How to Prepare for Top Customer Care; Exclusive Interview with Mikhail Evgrafov, President & CEO or Monster Plowing Company | Winner Magazine | BNS News

Taking on storms to take Toronto's much-needed snow maintenance industry by storm, Mikhail Evgrafov, President and CEO of Monster Plowing Company, could write the official manual on how to effectively rise to the top in a staff-centered service field.  With a wealth of entrepreneurial, marketing, and work experience under his belt - beginning with ventures started at only 12 year of age - Mikhail was clearly well prepared to start his business in plowing by the time he was just 19 years old.   Mikhail has directed priority toward the preparedness and contentment of his staff force, currently consisting of 125 motivated personnel, in order to have the same level of care paid forward to his clients.  He has further ensured the ability of operations to be executed with accountability, at scale, by investing in proprietary software development to automate a number of processes.  Mikhail's methods are evidently helping plow through the competition, as he has been the recipient of a number of consumer-nominated awards and recognition, such as the Consumer Choice Award for Toronto’s Best Snow and Ice Removal Service, for 6 straight years.   Monster Plowing Company has also received a list of awards for distinctive staff satisfaction and performance.  Forging through challenges of immigration, being raised by a single-parent, and being a young entrepreneur, Mikhail is a true testament to the merits of "grit," a value he covets as dear to himself and his company culture.   For this reason, and for demonstrating a history of consumer satisfaction, a reputation for staff care, and use of innovative strategy,  we are pleased to announce that Monster Plowing Company has been awarded Winner Magazine's Choice 2022 Trust Award for Snow Plowing Services in the Greater Toronto Area!   In the full interview with BNS' Jasmine Kara, Mikhail shares his electrifying vision and passion for his service, his staff, and his clients.   Read through this Q&A and we can bet you'll be tempted to join or contract Mikhail's tech-fortified team of "Monster Snowfighters!"                      

Having a group of people willing to work and do their best alongside you is the only way you can succeed.    

 Mikhail Evgrafov, President & CEO, Sr. Operations, Lead Logistics, Monster Plowing Company

Q & A With Mikhail Evgrafov, President & CEO of 
Monster Plowing Company

What services does Monster Plowing Company?

Winter Maintenance, Snow & Ice Management, Snow Plowing, Snow Shoveling, Snow Blowing, Snow Removal, Ice Control, Deicing, all in Toronto, Ontario, Canada    

How did you come up with the idea to start Monster Plowing Company, and what purpose did you intend to serve with the concept?

I founded Monster Plowing Company when I was just 19 years old. My first goal in starting this company was to find a way to earn more money than the jobs available to me at the time provided. I quickly found that I had a passion for the snow plowing industry, and was able to utilize my existing skills in graphic design, marketing, sales, and organization in order to meet the high-end demands of clients purchasing snow and ice maintenance services in Toronto. At the time, I was, with limited experience, doing everything myself: sales, equipment purchasing, staffing, accounting, marketing, and of course, plowing. I aligned the company's values with those that I had myself possessed: determination, hard work, grit, a never-quit attitude, reliability, accountability, honesty, integrity, dedication, trustworthiness, transparency, and approachability. In doing so, Monster Plowing Company began to attract high-end clients, as well as high-end staff. We began building on our successes, year by year and season by season, in order to grow into the company we have become, today. The purpose of our company evolved to truly meet and satisfy the needs of our demanding industry, and our goal became to provide the best in unrivaled snow and ice maintenance services to our city. Keeping our clients' properties and their residents and visitors safe and sound during the most challenging winter weather conditions became our specialty. Our purpose became to provide our clients with an insurance policy against winter weather. Our number one goal for our company is to provide absolute peace of mind for our clients. Our number one responsibility is to ensure that we are always prepared and ready to deal with snowy or icy weather in our city, as promised, up to the high-level demands of our clients. Our number one duty is to provide our team of over 125 staff with the ability to carry out their work, safely, efficiently and with a smile!

