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Warm start to winter puts pressure on snow removal companies

NOW: Warm start to winter puts pressure on snow removal companies

NILES, Mich. -- 

Snow removal companies say they were excited to see snow in Michiana Wednesday after a warm start to the winter. So far, snow totals are more than 30 inches behind what Michiana saw by this time last year.

For companies like M.A.A.C. Property Services, that takes a hit on business.

“We’re primarily a snow only company, so without snow it’s really tough on our guys,” said Chris Gabriel, the director of business development at M.A.A.C.

The company has 45 full-time employees, but had to lay off 30 of them because the low snow totals meant essentially no work through the month of December.

“I think we went out two or three times just to salt,” said Gabriel.

As the weather stays above freezing, those 30 workers are staying by the phone.

“They’re on call. So as soon as it starts snowing again or there’s some weather coming in, we immediately call them,” said Gabriel.

And that’s what happened Wednesday. All of those workers filled the parked trucks and drove out to plow snow.

“It was nice to be able to start making those call outs yesterday to the guys,” said Gabriel.

Still, after a warm start to the winter, there’s pressure on the company as those employees get back behind the wheel.

“It’s almost like we need to retrain every time the guys come in because it’s been two or three weeks since they’ve worked snow, so we have to remind them this portion on the safety, this portion on the route.”

The company says even with the slow start, they’re okay financially.

 “Of course the company, I don’t know about lose revenue but not gain any as opposed to a busy winter,” said Gabriel. “We’re okay. You know it’s going to come, you know eventually.”

But he’s hopeful for more steady snowfall moving forward.

“If we can get these guys out two or three times a week, it keeps them engaged, it keeps them with some income coming in for them and their families,” he said.

 

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