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Plan ahead for winter success!

One of the best ways to ensure winter success is to plan ahead regarding your fleet needs.

Your relationship with your suppliers will play a key role in this. You can help them out by getting your equipment ordered early and/or getting your existing equipment scheduled for service before the forecast is calling for snow. Setting up a system where they can call you when they have some time and they know what equipment needs servicing is a small thing that can make a huge impact.

I highly recommend working with local suppliers for ordering and delivery of trucks, equipment and small machinery. I would also choose a supplier that allows you to standardize the equipment you’re using, making it easier for budgeting and repairs. If you’re using all the same equipment (ie, same type of plow), you can order parts that will work for all of the pieces. You can also identify when an issue is a manufacturer’s defect rather than just a one-off. For example, if you use one type of plow and they all have an issue with the controller, you know the issue is the manufacturing, not just a single unit. 

Another key component is identifying your fleet needs early. I know there’s often tension about pulling equipment out of the operation to get serviced while it’s still being used for maintenance or construction. To get around this, you could rent a truck that could be a floater for the time period, or when ordering a truck for the fall, have it delivered earlier so it can be used as the spare. Whatever you decide, when identifying your needs be sure to keep these in mind:

  1. Know what sales you have - make sure your contracts are signed early.
  2. Creating a budget with those sales numbers will show you how much equipment and staffing you need, allowing you to order equipment with confidence knowing that it will be used.

Remember, the most profitable businesses run standardized equipment, and have plans in place well in advance of the first snow, despite still being busy with landscape maintenance and construction. 

How do you make sure this happens? Make it someone’s responsibility and keep them accountable. If no one is responsible and there is no accountability,  you will end up scrambling and starting the season stressed and behind.


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