Which milestones have marked meeting benchmarks towards the fulfillment of your personal goals/ the company's vision and goals?

There came a time, in our company's development, when the customer base, as a whole, all became very satisfied with the level of service we achieved. It took many years to truly meet the high expectations of our clients, but now, our relationships with them are very rewarding. We have also been recognized with numerous awards from various industry associations, and it's a proud moment to have a collection of awards to show how far we have come over the years. Today, as Toronto’s premiere winter maintenance company, Monster provides all-inclusive, automatic, flat-rate seasonal snow and ice removal to over 500 properties in Toronto. Monster Plowing Company prides itself on being not only the best provider of snow and ice maintenance in the city, but also on being the most coveted workplace in the snow and ice management industry. This year, Monster Plowing Company was recognized by the international Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) Monster with the 2022 award for Best Snow & Ice Companies to Work For. We are very proud that Monster Plowing Company has been honoured with multiple prestigious awards and recognitions by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA). Monster is a consistent award-winning company, and members of our hard-working management staff have been honoured with such awards as Employee of the Year, Operations Manager of the Year, CEO of the Year, and three separate All-Star of Snow and Ice awards. Independent of SIMA, our clients and community have also recognized Monster Plowing Company as the undisputed leader of snow and ice services. In 2015, the prominent Consumer’s Choice Award (CCA) recognized Monster Plowing Company as Toronto’s Best Snow and Ice Removal Service for the first time. Today, Monster has received a total of EIGHT consecutive yearly nominations for this category, and has won the award each and every year since we first received the honour of being recognized as Toronto’s best all the way back in 2015. Staying at the forefront of our industry is always our number one priority, and we are proud to be recognized for the outstanding level of winter maintenance services that our company provides.            

Which steps have you taken for the company to achieve the level of consumer trust that has been nationally recognized? 

As a seasonal employer of over 125 people at the peak of our winter operations, we feature a family-life work culture where everyone knows that the company has got their back. We call our team of amazingly driven employees, “Snowfighters,” because of their bravery in the face of adverse and challenging work conditions. The dedication Monster Snowfighters exemplify to keep our clients and members of the community safe - with clear access to their homes and businesses - is equally matched by the dedication of our company to all of our staff. Our core beliefs include rewarding exceptional work ethic, promoting, from within, a sense of strong community, and diversity in our workforce.  As a company, our first priority is to ensure a well supplied and resourced crew, so that they benefit from a strong support network and can complete our work to the best of their abilities. This strongly engrained team dynamic is why so many people are able to call themselves a Monster Snowfighter, and why our team boasts the highest employee retention rate in the industry. The level of respect and care we show towards our staff ultimately reflects in the high level of attention and superior quality of work that our clients receive when contracting our company for their snow and ice maintenance needs. 

Monster Plowing Company has also always strived to push the boundaries of the highest levels of service delivery in our industry. We stand alone in our industry by offering the only unlimited, all-inclusive, flat-rate, and guaranteed seasonal snow and ice management contracts. We were the first company to exclusively use an environmentally friendly Green Ice Melter that is almost 90% less corrosive than traditional road salt, and much safer for the environment. Our contracts offer full seasonal coverage with absolutely no accumulation caps or pricing fluctuations, multiple visits to maintain optimal site conditions, and the industry’s lowest automatic service trigger of only just one centimeter of snow. Our ratio of trucks and staff to clients enables our team to deliver an unrivaled level of attention to all of our contracted clients. Furthermore, the proprietary operational software system developed by Monster’s dedicated in-house tech department is a one-of-a-kind innovation that gives us unparalleled control of even the most extraordinary winter weather conditions, and our in-house mechanics department keeps our expansive fleet of 60+ trucks up and running for any challenge. An advanced logistics system of GPS tracking, live field video surveillance, automatic dispatch, and computerized routing allow us to control Toronto’s largest privately-owned armada of snow and ice removal equipment, and helps us operate as the most efficient, sustainable company in the industry. This is why over 500 of Toronto’s most prestigious, busiest homes, residential complexes, and businesses - small to large - trust Monster to take care of their winter needs. To our customers, Monster means absolute peace of mind; to Monster, the absolute peace-of-mind of our customers means a job well done! Hence, our dedication to our staff, our operations, our equipment, and to the future-forward technological development of our industry has been so vital to our company’s success. Monster Plowing Company is always pushing the status quo, and the level of service we provide is absolutely unparalleled compared to the competition. Monster Plowing Company makes all snow problems disappear, and delivering the best in snow and ice maintenance services is what we were made to do!      

