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Another type of ammo: Inclined to think ahead

May 8, 2015 -  By
iS42378094blue-splash Photo: ©istock.com/pavlinec

Photo: ©istock.com/pavlinec

This is part two of LM‘s “Another type of ammo” Snow + Ice Guide. Read part three, “Mastering the learning curve,” here.

Anthony Pennella started using liquids this past winter, and it was a bit of a case study.

The owner of Polar Snow & Ice Solutions, Towaco, N.J., used Ice B’Gone Magic Liquid primarily as an anti-icing agent on a hill leading up to two major high-rise buildings the firm serves. Pennella estimates 100 to 150 cars travel up the hill every hour. It turns out the traffic is the perfect ingredient to ensure the liquid deicer works, as the added friction ramps up the melting process.

“The more traffic that drives on the road, the higher percentage it will work,” Pennella says. He plans to use liquids more often as an anti-icing treatment in the future.

Polar Snow & Ice Solutions is a 2-year-old incorporated subset of Pennella’s Landscape Designs, of which Pennella is general manager. Polar Snow & Ice Solutions does about $250,000 in annual revenue.

The firm got crafty with the equipment required for adding liquids to an operation. It fabricated a liquid spray tank, rigging it out of a 150-gallon tub attached to a gas-powered pump, hose and spray nozzle.

The push for such an investment in liquids, Pennella says, is to combat salt pricing and availability concerns.

“It’s definitely something to consider when operating a snow removal company because that’s where the trends are going,” he says. “We’re looking into our future. We’re planning for five to 10 years out from now.”

Still, there are challenges, such as getting customers on board.

“Our granular application works very well, and our clients are more inclined to pay for the granular than the liquid because it can get pretty pricey,” he says.

Ice B’Gone Magic Liquid costs about 20 percent more than Polar’s preferred granular applications. The liquid, which Pennella settled on from a peer recommendation, is made up of magnesium chloride and agricultural byproducts. But he may “test the waters” on other liquids, he says.

In terms of upselling customers on those anti-icing treatments, it’s all about education, Pennella says. For instance, he informs them that liquid deicers stay put, whereas salt scatters, so their money scatters.

“Test it out with your clients,” Pennella says. “See what they’re willing to pay. It does become a little pricey, but they’re paying for what they get.”

 

About the Author:

Former Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer is a West Coast-based contributing editor for Landscape Management.

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