Snow plow truck

(iStockphoto)

Mark Bailey says he is living his boyhood dream driving a snowplow.

"I think it's every young boy's dream to have a plow truck that you can do stuff with that you can't do with a normal vehicle. You can't just ram into a snowbank with a normal vehicle but you get to do that with a plow truck," Bailey told Craig Norris by phone from his truck in an interview on The Morning Edition Tuesday. 

Bailey is the head foreman at Good Nature Landscaping, a private company that clears parking lots and sidewalks of commercial properties, with offices in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph.

His work day started at midnight on Tuesday, and by the time he spoke to Craig Norris on The Morning Edition at 7:00 a.m. he was in Guelph working on a clearing a commercial property.

Bailey and his team generally roll into action when the snow starts to pile up.

"Every situation's a little bit different. A general snow plow contract is based on two inches of accumulation, so depending on when it starts and when it stops, I mean ideally we like start at midnight so we can have everything cleaned up by morning," said Bailey.

Because Bailey and his team work overnight, he stays alert with the help of "coffee and the camaraderie of my peers out there.

"We all have two-way radios in our trucks so we like to keep everything nice and light over the evening, especially when you get into bigger plow sessions and you're out there for a while, " said Bailey.

"We start to joke around and keep each other, you know, spirits and high and keep going at 'er."

The worst part of Bailey's job is that it can be difficult to get through traffic to each site that needs to be plowed.

"Once the daytime comes, it gets difficult, especially when the weather's bad," he said.

He says the snow plow business has changed over the years, and he's become much more conscious of liability.

"Nowadays you have to cover yourself with the business end of it, which is making sure your liability insurance and your contracts and stuff like that, it's not a handshake any more," said Bailey.

Bailey says they do have some contracts where the plow company is liable for slips and falls.

"So then we have to monitor the conditions in the [parking] lot all the time, and then applying salt and stuff like that and ensuring to the best of our ability that the sites are as safe as possible." said Bailey.

But, Bailey said the rest of his Tuesday morning wasn't looking too bad, as his team had completed most of their work.

"My guys are probably looking forward to bed in about an hour or so," he said.