7 Ways to Save Money on Your Commercial Snow Removal Contract

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Going with the cheapest snow removal contractor can sometimes feel like going with the cheapest bridge builder, sure it looks nice at first, but when everything collapses you are going to regret saving that extra dime.  Yet if you take time and effort in the beginning of the process, you will find there are ways you can save money.

We talked to Martin Tirado, CEO of the Snow and Ice Management Association for his insights about how clients can save money on their commercial contracts.  Here are some of the tips Tirado gave us about saving you money.

Savings #1 – Know your priorities.

You need your lot cleared for people on your property, but do you need the ENTIRE lot clean as a whistle at all times?  Keeping your back lot clean might make as much sense as cleaning your attic on a daily basis…don’t do it.  Traffic patterns on your property at different times of the day and during certain times of the year are not always the same.  You should designate different zones on your property for different levels of service.

You could identify areas that need to stay clear at all times, zones that just need to be cleared at the end of the storm, and zones where snow can be stacked and left until the spring melt.  The less work the snow removal crews have the less your cost is going to be.

Savings #2 – Ensure proper landscaping and parking lot design

While it may take a little work to redo your landscaping, parking lot, or walkways, it could save you thousands of dollars every year.  These issues can be identified by a professional snow removal contractor longer before winter arrives so you get your property fixed right away.

The first issue is drainage, when the snow and ice melts, where does the water go?  If the water stays on your parking lot or walk ways, when the water freezes at night you could create a slip and fall hazard you will have to treat almost daily to avoid a lawsuit.

The next issue is snow stacking.  You can save yourself a lot of money if the snow is moved to piles only 200 ft away versus if the crew has to move snow a quarter mile away or even worse, if the snow needs to be moved off site by hauling or melting.  Tirado puts in, “You want a close location for pushing and stacking the snow, a place where you don’t have to worry about it.”

Another issue is what you put in your landscaping.  “Sensitive plants should not be near salting surfaces or where snow gets stacked,” Tirado warns.  Using the wrong plants or even the wrong landscaping elements in these “danger zones” means you will spend money every year replacing some of your landscaping.

Savings #3 – Research Your Snow Removal Contractor

You need to be sure your snow removal contractor is your best overall value to keep your costs down.  Here are some things you want to check:

  • What is the average level of training for the operators on your site?
    • In general, the better and more experienced operators are, the safer your property will be and the less damage your property will receive. They will know everything from proper stacking of your site to how to handle certain hazards, ensuring you get the best possible service.
  • How much are they insured for?
    • If your snow removal crew is under-insured and they are responsible for an accident on your property, you may find you are paying for some of their mistakes.
  • Will they be there when it snows?
    • Ensuring you get service during a snow storm may cost a little more, but that cost is often a lot less than lost business from snow covered walks and parking lots.
  • How much will you have to “baby sit” your contractor?
    • Some snow removal contractors allow you to track snow removal progress from your computer or phone, all you need is an internet connection!
    • Good tracking will include real-time documentation, record retention, and maybe even photos of your property showing the work has been completed.
    • If your snow removal contractor can be a “set it and forget it” kind of relationship, you will not waste your valuable time chasing their crew around every time it snows.
  • Certifications and Accreditations
    • Third party certifications and accreditations let you know the company has expertise in certain areas. Some of the most recognized certifications and accreditations come from:
      • SIMA
      • ISO
      • BBB
    • What documentation is made by the contractor during winter events and what it the document retention policy?
      • To keep the cost of your own insurance down, ensure your contractor has a strong documentation policy. The better the documentation, the more likely any lawsuit will be dismissed.

SIMA Snow & Ice Management Association - CSP Certified Snow Professional

Savings #4 – Store on Site

If your local laws allow for it, storage of salt and equipment on site can save a lot of money.  Eliminating the transportation cost from every snow event adds up quick and newer methods of salt storage can keep the salt from being an eye sore or from leaching into the drains.

Savings #5 – Consider a multi-year Fixed Seasonal Contract

In Ontario, almost every contract is a fixed seasonal contract where a price is agreed upon regardless of how much snow flies.  This type of contract is not yet the standard in the United States.  Tirado informed us, “just about any 5-year period will average out to be the same as the lifetime average for the area, so in the long run, you don’t save any money” by paying per event only.

Instead, you end up introducing uncertainty for both sides of the table. You need to keep a higher budget just in case it is a bigger snow year and you have to fight with the accountant to keep that budget number high after a light snow year.  That issue goes away with a fixed amount every year.

