SEASONAL CONCERNS: Adam Watson & Jon Agg, owners of Pristine Property Maintenance Ltd., illuminate the story behind the plow!
Snow maintenance is a tough business. Let’s face it, most folks hate the cold, the snow, and the ice. It is not that people hate the idea of a serene picture perfect white landscape: a fresh blanket of fluffy white snow; a secluded countryside; and the comfort of a cozy chair and a warming fireplace. However, this is not our typical winter day. Winter’s agitation comes from the more common reality: awaking at six in the morning to prepare for the already stressful day ahead; looking out the front window and seeing ten centimeters of snow on the car and driveway; bundling up the kids and yourself for the negative twenty degree weather and wind-chill; realizing that you have not yet put the snow tires on and should have done that last weekend; and a commute that takes four times as long as it should. Does this sound relaxing to anyone? This is where the very thought of the “snow plow guys” makes people cringe – we are to people what winter actually represents.
Pristine Property Maintenance Limited, has been servicing the condominium market since 2005. During this time, Pristine has grown from servicing one single condo townhouse development to well over one-hundred-and-fifty. Oh the stories we could share about the roads (sometimes bumpy) we have plowed! Throughout our history, we have hit several milestones worthy of celebration – and many lessons have been learned along the way. Today, we are a stronger company for the simple reason that we are committed to never making the same mistake twice.
The most important lesson of all has been the importance of preparation – a fundamental in everything we do as a leader in our industry. As such, snow and ice have become our business and it is something that we take very seriously. The logistical challenges of managing an operation this size is one that does not get a lot of consideration from people outside of our realm. What many people fail to realize is the time that goes into preparing for a Canadian winter. The equipment necessary to handle the amount of snow and ice we experience each year requires a lengthy preparation process. One cannot simply walk into a dealership on the first day of November and say “Hey, some contracts came in and now I need ten snowplows and ten trucks and I need them by Friday.” This caliber of equipment takes months to order and often comes from different countries across the globe. Once the equipment lands in our shop, there are numerous considerations that still need to be addressed, such as up-fitting (including installing plows, salters, dump inserts, GPS systems, truck bed liners, safety lights and beacons, and reverse cameras). These additional considerations can often add on several additional weeks and as such, we typically need to make these arrangements in July or August in order to be prepared for mid-November.
Part of our success in the snow and ice business is due in part to “our commitment to our clients through our commitment to our equipment.” We have a very rigorous maintenance schedule and a very thorough program to ensure that our equipment is the best, the most reliable, and the safest on the road. We have a very specialized formula that we use for ordering, maintaining, and retiring equipment. This is a system which we have heavily invested in perfecting through some impressive and uniquely specialized asset management hardware and software. The logistics of such a program means that we must be prepared – more than six months in advance. Lacking proper preparation and lacking the foresight of such, is a road that we have been down in our earlier years and a lesson from which we have learned an incredible amount. We are a large and successful provider because we are prepared; and therefore, experience little downtime, putting us in a much better standing ahead of our competition.
Each and every year we add to our fleet, while maintaining a very strong emphasis on the maintenance of our existing machinery and vehicles. The analysis and the process start well before August – while most are enjoying thirty degree summer days by the poolside, we are planning for winter! Our full-time in-house mechanics are already working through the night in the summer months to ensure that our winter fleet is ready for November.
As each year the weather conditions continue to surprise even the most seasoned, another challenging element of proper preparation is timing. We have no idea when winter will decide to make her appearance. It is not uncommon for us to be knee-deep in leaves and fall clean-up work at 5pm on any given November day whilst the local weather forecaster is calling for snow later that evening. The logistics of flipping a switch to go from fall to winter can be challenging, but this is what we do and we strive to do it well.
Regardless of whether or not we’ve received snow, the appearance of winter also guarantees the threat of ice. To avoid passing along the dreaded news of salt shortages to our clients, those that have entrusted us to get the job done, we order large bulk shipments in the summer knowing winter is always upon us sooner than we think. The mass shipments we receive in preparation for the winter months are then warehoused many months prior to actually having to use them. This practice, which can be logistically and financially challenging, assists us in keeping our prices consistent and competitive and ensures that we have ample supply to handle anything that may get thrown our way. We always prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
In addition, we use an exclusive ice melting product, created by our team through years of perfecting, that is not the average man’s road salt. And although the product we end up putting down on your roads and sidewalks is twenty percent more expensive than what the other companies out there are using, ours has positive residual effects – we can use less product, less frequently, with less landscape damage and at effectively lower temperatures. The precise combination of interesting ingredients that make up our product is a well-kept secret. While not divulging too much information, let’s just say that our “Colonel’s secret recipe” includes (among other things) Sodium Chloride, Calcium, Magnesium and organic beet juice. Creating our own ice melting product has allowed us to cause less damage to lawns and gardens due to the products spread pattern, which reduces the overall dispersion of the product so it may effectively work the ground it was meant for – the roads and sidewalks.
While Canadian winters can be demanding and unpredictable, our team would not be where we are today without the commitment and dedication of a diligent, determined, and consistently growing team. So next time the weather forecasters call for snow, think of Pristine. Let Pristine take the worry out of winter. Rest that night assured that we have you covered for what lies ahead – and know, we are happy to be of service.