Miller Landscape Blog

Preparing for Winter: A Look Inside Miller Landscape

Nov 6

Written by:
11/6/2013 12:18 PM  RssIcon

This is an image from one of our print ads going out in early December.

It's almost here, we still have a little time before the snow hits, but this time of year is very interesting around the "loop". Our office, maintenance garages, supply rooms, nursery, recycling areas, brick yard, and more make up what we call the "loop". If you haven't visited us here, it's a very busy place full of large trucks and tractors buzzing all over. Even the guys from Orion Stone next door drive through regularly heading back and forth from their main location to their new extension over on Brown Rd. (It's next to the new Checkers restaurant).

At the loop, it's a major transition moving from full production installing new landscapes and maintaining properties to snow. The vehicles themselves have to fitted with new equipment, some simple, some complex. Many of our standard trucks simply get a plow, like the one pictured above. The real fun is when it's time to start working with our large Internationals. We have several large dump trucks, flat beds, and swap loaders. Several of these trucks have the backs removed and they are replaced with flat beds and commercial salt spreaders.

Trying to time things up is probably the trickiest part of the operation. We're very fortunate to have tons of work on the schedule boards and we want to work every hour we can in order to finish as many projects as possible before winter, but we have to be mindful to be ready when the snow finally hits. As everyone knows, Michigan can be a little unpredictable.

Even something as simple as getting a snow shovel ready, is a major task. Instead of dusting a shovel off, we usually have to order several boxes of new shovels each and every year.

My personal favorite is probably when the large plows for the front loaders come out. The plows are so big we have to get special permits from the Road Commission, in order to transport them or drive them to the industrial complexes we use them at.

Along with the equipment changes, a lot of our employees schedules start changing. As the ground freezes up, their work hours are cut down, until a snow storm hits, then it's all hands on deck. It's always amazing how all of the planning comes together. The coordination and planning is critical to ensuring all of our customers are taken care of in a timely manner. It's a credit to our employees, they manage to fight through storms to show up to work on time, anytime of day or night. Then we all work hard until the last driveway is cleared and the last bit of salt is put down.

Although snow is the main service we focus on in winter, two other services occur in the off-season. Holiday lighting installations run into December then take a break. Once we hit the New Year, then they all have to be taken back down and stored. January is unofficially Holiday Lights removal month.

As we progress towards February and March, winter pruning is another service that provides hours for our employees. Many plants need to be pruned during the dormant season and that pruning is best done after the bitterest cold of winter has passed to avoid and frost/freeze damage.

Throughout the winter we'll continue to work on design, estimation, and planning. We typically will run design specials to take advantage of the off season. Many customers looking to get work done the following season will take their time in the winter months to go through our design process. Currently, we offer a Yelp check-in deal on design service, so if you're interested, it's a great discount on a great product.

As far as operations goes, the office staff is busy evaluating the past year and planning for the following busy season. From financial planning, to marketing strategy, to operations planning, it stays busy throughout the winter. To keep up with our current growth, we've gone through interviews for new employment candidates and will often look at new equipment needed to ensure the coming year is a success.

There's a simple look at how our winter preparations and off season(not that we really have an off season!) progress. Hopefully it was an interesting peek at what goes on internally.

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