ITHACA, N.Y. — By this time last year, 27 employees from one of the largest snow plow companies in the Ithaca area were hitting the road in Tompkins County to clear roads, driveways and sidewalks of above average snowfall.
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Scott Land & Yard Services, run by second generation plowman Caleb Scott, is responsible for clearing more than 300 driveways and more than 80 business lots in Tompkins County. And they certainly got a lot of business last winter.
So how has the company and other plowmen in the area been fairing with no measurable snowfall this month?
“I think for the most part a lot of people are probably wondering what’s going on and they’re hurting financially,” Scott said. “I mean, if you pit all your eggs in one basket, then that’s bound to happen.”
At a much smaller three-man operation in the Ithaca area — Elmore Enterprises Inc. — owner Tony Elmore said nearly verbatim the exact same thing: Diversity of services is important.
For instance, Elmore said if there’s not enough rainfall in the summer then his company might focus on pruning or drainage work or patio installation.
Scott’s company does the same.
He said, “It’s a cat and mouse game, but you gotta be prepared for it and you got to diversify yourself,”
The other key to a plowing company surviving a snow-less December, the men said, is seasonal contracts.
Scott said his company recruited seasonal contracts for people who prefer to pay a flat rate for snow plowing services as opposed to “per push” rates, which means people call for plow or shoveling services when needed.
Elmore said, “By doing it that way you, don’t get completely killed if you don’t have any snow.”
Both companies have projects to last them into the beginning of the year but say it sure would be nice to get some snow in the coming weeks.
“We’re only a third of the way through the season so far. I would say that we’re hopeful snow is coming but we’re not lamenting it at this point,” Scott said. “It’s possible we can get 60 inches of snow in two months time. Who knows?”
Last winter, as a reminder, nearly half the snowfall of the season happened in February when 24.1 inches pounded Ithaca in February — nearly a foot more than normal for that time of year.
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Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at email@example.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.
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