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How to Choose the Best Commercial Snow Removal Contractors

commercial snow removal contractors

As winter approaches, selecting a snow and/or ice management and ice removal company or service is one decision you don’t want to take lightly. Whether you manage an office park, retail center, manufacturing plant or other facility, having a reliable snow and/ ice management and removal company or management services partner is critical. We’ve all experienced how disruptive just a few snowfall inches can be. Customers can’t access your building, employees face commutes through treacherous roads, and operations face slowdowns. Not to mention the liability if an accident occurs – icy parking lots present serious safety hazards.

With deadlines and the holiday rush bearing down, the last thing you need is for your many commercial clients and property managers to be paralyzed by snow. Leave the snow removal services and tasks to the professionals at Picano Landscaping. For over 20 years, we’ve kept our commercial property managers and clients up and running even on the worst snow days. In this guide, we’ll walk you through our proven process for selecting your next snow removal and management services contractor.

Whether you require plowing, salting, or a full-service snow removal solution, your property’s accessibility shouldn’t be determined by a winter storm forecast. Feel assured property safe by knowing our clients continuously receive priority access from snow removal companies no matter the snowfall totals. Let’s get started with the first step ahead – evaluating your snow removal needs!

Why Snow Removal Maintenance Services Matters for Businesses

With winter nipping at your heels, it’s important to understand clearly why snow and ice management and storm and services should be a priority for your team and all-inclusive operations team. Beyond the convenience of clear routes keeping customers, there are compelling business reasons snow and ice management, plowing, and storm often pay off:

Safety and Accessibility

Safety is a priority for employees of any business or property. Slip and fall injuries pose major risks if an accident occurs on your property during winter sometime. According to our insurance partners, “black ice” claims from untreated snow or ice typically range from $25,000 to over $100,000 depending on the property and the severity of injuries involved. Beyond financial costs, such incidents seriously damage your brand’s reputation. Customers won’t feel safe shopping or working at locations or site conditions they perceive as hazardous. Taking proactive steps on site with snow and ice removal shows your commitment to safety.

Ongoing Revenue and Productivity Point

Keeping your property accessible is more than curb appeal – it directly impacts your bottom line. As a business owner, your lifeblood is customers and clients visiting your location. Even temporary closures or slowdowns can negatively affect revenue. During winter storms, unplowed parking lots and walkways will quickly deter people from braving the elements to do business with you. Remember, they have options – a clear parking lot or just a few blocks away may win their visit instead. Reliable snow removal helps ensure consistent cash flow even on blustery days.

It’s also about workforce productivity. When piles of snow surround your building, it delays employees from safely entering the office or store. Some studies suggest just a few inches of snow accumulation can cut retail traffic by 20-30% if not promptly removed. With plowing, you retain that business and get closer to achieving revenue targets each month throughout the winter months.

Curb Appeal and Brand Perception:

A parking lot full of snow sends the wrong message about your business. Potential customers may see it as a sign that you’re closed or unprepared. Why shop somewhere that can’t even keep their property clear? Positive curb appeal is critical for attracting and retaining customers. Clearwalkways and parking communicate you’re open for business, even in less than ideal winter weather here. Customers will feel confident in your ability to accommodate their needs, boosting your reputation.

Think about the lasting first impression piles of snow create. New clients weighing their options may cross your business off the list, detracting from the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. Plowing snow shows pride in your operation through small details that customers consciously or unconsciously factor into loyalty. Even in winter and bad weather’s worst conditions, a clear parking lot still conveys control over your property and domain.

Reduced Closure Risks

As any business owner knows, lost income from closures is incredibly difficult to make up. Even partial-day shutdowns chip away at projections. With proactive commercial snow removal services, you gain a critical layer of protection against bad weather, winter weather, and winter weather-related disruptions. This consistent availability instills customer confidence they can rely on your commercial snow removal services no matter forecast uncertainties.

Compared to reactive approaches, full commercial snow removal and snow removal services commercial snow plowing go-first strategy virtually eliminates closure risks from routine 1-3 inch events. Operational impacts are minimized to just the storm duration instead of multi-day recovery. Factoring in an average closure’s financial losses, proactive commercial snow removal, plowing, and snow removal services also effectively act as low-cost “business interruption insurance.” The investment far outweighs what you’d sacrifice to Mother Nature’s whims. Plus, it protects cash flow and service reliability customers expect.

