Choosing the right snow removal service is an important part of winter planning for businesses and homeowners. Here are seven expert tips for choosing a reliable and trustworthy contractor this season.
Step #1: A visit or assessment is required
A snow removal operator must visit the site and document the requested information and any obstructions that may prevent you from clearing the first snow. By doing this, they can accurately estimate the time and energy required to work in the area.
Step #2: Ask for a schedule
Different types have different needs when it comes to snow removal. Where one may need to plow every week, another may need to plow twice a week or only clean up after a snowfall. Knowing when you can expect your contractor to arrive can help you plan for other snow removal activities between trips, such as shoveling, salting, etc.
Remember: Some contractors do snow work as a part-time job, which may affect their availability. Be sure to confirm their hours before winter work begins.
Step #3: Check their references
It is important to have a reputable, licensed, and licensed professional handle your snow removal project.
Although some property owners may fall into the trap of choosing reputable contractors to sell at a lower price, snow removal (and the potential impact on your safety and those on your property) is not an area where you should put money above safety. .
A quick Google search should give you an idea of a company’s reputation, but it never hurts to ask for references. A company with a good reputation should provide this, and any company that hesitates to do so may not be as reputable as it should be.
Step #4: Ask to see their certificate of insurance
The company you choose for snow removal should have the appropriate insurance coverage in case of an accident or damage it may cause. Ideally, they should provide you with their insurance, which you should keep on file throughout your contract.
Most importantly, these documents must prove that their Liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance is current.
Step #5: Always get a written contract
Negotiating with a snow removal company is the first step to strengthening your coverage. Always make sure you have a detailed contract before the season starts. An effective partnership includes the components of:
- The extent of the work they will provide (plowing, shoveling, sanding/salting)
- Special needs of your property (eg parking lots, driveways, walkways, roof coverings)
- The frequency or conditions of their operation (for example, the amount of snow required for them to appear, the days of the week they plan to plow, etc.)
- Their expectations for salary
Did you know: Most contractors use a pay-as-you-go or pay-per-season method. If you are asked to pay the full amount up front, this should be a red flag that the contractor is not reputable, as many contractors split the fee into several payments throughout the term.
Read everything before you sign, and note any cancellation fees and additional information that may be required.
Step #6: Remember to evaluate
Many homeowners and businesses make the mistake of setting up a snow removal system and thinking about their part of the job. However, monitoring the contractor’s performance throughout the process is important, as well.
Check to ensure snow and ice removal is done in a timely manner and according to the established contract. If not, follow up to resolve any issues, and amend future contracts as necessary to avoid further issues.
Step #7: Check your insurance policies every winter
Establishing a snow removal policy is critical to ensuring the safety of those walking on your property during the winter months – but accidents do happen from time to time.
Make sure you are covered check your policy limits and details of the issue about you commercial property insurance (for business owners) or yours Homeowners insurance (proprietary) rules before the snow falls. Knowing that you have coverage if someone is injured on your property will give you the peace of mind you need to keep working throughout the winter, even when the snow falls.
This article was originally published in February 2021. It has been updated for accuracy.