The City of Farmington Hills is responsible for snow removal from the road surfaces around the city, but residential roads, such as ours, are a relatively low priority. In order to allow WoodCreekers to enjoy cleared roads far more quickly than they otherwise would, some years ago, the WoodCreek Civic Association negotiated with the City and a private snow removal company to have our roads plowed as soon as possible after a snow event. The cost of this service is borne by WoodCreek residents who are encouraged to pay their share and not rely on their neighbors to subsidize a benefit we all enjoy. If you haven't contributed to the snow fund, you can do so by contacting email@example.com or pay your dues on line.
The Association's Snow Removal Coordinator, Cheryl Jeffries, updates us every year in the Playback newsletter. Here's her 2018/2019 report.
Hi, it's me, your volunteer WoodCreek snow and landscaping contact person and it's time to recap the snow guidelines for our sub division!! Whether the weather forecasts are a "light" winter or a "rough" winter, either way, we are ready for you!!! Please take a moment to note, for any questions or concerns this upcoming winter, please call me, Cheryl Jeffries on my cell phone (248-797-9683).
All snow season plowing and salting responsibilities on our WoodCreek roads will be handled by Bob and Leslie's Lawn Maintenance & Snow Removal and please know, we are their FIRST priority before any other contracts they handle. Most importantly, they are very accommodating and helpful when something goes wrong or is not within our guidelines. What more could you ask for in a vendor? For those who might not know our vendor, I interviewed him.
Meet Your WoodCreek Lawn & Snow Plow Service - Bob & Leslie's Snow and Lawn Maintenance... an intimate conversation with Bob Tippett.
Sometimes we forget that our service people are human, too with families and kids and special occasions, like weddings!!! Bob's oldest son (Jeremy) got married one gorgeous weekend in September, 2018 and he could not have ordered a more beautiful backdrop for the pictures!!!
What might surprise us about you? I was a DJ (yes, disc jockey) for many many years!!! I loved doing it and kinda miss that side job.
How long have you been in business? 22 years
Wow!! How long have you been working with WoodCreek? I've had individual clients in the WoodCreek sub division for 15 years. My association with the Association had been about 8 years. I was connected to your subdivision by Jack Hommes... he was a really great guy and I will miss him. Please give my condolences to his family.
What are you most proud of? Unlike most businesses, I haven't raised my prices to your sub division. Whenever you issue your bids, you know, where I will be. The only costs completely outside my control is the extra salt, when needed. I appreciate your business and I hold my prices to hopefully keep it.
How many people work with you? We are up to 11 employees and always looking for good workers. Feel free to send them over!!!
Is there a Leslie in Bob & Leslie's? Yes, she’s my wife and my number one girl!!
As an entrepreneur, what is your greatest joy? I love to make people feel comfortable with me, as a person. Probably back to my DJ days... I have a wonderful relationship with numerous clients and it's great to have that. I never know what to expect.
What exactly do you mean? When my wife, Leslie was going thru chemo & radiation for breast cancer over the past 3 years, she had 10+ surgeries. Several customers did amazing things; one of your fellow WoodCreek neighbors sent her a poem once a week for the entire time that she was being treated. That touched our heart!!
After 3 years of fighting, she is cancer free!! I am also happy to report that I am so proud of Leslie. This past year, she completed the Making Strides 5k Michigan Breast Cancer Walk. Amazing......
Another customer and WoodCreek neighbor sends Dunkin Donuts gift cards to our family and my employees every year. We get treated with other gifts like: cakes and cookies, etc, which are always well received by our staff and our waistlines!!! Thank you!! We really appreciate all of you.
How about your biggest obstacle? Like any business, finding the right help is always a challenge... I use ads, but referrals are best. There was a time, when I handled up to 80 lawns myself, when I was younger, thinner and had hair! But then, I needed assistance and we've grown to those 11 employees. Good help is definitely hard to find!! But we keep searching...
Congrats again on your son's wedding!! That's a joyous occasion and the weather cooperated!! Mother Nature is always your biggest obstacle...