For the snow contractor, they can make better equipment and business decisions with a level income stream over the years.  Those better decisions save you money in the end because your contractor has a stronger business, not to mention uncertainty always increases costs because you have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Don’t like the idea of “not getting my money’s worth?”  You can talk to your snow plow contractor about floors and ceilings.  Tirado explains, “If there is significantly more or less snow in a season, floors and ceilings protect both parties.”  If it is a dry year, the client gets an extra savings.  If there is a year with extra snow, the client will pay a little more.

Having the fixed contract is a bit like buying insurance.  Tirado equates it to “insurance in a state of readiness” to keep your property safe.  With fewer surprises for both parties, everyone tends to feel like they have won.

Savings #6 – Trust Your Snow Removal Contractor

When you come up with a snow removal site plan, you need to trust your snow removal contractor without “arm chair coaching.”  One of the biggest problems is with salt application.  Tirado shares, “Most customers think if they don’t see salt on the ground, there isn’t enough, when in reality, if you see the salt, you probably have too much, wasting salt and damaging your lot and landscaping.”

Unless it is clear that the snow removal contractor is not following the plan, you should trust the experts to be the experts.  If you are concerned, give your contractor a call to see what is going on, but shouting orders first and asking questions later is a good way to increase costs in a variety of ways.

Savings #7 – Keep Your Total Savings in Mind

Tirado shared how a hospital in the Minneapolis area recently researched and implemented changes in their snow removal reducing their spring landscaping costs alone by over $100,000/year.  If you look at your snow removal cost as a winter only cost, you may not evaluate your options properly.

There are a lot of options a professional snow contractor will know that you may not know.  Using certain deicers near entrance ways can mean less work for your housekeeping crew and a longer lasting floor.  Liquid deicers before certain storms may mean your sidewalk stays safe or it is quicker to clear snow.  Different kinds of wear edges (the part that touches the ground) on a plow will treat your pavement differently.  Some deicers can eat away at your building while others can fertilize your lawn.

The point is, when you talk to your snow removal contractor, make sure you are taking into account ALL of your costs, not just the cost to clean off snow and ice.  A quality snow removal contractor knows they will only stay in business if you both win and they will be as interested in keeping your costs down as you are.

Should I care if my Snow Removal Contractor only does Commercial Properties?

Sneller Snow Systems MI Box Plow

Using a Commercial Snow Removal Contractor for your commercial property is about saving you money and headaches.  Whether as a business you need to show profits for investors or as a not-for-profit you need to maximize benefits to beneficiaries, you need to save money.  Choosing the right snow removal contractor is similar to wise investing, it is not flashy, but in the long run you reap the rewards.

Organizations with larger properties often find themselves ahead when they work with a snow removal company dedicated to commercial properties.

You don’t have to take our word for it.  We had a chance to talk to Kevin Gilbride, Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), about the differences between commercial and residential snow removal and why the average client should care about those differences, why you want a dedicated commercial snow removal company.  ASCA is a leading association for professional snow removal companies.  Here are some of the things Gilbride shared with us.

Commercial and Residential Snow Removal are Two Different Animals

Many successful snow removal companies start like everyone else, providing snow removal to anyone willing to sign on the dotted line.  As the company grows into a stable company, many realize they have two entirely separate snow removal operations running at the same time.  Gilbride shares, “You end up with different kinds of route management, different kinds of equipment, different training, policies, and procedures.”

Gilbride summed it up, “You are running two different companies.”

Both residential and commercial clients want a property clean of snow for the smallest dollar amount with the job done “right,” but the model is very different between the two types of clients.  Everything from the traffic on the property to how far you have to push the snow pile is different.  With residential snow removal, one or two guys might handle dozens of residential properties in a single storm.  Yet with a commercial property it might take a dozen team members on a single property for the exact same storm.

It is common for many growing snow removal companies to take a step back and ask, “do I best service my customers trying to be all things to all people?”  The answer is often “no” because of what it takes to clear a home versus what it takes to clear a larger lot.  Rather than trying to be all things to all people, over the years, many snow removal companies have decided to specialize in either residential or commercial snow removal services.

What is Special About Residential Snow Removal?

For the residential providers, the name of the game is client proximity.  In order to keep costs down, clients need to be close together because eliminating time and distance between jobs keeps people and equipment moving snow.

