Snow removal services gear up for the season with higher rates

Posted at 12:27 AM, Nov 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-16 00:27:26-05

MUSKEGON, Mich. -- It looks and feels a lot like Christmas in some neighborhoods in Muskegon; Christmas songs are playing, decorations are hung, snow is on the ground and freezing temperatures are here.

"I was a little caught by surprise, because here we are in the middle of fall cleanups and you got to get all that lawn equipment put away, but yet you got to get everything ready for your plows and salter," said Jamie Mikelson, owner of Mikelson Plowing.

Mikelson was most surprised because it's still autumn and six inches of snow and below freezing temperatures have her plowing company gearing up.

"I try to get as much sleep as I possibly can because I don't know how long I'm going to be out there," said Mikelson.

With six inches falling she says that will take her 24 hours to clear all 56 residences and eight businesses she was hired to take care of. The cost that goes into maintaining the equipment she needs to do that isn't cheap.

"When the snow gets ready to come you got to get your plow serviced and everything changed, make sure everything is working good with the hydraulics system. We just had a new system put in this year a total of $2500 to get it serviced," she said.

Plus the $1100 she spent to get the 2500 pounds of salt she's hoping will last through the winter.

"The price of salt almost doubled and if lots of people need salt and everything, it makes salt prices go up," said Mikelson.

That means plowing rates have increased this season not only because of the salt, but because of the cash snow removal services lost because of last year's snow that threw them for a loop.

"The amount of snow we got last year and we had a lot of people go with season prices and with the amount of snow, we did a lot of plowing for free on residential properties," she said.

Jamie has one thing on her side; gas prices went down.