It’s been a mild winter here in Erie County, but it’s certainly not characteristic of Erie weather in January.

With the lack of snow, what does it mean for private snow plowing services that rely on their winter clients to make ends meet?

The owner of Liberty Snow Service said that when there isn’t much snow, businesses like his take a hit. In the span of one week around Christmas, Erie saw temperatures below zero and as high as almost 60 degrees.

Not good for local businesses that rely on consistent weather throughout the winter season. Liberty Snow Service on Liberty Street is one of those businesses.

“There are tens of thousands of dollars shelled out just to prepare for winter. You’ve got to make that money back to get your initial investment back, and then you have to make more money to try and turn a profit,” said Jim Casella, owner, Liberty Snow Service.

For those looking for relief from what’s been an abnormal winter, JET 24 meteorologist Tom Atkins doesn’t see much change in the short term.

“This year is obviously below normal snowfall and a little bit above normal temperature. This has happened the last couple of years, but we’ve had La Nina the last couple of years. As usual, different winters bring different types of weather,” said Atkins.

Casella added that inflation hasn’t helped his situation as prices for equipment, fuel and other utilities all increased this year.

Thankfully, he has a backup plan. On top of plowing, Casella owns Liberty Auto Sales and utilizes it as his main source of income but not all providers are as fortunate.

There are two standard ways for snow removal services to be paid: pay-per-plow or a seasonal rate that spans the winter.

“The ones that pay seasonal are keeping me going. The ones that pay per plow, they’re getting the service that they ask for at that time,” said Casella.

Casella said that when that big snow finally does hit, it takes a while for drivers to get back into a routine. He asked that Erie residents have patience for those clearing roadways.