Winter is officially upon us, many parts of the country have already been blanketed in snow, and your facility’s commercial snow removal plan has likely gone into effect already--or else is primed to do so at any moment.
We know that often, that plan involves outsourcing snow removal to hired contractors. At this point you’ve likely weighed the pros and cons of hiring a third party vs. using an in-house crew, and decided the extent to which you’ll use a commercial snow removal contractor--whether for all of your facility’s snow and ice needs, just after heavier storms, only in certain areas, etc.
But who should you choose for the job?
When choosing a snow removal contractor, there are several factors to consider.
First of all, be aware of certain liabilities that can arise in such an agreement, and be sure that a given contractor hasn’t caused facilities problems with these issues in the past.
Second, it’s important to understand the pricing structures in place at different contracting companies. Contractors measure price according to the hour, push, season, and/or inch. Make sure that the method standard to the company you hire is up to the standards you need to keep your property clear.
Further, some contractors have costs built into their pricing model that actually benefit your facility, such as back-up equipment and personnel, and safety certification courses. Don’t write off an expensive contractor until you know where that expense is coming from.
Lastly, you want to be sure that your contractor is reliable and trustworthy. You want to be sure that they will be communicating openly and clearly with you throughout the winter, that they are aware of your needs and performance expectations, and have a clear plan to address it.
According to FacilitiesNet, a prepared and responsible snow provider should present you with a communication plan that includes phone calls, onsite visits and updates, and e-mails, all to alert about their plan of action when a snow event occurs, to inform you when their crew will serve your property, and to keep you apprised of changes or issues.
Additionally, FacilitiesNet recommends asking certain questions to your snow removal contractor to ascertain their reliability, experience, and plan for your property:
- How long has the service provider been in business?
- Does the service provider carry proper insurance?
- Does the service provider use contracts?
- Has the contractor explained prices for services sufficiently?
- What specific services does the facility require?
- Does the contract clearly state these services?
- Can the contractor provide comparable references?
- Does the contractor have the necessary equipment and employees to manage the site?
- Does the contractor have detailed plans in place for responding to an event?
If you’re talking to a company that can’t answer these questions, consider it a red flag and look elsewhere. The answers provided, coupled with pricing points and liability considerations, should guide you in choosing the right commercial snow removal contractor for your facility.