Cost of snow removal adding up for some

(WISH Photo/Drew Blair)
(WISH Photo/Drew Blair)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The cost of snow is piling up for some businesses.

For some, it’s meant losing some money; others are making money from all this snow we’ve seen.

“We plowed all night, plowed all day Sunday, plowed all night, got done at 7 a.m.,” said Caleb Harbert, managing member with Precision Cut Lawn Service in Greenwood.

Harbert says they’re prepared to get back in the truck Monday night, as well.

“This winter has been fantastically tiring,” he explained.

Harbert says they typically expect three to five snowfalls a year. This year, they’ve been out nine to 10 times already.

They’ve been through 70-75,000 pounds of salt or ice melt. Harbert says overnight Monday into Tuesday morning, he could use 3-4,000 more.

“Normal contracts, they’re paying us three-four times more than a normal season, and we’re not done yet.”

Harbert says it’s been welcome work: they’ve mowed less in the past couple years with drought conditions.

Instead, he says they found business during the spring and summer, through fertilizing and helping with irrigation systems.

Harbert says right now, the busy winter season has caused another problem: it’s made it hard for them to get salt or ice melt.

“The manufacturer has stopped taking orders until Feb. 10. They’ve outsold supplies; they can’t even stock it right now,” he explained.

Instead of their typical supplier, Harbert says he simply went to Menards, for thousands of pounds of ice melt for Monday evening.

Of course snow doesn’t add to the bottom line everywhere.

At Hal’s Fabulous Vegas Bar and Grille in Greenwood, they were closed like many others the Monday and Tuesday of the big snowfall and cold snap. They’ve also had to pay for plow services and salt.

“Every couple years, when we get a big snow, being here on 135, the plows accidentally knock our mailbox down. So that was down for a few days and we had to repair that, as well,” said Stacy Olthoff, general manager.

At Wheeler Mission downtown, they also pay every time a plow comes out.

“We have six lots. That’s $450 every time it snows two to four inches,” said Steve Kerr, chief development officer. “Anytime we get snow, that is money we’d rather spend elsewhere.”

Of course, this is adding up for cities and counties as well..

Indianapolis DPW spent about $5.1 million on that big storm alone, plowing through much of their $7.3 million budget.

They’ve already used more salt so far this year than the average total winter salt usage for recent years.

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