Snow is a welcome sight for some people, especially during the holidays. However, snow or ice build-up can make it challenging for patrons to access your business, and employees may be more likely to slip and fall without commercial ice removal. Snow management services can provide the solution you need to keep your business operational during a winter storm.
You don’t want to wait much longer to start planning for commercial snow removal. Instead, you’ll want to wrap up this process by the end of summer to ensure you get the service you need. Continue reading to learn how to find the right snow management contractor for your business.
Why You Should Contract Snow Management Services Before Winter
The best time to start thinking about snow removal is now. You could be too late to find the right partner if you wait much further. There are many reasons you should start planning for commercial snow and ice management early on, including:
- The good contractors will be gone: As professional property managers start this process early, the professional snow management contractors also fill up fast. They know to properly deliver a quality service, they partner with clients who value what they deliver and fill their books early.
- Securing resources: Snow management services for a commercial business require various equipment, but not every contractor has all the necessary equipment. Getting a snow removal contract long before winter allows you to find a contractor with everything you need, and you’ll be able to secure these resources before they become scarce later in the year. Businesses that don’t plan early will be left scrambling to find what they need to keep their property safe and accessible during a snow event.
- Accessing multiple quotes: Starting to plan for winter snow and ice will allow you to contact multiple contractors and get various offers. You can compare service plans and find the solution that best suits your needs and budget. You should have each contractor assess your property to determine how they would handle snow and ice management so you know what to expect when you choose the company you want to work with.
- Planning and preparation: There is a lot that goes into delivering a high-quality snow management plan. The later the contracting process starts, the less time the contractor has to properly plan and execute to your service expectations.
How to Estimate the Kind of Snow Management You’ll Need
When planning for the winter, you’ll want to estimate the right level of snow management to ensure that you’re covered for the cold months. You can ensure that you’re ready for winter by:
1. What Are Your Service Requirements?
The most important item to understand and communicate to a potential vendor is the level of service your property needs. Is your property open around the clock, or have a high-risk population? Does your property need service constantly during an event, or on a rotational basis? What would your expectation be for a full cleanup after the end of a storm? All of these requirements will affect resource demands, planning, and costs of your snow management plan.
2. What Is the Most Appropriate Contract Type?
Your service level requirements will also help determine which contract type is the best approach to take for your property and your budget. A high service level requirement location with lots of heavy equipment is more appropriate for a seasonal contract, with a cap on total accumulation. Smaller less intense locations that are serviced on a route basis, or in areas with less snow benefit from a time and materials, or per inch type contract.
3. Finding the Right Partner
As you work through the process of truly understanding your service needs, and communicating with various contractors, the professionals will stand out by understanding your requirements and delivering a solution to your needs. Not all contractors are created equal, and many companies “also do snow” in addition to their main line business. Contractors that provide snow management services as the main business line will stand apart in the partnership and solutions they present.
Select Your Snow Removal Partner
Now that you know why it’s essential to get snow and ice removal services long before winter and how you can estimate what level of service you need, it’s time to pick a snow management contractor for your business. Finding the right partner and the best deal can take some time, so you want to start as early as possible. These contractors can also only manage a specific number of clients each season — the sooner you start, the better. To start, make a list of potential candidates to choose from.
You’ll want to vet each option to know you’re making the appropriate choice. You can start narrowing down your options by asking the following questions:
- How long have you been in the snow and ice management industry?
- How many clients do you work with each winter?
- What types of businesses or properties do you manage? For example, do you provide services for apartments, offices, retailers or other spaces?
- Do you commonly manage businesses such as my own?
- What’s the average size of properties you manage, and what properties are you able to handle most efficiently?
- From what you’ve seen on our property, how would you manage our snow and ice removal needs?
- What would your plan of action be for the season, and what would communication look like during a snow event?
- Do you have any references for your work?
- Do you offer site inspections to determine our specific snow management needs?
- What certifications or accreditations do you have?
- What does communication during an event look like?
- What technology solutions can you present?
