Choosing a Snow and Ice Removal Company
The winter season has a way of sneaking up on us. Temperatures begin cooling down gradually during the early fall as we welcome the relief from the heat and humidity of August. It’s when we feel that nip in the air and need to leave for work a few minutes earlier in order to scrape the frost off our windshield that we realize winter isn’t far off.
At least we can’t complain that Mother Nature didn’t give us fair warning, but she probably won’t be so accommodating ahead of the first big snow storm or ice event of the season. That’s when you’ll be thankful you have a snow and ice removal contract in place so you can relax knowing that your commercial property will be promptly attended to when the full force of winter descends on the DC, MD and VA region.
Choosing a snow and ice removal company requires doing your homework as a consumer. Once armed with the pointers below you’ll be confident going forward in evaluating and selecting a qualified contractor.
Snow removal contracts
The first step in evaluating a commercial snow removal contract is to determine the full scope of the snow and ice clearing services that will be provided. It’s important that the offered services are tailored to your particular property.
Will you just need a parking lot cleared or do you also have sidewalks that need both snow removal and ice treatment? Does your property have any stairs which can become treacherous when coated with ice and snow? How about your entrance? How thorough will the snow removal contractor be in clearing snow right up to your front door so employees and visitors can safely enter your facility?
You may have a few days advance warning of an impending snow or ice event, but that does little good if your snow removal contractor operates on an unpredictable schedule. How long after precipitation begins will the contractor come out to your property? A reputable contractor will respond within 1-3 hours after a storm begins. Make certain that this is specified in any snow removal contract you sign.
Commercial snow removal equipment
It should go without saying that an experienced and reputable snow and ice clearing company will have well-maintained commercial snow removal equipment, but you’ll want to make certain. Some commercial landscape contractors offer snow and ice clearing as a side business and simply attach a plow to one of their trucks and they’re off.
Also ask about the specific types of equipment that they’ll be using on your property. Snow removal from sidewalks is typically performed manually, either using snow blowers and/or hand shoveling. Plowing out individual parking spaces often requires a smaller plow for more thorough clearing and to prevent damage to pavement and curbs.
Snow and ice clearing liability
What happens if employees of the snow removal company should damage property during their work? You’ll want to make sure that the contractor is adequately insured in the event that damage should occur for which you’re liable – either to public or private property.
Then there is the matter of personal injury liability if a visitor or employee should slip and fall on your property after it’s been treated. Does the snow removal contractor use tracking of equipment and employees? This data is crucial in the event of an injury lawsuit. It will serve as evidence that you were not negligent in maintaining a safe condition of your property during an inclement weather situation.
The DC, MD and VA region may not get the same degree of annual snowfall as say Buffalo, NY or Chicago, but we’ve had a few doozies that we’re not afraid to stack up against anyone: Snowmegeddon in 2010 and Snowzilla just last year which dumped over 30” of the white stuff in some of the northern DC suburbs.
It’s always best to be prepared for the unexpected and the earlier you have a snow and ice removal contract in place the better! Inside Out Services is an experienced commercial snow and ice clearing contractor serving the DC, MD and VA region. Please use the contact form on our Snow and Ice Clearing services page to get a no-obligation quote today.