Many residential properties can be done in mere minutes, and since contractors only get paid for moving snow, driving between jobs is a waste of time and money.  These contractors will generally use a plow on a small pickup and they will be in and out as quickly as they can.

What residential customers don’t typically worry about is liability.  There is lower exposure to a home owner because there are less people on the property and even if someone does slip and fall on a homeowner’s property, there is less potential for a lawsuit.  Most residential clients look out their window and if there is still a blanket of white on the driveway, then they give their snow removal team a call. If the driveway is clean, they go about their day happy.  No more thought is given to what it took to make the property safe.

ASCA Accredited Snow Contractors Association

What is special about commercial snow removal?

For the commercial client, eliminating risk is the name of the game.  Gilbride shares the biggest concern is because, “commercial clients have the highest risk of liability.”  With more pedestrian traffic and deeper pockets, lawsuits are more likely to hit a commercial client.  Risk does not just stop with lawsuits by visitors.  If an employee falls you could find yourself paying their medical bills, wages for lost time, and other expenses.  The risk also extends into lost business when a potential customer goes to a competitor just because your lot or walkways are not cleared properly.

Risk can also extend to equipment.  Everyone knows the hospital needs to have a clear path for an ambulance, but any facility that has trucks arriving for shipping and receiving also needs to keep a clear path so the vehicles can safely drive on your property.  To get a truck stuck at a loading dock can be costly for the shipping firm and for the property owner.

More Snow Means Different Equipment

There are other factors to costs.  Commercial properties have a lot more snow to move and often the snow has to be pushed over longer distances.  In order to move snow fast and economically, you want a contractor that is going to use equipment like skid steers, end loaders, and other machinery in addition to larger trucks because they can move large amounts of snow quickly.  Most commercial contractors will even dedicate equipment to your property for the season, parking them on site ensuring they are always ready to go.

The difference in preparation and documentation is even more striking than the difference in equipment.  A commercial property will often require a researched and documented snow removal plan ahead of time, higher levels of employee training, documentation, and even a document retention plan.  A commercial snow removal company will take a considerable amount of time preparing a plan for your property as well as preparing your property before the snow starts flying in order to provide you the service you need.

Keep People Safe and Don’t Get Sued

With a commercial property, the idea is first to keep the property safe for everyone who steps foot on the property. The snow removal plan and the high level of employee training go a long way to keeping a property safe.  The next piece is to keep the snow removal contractor, the property owner, and the owner’s insurance company from getting sued which keeps costs down for everyone.

Gilbride shared that this is why commercial snow removal contractors have been pursuing the ISO/SN9001 standard.  “Everyone comes back from conferences and seminars all fired up with the great things they are going to implement, but then life happens and they never get it done.  Getting the ISO certification holds your feet to the fire to do what you know will be best for your client and your company.”

The ISO SN9001 Standard

The commercial snow removal contractors who have been certified to the SN9001 standard delivers real value to their clients.  Clients win because they know the contractor is going to deliver on the plan since the contractor is audited by a third party showing the contractor does what was promised.  The contractor wins because the contractor has a quality management system in place ensuring nothing important falls through the cracks.  Everybody wins because the risk of Liability goes down.

 

Gilbride shared these numbers from last year:

Winter related slip and fall Lawsuits dismissed:

Industry Average = 35% dismissed

SN9001 Certified Companies = 70% dismissed

Industry Avg. Payout = over $15,000

SN9001 Certified Company Avg. Payout. = only $4100

 

Between the higher number of cases that get settled rather than dismissed as well as the higher payout, you have almost eight times the exposure using the average snow removal professional verses the SN9001 certified commercial snow removal contractor.

How a Snow Removal Company Can SAVE Property Managers Money!

Snow Removal Company Snow Removal Plan
John Allin, Snow and Ice Industry Consultant
John Allin, Snow and Ice Industry Consultant

Thinking about hiring a new commercial snow removal service? If so, there are details to keep in mind well beyond obvious factors like what it costs and a company’s reputation. We sat down with independent consultant, John Allin, who is the founder of the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) and Snowfighters Institute. He is globally recognized as the foremost snow and ice industry consultant. John also helped form the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) and worked on the committee which wrote and published the first ever set of written standards for the snow and ice management industry. Let’s look at what John had to say about the value of hiring a professional snow removal company instead of alternative options.

