carbide Matrix on the bottom and side edge to defend against uneven and premature wear

○ Superior Signals LED Snowplow Blade Lights Superior Signals, Inc. has unveiled its LED snowplow light collection, including the LED04 Series. When used together, the LED04 series will provide complete coverage of the blade. Features include:


• Six LEDS and 15 flash patterns to ensure the driver and the surrounding traffic will know exactly where the blade is at all times • Horizontal set will show the exact position of the blade when it is down • Vertical pair indicates blade position while stored in the travel position • Encased to resist vibration from the blade running along the road, as well as corrosion from water, salt, and chemicals

○ Fisher Engineering EZ-V V-Plow Purposefully designed with homeowners and contractors in mind, the Fisher EZ-V v-plow is constructed of high-strength, low alloy steel, making it the deal weight for half-ton trucks. Features include:


• Blade width of 7 foot 6 inch in straight blade mode and a blade height of 27 inches at the center up to 33 inches at the outer edge • Available in both stainless steel or powder-coated steel • Trip-edge design that protects operators and their equipment when striking hidden obstacles InstaLock double-acting cylinders that hold the wings firmly in place for clean, efficient back dragging and allowing for straight blade mode by locking the wings together • Accessories include: 10-inch rubber deflector, shoe kit, AR400 steel curb guards, cast iron curb guards, ½-inch steel cutting edge, 1-inch poly cutting edge, blade stop kit, back drag edge kit, and a plow parka


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For additional snow-handling products and equipment, visit the Product Guide at

○ ASV RT-50 Posi-Track Loader ASV’s RT-50 Posi-Track loader can be used as an all-terrain, all-season loader with maximum control, floatation, traction, and pushing power in wet and slippery conditions. Features include:

• 1,400-lb. rated operating capacity • Weighs 5,350 lbs. • 109.6-inch pin height provides ability to load landscape trucks and small dump trucks • Direct-drive pumps, large line sizes and hydraulic coolers transfer more flow and pressure directly to attachments • Posi-Track undercarriage with flexible 15-inch rubber tracks • Purpose built chassis for even weight distribution and 3.1 PSI ground pressure • Torsion axle suspension system • Standard joystick controls




• Optional suspended seat • Optional cold weather cab with heater or pressurized all-weather cab with heat and A/C • Large rear-tilting hood • Can be towed by a 1/2-ton pickup or SUV

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○ SnowEx HELIXX Light-Duty Trucks Steel Hoppers

○ Buyers Products SnowDogg SuperJ Plow

SnowEx expanded its offering of HELIXX hopper spreaders with the addition of a 0.7 cubic yard stainless steel spreader sized for popular halfton and light-duty trucks. Built with many of the same features of the larger SnowEx stainless steel hopper spreaders with the advanced corkscrew HELLIXX delivery system. Features include:

Buyers Products SnowDogg SuperJ plow is designed for urban or expressway use. The hydraulically-reversible plow features outboard angle cylinders that provide a tight turning radius to help operators navigate narrow streets and other cramped areas. Additional features include:

• 0.7 cubic yard stainless steel hopper spreader offers a 5-foot long hopper and up to 30 feet of spreading width. • Dual variable speed controls. • Accessories include extension collars to add height to hopper walls and increase capacity more than 70 percent. Other available accessories include a tarp covers, spill guards, inverted “V” kits for materials susceptible to compacting, vibrator kits, work light kits, strobe light kits, and ratchet strap kits. • Pre-wet and direct application kits are available for the HELIXX 0.7 cubic yard hopper with two 25 gallon pre-wet tanks, pump and spray kit.

• UHMW polycarbonate, Tuff-Koted carbon steel or 304 stainless steel moldboard • Pivots up to 35 degrees left or right from bulldoze position to throw snow to either the driver or passenger side of the vehicle. • Fully boxed A-frame spreads keeps the plow close to the truck for enhanced maneuverability and reduced strain on the vehicle’s front axle. • Trip edge design protects the equipment from manhole covers and other hidden obstacles. • Available in 10-, 11- and 12-foot lengths

ADVERTISERS INDEX Arctic Snow & Ice Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Bobcat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 BOSS Snowplow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 ClearSpan Fabric Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Contree Sprayer & Equipment Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Ford Motor Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Frost Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 GEICO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 HLA Snow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Kage Innovation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Lumastrobe Warning Lights. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Naturalawn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Nokian Tyres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Progressive Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Wacker Neuson Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17



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INDUSTRY-LEADING WARRANTIES ClearSpan structures are built to last decades into the future. ENERGY-EFFICIENT DESIGNS Save money on a monthly basis and maximize profitability. EXPERT CONSULTATION Industry experts are on staff to provide invaluable advice. METAL AND FABRIC BUILDINGS Building solutions for any application in any industry. 1.866.643.1010

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