What part of your education or other experiences do you feel was the most helpful in preparing you for success? 

Personally, I have always been an entrepreneurial go-getter. As an immigrant to Canada, and coming from a single-parent household, I did not have many opportunities as a child. I always wanted to make something of myself, however, and started working in various jobs, as well as creating small side businesses as soon as I turned 12 years old. One of my very first businesses was a summer hot dog stand outside of a store. I also had an eBay store, through which I bought and sold various collectibles, such as hockey cards, shoes, and other similar items. I started a small marketing and web design company when I was about 16, and designed a number of websites, flyers, etc. for local restaurants and retail stores. Meanwhile, I also worked at a number of jobs in various roles, such as cashiering, bartending, serving, maintenance work, event setup, facilities operations, forklift driving, etc. I even shoveled snow as a teenager, going from door to door when it snowed. Something about working outside always appealed to me, and the satisfaction of facing the elements always rang a bell. A lot of my teenage experiences led to the establishment of Monster Plowing Company, and I drew on all of my previous knowledge and skills that I had gained over the course of my youth when I was starting Monster Plowing Company. Even today, I look back fondly, and am able to channel the knowledge of many of the mentors, bosses, clients and coworkers that had an influence on me in my youth when dealing with the day to day challenges we face at Monster.  

Which strategies have you found the most effective in growing your audience/ bringing awareness of your service to a larger consumer group? 

Word of mouth has been the most powerful way to grow our brand. Despite the years of content, resources, effort and work that we have committed to brand awareness and marketing, all it takes is a good word from a client who already trusts and believes in our company, and the relationship of trust is already underway. Without a strong network of people giving Monster word of mouth references, we would have a much harder time finding new clients. Of course, actually delivering on the promises we make to our clients establishes a level of trust that prompts folks to share our information with their friends. We also utilize a strong online presence, with much insider industry information, news, service updates, etc... posted across all of our common social media channels. To follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, use the handle @monsterplowing

Finally, our website has the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and detailed information available about our company. We update the website yearly, and all of the content, images, and videos shown there paint a wonderful picture of exactly what our clients can expect when they contract Monster Plowing Company to take care of their snow and ice maintenance needs. Potential clients should visit us online to find lots of detailed information about our company and service offerings, and to get inspired to have Monster on their side for the upcoming winter!  

Which partnerships, if any, have been the most constructive in bringing your goals closer to becoming a reality?

During our busiest month this year, we had 125 Snowfighters working for our company. These people, our fantastic staff, have been the most important partners in our company. Having a group of people willing to work and do their best alongside you is the only way you can succeed.  We also have great, long-term and ongoing partnerships with our key suppliers, able to navigate through the era of supply-chain problems and shortages with relative ease. From equipment suppliers to bulk suppliers of ice melter and insurance providers, our company has worked with the same established group of main suppliers for a number of years. These reliable relationships put our team at ease, just like we put the minds of our clients at ease with the services that they expect from us. We know that our company will never pass along issues, such as supply chain management, down to our clients, because our own supply chain is so heavily fortified in order to withstand any potential shocks.    

Are there any challenges that made it difficult to continue operation and that you managed to overcome? What was your approach to get past these?

