I wrote this blog during the twelve days of Christmas which have not yet passed as of its submission.
Sleigh bells ringing and the deep cold of winter bring joy to the hearts of many during the Christmas season. It does not bring joy to many contractors, however. If you're on unemployment during this time, your pay is cut. If you don’t receive unemployment because you own a business, then you are living off your savings, your wife’s paycheck or working a winter job which pays less in all probability.
However, there are still construction jobs to do in winter. One job is landscaping. The best time of the year to remove trees and bushes is in the winter when these plants hibernates. It's also the best time to cut through the root systems in the ground, especially for garden preparation. In the summer or spring when everything is green, the ground is much softer. The roots are also spongier, as anyone can testify to who has tried to cut through green wood. The moisture in the wood does not lead to a good cut.
In winter the ground hardens and so do the roots as less moisture is needed by the the plant's biological system. Therefore; it is much easier on both counts to cut through the ground and to cut the roots in tree removal. I should add though that it is easier if you have the right equipment like a backhoe or an excavator.
To use this equipment you usually do not need a license. However, you'll need to have had in all probability a training course in the use of the equipment. This is because the companies that hire you can't get insurance for the jobs that they do without you having some sort of training certificate.
There are other uses for backhoes in the winter. They can be used for snow removal. This is not just for large parking lots, but for driveways and small lots (if it is a smaller backhoe). Often, the side jobs in snow removal can be more lucrative than the set contracts.
I knew of a housing plan where the directors paid a contractor a set fee to remove the snow. If there was no snow, the contractor got paid, he or she wins big time. If it blizzards like in the mountains of the Northwest, the contractor also wins. Though his or her costs went up with no additional money coming in, remember; it is a set fee, the contractor made $ 250 or $ 300 plowing the individual driveways since the driveways were not covered by the contract as only the streets were.
So winter can bring more than Christmas and the other holidays celebrated at this time of the year. It can also bring employment cheers.
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By Jeffrey Ruzicka
Jeffrey Ruzicka is a retired executive of a small company that specializes in industrial water treatment. He lives happily with his wife in Western Pennsylvania and is a contributing writer to Nexxt