October 19, 2023

6.1 mins read

5 Little Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference with Your Snow Removal Contract

It’s mid-winter, let’s say January. It’s been snowing all week, and last night had the biggest dump of all. If the snow removal truck doesn’t get here soon, it’s going to be a challenge for customers to even see the parking lot, never mind enter and navigate it safely. Where is the plow crew?

When you have a snow removal contract that includes use of some of the latest tracking technology and industry best practices, you’ll always be informed and confident about your service.

In one of our recent articles, The Biggest Problems with Commercial Snow Removal, we focused on the critical importance of ensuring your contract has a clearly defined scope of work: what kinds of snow removal will be done, where, in what order and with what kinds of materials, and how often. That’s really the foundation of a solid contract.

With those key details discussed and agreed upon, now you can ask about these five contract considerations that will simplify monitoring this service and help ensure the best results.

1. Snow Removal Contracts: Include pre and post-season inspections

When the snow finally melts and visibly damaged curbs are revealed, you might suspect the snow plow. But was it caused by your snow removal contractor this year, or last year?

Did the fence over by the garbage bins always lean like that, or was too much snow piled there by your previous snow remover, not the one who started mid-way through January?

When you have pre and post-season inspections included in your commercial snow removal contract, damage to the property—including curbs and fences—is captured in a timely way so both property owner and contractor can be confident in who should be held responsible.

Things can happen through the several months of plowing, but an experienced snow removal company will likely only proceed with a contract if a pre-season inspection is done. During that inspection, they’ll take time to review the sitemap and nuances of the parking lot and your business to identify ways to help ensure damage doesn’t occur.

Often, simple solutions such as putting up snow stakes and agreeing on ideal snow pile locations can make all the difference.

At the end of a long winter and many plow services, it’ll be a relief to both parties to have a thorough post-season inspection indicating any new damage that needs to be addressed and repaired.

2. Carefully consider the downside of on-call snow removal contracts

Are you looking to save money and have the snow remover only come when the lot really needs it?

Here’s what can happen. Snow removal companies may have a mix of clients: those with a seasonal contract who pay a monthly or yearly fee, and those who opt for on-call service. Those with seasonal contracts will have a set trigger for service. A typical trigger in western Canada is a snowfall of 5 cm. On those days, the contractor will have a route and follow. Now, on a day when there’s really heavy snowfall and it’s taking longer in every lot and everyone wants their lots cleared, where do you think on-call service clients’ lots fall in the schedule of the day?

Often, seasonal clients on a pre-set route are priority. For faster, guaranteed response times, consider a seasonal contract vs on-demand.

Seasonal clients benefit from knowing exactly how much they’ll be paying each month or per snow event, and they tend to benefit from being closer to the top of the list on the route.

3. Look for real-time, GPS-driven alerts and logs

These days, many administrators are getting back to traveling and many also work part of the week from home—so how can you help stay on top of whether snow removal service is being performed regularly and to standard? On a day when it really counts and the snow’s been falling all night, how can you find out quickly how long it will be until your plows arrive?

Using a contractor with GPS on their trucks makes it possible to stay on top of snow removal activity even when you’re not on site.

With GPS and geo-fencing set up, you can be notified as soon as the truck enters your property zone—and you can receive an automated alert when the crew is on site.

With real-time activity logs also a part of the process for every service, the crew will ‘sign out’ to let you know they’ve completed snow removal. With this kind of live reporting, you don’t have to wait until the office opens to know your parking lot is clear and ready for customers.

Another perk of having GPS tracking systems in place is that you can learn:

  • When to expect the crew. Under heavy snowfall conditions, removal and getting from
    site to site can take more time. If you’re wondering, when time is my snow removal
    contractor going to get here?, the truck with GPS can easily be located and an estimate
    of arrival provided.
  • Timeframes of snow removal. In the event of a slip and fill incident, GPS tracking gives
    data about the time and duration of a snow removal service to demonstrate due
    diligence was done.

4. Route planning included within a snow removal contract

Every organization and every parking lot has some unique nuances to the comings and goings of guests throughout the day and evening. If your snow removal contract doesn’t factor in the priority areas and unique needs of your business, you could be disappointed and miss an opportunity to provide better customer service.

As part of route planning, some of the best snow removal companies outline priority areas on the property to be plowed first. At a shopping centre, for example, that’s often the loading bays or the parking stalls closest to the entrance. At a college, it might mean prioritizing walkways that get the most foot traffic.

When the route within the site is defined according to where you see the most vehicle and foot traffic—and clearly marked with agreed up and detailed site maps—crews can react quickly to focus on removing snow from those areas first.

5. Photo proof of work

A lot of snow can fall between 5 am and 8 am. What happens when you pull into the parking lot at 8 am and it looks like the snow has been piling up all night, and no sign of snow removal?

Some of the most reputable snow removers will use ‘proof of work’ apps on their phone that store data and images capturing work performed. These photos and logs can capture:

  • Time of service
  • Photos of work performed
  • What kind of work was performed (snow clearing or anti-icing)

Now, with every service event, both you and the service provider are assured that there’s no need to question service has been performed. You can save yourself from making a phone call—and you can look ahead to the next plowing.

Are you looking for reliable, expert four-season property maintenance for your business? Reach out to the trusted professionals with expertise and dedicated teams across western Canada.

GRM Inc. serves businesses of all sizes in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Northern Territories.


Leave A Comment