One challenge we have faced is developing a large management team quickly, as there is no formal college or university training in our industry to draw graduates into our company. We have to provide them with that training ourselves and that takes years. As a business quickly grows, you can never have enough highly trained people to support you. So, we have implemented a number of training techniques, procedures and systems in order to ensure that all of our crew members receive the proper training they need before ever setting foot live out into the field. Promoting from within is the best way we have found to establish an experienced and well-rounded management team, and we love seeing people develop into all-star Monsters from the very ground up!    

How do you balance work, passions/hobbies, and relationships?

This is a major challenge for me, as there is always something that needs to be done or that captures my attention at work. Hard work, grit, perseverance and diligence are all part of what makes my company successful, so it is not always easy to take enough time to rest and relax for myself. I am blessed that my friends and family are understanding of my drive for my work, and they help me set aside downtime when they see that I am stressed, overworked or just simply exhausted. I am so thankful that over the years, my closest friends have always been there to support me, even through the times that have been most trying or challenging for me. I do try to take mental breaks while working out with my trainer at the gym, or out for dinner with my wonderfully supportive partner, however, it is not always easy to completely disconnect. Truthfully - and all of my staff can vouch for this - I make it a point to always be available to address any need that might come up at work. 24/7, if there is an emergency, I will be there to help. So, as much as I love life outside of my work, I am so dedicated to the company, and there is always so much to do, that I can confidently say that my main passion and hobby IS the ongoing success of Monster Plowing Company.    


What are your future plans to build on your personal/ company achievements and fulfill your vision for success/ what developments can your audience or clientele look forward to expecting next?

My future plan builds on almost a decade of internal software and system development. Our goal is to fully automate all aspects of our company's tasks and functions. This has been a huge project! There are hundreds of processes that all need to be automated in order to scale and grow the business to the next level. At this point, we have designed and developed a fully-fledged operating system for nearly all of the processes of our business. From sales to client onboarding, human resources, service management, dispatching, logging, equipment maintenance, and day-to-day operations, the majority of our business processes are now automated. Our software is entirely proprietary, and is built specifically with the needs and requirements of OUR business in mind. So, the next step will be to finish the software in its entirety, which may take a few more years. Then, we will be ready to take Monster Plowing Company to the next level with expansion across North America. In the meantime, the plan is to continue growing the service side of our business, with 20-30% revenue growth per year.  


What advice would you like to give readers that hope to achieve success in your field?

Understand that achieving and maintaining success is so much more ongoing work than you imagine when you first start. Even with proper delegation, growing a business may be the hardest and most time-consuming task you ever take on. Choose a field that you love, because you will be completely immersed in all aspects of it, day-in and day-out. Be prepared to live, eat, sleep and breathe your business. Always strive to be the best at what you do. Don't ever settle for the status quo. Always look for new, innovative ways to keep at the forefront of your industry, and at the top of your clients' minds. Be transparent with your offerings, honest with your pricing, trustworthy with your promises, and accountable for your successes AND your mistakes. When you own and operate a business, the responsibility for all of the actions anyone in your company makes will ultimately remain with the business owner. Don't ever let any details slip by the wayside, and always have a plan for every potential next step. Invest in yourself, and believe in your ideas. Always have a picture of where you are now, and where you want to be in the future. Actively take steps, every day, in order to bring the company closer to achieving said future goals.              

Is there anything else you would like to share with Winner Magazine readers?

I appreciate this opportunity to showcase my business, and hope that some of this info can help some people, left out in the cold by their old snow plowing contractor, to make the choice to switch to Monster Plowing Company, moving forward! We won't let you down!    


We thank Mikhail for sharing these insights and experiences with Winner Magazine's readers.  If you are looking for Winter Maintenance, Snow & Ice Management, Snow Plowing, Snow Shovelling, Snow Blowing, Snow Removal, Ice Control, or Deicing Services in the Toronto Area, we would recommend reaching out to Mikhail at Monster Plowing Company!

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