BETTENDORF, Iowa — One Quad City business that deals with snow removal was prepared and busy this weekend following the New Year's Day snowstorm.
Dustin Cable owns Done Brothers, LLC, a lawn care and snow removal company. Before the snow even starts, he said they're getting their equipment ready and planning the best time to begin to tackle the removal.
"Once the most of the snow is down on a major storm or when the snow is stopped on a more minor storm, we dispatch four or five crews to about 65 properties and usually takes us 8-12 hours on the average storm to clean up," Cable said.
He was plowing his first driveway at 5 p.m. Saturday and finished up Sunday afternoon.
"Sometimes, it's just guessing. Sometimes, we end up starting too late. Sometimes, we start too early and have to go back and clean up jobs," Cable said. "It's just really hard to predict when the snow's gonna stop. At about 11 last night, a band of snow came through, it was snowing really hard and I was like, 'Oh no, what are we going to get another two inches?' But I think in like 30 minutes we probably got a half inch, and it didn't keep that up."
Often, he said one crew will come first with a skid loader or a plow truck to get the driveways, and then another crew will come later with snow blowers and shovels to clear the sidewalks and the spillover from the city.
The New Year's Day storm brought about 4.5 inches of snow to the Quad Cities, and wind chill temperatures on Sunday were below freezing, but Cable said he's seen much worse conditions. The snowfall might have been heavy, but it was a lighter, more powdery snow, Cable said.
"Definitely nothing like the first snow of last season which I call the 'concrete snow.' It came down like wet concrete and then froze solid," he said. "The coldest situation I remember was several years back when the actual temperature was close to -27°, I believe. And we were out putting down ice melt which wasn't going to do anything until it warmed up, but we were out at like 4 in the morning at the coldest point, and I just remember that being really cold."
Cable hires extra contractors for the winter months. However, he's noticed it's been more difficult to find workers in the last two years.
"Last year was difficult. This year was considerably more difficult to keep staffed," he said. "I used to be able to find someone to shovel snow with little to no experience for around $12 an hour. I can't hardly find anybody for $20 an hour. I think for people to be happy to come out in the middle of the night and shovel snow when it's -10°, in my experience you pretty much have to offer up $25 an hour."