For many landscaping companies, operations don’t stop when snow begins to fall. As a means to address seasonal shifts in work and keep profitable in the off-season, a significant number of landscapers segue from lawn services to snow removal services during the winter months.
These services are needed across most of the United States. In fact, more than 70% of U.S. roads are located in regions that receive more than five inches of snowfall annually, and more than 70% of the nation’s population lives in those regions.1 As landscaping organizations prepare for the winter season, they face operational risks not present during the summer lawn maintenance months.
Winter weather brings additional fleet concerns
Landscapers need to keep a close eye on where trucks are throughout the year, but this can become even more important as the fall and winter months bring treacherous weather conditions.
During the winter season, vehicle productivity, safety and maintenance are all key concerns.
- Vehicle productivity: According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, snow and ice can reduce freeway speeds by 3-13% in light snow and up to 40% in heavy snow. The winter months can also see more frequent stops, additional miles covered and increased idle time.
- Safe winter operations: Twenty-four percent of weather-related crashes occur in snow or icy conditions, and 15% happen due to snowfall or sleet.1 Safety is paramount given the more hazardous road conditions on snow-covered highways where drivers may be driving for long night shifts and into early morning hours.
- Additional maintenance concerns: During the harsh winter months and busy holiday season, keeping vehicles up and running is essential. Access to engine diagnostics data is critical to help identify issues before they result in major breakdowns and repairs.
GPS fleet tracking tools can help landscapers gain visibility and accountability into each job. Regardless of season, landscapers can also use technology to help control fuel and other costs while using analytics to improve response time and customer service.
Peace of mind: How GPS tracking can provide proof of service
For landscaping companies who transform into snow removal operations during winter months, liability can be a major concern. Companies can use GPS fleet tracking data to prove that snow removal service was provided while also addressing general work-management issues.
Landscapers can use GPS tracking systems to gain better visibility, not to mention accountability, into each job and the associated travel, expenses, driving behaviors and vehicle maintenance data points. GPS tracking systems can help mitigate risk using detailed activity records, like snowplow routes and idle time.
Dashboards enable companies to view and store important historical data about their snowplow fleets, which allows them to amass a permanent record of work completed, work orders requested and proof-of-service information (like photos and accurate timestamps). In the event of a winter storm-related liability claim, this can go a long way toward supporting a company’s account of how, when and where work was done.
How to choose the right technology
Choosing the right GPS tracking software and telematics solution is important. It must be flexible enough to fulfill business needs, whether it’s snow removal season or lawn maintenance time. In general, it’s important to look for a solution that provides:
- Access from anywhere: The ability to view data and maps on a mobile device at any time
- Detailed maps: Letting you view near real-time activity and current status of all vehicles, workers and equipment
- Easy-to-use dashboards: Showing you up-to-the-minute fleet analytics
To find out more about how your fleet can experience efficiency, safety and maintenance benefits in the winter months and all year round, check out this video series.