Mild winter hurting private plow business in Central New York

Local News

EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It feels like the winter that wasn’t and all that mild weather is hurting private plow companies.

“All we do in the wintertime is mostly plow,” said John Centore, president of CNY Sealing & Plowing. When there’s no snow on the ground, it makes it kind of hard.

Snowplowing makes up about 33 percent of Centore’s annual income.

“We live in Syracuse, you know, we anticipate 115-120 inches of snow every single year,” said Centore.

Since the start of the season, we’re approaching a two and a half foot snowfall deficit and Centore is feeling the burn in his pocket.

“Your fuel cost can be down, expenses can be down, but at the same time all your accounts that you rely on getting paid when it snows, that revenue extreme isn’t there so,” said Centore.

He has 20 plows in his fleet and some of the drivers are seasonal or hourly, so when there’s this much blacktop for this long, it’s those drivers who take the biggest hit.

“Sometimes you lose guys cause they have to go find another job cause they have families to support,” said Centore.

His business depends on the weather and each year is a guessing game.

Since he got into the business 18 years ago, Centore has figured out how to make sure mother nature doesn’t make or break his bank.

“Balancing you know the contracts that are seasonal versus the contracts that are per plow, versus the ones that are per inch,” he said.

If Centore balances his contracts well enough, his team can at least salt even if the plows aren’t pushing against the pavement.

“Then you have your sidewalk crews that go out and all they do is shovel or snow blow or apply calcium to the sidewalks,” said Centore.

In the meantime, they’ll be waiting for winter.

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