These questions are just a starting point to help narrow down your choices. You’ll also want to ask questions about your business and snow management needs. For example, your business location may get more snow and ice yearly due to the surrounding terrain. You’ll want to ask your contractors if they can handle an influx of snow that is out of their scope of services and experience.
Once you’ve completed your interview and asked questions from the list above, you should have narrowed your list down to about three options. Next, you’ll ask for a formal proposal from your remaining contractors. The proposal should include:
- Service level guideline
- Pricing options
- Mapping of the property, hazards, stockpiles, hauling locations
- Terms for different pricing options, such as a fixed rate or price per inch.
- List of locations for snow removal, such as entrances and parking lots.
With the proposals complete, you can make your final selection. This step is usually easy as the best company will stand out among the rest, providing the level of service you require for your business, regardless of whether you’re a small business or a franchise with multiple locations. However, if you’re finding it challenging to pick from your last few options, you may want to go through the interview process again.
While it’s essential to take your time choosing the right partner, you also don’t want to delay the process. Your new partner will need plenty of time before winter to assess the property and create a detailed plan for snow removal. They’ll also have time to conduct a dry-run to ensure their plan will work for the anticipated snowfall or if a snow event is worse than expected.
Types of Contract for Commercial Snow Removal
When working with a snow management company, you’ll have more than one option for your contract. The type you choose will depend on your need, but you’ll generally be able to choose from these two types of snow removal contracts:
Snowfall isn’t widespread in some locations, but it can still happen. Pay-per-event contracts allow businesses to pay for snow management services when or if a snow event occurs. Clients won’t be billed if snow doesn’t fall during the season, but crews are on call if it does snow. You may also pay per inch or hourly, ensuring that you’re only paying for the services you need.
Pay-per-event contracts are ideal for companies that typically experience mild winters where heavy snow isn’t guaranteed and you don’t require a lot of heavy equipment. A pay-per-event or per-inch contract is challenging to budget with as the amount of seasonal snow will vary from year to year.
Seasonal contracts offer customers a fixed monthly price for snow and ice removal services. These contracts are typically only active during the months that snow events are expected in your location. Seasonal contracts tend to last for two to three years before you need to renew them with your contractor. With high seasons and low seasons, this option provides both the contractor and client budgeting relief.
One of the benefits of seasonal contracts is the price doesn’t fluctuate from the start of winter to the peak snow season as it would for a pay-per-event contract. Instead, you’re billed the same across the board, regardless of the time of year. Seasonal arrangements are ideal for heavy equipment locations that can generate highly fluctuating costs with a per inch type contract. Seasonal contracts provide the vendor a fair tradeoff with the heavy equipment cost they need to provide you to be ready for upcoming storms.
After Choosing a Snow Removal Contractor
Once you’ve chosen your snow management partner, you’ll want to negotiate the terms of your contract based on your unique circumstances. You’ll also want to ensure that your agreement includes specific items. Before signing a contract, look for the following components:
- Service level: The level of service expectation should be clearly defined and stated in the contract.
- Pricing model: The price for your snow management services should be accurately listed in your contract, including the payment terms. The price should also match the quality and level of services you receive.
- Fair for all parties: The contract should be fair to your business and the contractor and list services, explanation of the work and all other relevant information.
- Clear terms: All contract terms should be clearly defined with no room for interpretation. Before you sign a contract, read over the terms and conditions to ensure you understand and agree with them.
- Definition of snow events: You and your contractor should agree on what a snow event is and what work will need to occur when snow or ice builds up. The contract should also define what products will be applied in different instances.
Contact Greenscape for Commercial Snow and Ice Management
Whether you’re expecting constant snow this winter or a slight chance of a winter event, Greenscape Land Design is here to help. Our commercial snow and ice management services can help ensure the safety of your property for employees and customers. We offer reliable services — such as commercial snow removal — to ensure that your business can stay open during a snow event.
We serve numerous clients across the country in various industries. We also utilize the newest technology to remove snow from your property efficiently, ensuring the safety of everyone on your property, even during the most severe winter events. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how e can help during the cold season!