How to Plow a Driveway or Parking Lot
After a snowstorm, 99% of people want nothing more than to curl up in bed and go to sleep. There are a few key things you need to know about how to plow a driveway and how to plow a parking lot — and we’re here to help.
Plowing snow looks like an easy job at first, but without pre-planning, it can be much more difficult than expected. In fact, new plow customers often ask about how to plow a driveway or parking lot. Here are a few snow plowing tips to keep in mind:
8 Important Snow Plowing Tips
If you’re new to plowing snow — or you just need a refresher course — these are some basic snow plowing tips that can keep your plowing profitable.
- Use Marker Posts — For driveways, it is very important to mark the edges with marker poles; showing not only the edges of the driveway, but gardens, sidewalks, ornamental items and more. A good rule of thumb is to picture a prospective driveway with about one foot of snow on it and ask yourself, “Will I remember where these items are when I’m plowing?” This is one of the most important things you need to know when wondering how to plow a driveway.
If you can, pre-marking the edges of a driveway can be especially beneficial when the ground is still soft from warm weather before a heavy snow falls. If the snow needs to be pushed back into the lawn, the markers allow the driver to see the edge of the driveway clearly and properly gauge his or her actions to prevent dropping a wheel off into the mud, causing ruts, or getting stuck.
The use of marker posts should also extend to parking lots being used to outline curbs, speed bumps and other obstacles. Avoiding damage to the property, but just as important, to your plow, is imperative. By marking all noted areas, the driver will save time, money and help retain customers for future business.
- Take Pictures — Today, almost everyone carries a cell phone, and cell phones take great pictures. It never hurts to take pictures of driveways and parking lots…. always checking with your customers first to obtain his/her permission. Print the pictures and store them in a binder that can be kept in your truck for quick reference. This can be very helpful after many long hours of plowing and when customers have questions. One idea is to ask your customers where they would like the snow moved to and mark it on the pictures. Planning with pictures can be very beneficial before, during and after the snow falls.
- Use Proper Equipment — This is one of the simplest yet most important snow plowing tips. The use and purchase of proper equipment is very important. Consider the customer base: residential driveways and small parking lots may require a smaller truck with a narrow Straight Plow. Some driveways and lots may be subject to heavy drifting and a V Plow may be best suited for those customers. Some of the larger lots may be best served with an Expandable Plow. An Expandable Plow will allow you to expand the width of your plow, as well as use the scoop functions. These features will allow the driver to work more efficiently with better time management.
Learn more about v plows vs. straight blade plows.
- Make Sure You Have Lighting — Think about visibility. It can be hard to be seen when backing out of driveways and navigating parking lots. Strobe lights are a must, and there are many types to choose from, such as the traditional beacon style on the top of a truck cab or the more modern L.E.D. lights that fit into a truck’s OEM lights maintaining the clean look of the truck.
- Don’t Neglect Pretreating/Salting — Pretreating or salting before the snow falls can make cleaning up a lot easier and safer for you and your customers. While some customers may not want the added expense, they can usually be shown how pretreating or salting can save them money because it saves plowing time. This is one of our ideas for how to plow a driveway in the most-efficient way possible.
Read our salt spreader maintenance guide.
- Handle Heavy Snow Differently — When heavy snow is expected, try to plow with the storm instead of waiting until it is finished. Plowing with the storm is easier on the driver and the equipment, and most often really doesn’t add any more time. Obviously, there may be a little more drive time, but if you’re usually planning out a route in advance this helps make the job more efficient. This snow plowing tip is meant to save you time and a headache.
- Always Carry Important Extra Items — It is always a good idea to carry a shovel, a chain or towing strap and a bag of salt in case you get stuck. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to keep a few spare parts, hydraulic hoses to fit your plow, a quart of oil and some basic hand tools in your truck — there will always come a time when they are needed.
See what the 5 main causes of hydraulic hose damage on plows are.
- Protect Your Equipment When You’re Done — This snow plowing tip is just as important as what you do when you’re on the roads. After the storm is over, it is important to inspect all equipment and wash off the salt and grime from the plow, salt spreader and truck. Keeping all of the equipment free from corrosion will help prevent expensive repairs. Then, come summer, remember to get the plow pump serviced long before the next winter’s storms hit — it helps to keep costs down and trucks on the road!
How TP Trailers & Truck Equipment Supports Plowmen
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to plow a driveway or a parking lot. With the right info, the right equipment, and the dedication, plowing can be an effective way to earn extra money this winter.
At TP Trailers & Truck Equipment, we support plowmen in multiple ways. We offer a wide range of quality snow plows for sale. In addition, our full-service repair shop stays open 24/7 during snowstorms to provide emergency plow repairs that can get you back on the road. Finally, our repair shop offers hydraulic hose fabrication, which allows you to replace your hoses, the same night that they burst.
Contact us to get a quote for a new plow or to learn more about how our repair shop can help you this winter!