Snow & Ice Removal FAQs
When should I begin planning snow removal services for the upcoming winter?
If you were pleased with the service you received over the previous winter, then I recommend renewing your current agreement immediately. Unless you are located in the extreme South or Hawaii, a well-developed snow and ice control plan is essential for safety, efficiency and cost-effective exterior facility management. I often hear customers say, “I don’t have time to think about snow right now.” Although this may be true at a particular moment, snow preparation is a serious issue and it’s never too soon to begin your winter weather preparations. Summer is the ideal time to assess last year’s mistakes and plan for a successful snow and ice removal strategy that will save you and your company time, money and manpower in the winter months. I recommend having your snow removal agreement completed no later than August 1 each year.
The benefit of your planning and early commitment is better service! The most professional snow removal companies are in high demand and sell snow removal service year-round. Their service availability will fill quickly and early; once their service capacity “cut off” is reached, their resources will be committed and the logistics and planning stage will begin. Simply, your options and negotiating ability are much greater the earlier your snow and ice removal needs are addressed. If you have ever tried to source a snow removal vendor once winter is underway, or worse in the middle of a snowstorm, you probably understand this.
An exterior services management (ESM) company can facilitate snow and ice removal planning for various locations, assist in developing a comprehensive response plan and anticipate potential obstacles associated with all of your exterior services.
What amount of snow and ice accumulation should I specify for plowing to begin?
Mother Nature is unpredictable and certainly uncontrollable; hence, snow and ice removal is not an exact science. The number one concern must be the safe ingress and egress of your guests and employees. Normally, one or two inches of snow accumulation trigger the beginning of automatic plowing service.
How can I be assured that my potential liability is minimized?
- Ensure that your risk management is solidly in place and adhered to by all.
- Do not make exceptions to the language of your agreement or insurance requirements.
- Make certain that all insurance certificates are correct and on file.
- Build a realistic budget and do not ask your snow removal provider to cut corners. I often see a battle between controlling costs and assuring safety. Safety costs money, so set your standard and stand by it.
- At each of your locations, have a bag of ice melt on hand that does not harm grass, plants, concrete or carpets. This can be used to treat potential problem areas such as front entrances, steps, or thawed and re-frozen run-off on walkways.
- Hire a professional ESM company to manage your snow removal and they will cover your company with one insurance policy.
How can I be more accurate in my snow removal budgeting process?
First, you must ensure that you have accurately captured all of your previous snow removal/ice control expenditures. Consider these items:
- Were there additional expenditures (i.e., roof snow removal, loader or trucking costs) greater than your initial cost agreement for a location’s snow removal?
- When building your budget, a more accurate picture of your budgetary needs can be captured by using a multiple year average, rather than figures from the previous snow season. This average will paint more accurate picture because it accounts for variations in winter severity.
- An ESM company affords you the advantage of a single invoice, can assist with monthly accruals, and give you expenditures by the location for any period of time. Based on annual average snow accumulations, they can assist you in developing your fiscal budget.