Warm Winter Cools Profits for Snow Plowers

By: Carter Johnson Email
By: Carter Johnson Email

January 31, 2012

Ken Bahr's truck is parked in the garage and it hasn't moved from there in some time. This winter has been a waiting game for the Ken's Lawn Service owner, who plows snow as part of his lawn service.

"I've been doing snow removal for about ten years and I found it's never quite reliable enough to call a profession. We do it as an add on service," said Bahr.

While snow removal is not his main source of income, Bahr does invest in it, preparing the plows for winter, getting his truck ready and even buying a new battery this season. "It would certainly be a loss, but being a side business, it's not something that I've plowed a whole lot of money into," he joked.

And Bahr isn't alone. The Virginia Department of Transportation's snow plows have also been sitting idle. VDOT has already spent about $2 million combined on snow removal and preparations for the season, including repairs to equipment and restocking supplies such as sand, salt and plow blades.

But Bahr remains hopeful he'll take his truck out in a big storm sometime soon. "It's a lot of fun. I love it, that's the reason I stay in it. It's really a chase to keep up and it's a lot of fun," he said.

VDOT has budgeted $6.77 million for snow removal, and any leftover money will be redirected to maintenance projects like pavement patching and tree trimming.

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