How do you handle the unpredictability of weather to do your job? Anxiety medication!! [Oh, so you're a comedian?] Seriously, I watch
the weather patterns with 6 different channels and the hardest part for our customers to understand, is that for snow plowing, we gotta wait until it's an hour before the snow stops to begin shoveling. We watch the radar and (usually when it is in Lansing)... then we go.
On the other hand, for rainy days, we have to let the grass dry a bit, when it is soaked, otherwise the cut can damage our equipment and your lawns.
You've added some office help since you first started? Yes, Robin (my niece) joined me a year ago. She's like my secretary/office manager and she's helping to automate the business...
Between her and my youngest son, Daniel, we have a new software program .... Lawn Pro Plus that allows for paperless billing, email billing and lots of other things. We expect this technology to really help upgrade the paperwork and make things easier on our customers.
Sounds like your business is a family affair? Sort of... my two sons dabble in it with me.My youngest is full time plowing & cutting grass and my oldest son repairs equipment after his regular job, when needed. So, he's like my in-house mechanic!! My oldest started with me at 12 years old and many of the oldest customers remember him!!
What are your long-term goals? Spending more time with Leslie, whenever possible. The C-word (cancer) really helps you to remember what is important in life!!
What are you hearing for the upcoming snow predictions? This winter, there may be an above average precipitation and above temperatures... that means, probably 8-12 plows (pushes) in 2019, which is average. But weathermen are rarely right with forecasts, so we all just have to wait it out!!
Bob, I have a last word for you... it's been a pleasure working with you all these years and what I respect most about you, (besides your sense of humor) is that when mistakes happen, you are willing to make it right. I can't ask for anything more than that, as the Lawn & Snow representative for our WoodCreek Board. Thanks for your time and your service to our sub division!!
Here's the Snow Plan approved by your WoodCreek Board...
Plowing: Our policy and our snow plow budget (from annual Association dues) dictates that we plow when the snow reaches 2 inches in depth and/or the snowfall has stopped or is close to ending.
- If you happen to notice that it has snowed and the snowplows haven't arrived yet, the two inch requirement is probably in effect.
- At the appropriate time, two to three trucks are dispatched into our sub-division with the bus route for WoodCreek Elementary being the number one priority...so, Danvers, Utley and Spring are plowed and salted first. Plowing of the school parking lots is the responsibility of Farmington Public Schools, not Bob & Leslie's.
- An additional truck is dispatched to begin plowing the Triangle (Old Colony, Village and Wellington) and the remaining roads in WoodCreek are cleared after the school route is completed.
- If it snows continually and we are near 4-5 inches of snow, trucks are dispatched regardless of how much it is snowing to plow that snow away to get 80% of the snow off of the roads. Then, they return within about an hour of that radar notification (approximately one hour) to finish plowing the sub-division from edge to edge.
- An important note: If you ever notice a plow truck in the middle of the road, that is not to annoy you, it is by design. By plowing from the middle and turning the plow blades towards the right, it allows the roads to be cleared from edge to edge with minimal passes.
Salting: After plowing the roads, the trucks go to the Farmington Dept of Public Works (DPW) to pick up our salt supply and return to salt the roads in the sub-division. Our WoodCreek allotment for salt is determined each season based on the supply of salt nationwide. This salt is provided free of charge by DPW. Bob & Leslie's uses our supply of salt judiciously throughout the sub-division focusing on the "hot zones".
- Our first priority is spread around WoodCreek Elementary.
- The remaining salt handles the curves, hills and stop signs and any leftover salt is spread on the remaining roads.
- An important note about salt: Salt is temperature sensitive. It works best at 20 degrees or above. From 12 degrees and below, salting is approximately only 20% effective. Sunshine increases its efficiency, so even between 0 to -5 degrees, we may see some melting of the ice.
- Once the salt is spread, it works from the bottom up. If you notice a slushy snowy buildup on the roads, then the salt is working, as planned. After the slushy mixture is at its peak, then the plows return to remove the debris. This is a delicate timing balance... If we plow too soon, then the salt is plowed away before the job is complete. If we plow too late, we get complaints about the slushy roads. We do our best to guess correctly, but we ask for a little grace, when we miss the mark. Call me and we will correct the situation in a timely manner.
