Storing snow plows indoors, year-round, was becoming a logistical problem for Joe Flake, owner of Target Lawn Care in Paola, Kansas. The biggest issue was accessibility. The crews were dropping the company’s three plows based solely on where they could maneuver their trucks. Plows were dropped and left in one spot, but it wasn’t always the best location in the warehouse. One day, Flake says a lightbulb went off and he came up with a solution. It was so simple he says he can’t believe he didn’t think of it sooner.
“We finally figured out that we can set the plows on a pallet and move them around with a pallet jack,” Flake says. “For the longest time we have been dealing with feeling as though the plows were in the way and creating storage difficulties. The answer was so simple that I suspect others have thought of it before me — but sometimes you overlook that simple solution that’s right in front of you.”
Snow can make up as much as 30 percent of the company’s overall revenue in a good season (the remaining 70 percent is primarily mowing), so Flake says it’s incredibly important that their plowing operation is efficient. Since using a pallet to store the plows, Flake says that hooking up to the truck has also been quicker and easier than ever before.
“We can now roll the plow to the truck instead of bringing the truck to the plow — and that’s a lot easier,” Flake says. “One thing we have found is that it’s easier to put the plow back on the same truck it came off — probably because of the way it came off and sits on the pallet. So we do still hook up the same plow to the truck it’s usually on.”
Flake says that it’s the small details that can go a long way in helping them to be more efficient. And in the snow business, efficiency is critical.
“Another thing we’ve learned is that the plow will not lay flat on the pallet,” Flake says. “In fact, sometimes it’s easier to put a block under the blade or frame end in order to maintain the perfect angle to slip it back onto the truck smoothly. We’ve made some adjustments in order to make the whole process as quick and easy as possible — and we’re noticing a difference. This turned out to not only be a better storage solution, but one that has helped us get the trucks ready quickly.”
Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them.