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BrightView selected to maintain historic landscape

Equipment that positively impacts an operation helps contractors complete jobs faster and better, allowing for more job opportunities during the season. Efficient snow and ice removal benefits contractors by increasing profits as well as creating satisfied customers who want to share their experience, meaning word-of-mouth advertising with the potential to add more business in the future.

If it’s not broke…

When investing in a snow pusher, contractors need to look beyond the purchase price and take into account the long-term effects of repairs that can drastically change the total cost of ownership. They should look for products that will spend more time working than getting parts replaced.

Mounting blocks on a pusher’s mainframe, for example, prevent damage and lessen repairs. Should an operator hit a hidden curb, the blocks will absorb the impact, protecting the pusher, carrier and operator. Designed to handle a lot of pressure, these mounting blocks will experience little damage and might last more than five years.

Along with operator and equipment safety, segmented pushers can mean overall less maintenance. At first, contractors tend to be skeptical, assuming more moving parts means more maintenance. However, that’s not always the case because fixing a segmented pusher can be quick and easy.

A steel cutting edge tends to be more economical than other cutting edges over time, as well. Rubber edges wear quickly, lasting only 20 percent as long as steel, which translates to replacing five rubber edges during the same period as replacing just one steel edge.

For Johnston, the difference meant significant time savings. The first time he needed to change a steel cutting edge, the pusher was in its fourth season and approaching 700 hours of use.

On a one-piece moldboard plow or pusher, the entire cutting edge, often at least 8 feet, must be replaced when damaged. In the event that a sectional cutting edge gets damaged, only that individual 24-inch or 32-inch section needs to be replaced. This significantly reduces repair costs, making replacement not only easier but more cost-effective overall.

Drop-and-go hitches, which self-adjust to the pavement, also lessen maintenance. The nature of this style of hitch ensures even wear on both shoes for longer life and fewer replacements. Commonly made of steel, pusher shoes can survive several years of abuse, but premature wear drastically cuts short their lifespan, which is a common occurrence with conventional hitch designs that require manual adjustment.

Slip-hitch systems also make it simple for operators to attach the pusher on various interfaces. For instance, some slip-hitch systems require the operator to secure four pins while transferring a pusher between coupler systems on different machines.

Along with easy changeovers to and from other pieces of equipment, take into account whether or not operators can service their pusher easily in the field. A hard impact can damage or break a pusher’s linkages, springs or bolts to the point of needing repair. Luckily with some segmented pushers, operators can fix damaged components easily onsite within 10 to 15 minutes if the parts are readily available. Other pushers don’t always have easily replaceable parts and would require a trip to the repair shop. This impacts overall productivity and can turn a successful season into a costly one.

Look at the big picture.

 When considering a pusher’s ROI, take into account other pieces of secondary equipment needed for the job, whether it’s sand and salt spreaders, liquid anti-icing applicators or snow brooms. Those extra pieces mean more expense, more time on the job and a lower ROI.

A pusher that provides contractors with results can also provide potential new accounts and profits. Johnston estimated his company saw a profit increase of about 30 percent after adding the right pusher with the best features to his fleet. The profit resulted from less salt usage, less manpower and fewer hours spent pushing snow.

Lemcke was able to expand into new markets after he found the right pusher. Doing so has added $150,000 to $200,000 to R.M. Landscape’s annual revenue stream.

A high-quality snow pusher will typically pay for itself in the first 30 inches of snowfall — a relatively quick return, considering many areas of the country average this amount in the first few months of winter.

Getting the best ROI stretches far beyond the purchase price of a pusher. Time on the job or spent performing repairs, replacement part expense, salt costs and the time to apply it all add in to the cost to remove snow. And the lower that is, the more that’s in the bank.

Push results. Look for a pusher that has proven performance, and the profits should quickly exceed the initial costs, maximizing ROI.

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