Snow management

6 Reasons to Sign Snow and Ice Removal Contracts Early

Ground managers need to plan well ahead of winter to ensure the best care for their storm cleanup needs.   July 9, 2024

By Tom Marsan, Contributing Writer

A recent study revealed that over 62 percent of facility managers grapple with operational inefficiencies. As winter approaches, these challenges become even more pronounced for managers tasked with securing reliable snow removal services at institutional and commercial. Choosing the right snow removal company early can alleviate some of these pressures and ensure smoother operations throughout the season.  

Here are six reasons why grounds managers should sign snow contracts early, meaning before October 1 at the latest. 

1. The best companies fill up fast 

Securing a reputable snow removal company early in the season is crucial. The best companies tend to fill their schedules quickly, leaving latecomers scrambling for less reliable options. Early signing allows property managers ample time to thoroughly vet potential contractors.  

Be sure to: 

  • Check references 
  • Verify current and adequate liability insurance 
  • Assess important aspects such as after-hours communication opportunities 

Once these top companies are fully booked, securing their services becomes impossible, so acting early is essential to get the best. 

2. Guarantee the right people and equipment 

Early contracts ensure reserving the best personnel and equipment for snow removal needs. Reliable snow removal services are often in high demand, and many companies may over-promise their capabilities. By signing early, managers can secure a commitment that includes consistent and efficient service tailored to the property. This is particularly important for larger properties that require substantial resources. Ensuring that the best equipment and skilled workers means better overall service and reliability. 

3. Supplies aren’t infinite 

Salt, calcium, brine, and magnesium are not in infinite supply. During peak winter months, these supplies can become scarce. This drives up costs and potentially leaves some properties without adequate coverage. By signing a snow contract early, managers can ensure that their properties will have a guaranteed allocation of these crucial materials, which helps maintain safety and accessibility throughout the winter season. 

4. Familiarity with your property 

When snow removal workers are unfamiliar with a property, it can lead to inefficiencies and mistakes. Early contracting gives the snow removal company enough time to get a lay of the land. They can map out all service areas, train staff specifically for the property's needs, and familiarize themselves with any unique challenges or requirements. This preparation is vital for ensuring that when the first snow falls, the service is seamless and effective. Knowing the specific areas that need attention, such as hidden walkways or tricky driveways, can make a significant difference in service quality. 

5. Better rates and budgeting 

Contracting snow removal services in advance often leads to more competitive rates. Contractors are more willing to negotiate and offer better deals during the off-season as they are eager to fill their schedules. This early engagement not only helps secure better pricing but also provides an opportunity to combine snow removal with other seasonal services, such as landscaping, under a single contract. This can simplify budgeting and ensure a comprehensive approach to property maintenance, potentially leading to additional cost savings. 

6. Tailored solutions for your property 

Engaging snow removal contractors before the snow season begins allows for a tailored approach to the property’s specific needs. Contractors can visit the site to provide accurate quotes and develop effective snow removal plans. Several factors need to be considered: 

  • Scope of services: Understanding exactly what services are required ensures that all aspects of snow removal are covered. 
  • Equipment needs: Identifying the types and numbers of vehicles and equipment necessary for efficient snow clearing. 
  • Manpower allocation: Determining the appropriate staffing levels to handle the property's snow removal effectively. 
  • Snow hauling: Assessing whether snow needs to be hauled away and the logistics involved. 
  • De-icing materials: Deciding on the types and quantities of de-icers needed to keep walkways and parking areas safe. 

By working closely with contractors before the snow season, grounds managers can ensure their properties receive the most effective and tailored snow removal services. This proactive approach saves time, money, and reduces the likelihood of service disruptions during critical winter months. 

Signing snow contracts early is a strategic move for property managers. It ensures access to the best service providers, guarantees the availability of necessary equipment and supplies, allows for thorough property familiarization, secures better rates, and results in customized snow removal plans.  

Taking these proactive steps not only enhances the safety and accessibility of the property but also provides peace of mind throughout the winter season. Don’t wait until the first snowflake falls—start planning now to secure the best possible snow removal services for your property. 

Tom Marsan is a certified snow professional who has been in the landscaping and snow removal industry for about two decades. He is an active member of ILCA and SIMA and is currently the general manager at Beverly Companies in Chicagoland.  


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