KC snow removal businesses struggle through feast-or-famine cycles

Jim Cunningham
February 06, 2018 - 5:27 am
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A metro company is one of the many that depend on regular snowfall to keep the operations going. 

Snow removal is a tough business, one that True North Outdoor in Kansas City takes very seriously.

"Tuesday's going to be like going to war," said Mark Nelson, senior business unit leader, after learning that some areas could receive two to four inches. "You never know what to expect, when to expect it, how difficult it's going to be."

True North is dedicated almost exclusively to snow removal. It can be difficult to find help because the work is so exhausting. 

"We all go through a lot," Nelson said. "We've got hand crews that will stay out, sometimes 20, 24 hours."

The problem in the past three years has been a lack of snowfall. The Kansas City area has not had a snowfall event of more than three inches in that time. Many snow removal businesses have not survived.

For Nelson, a key focus is keeping his guys going through the difficult snow days when every customer believes he or she should be first to have parking lots and sidewalks cleared.

"I'll take them to breakfast and give them some time, but you're still out in the elements," Nelson said.

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