Snow and Ice Management: Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Snow and Ice Removal: Three Types of Snow PlowsPt. 2: Snow and Ice Management: Consider Versatility When Buying EquipmentPt. 3: Snow and Ice Removal: Equipment Financing OptionsPt. 4: This PagePt. 5: PRODUCT FOCUS: Snow and Ice Management

Equipment choices play a major role in a manager’s decision on another important issue related to snow and ice management — whether to use in-house employees or hire an outside contractor. Cost is obviously an important factor in the matter, but the true costs and savings related to any outsourcing are heavily debated and often hard to pin down. The potential advantages of using in-house staff include:

• more control over crews and the timing of removal

• possible cost savings, but only if crews receive proper training

• no ability to transfer risk to a third party

• no contracts to sign with a third party

• no bidding procedures

Among the potential disadvantages of using in-house staff are these:

• required proper equipment and, more importantly, back-up equipment in case of failure

• the need to buy de-icing or anti-icing materials in advance for at least part of the season to avoid running out mid-storm

• the need to coordinate multiple crews

• the need for proper training for operators and planning for snow and ice storms

• the potential of property damage the organization is responsible for repairing

• responsibility for monitoring the weather and determining whether the needed staff and equipment are ready

• potential added risk related to claims for slips and falls.

The Snow and Ice Management Association provided information for this article.

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  posted on 9/1/2009   Article Use Policy

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