Routine snow hauling and plowing also give employees peace of mind so their productivity stays high even during flurries. They don’t worry about late arrivals hampering service levels or deadlines. Opting out of snow management services risks all that upside for the employees and the company downtime and the potential downside of closures.

Compliance with Regulations

Local regulations exist to promote the safety and accessibility of commercial areas during winter weather. Failing to properly ice quickly clear snow risks legal noncompliance in many jurisdictions. Ordinances commonly require businesses to remove snow and ice accumulations within a set timeframe after a storm ends, such as six hours. Beyond penalties, the inability to make ice quickly fulfill cleared area obligations opens the door to liability if an injury arises from hazardous untreated zones. This presents further legal and financial exposures to consider.

By hiring qualified commercial, snow and ice management, and snow removal professionals, the compliance work is handled by experts. Staying abreast of evolving regulations provides another reason why outsourcing commercial, snow and ice, and snow removal management services to professionals is prudent. Let them manage adherence so you and the seasoned team can focus on your core business functions without distraction.

Selecting a Snow Removal Contractor

Constant Communication can set plow price flat monthly rate for commercial property

Experience is very important when selecting a contractor. You want a company that has removed snow safely and effectively for many years. Ask potential snow management services contractors about how long they’ve been in business and request references from previous commercial snow removal services clients. Make sure to check if they have the proper licensing required for all commercial snow removal services companies to work in your state. Avoid companies that are inexperienced or unlicensed. Here are a few other things to keep in mind before selecting one of your commercial snow removal services contractors:

Experience and Licensing

When evaluating contractors, it’s important to understand their level of experience providing commercial snow and services. Ask how long they’ve been in commercial snow and business, request references from similar clients, and check if they have required state or local licensing. Disregard bids from inexperienced contractors. Inquire about the snow management services provider’s policy for responding to snowfalls. Will they commit to arrival timeframes? Is 24/7 availability and monitoring in snow event of severe winter storms assured?

Equipment Capabilities

Different properties require varying equipment, like small trucks for sidewalks or larger plow truck/salt spreader combos for large lots. Ensure the contractor’s fleet is appropriately sized for your spaces and terrain. Consider backup equipment plans for breakdowns, too.

Insurance Coverage and Pricing Models

Contractors should carry sufficient general liability insurance as well as coverage for vehicles/equipment. Minimums often include $1M in general liability and $2M in auto. Certificates protect your business should any accidents occur onsite. * Pricing structure may vary based on response triggers, treatment methods, and terms. Ensure any quoted seasonal pricing structure, per-visit, or tiered structures make financial sense. Insist on a written agreement binding policies on both sides.

Systematically Managing the Snow Removal Process

Designating primary points of contact is important for smooth communication during and after winter storms. The contractor and business should formally introduce each staff member who will be relaying bad weather, forecasts, service issues, or paperwork. Exchanging direct phone numbers allows flexible off-hours alerts. Putting thresholds in writing holds both accountable later. Businesses want clearing within a few hours of stopping, while larger winter storms that may require shifts.

Inspecting multiple sites after storms is wise to catch any missed areas. The client walking lots multiple sites within a day helps verify expectations were met. Notes on deficiencies allow contractors to remedy issues for future events. From there, agree on a resolution window, such as the next storm.

Contract Terms and Renewal

When first agreeing to services, have the contractor clearly outline contract periods in a formal document. Most are annual to match winter seasons, but consider shorter trial terms too. Key items to specify include pricing models, payment schedules, cancellation policies, and any service guarantees. Define unused credits if plowing isn’t needed during some months of the winter season.

Execute new contracts with reviewed terms by late winter weather or summer to ensure preparedness for upcoming winter weather storms and storm forecasts. Stable agreements guarantee services continue seamlessly through a winter storm and months after the next winter storm or weather storm.

Backup plans in case your main contractor is unavailable

Even the most reliable contractors can experience emergencies like equipment breakdowns. Developing backup plans mitigates risks of incomplete removal during critical storms. Maintain a secondary contractor on site on standby who understands your sites and can mobilize to the site immediately with their own fleet/staff. Provide them with site maps and standard operating procedures.

Consider backup agreements with nearby facilities that share approved contractors. There may be a shoveling or plow-sharing arrangement if one firm has delays. For minor snowfalls, staff could consider temporary manual clearance or de-icing with contractor guidance. Establish thresholds for what accumulations warrant calling in reserves.

