Location: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Featured Team Members: Ryan Quigley, Owner and Mitch Bursey, General Manager
Ryan Quigley has owned and operated the Peterborough franchise of The Gardener for over 12 years. They do about equal parts landscaping and snow removal, with the majority of their snow and ice management customers being commercial properties. The Gardener’s team of nearly 40 employees prides themselves on having a customer-first mindset, being salt smart, and not being afraid of change.
Frost: What made you look into tech like ours?
Ryan: We were at the Landscape Ontario Snowposium a year or two ago and saw something similar. We started doing some research into various options and ultimately picked the one that was the best. Apart from the product itself, we loved the customer service with Frost.
Frost: Once you had your units in-hand, how did you decide where to put them?
Ryan: It was a collaboration between Mitch and I. We wanted them spaced out around town so we could have insight into different weather patterns, as well as at high value clients with zero tolerance policies. One site has three units, two sites have two units, and the rest are single-unit properties. We need multiple units on some properties because of their size, but also because wind, sunlight, various surfaces– like concrete, asphalt, gravel– are all different at the property. Shadows from the trees and the building can change the temperature just on the other side of the lot.
Frost: How do you use your Frost dashboard before, during, and after a winter weather event?
Mitch: The biggest thing for us is road temperatures before the storm. If we have any moisture/dew/frost in the morning that can react to cooling temperatures, we use the units for that. We also use them to understand humidity. We use a lot of liquid here. When we have dry snow, we use less product. More humidity means more product. A standard project uses liquid brine at 80gal/acre. If humidity is 86-90% we will increase to 90-100 gal/acre. If it’s 100% humidity it will be more like 100-120 gal/acre. If it’s lower, like 60% humidity, we would use 60-65 gal/acre because it gives you the same result with less product.
When the storm arrives, I start Storm Mode. I give my managers access to the platform, so they can view the individual areas they are responsible for and decide when to send their teams out. Once the storm starts I document the road temperatures and monitor how they evolve throughout the storm. Once the snow stops and we clear the accumulation off the road, we send salt and brine trucks back out.
Frost: What other tech do you use to manage the business?
Ryan: We use truck GPS connected to LMN timestamps, GPS on all of our equipment as well all of our sprayers are VSI by BOSS sprayers with Total Control GPS tracking. The sprayers will adjust how much product to put down based on the truck’s speed. We also keep an eye on other weather apps.
Frost: Do you use the historical data in your dashboard?
Ryan: We’re looking into how to use more historical data from the Frost units to make decisions about similar weather events. In addition to using the historical pavement and air temperature data, we have an open slip-and-fall liability lawsuit from two years ago, and our data is garbage. We basically only have high and low temperatures from the day. If we would have had our units installed then, we would be so much more well equipped for the lawsuit.
Frost: What are your suggestions for commercial landscaping/snow removal companies considering investing in tech generally? How can they be more efficient?
Ryan: I know it sounds cliché, but don’t be afraid of technology. I know a lot of people don’t like change, but whether it’s cameras, weather services, new brine mixtures, whatever; if we constantly evolve we make things better for everybody. Manpower, fuel, product all are made more efficient, and all our customers are happy we are keeping an extra eye on their properties 24/7.