Every snow contractor has a different level of preparation & planning, a different investment in equipment & maintenance, and a different approach to training & education. And by following the latest best snow removal practices, a professional contractor can actually SAVE your business money. Here’s a quick list, then read on for details:

Truly Professional Snow Contractors ultimately save property managers money by:

  • Continuously educating their team so they are both careful and efficient
  • Using less rock salt and de-icing product
  • Pre-treating surfaces with liquid anti-icing product
  • Having ISO Certified processes & systems for quick fixes to issues
  • Reducing your risk of expensive slip and fall lawsuits
  • Taking time to develop a detailed snow response plan to prevent catastrophes
  • Want more details? Keep reading!

More Focus On Education Does NOT Mean It Costs Customers More Money

“In fact, it’s quite the opposite,” John said.

Snow removal companies who invest in training, ongoing education and certified snow removal systems actual SAVE their commercial customers’ money. You may think the bigger a snow removal contractor is, or the more they spend on training, the more they cost. But this is a major misconception! It might sound a little gimmicky at first – but in the end it makes perfect sense!

Educated Snow Professionals Use Less Rock Salt

Too Much Rock Salt - Snow Ice MeltAccording to John Allin, “The snow removal industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The efficient and effective use of rock salt is probably the most pronounced advancement.”

In the past, the standard rule of thinking was to use 1,000 pounds of rock salt per acre of pavement. However, through proper education and a close examination of this thinking, snow contractors have learned they only need 150-300 pounds of rock salt per acre to reduce ice to water. That’s a huge savings and boost for our eco-system! Professionally educated snow and ice management companies will save your company money by using less rock salt.

[blockquote author=”John Allin, Snow and Ice Industry Expert & Consultant” link=”” target=”_blank”]”The snow removal industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The efficient and effective use of rock salt is probably the most pronounced advancement.”[/blockquote] Using less rock salt will also save you money by reducing repair costs to grass and nearby landscaping, less pavement repairs and less corrosion to metal that comes in contact with the product.

How do you know if your current snow removal company is using too much rock salt?

“If you drive around after a snowstorm and you see white pavement, that’s indicative of over application of product,” said John Allin, SIMA founder & snow industry consultant.

Professional Snow Contractors Pre-treat Surfaces with Anti-icing Product to Further Reduce Rock Salt Usage

Another way a professional snow contractor can help customers and the environment is to pre-treat surfaces before the storm with anti-icing product.

According to John Allin, most contractors only use the equivalent of 35 pounds per acre of rock salt to pre-treat surfaces (so much less than the 150-1,000 pounds per acre used by others for treatment after the storm). John says educated snow contractors have learned that just “35 pounds of rock salt per acre will keep the bond from forming between the ice and the snow and the pavement surface. Even if you drive on it or walk on it, you can keep that bond from forming so if you go over the pavement with a plow, you get a much cleaner finished surface and you need much less material afterwards to reduce ice to water.”

Deicing Truck Grand Rapids MI Lansing MIAlso applying anti-icing product in a liquid format instead of granular will keep it in place on the surface better. Granular rock salt is moved off the surface from traffic and more difficult to keep in place. When looking for a good contractor, keep in mind that one who applies liquid anti-icing product before the storm is actually saving you money, saving the environment and doing a much better job.

ISO 9001/SN 9001 Certified Snow Removal Systems Reduces Risk and Lawsuit Fees

ISO Certification is one way to tell the difference between a professional snow contractor and one that is less prepared. However, being ISO certified doesn’t make a company a better snow contractor. It means that contractor has detailed processes in place to fix what might go wrong.

If a professional snow contractor is ISO 9001/SN 9001 certified, they have a process to fix bugs in the system, a review process and a way to write a corrective action to fix what went wrong. Those systems have been audited and continue to be audited annually. “Many other companies will just hope and pray they got it right the first time,” says John Allin.

John went on to say, “Sneller is very very progressive and they want to be on the leading edge. They want to have the best. They want to provide the best service. They want their customer locations to be safe to the nth degree. So they figure out what they should use, how they should use it, and they make sure they are executing in a manner that is conducive to a safe environment. There are a lot of snow plowers out there. There are very few risk managers. And the professional snow contractor views themselves as a risk manager. Their job is to mitigate risk on sites under their control in order to keep the site safe for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. That’s the difference between Sneller and many of the alternative options.”

