Friday, Dec. 2nd, 2016
The Importance of Winter Maintenance Preparation
Can you feel that chill in the air? Phil Collins must’ve been talking about how it’s finally winter. While the snow makes the mountains look beautiful, it also creates a lot of problems for people that live in the city. Luckily, that means more work for contractors in the valley during the cold weather.
We all know that clearing snow can be a pain, however, with a little planning, it can be an easy, methodical task. Really, the best thing any contractor can do for their company is by getting all the snow equipment ready for winter before the first snow. So, grab some hot chocolate and read about what to do to make your company successful this season.
Pre-season Prep – Snow Blower
If you haven’t already, it’s time to dig in the back of your shed or garage so you can dust off your snow blower. The first part to prepping is to start it up, and if it doesn’t, that probably means you forgot to add stabilizer to the fuel before storing it over the summer. Without the stabilizer, your gas will gum up and clog your carburetor and fuel pump while it sits. Hopefully you did this because now it’s time to start it up and let it purr for a few minutes.
After you hear the beautiful hum of the blower, the next step is to get a pre-season tune-up done. You can do this professionally, but also if you take care of these quick things and you’ll be set!
- Replace the oil. Don’t run a snowblower on old oil. It’ll ruin the engine, and possibly leave you with the task of finding a new snow blower.
- Check the spark plug. Replacement doesn’t need to be done every year. If your blower starts, the plug is probably ok. You can get a new one if you feel more comfortable changing it every year, it will improve the ability to start a blower.
- Check the paddles and scrapers. Paddles throw snow and the scraper, on the bottom of the machine, lifts it. Check to see if the snow gets flown back on your feet, and also check to see if you’ve cracked a wheel or need new tires.
- Lubricate and clean. Wheel, impeller, and auger bearings can use a little liquid attention and degreaser makes your blower shine. Make it gleam for your customers, and just enjoy the weather.
Pre-Season Prep – Truck
Being prepared also means being safe. Your truck is probably in good shape, but with the seasons changing, it could need a tune up as well. Take it to your trusted mechanic to see if everything is ready for winter so you’ll be safe on the road.
As a contractor in any season, a great rule of thumb is to also have gas can in your truck while you’re on the job. If there’s a traffic jam, you could potentially run out of gas. It’s also a great to have on hand in case your machines are low on gas.
Pre-job Prep – Body
The most important thing to take care of during this winter season is your body. Make sure you and your fellow contractors stay warm, but not too warm that you’re going to pass out. Also, keep everyone hydrated. You may think you’re not thirsty, but you’ll probably be sweating and losing a lot of water in your body so it’s best to always have water on hand.
Something important a lot of contractors forget is that they need to keep their protein levels up. Eat real meals. Energy drinks will make you crash, but if you have protein and real food on hand, you’ll have unlimited energy.
Pre-Job Prep – Check Your Schedule
There are plenty of things to do right before you begin your first job, including dressing appropriately and checking your snow blower. One thing we feel is really important is to plan your time accordingly so you can drive safely, and get to your appointments on-time. Being on-time is essential to all your jobs, especially your first one. If you’re late to one, you’re late to the next. Give your crew a schedule the day before the jobs if you can, and everyone will be fine.
Now that you’ve got your equipment and your team ready for the storms, and everyone has read the importance of winter maintenance preparation, sit by the fire and relax because tomorrow will be a busy day.