Contractors should promptly notify you if backups are deployed, along with the expected restoration of usual services. Quick mutual decisions minimize disruptions. Verify secondary contractors also carry proper insurance and certifications. Oversee sub-standards that don’t compromise safety or compliance during prime contractor downtime.

Backup arrangements, even for seasonal one-offs, safeguard against abandonment during major winter storms, requiring maximum effort. Are there any other suggestions you think would be helpful to include regarding winter storm contingency planning?

Snow Plowing / Removal Services to Hire Contractors

A boy with Down syndrome with his mother clearing snow from path with shovel in front of house.

Snow Plowing and Removal

This is a snow plow, one of the most common and essential commercial snow and ice removal services that contractors provide. It involves using large pickup trucks or dump trucks that have angled snow plow front blades attached to their front-ends. These plows are designed to scrape and push accumulated snow and ice off of large paved surfaces. Contractors will often arrive before or during heavy snowfalls to continually snow plow areas like parking lots, roadways, driving lanes, and other large open spaces. This helps prevent heavy snowfall from packing down and freezing into hard ice. It requires specialized heavy-duty vehicles that can navigate large sites while moving massive amounts of snow. Experienced drivers are needed to efficiently clear spaces within tight timeframes. The piled-up snow is then typically stored in designated areas of the parking lot or hauled away entirely to ensure all surfaces are fully cleared.

De-icing Services

Focus on preventing snow and ice from bonding to paved surfaces. Contractors most often apply granular rock salt, which is spread using special spreader trucks or other equipment. At certain temperatures, the rock salt is able to melt existing ice and snow. Liquid salt brine solutions are also gaining popularity as they can pre-treat before a storm arrives. Some contractors have started offering organic-based or environmentally-friendly de-icing alternatives that are less corrosive. Proper coverage rates and coordination with plowing operations are important to ensure the de-icers have enough time to work before traffic resumes on the surfaces.

Ice Management

Takes de-icing a step further by specifically targeting problem areas where hard-pack ice or old snow and ice accumulations have formed. This may involve a specialized snow plow with blades, pneumatic pavement chippers, or applying melt accelerating chemicals. Ensuring no other slippery conditions or icy spots are left behind is important for safety and to avoid potential liability. Walkways, loading docks, and entry areas typically require the most attention through focused snow and ice management only.

Shoveling

It is crucial for commercial facilities clients to clear any areas that larger vehicles cannot have easy access to, such as sidewalks, steps, and building entrances. It requires dedicated crews who manually remove snow through shoveling. Contractors ensure they have adequate staffing to complete shoveling quickly during heavier winter storms here. Some utilize ergonomic tools like snow pushers or ergonomic shovels to move snow falls help reduce fatigue and injury risk for workers tackling large commercial sites.

Snow Blowing

This is how snow falls, well-suited to tighter spaces like sidewalks, stairways, and rooftop landings that are too narrow or obstructed for plows. Contractors use gas or electric-powered snow blowers/throwers that can clear paths while discharging snow significant distances away. They are often paired with plow trucks or shoveling crews for maximum efficiency. Snowblowing helps minimize slush and leftover piles of commercial snow that may refreeze.

Sand is sometimes applied instead of or alongside salt, particularly for areas where slipperiness needs to be addressed, but salt corrosion is a concern, such as on concrete surfaces. Contractors will spread sand using small dump trucks or ATVs with spreader beds. It helps provide immediate traction but needs more frequent re-application because environmental elements can blow or wash the sand away quicker than salt treatments.

Snow removal: snow hauling entails actually snow hauling of piled up snow off-site once the main plowing/shoveling work on site is complete. Dumped piles are loaded into dump trucks and hauled to a storage location to ensure surfaces are fully cleared rather than just pushed to the perimeter. This snow hauling is especially important for large parking lots after snow event or heavy storms.

Conclusion

Choosing the appropriate mix of snow and ice removal and snow and ice management services often depends on the unique features, size, and operational needs of each property. While snow plowing and de-icing serve as the core of commercial snow removal and snow and ice management services used for most commercial sites, additional strategies like ice management, sanding, shoveling, blowing, and hauling away snow piles may need to be incorporated depending on specific conditions.

It’s important to communicate all service requirements to potential contractors. Contact the best contractor in this field today. Their expertise in navigating different property types and deploying the right combination of equipment, materials, and labor can help minimize commercial snow and ice-related disruptions while maintaining a safe environment. Evaluating a contractor’s experience across these various service offerings can ensure they are well-equipped and prepared to deliver comprehensive winter maintenance customized to each client’s circumstances.

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