Snow and Ice Removal: Questions for Contractors

  December 15, 2010

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is communicating with contractors for snow and ice removal.

Snow and ice management is often difficult and dangerous, and contractors have more than just one property to maintain each time a storm hits. Because of these issues, it is important for managers to communicate clearly with the contractor regarding the customer's needs and performance expectations.

Contractors who know the business will have a specific communication plan in place to keep customers informed and up to date when these events occur. These plans often include phone calls, onsite visits and updates, e-mails, and even updates on the company's website. Minimally, contractors must keep managers informed about when crews will serve the property, as well as changes or issues that arise.

A prepared service provider also should have a written process in place for responding to any winter storm. They have prepared equipment and scheduled routes, and a dispatcher coordinates all equipment to needed areas. When evaluating potential contractors, managers need to ask if the company has a plan to respond to an event.

The most important step grounds managers can take when deciding which snow and ice contractor to hire is to find answers to important questions about the different aspects of snow removal, including:
• How long has the service provider been in business?
• Does the service provider carry proper insurance?
• Does the service provider use contracts?
• Has the contractor explained prices for services sufficiently?
• What specific services does the facility require?
• Does the contract clearly state these services?
• Can the contractor provide comparable references?
• Does the contractor have the necessary equipment and employees to manage the site?
• And, finally, does the contractor have detailed plans in place for responding to an event?

A professional and reputable snow contractor will be able to answer these questions. Communication is key when finalizing a contract, so managers must make sure they are hiring the right snow and ice professional.


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