As the leaves start to change and the season moves toward slow down, there are still plenty of opportunities for accumulating profits. As we mentioned last month, this is your last marketing push for fall services including irrigation winterization, overseeding and turf renovation, fall fertilizer, and upgrades or installations for landscape lighting. Now is the time to capture these sales.
Fall also means promotion of your snow and ice management services. We know it still feels like summer in many areas of the country, but now is the time to push for those contracts and sales. Remember, there are three types of customers: the early bird, the average Joe, and the late bloomer. By starting early with promotion and marketing outreach, you’ll be able to capture more of your existing customers, plus grow your new customer base. Even better, your customers will appreciate the fact that they won’t need to scramble to find a last-minute snow removal service as soon as the weather turns.
It looks like this winter is shaping up to be a long, tough one and that means early preparation is key for success. So, what do you need to know to get ready for the coming 2019-2020 snow management season?
The 2019-2020 Salt Report
Now is the time to get informed about the upcoming snow management season. Knowing what to expect from weather (freezing, frigid, and frosty) and supply chain (shortages expected) to ice melt alternatives and promotional pricing—Central will help to get you prepared for the season.
Last month, we shared the 2019-2020 Salt Report. In the report, we dove into why there have been shortages in the supply chain year after year, what to expect this season and the solutions to overcome them. We highlighted on what to expect in terms of weather prediction from the Farmer’s Almanac. And finally, we discussed effective salt alternatives and promotional discounts and extended terms available. If you didn’t get a chance to read it last month, we recommend taking some time to review.
The Principals of Ice Control Products
Now it may seem a little basic but it’s vital that you understand the principals of ice control products. Conditions and needs vary by storm and customer. Beyond that, ice melter performance can vary dramatically when it comes to melting speeds, temperatures, and efficacy. When you understand the basics, it will help you identify the right product to use at the right time, in the right locations. This will help you save product, time, and money—and, ultimately help you accumulate more profits.
Before ice melter granules can do any melting, they have to take on moisture and turn into a brine. This brine solution is key to the deicing process, as this is how the melting occurs. The brine will not freeze initially, but as the brine continues to melt the snow and ice it will become more diluted. Eventually, the ratio of water will become too high and the ice melter will reach its eutectic point—the lowest temperature at which the ice melter granules can depress the freezing point of water—and the brine will freeze. All ice melters have this eutectic point but some have lower temperature points than others.
Now it’s important to know that certain ingredients can melt ice quicker and others have a longer melting life. Beyond ingredients, other factors can impact melting speed and melting life. Specifically, granular size and surface area should be considered when it comes speed and longevity of the ice melter.
The faster an ice melter can dissolve and form a brine solution, the faster it will melt ice. When it comes to ice melter, both granule size and surface area affect the melting process. Small granules begin to melt quickly, and a large amount of them will get the melting process off to a fast start. However, they may completely dissolve before they penetrate all the way through an ice layer. Larger particles will take much longer to begin melting. Furthermore, these larger granules may not completely dissolve into an underlying brine layer. The unused material will reduce melting efficiency and increase cost. The most effective ice melters use consistent, medium sided granules, which can bore through the surface and maximize brine formation. This breaks the ice-to-surface bond, allowing easy removal of the remaining ice.
The Right Solution: Effective Ice Melt Products
Choosing the right ice melting solution isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. You’re making an important decision that impacts your profitability, your customers’ safety and your potential liability. It’s critical to work with a partner that knows the business and aligned with the right manufacturers.
Central offers a variety of deicing products: rock salt, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, sand/salt mix, liquid deicers, urea, and blended deicing products. Check out the highlights of popular deicers below:
Sodium Chloride [Rock Salt]:
- Good melting life
- Readily available – mined in USA
- Relatively inexpensive
- Able to be pre-applied
- Good melting temp
- Good melting speed
- Great melting temp
- Great melting speed
Potassium Chloride & Urea:
- Readily available
- Good melting life
- OK melting speed
Calcium Magnesium Acetate [CMA]:
- Most environmentally friendly deicer
- Non-damaging to concrete
- Great melting temp
- Great melting life
- Great melting speed
- Reduces freeze/thaw cycle
- Neutralizes chlorides
Liquid deicers have picked up speed in recent years. This is due to the fact that they have a great melting speed and work well with pre-treating for ice prevention. While liquid ice melt has its place in your product portfolio, we do not recommend ever going full liquid. This is because liquid ice melter has several disadvantages including: transportation cost per unit of chemical; handling and storage; precipitation, specifically rainfall, will wash product away; application at the right time and temperature are critical; and it is not suitable for treating thick ice or snowpack. If you offer liquid ice melter, it is vital that if you also have a granular option in your portfolio to compensate for the shortcomings of liquid ice melt.
Blended deicing products are an effective deicing solution because the use the right ratios of the right ingredients to give you the excellent melting temps, speed, and longevity. Central has three blended ice melt formulas that are effective, fast-acting, long-lasting, and affordable. Better yet, because they use the right ratios of ingredients, they are safer to handle and safer for pets and vegetation. Check out the three Central formulas below:
Premium Commercial Enhanced
Ice Melt Program
As a dedicated partner, Central helps you grow your sales by keeping costs down with our seasonal, early-order, and commitment programs. There is still time to take advantage of our Ice Melt Early Order Program to grow your bottom line with discounts and extended dating. To amplify your success, ask your Central rep or local branch for pricing and more details on the program.
Rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about specific different types of deicers, melting temperatures and longevity, eco and pet friendly mixes, or the newest innovative solutions for snow and ice management. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow!