When to call it quits?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by PSUhardscaper, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. PSUhardscaper

    PSUhardscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Just seeking some advice from the pros on when/why they pack up the hardscaping equipment for the winter. Are you hanging it up just to do snow removal? I know some of you guys work all the way through (DVS) - so what do you have to do differently? Any advice on what to prepare for as far as estimating/proposals?

    I would like to work as late as possible or all the way through (not planning on doing snow removal) but I'm sure there are some issues I'm not aware of when it comes to freezing temps/snow. I am in central PA, so we have frozen ground for at least 4 months. Advice and stories from past winter work are much appreciated, thanks!
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    We work year round as long as the earth is not too muddy or depending on the job - frozen.

    And yes, you do need to have a clause in the proposal pertaining to final grading and turf restoration. Usually every year between august and September I post that clause on this forum. It's been on my mind to do it this year, but I haven't had a chance to copy and paste. I'll do that tonight.

    We build patios and we build walls in winter. But where I am, the ground isnt always frozen, so that helps. We do not install the gravel base over frozen ground.

    Also, frozen ground, snowfalls, and mud can delay the production of a job. So you have to think ahead and schedule your draws so you're not using your money to pay for the clients materials, or so you simply have capital for operating. In 2009 we started a job at the beginning of dec and should have been done a few days before Christmas. Well it snowed! ALL winter! We finished at the end of march. And all the materials were onsite, so they had to be paid for. Luckily, I'm a stickler for specifying 3 to as many as 7 draws.

    The coldest temps we have worked was last Jan and feb and it was 8-degrees. That was FUN!

    And your clients need to be aware that it could be drawn out and that it'll be muddy for a long time. In other words if it's the type of person that is in a hurry and impatient- they would not be a good candidate for a winter project.

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  3. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    We pack our tools just before Dec. 1 just too damn cold to keep going and the work runs out anyway. Frost goes deep and starts in early November. Winters are just a relax time for me now, years ago I did snow plowing but really hated it. No money unless you go big in it.
  4. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,614

    Whats no money? You can do pretty good with res. plowing here. Ill do anything until it snows... if it melts I'll start up again.
  5. SVA_Concrete

    SVA_Concrete LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    when a storm is rolling up the coast and the swell is head high

    definitely time to call it quits for a few days. :)
  6. rawtoxic

    rawtoxic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    We quit at Thanksgiving here in the mountains of Colorado we have a dusting of snow at 9500' this morning!. I plow a little but I have lost most my good commercial contracts to a 'low-baller'. I bought a ski a pass to Loveland Ski Area and one for my right hand man and we go for 100 days on the slopes. We made it 104 days last year. Work starts again April 1st. We may pickup a bit of winter work doing interior masonry work and I will advertise doing hauling on craigslist with our dump trailers (usually foreclosure cleanups) when I get *REAL* bored. But since we have to pay our insurance policies year-around I like to get a little use out of them.

    My Mom is also brining us in for a few weeks to remodel her master bath.
  7. PSUhardscaper

    PSUhardscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Boy I miss it - I worked for A Cut Above Forestry in Breck for a full year after high school and then returned as a foreman for 3 consecutive summers until I graduated. My brother is in Denver - I've had to ask him to not even tell me about the snowfalls in summit co. anymore, I get depressed. :cry:
  8. rawtoxic

    rawtoxic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    yeah it's hard to believe they start making snow in about 10 days at Loveland. In about 30 days from a now they will open with a man made base of about 24" and 1-2 runs!

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