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Snow removal companies cash in on weather

Monday - 3/17/2014, 11:45am  ET

snow Vienna March 17 (WTOP/Kristi King)
Scenes like this are common across Maryland and Virginia. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON -- Some people love snow. Kids play in it, skiers ski on it and snow plow companies make money moving it.

Bill Schultz, who owns Eastern Grounds Landscaping of Bowie, Md., says his snow removal business is up substantially this winter.

"It's increased probably about 60 to 80 percent in revenue this year over previous years because the past two to three years we haven't had significant snowfalls of over two inches," he says.

During a time of high unemployment, the repeated snow storms also have put money in the pockets of temporary workers capable of driving a plow or handling a shovel.

"We'll bring in 8 to 10 people every time we get a snowstorm over 4 inches and then if these storms go over a two- or three-day period that number increases, exponentially," Schultz says.

But for snow removal companies the harsh winter is not all a bed of white roses.

Snow removal firm operators agree they're paying much more this year for the salt they load into their spreaders due to a national shortage coupled with high demand.

"We're using approximately 100 tons probably at this time, the price has doubled, about 90 to 130 percent more per ton," Shultz says.

This winter's weather also has been so brutal it's also taken a toll on snow removal equipment, driving up costs for maintenance and repair.

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