Hiring a snow removal service can ensure that your residential or commercial property is always safe for you and visitors, and a professional snowplow service can reduce the risk of liability claims due to accidents or slip and fall injuries on your property. Proper snow removal will also reduce the risk of damage to your property's concrete or asphalt, as these materials can crack or soften under the moisture of wintertime snow and ice.
To hire a good snow removal service, be sure they can easily access your property, as overly large plows may not be a good choice for residential driveways. At the same time, be sure that such a service can quickly manage your lot size, as smaller trucks may take too long to clear commercial lots. A snow removal service should also work with you on where the plowed snow is left, and ensure that your lot is free of ice and other such hazards.
To help you narrow down your choices when you want to hire a snow removal service, note a few tips and details to consider, and this will ensure you end up with a service you're happy with for many winters to come!
Snow removal pricing calculator
One of the first things to consider when you want to hire a snow removal service is the snow removal pricing calculator that is used by the contractor. Do they remove snow by the square foot, or by the job itself? This rate can be significant for commercial lots, as you may only want traffic areas cleared at certain times; for example, if it snows on a Saturday night, you may want the customer parking areas cleared, but may not need the delivery lanes plowed if you don't receive deliveries on Sundays.
Some contractors may quote snow removal prices per inch, meaning the depth of the snowfall itself. This quote is good for removal jobs that are the same every single time the snow is cleared, such as for residential driveways, office buildings, and other such areas. Being quoted snow removal prices per inch ensures that you're not charged the same rate for a light snowfall as for a very deep pile of snow, which might take several passes by a plow to clear.
Any snow removal pricing calculator should also note how much salt or other material is used during or after a plowing. This number should be easy to verify; for example, if you're charged by the pound, note how many square feet is covered by one pound. You may find that you're being quoted too much for salt spreading for a smaller lot, and may want to negotiate this charge with your snow removal service provider.
If you're looking to hire a snow removal service for a residential home, note if a contractor offers a residential snow removal rate, versus only offering commercial rates. Residential contractors may use a smaller truck for residential homes, which means less fuel needed for each clearing. In turn, the service provider should be able to offer a reduced rate for a driveway.
A homeowner may also only need what is called a "per push" rate. This charge refers to being charged a flat rate for each time the snowplow goes over the driveway. Since homeowners may not be as concerned as business owners with the potential liability of accidents on their property, they may only need a light clearing of their drive, and a per push rate can then be a good choice for them.
Also, a homeowner may be able to finish the job of clearing snow if a snowplow goes over a driveway once or twice. Being charged a per push rate then saves a homeowner money, versus being charged for a total clearing of their property.
Snow plowing rates for parking lots
When you need to hire a snow removal service for a parking lot, this type of clearing might involve more work and added charges, since you want to ensure your lot is safe for vehicles and pedestrian traffic. There may also be specific regulations in your area about not blocking sidewalks, the view of traffic in the road, emergency vehicle routes, and the like with stacks of plowed snow.
When comparing snow plowing rates for parking lots, note if you can opt for something flexible, for when your area gets just a light dusting of snow, versus standard rates for complete clearing. You may also need partial plowing of a lot on certain days, as mentioned; some areas of a particular commercial lot might not need clearing every night, while other lots may need a full clearing even on a Saturday or Sunday if these are the busiest days for customer activity.
You might also want to note if a snow removal service provider will give you some options for melting snow and ice on your commercial property. Standard rock salt that is often used to melt snow and ice can be damaging to concrete, and cause it to spall or crack so that you're left with lots of needed repairs in the springtime! Calcium chloride and potassium chloride can be a better option, as these may cause less damage to your property's pavement.
Do you need a snow removal contract?
You might hesitate to sign a snow removal contract, wondering if it would lock you into unnecessary expenses or somehow obligate you to pay for snow removal when it's not needed. Only you can decide if a snow removal contract is the right option for your home or business, but note some factors to consider when making this decision:
Other details about a snow removal service
Along with their pricing and flexibility of services, be sure to check on the liability limits of a snow removal service provider's insurance policy, so you know you would be adequately reimbursed if they were to cause damage to your property. You might also note how many trucks are available, so you know they will be able to efficiently manage your needed plowing even during the worst weather and the busiest of plowing seasons!
It's also good to note a snow removal service provider's payment terms, as you would with any other service provider. Do you get a bill after every service, are you charged weekly or monthly, or when do they invoice you? This flexibility will ensure you can easily afford the payments and work them into your personal or company budget, as needed.
There is also nothing wrong with outright asking how to get a discount or reduced price from the company. Will they offer a discount if you use the same company for parking lot sweeping in the summertime, or if you prepay for a certain number of plows or pushes? Whatever the case, never hesitate to speak up and ask how to save on your snow removal service charges!
Can you reduce the amount of snow on your property?
A property owner can make some changes to their property to reduce the amount of snow and ice that may need to be cleared from a driveway or parking lot. One option is to have your property paved with asphalt rather than concrete. The darker color of asphalt will hold more heat so that it helps to melt snow and ice, leaving less snow to be cleared.
A bumpy aggregate on either concrete or asphalt can also keep snow from settling onto the pavement and becoming more compact. Keeping snow lighter and less compacted mean more of it melting away from your property rather than needing to be plowed.
It's also essential to ensure that your property is graded toward the street, so that sleet, freezing rain, and melting snow will roll away from your property, rather than becoming ice. Not only will this ice need to be plowed or cleared, but ice also holds snow in place rather than allowing it to melt and run off the property! A landscaping engineer can note the grade of your property and if it needs to be adjusted, to help with snow and ice clearance in wintertime.
Should you remove snow yourself?
If it seems like too much work to find a snow removal service that is a good fit for your home or business, don't assume that removing your snow will be any easier! There are many reasons why homeowners and business owners should leave this work to a professional service provider, even if their property is small and their local area doesn't see record snowfalls every year.
Because of all these reasons, it's good to leave snow removal service to a professional. This service will mean a cleared driveway and walkways, and a parking lot that is safe for your staff and visitors. It will also mean freeing up your time rather than spending it trying to clear snow and ice from your property!