Looking back

Features - L&L Snow and Ice Report

August 12, 2014

Our State of the Industry numbers show that this most recent snow season caused an influx of revenue for contractors and the financial future is just as bright.

In April, to best benchmark and identify industry-wide trends, we conducted the 2014 State of the Industry research via SurveyMonkey, an online survey portal. We queried business owners and top managers from throughout the United States and Canada who were pulled from our circulation list. In addition, we interviewed professional snow and ice managers to gain first-hand insights on how the previous winter affected the client relationships, and how subcontractors have been used.

Winter 2013-14 will be remembered as a hectic, but profitable, time for snow contractors that not many predicted. On average, contractors reported that their snow revenue rose from roughly $690,000 for winter 2012-13 to $893,914 last winter. Likewise, plowable events for winter 2013-14 rose to 22 (up from 12 events last winter), and deicing events logged in at 29 (up from 19 the previous winter), according to the data.

More than half (54 percent) of contractors anticipated winter 2013-14 would be a “normal” winter, with only 10 percent predicting extreme winter conditions. Those surveyed cited the inability to predict the weather as the top business challenge.

Read on to get the lowdown on how the industry fared last season, and where it's headed in the future.

Market Decompression
Market competition seems to have leveled out coming out of last winter. Just less than half (46 percent) of snow and ice managers report elevated levels of competition in their markets compared to 66 percent the previous year. Likewise, those reporting  they had just the right amount of competition increased to 29 percent, an 11 percent increase over winter 2012-13 data.


Looking ahead

Snow and ice managers are an optimistic lot. The majority anticipate continued growth into winter 2014-15 and beyond. However, a mild or inconsistent winter could dampen that positive outlook, which contractors cited as their No.1 major business challenge.


Looking ahead to the next 5 years