With Minnesota mired in a never-ending deep freeze and only a few paltry inches of snow on the ground, Roof to Deck owner Mike Hilborn decided to ship his ice dam removal business to Boston to show the East Coast how it's done.
This winter Boston has been pounded by storm after storm in what is currently the city's second-snowiest winter ever, accumulating more than 100 inches of snow, which left Hilborn with more business than he knew what to do with.
"It was just unbelievable. Unbelievable, no other way to put it," he says. "We were not even advertising; we didn't want to because there was so much volume."
Hilborn said he and his staff were working from 4:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. for two straight weeks to try to keep up with the demand, and with a base rate of $595 per hour why wouldn't he?
Turns out Bostonians have no idea how to handle ice dams, according to Hilborn, which was both amusing and a boon for business.
"I saw guys standing on a roof, using sledgehammers to knock the ice off the roof," he says. "And when you watch the news, they're showing contractors with hatchets, chisels, and hammers taking the ice off. You would never see that in Minnesota." His company uses steam to melt the ice dams.
In early February Hilborn sent 11 vans to Chicago to scoop up some business there. Those vans headed straight to Boston as snow continued to hammer the East Coast.
He estimates his 26 two-man crews worked on about 500 buildings during the last two weeks. But rising temperatures are drying up business. By next week, Roof to Deck will only have five or six crews remaining.
"It's already sort of ended here. We're doing work today, but it's just about wrapped up," he says. "What was great was the guys from Minnesota got here and they said the same thing I said: I have never seen this much snow. Ever. You had to see it to believe it."
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