Snow removal prices going up this winter
Operators blame long hours, wear and tear on gear
After last year's unbelievable winter on P.E.I., the price of snow removal is going up this season.
Businesses that clear your driveway and plow parking lots are charging more, since they are spending longer hours on the job.
"The price of fuel, wages, the wear and tear and so it's an expensive business just to operate," said Nathan MacDonald of Twins Snow Removal. "After 'x' amount of trips, it's hard to make any money at all at it."
The cost of operation went up through the roof.- Rodney Chappell, snow plow operator
Last year, the Island was buried under more than 550 cm of snow, and the winter before was bad as well.
Plow operators are booking their contracts with home owners now for the upcoming winter. Customers pay a flat rate for the season.
CBC News spoke to a half-dozen snow removal firms, and all of them were increasing rates this year.
The increase depends on how big the driveway is, and how early the service starts.
Individual customers should be looking at increases of between $25 and $80 over the course of the winter, or in the range of $400 to $450 for a priority driveway.
Another reason for the rise in prices is the wear on equipment.
"The cost of operation went up through the roof," said Rodney Chappell of Riley's Snow Removal. "We had a lot of damaged fenders, one small part costs $500."
Nathan MacDonald hasn't had much difficulty explaining the increase to his customers. "Most people understand and realize once they look at the big picture," he said.
That big picture included many homes having to get plowed out more than 50 times last winter.
with files from Laura Meader