Professional Snow Contractors Reduce Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Michigan slip and fall lawsuits might be a bit tougher than some states for site visitors to prosecute, but it still happens. Snow contractors have to be careful to consider not only how well snow and ice is removed, but where it is piled. Snow should not be piled in areas that cause visibility issues, up against buildings where water can seep through, they shouldn’t cover up drains, pile snow in handicap spots, etc.

Hiring an ISO 9001/SN 9001 certified snow removal contractor helps protect property managers from slip and fall lawsuits because lawyers know it will be much harder to prove negligence when ISO certified systems are in place.

Snow & Ice Management Companies Invest in a Detailed Snow Response Plan

Having a detailed plan for how a snow and ice management company is going to respond to varying levels of snow is imperative. A good plan details the priorities, timeline, equipment to be used. A good example is how Sneller approaches Tanger Outlet Mall.

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A detailed plan is in place to be sure snow is removed efficiently and effectively. Obstacles and drainage are carefully considered and special equipment is used to reach small areas and for more accurate placement of salt on sidewalks.

Professional Communication Saves Time and Energy

It helps a property manager to know when a snow removal contractor has been on their property and if it’s still snowing – when they will be back. The very best contractors realize that investing in technology for communicating with clients makes their services much more valuable and helps tremendously with customer satisfaction.

For example, Sneller uses Crew Tracker software that allows property managers to login and see what’s been done and when. This saves the property manager time they might normally have to spend contacting the snow contractor asking when they were there – especially if it’s still snowing and they can’t tell.

What to Look for in a Professional Snow Removal Contract

According to industry consultant, John Allin, here are details property managers should make sure they consider when signing a snow removal contract:

  • Determine how much snow you want to tolerate on your property.
  • What’s the trigger for services to begin (ask your snow contractor what’s best for safety).
  • Make sure a time frame is included for when services will be completed.
  • Where will excess snow be piled?
  • Should excess snow be removed off site at some point? What is that trigger?
  • How far away is equipment stationed from my property?
  • What happens if equipment breaks down, is replacement equipment quickly available?
  • How will sidewalk snow be removed?
  • See certificate of insurance from insurance agent only (do not accept a faxed copy, they are too easy to forge).

Advanced Technology in Snow Removal

Professional snow contractors are also on the forefront of the newest technology that helps with efficiency and providing the best possible service to clients. For example, according to John Allin, industry leaders are advancing quickly. He says eventually we are going to able to have RFID tags on either end of the snow plow that will tell you which direction a driver was going and which way the plow was angled when it was pushing the snow. This will help with further improving processes and efficiencies for property managers.

Also, smart phone advances in technology have allowed for more accurate tracking of what crews in the field are doing. This helps property managers know if a contractor has been to their site.

There are also breadcrumbing apps that can help streamline communications and improve efficiency. This can tell contractors which roads were taken care of by their crews, how fast they were driving, what time crews arrived, how much time was spent on site, if all sections were plowed, and more. All of this equates to making revisions to lower operating costs that can help reduce snow removal costs for property managers. There is also new technology that can track how much salt was being put down and how fast the spinner was distributing salt.

When hiring a professional snow removal company with technology like this, you can rest assured that the services you signed up for are being completed. It’s very difficult to fake services when technology is in place monitoring and documenting all the details.

Looking for Grand Rapids Snow Removal or Snow and Ice Management in Lansing MI?

Please contact Sneller Snow Systems to explore all the ways that we can actually save you money and reduce your risk when our professional services are compared to guys with just a truck.

Our team will visit your site and take time to develop a detailed snow response plan based on your precise needs. We’ll clearly document a plan to keep your property clear of dangerous snow and ice depending on which areas of your property are most important to target first, where it’s best to relocate snow, how much snow you wish to tolerate, obstacles to work around, best equipment for specific needs and more. We’re careful, focused on using only the very latest technology and absolute best practices. We also value ongoing education and industry certifications so our crews are the best snow professionals around.

Let us know how we can help you today by calling 616-868-4900 or by filling out the quick form below!

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More about industry expert John Allin…

John Allin, Snow and Ice Industry ConsultantGlobally recognized as the foremost snow and ice industry consultant, John Allin has spent over 45 years developing and testing snow management strategies in one of the most intense, lake-effect, snow-belt regions in the world: the south shores of one of North America’s Great Lakes, Lake Erie. As the cold Arctic and Canadian air whips across the lake, a snowmaking machine kicks in, stretching from the shores of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and into New York, dumping 150-300″ of snow each season.  John saw this area as the perfect proving ground to bring snow and ice management into the modern age. With only one truck, and one plow, he began his entrepreneurship with Allin companies. After 20 years, he began Snow Management Group, which, in 2002, won the plowing contract for the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

John is North America’s top snow industry consultant, an innovator of snow management strategies, the industry’s leading snow management expert, and an expert witness for slip and fall lawsuits, among other titles.  