Here are a few other "snow" tidbits to consider AND remember...
- Take a moment to make sure that your mailboxes are secure. Due to postal regulations, we must clear the roads up to and underneath the doors of the mailboxes or the mail will not be delivered, as postal workers are not permitted to leave their vehicles to put mail in boxes.
- Please note that rarely does the actual snow plow knock down a mailbox. But we do have some instances that the force of the snow being pushed by a snow plow can damage a mailbox. The velocity of heavy snow we've experienced, along with speeds of 10-20 mph can create a force that can knock down a mailbox. Call me, if you experience any mailbox mishaps. We will coordinate your repair with our snow plow company and the WoodCreek Association making sure that your mailbox is repaired in the Spring, once the snow has melted.
- Most importantly, if you contract your own snow removal company or shovel yourself, please keep the plowed snow on your property. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT AND CRUCIAL WITH THE BUILT UP LEVELS OF SNOW PILES IN THE SUB-DIVISION. Snow that is blown on the street or across the street, freezes over, ices up, and then, no amount of salt will melt that pile and the snow plows cannot remove them. These piles set up very dangerous road conditions and blind spots for drivers throughout our neighborhood.
As I've mentioned in the past, our ultimate goal is to work together to keep our roads safe and clear throughout the winter season by plowing a wide berth (curb to curb) for safe passage for all of our residents. We make this possible with the generous contributions of your annual Association dues.
Remember, if you have a question or concern regarding snow plowing and you see Bob or his crew out on or near your property, please feel free to stop him. If your question arises BEFORE or AFTER they complete their job, we encourage you to call me, Cheryl Jeffries (see contact numbers above and below) and I will attempt to resolve your concern.
Please do not call the Bob & Leslie company directly, as their contract is with the WoodCreek Association and not the individual property owners. As many of you can attest to, I strive to call you back ASAP with a solution to your problem. And, I can do that consistently, because I have NEVER had an issue with Bob not returning my call in a timely manner. (Of course, if you have an individual contract with Bob and Leslie's to shovel your driveway; then, by all means, call them with any questions or concerns about your property.)
Finally, I've had another question regarding, "why doesn't the city of Farmington Hills" plow our roads? Actually; BC, which stands for "Before Cheryl" (a saying in my family), the city did plow our roads, but the timing of that plowing was sporadic and irregular, as our sub-division is not the #1 priority for the city of Farmington Hills. I've been told that the plowing was not from edge to edge, but a quick line through the streets of WoodCreek with salt spread only at and around WoodCreek School.
As per the Farmington Hills - Dept of Public Works website on Snow and Ice Removal:
"The City provides snow and ice control throughout the winter months for its 300-mile road network. These streets fall into one of three categories; major roads, school bus routes, and subdivision streets. Major roads and school bus routes receive the highest priority; they are plowed and salted following any accumulation of snow or ice. Local streets are plowed following accumulation of four inches or more of snow. If the accumulation is less than four inches, subdivision streets are spot salted, on hills, curves, and intersections. The DPW staff, in conjunction with Police dispatch, are on-call seven days a week to respond to road hazard conditions or storm events. These services are provided for all roads under the City's jurisdiction. Throughout Farmington Hills, however, there are roads under the jurisdiction of the Road Commission for Oakland County, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Wayne County, and our neighboring Cities of Southfield and Farmington..."
So, prior to us moving into this sub-division, the Board members decided to issue our first bid for snow plow services and that's when the Dept of Public Works (DPW) agreed to provide our tubs of salt at no charge. Having our own snow plow company gives WoodCreek control and access to the best streets possible in these unpredictable winter storms.
I hope that this update addresses your questions and concerns. If not, please feel free to contact me by phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your questions or compliments!!! Cheryl Jeffries Cell: 248-797-9683 Email: email@example.com (anytime).
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (anytime).