By David Steinkraus
The white stuff on the ground, the stuff everyone hates to drive on and shovel, means big money to one Latino business.
Tovar Snow Professionals is dedicated solely to removing snow. It has 4,000 workers, operates in 10 states, and the client page on its website lists Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and the U.S. Postal Service among other recognizable names. This year, said owner Jeff Tovar, the company made about $120 million.
Of course that income depends on snowfall. “Any year that goes above average is a good year, and this year we got all of our snow from about Jan. 15 to about Feb. 22,” he said.
It was a good year in spite of the pandemic, too. “As far as our full-time people, we’ve had everybody working from home since March, so our offices are pretty empty,” he said.
The exception is mechanics and field representatives. But the company tries to keep all of them separate, wearing masks, and has set a limit of one person per truck.
Yet the pandemic year produced challenges, too. “The biggest challenge has been sidewalk labor, very hard to get guys this year,” Tovar said. He said he believes that unemployment and other government aid discouraged people from wanting to work shoveling sidewalks.
Tovar Snow Professionals is a certified minority business enterprise, and Tovar said that has been a great asset for growth. The key, he said, is all the potential new customers he meets through the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council and Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
After 30 years in business, last year Tovar Snow Professionals was sold to Aero Snow of Westbury, New York. The combination created North America’s largest snow-only company, reported Snow magazine, an industry trade publication. Tovar and his management team will continue their leadership roles in the new company. And he has a simple vision of the future: Grow the company and make opportunities for employees.