Mr. Allin’s book, Managing Snow and Ice, 1st and 2nd Editions – is considered the bible for snowplowing contractors in North America who desire to grow and better operate their snow contracting business. A CD of forms is also available to the industry. Mr. Allin also wrote a 3rd book recently titled “Snow and Ice Management, A Look Through Time.” It’s available on his website http://www.johnallin.com.  Mr. Allin patented a commercial snow melting machine (the Snow Dragon), and shares another patent for specialized deicing equipment. 

He is the founder of the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA). Recently, he was instrumental in the formation of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA). He worked on the committee which wrote and published the first ever set of written standards for the snow and ice management industry. John is also the founder and Board Chairman of the Snowfighters Institute located in Erie, Pa. 

In February 2013, Mr. Allin became involved with CrewTracker Software, overseeing day-to-day operations. This software allows snow contractors to keep abreast of what their field crews accomplish during any given snow or ice event. Invoicing times are expedited, so that what used to take weeks can be done in minutes.

Read even more here or follow John on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Grand Rapids Snow Removal: Complete Guide to Prepping for Winter

Prepping for Winter - Fix Potholes, Cracked pavement

The days are getting shorter quickly, and we all know what that means in Michigan: Old Man Winter is on the way. But we still have nice weather remaining and now is the perfect time to make property repairs to help prepare for Grand Rapids snow removal services.

Let’s look at how you can evaluate your property for smooth surfaces to make the snow removal easier and less destructive. We’ll also help you look for drainage issues that will be affected by melting snow and ice. Then we will discuss repair options.

Check All Your Paved Surfaces

Parking lot in need of repairsWhether you own or manage a commercial property or industrial park, summer and fall are good times to get out and evaluate all the paved surfaces on your property. This includes evaluating all sidewalks, walkways, patios, driveways and parking lots.

If you have any uneven surfaces now, they could be damaged further by snow removal as crews cannot see the surfaces under a blanket of snow. Uneven or cracked surfaces also present potential hazards as snow and ice may settle in this area. This has dangerous potential for snow removal because it prevents snow crews from getting a clean finish, causing dangerously slippery surfaces. But even aside from snow removal, uneven surfaces cause people to trip making them dangerous year round.

 

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As you take a walk to check your paved surfaces, here are some issues to look for:

  • Sinking: Different types of soil will compact at different rates and amounts, so depending upon the underlying soil, you could have pieces of a parking lot or sidewalk where a portion of the soil has settled more than others. This risk is especially great on areas that were filled before paving as fill soils can come from a variety of places. Also, some areas may have had organic materials, such as tree stumps or roots, that leave a hole as they decompose, allowing for some areas of rapid settling.
  • Heaving: Tree roots can be big culprits when it comes to heaving, especially on sidewalks or patios where trees are close by. As the roots grow, they push the concrete, brick or other material up to make room for themselves. Heaving also can be caused by water under the paved surface, which expands when it freezes in winter, then contracts when it thaws.
  • Cracking: Most paving surfaces will undergo some cracking as they age and suffer from regular use, especially here in Michigan. Repairing cracks regularly can stem their spread and prevent further damage if water gets into the cracks.
  • Crumbling concrete or asphalt: These issues typically show up in the winter when moisture gets into the surface, freezes and thaws, causing potholes or larger areas of concern. They also can be a result of heavy equipment driven on the surface or poor work when the paved surface was installed. These problems should be dealt with right away as the damaged area will grow larger with regular use.

Options for Surface Repairs

Fixing some of these issues does not have to be as expensive and time-consuming as you might think.

If your concrete is in good condition, a sinking slab can be fixed through a process called mudjacking or slab jacking. Even large areas of a sinking slab can be raised to level through the use of mudjacking. When mudjacking, the contractor drills small holes in the concrete, injects a polymer-based fill that will fill the empty space and raise the slab. These polymer fills typically last longer than the old style of injecting either concrete or actual mud and are more stable in the long run. Mudjacking is a quick and economical fix that does not require much disruption to your business.

 

Heaving concrete slabs can be repaired through a process of shaving. Shaving is basically what it sounds like – incremental layers of the concrete are cut off until a smooth surface is restored. Shaving will not affect the structural integrity of the concrete.

Concrete cracks should be cleaned, filled and sealed before winter. Crack repairs are a relatively simple and inexpensive DIY project. It’s important to fix them as they occur to prevent damage by water seeping under your concrete and to keep snow removal equipment from doing further damage.

Crumbling surfaces are best repaired by removing the damaged section and replacing with new concrete or asphalt. A professional team will be able to evaluate the level and cause of the crumbling to determine if only the affected area needs repair or if surrounding areas also will be susceptible to crumbling.

Don’t Forget Drainage Issues

Repairing sinking, heaving, cracks and crumbles will go a long way toward having your surfaces ready for snow removal, but one issue you don’t want to forget about is drainage. Two important drainage issues you can address are:

  1. Drainage toward buildings & walkways: If you can see your rainwater draining toward a building or walkway, you can plan on melting snow and ice doing the same. Water drainage toward buildings and walkways in spring, summer and fall can be annoying, but it can be downright dangerous in winter. Getting water to drain away from your buildings and walkways should be a priority anytime of year.
  2. Water pooling: If water pools on your parking lots or sidewalks in summer, it’s going to do the same in winter and create a dangerous situation for walkers and drivers. Snow that melts during the day and freezes again on the cold nights could create a dangerous and potentially libelous situation.

A professional contractor can help you determine the most effective and economical way to address these drainage issues. Remember that in winter you aren’t just dealing with drainage of melting snow as it falls, there is often large snow piles in parking lots and near walkways to be sure is not causing hazards as it melts and re-freezes. We encourage you to review these issues in summer and fall when they can be fixed.

Get a Pros Opinion

At Sneller Snow Systems, we do much more than plow snow. We have ISO 9001 certified snow removal systems, policies and procedures. This means we think and act more like risk managers than just snow plowers to be sure your property is safe year round. If you are located in the Grand Rapids or Lansing Michigan areas, please contact us by calling 616-868-4900 or email us. We can help with an assessment of your property to decide if there are repairs that could help with snow removal.

 


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You Get What You Pay For With Commercial Snow Removal Services Too!

Commercial Snow Removal Services - Sneller Snow Systems, Grand Rapids, MI

At this point, we’ve all read our fair share of online consumer reviews. On sites such as Angie’s List and Amazon, consumers can weigh in on their experiences, whether good or bad. While some responses are obvious fakes (such as the hilariously snarky reviews under Bic Cristal “For Her” pens), others highlight one of the dangers of bargain shopping: the temptation to jump at a deal that seems too good to be true.

You know the old saying: buy in haste, repent at leisure.

Don’t Fall For The Cheapest Snow Removal Services

Customers who make their decisions based solely on the lowest cost often find themselves getting what they’ve paid for — and not in a good way. Unfortunately, pinching pennies often means saying goodbye to quality customer service, meaning unsatisfied customers can be left in a lurch. We just received a call yesterday from a previous client who went with a low bid company last winter. Our client later realized the snow company wasn’t equipped to handle their facilities and they noticed a significant reduction in service. They had a bad experience, and are coming back on board with us to end the frustration.

As you evaluate your needs for professional snow and ice removal services, it’s important that you contract with a company that offers the services you need at reasonable rates with a proven track record for following through on their commitments. Fortunately, that’s just what we offer.

Here at Sneller Snow Systems, we customize services, equipment used and pricing for each clients’ specific needs. For example, when we manage snow and ice for a large outlet mall in Grand Rapids, there are massive amounts of intricate areas and walkways to keep clear so we utilize smaller equipment. We also use a salt spreader that drops ice melt instead of throwing it for precise placement. With every client, we draw up contracts that clearly outline pre-agreed pricing, and then we deliver. Every time.

 

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Hire Experienced Snow Removal Professionals

Over the years, we’ve built up a solid reputation for being dependable, thorough, and trustworthy. Because our clients know what they’re paying for at the outset, they never have to worry about being surprised with fees down the road; nor do they need to worry that we will accept payment without showing up and doing our job.

If you’re suddenly tempted by an advertisement offering the cheapest rates in town, be sure to research such offers carefully and ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.

If you have further questions regarding why it’s important to contract with a commercial snow and ice removal company, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

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