How Can Businesses Benefit from Commercial Snow Removal Services?

With winter weather on its way, it’s time for business owners to start thinking about snow and ice removal services. Having dry and safe parking lots, walkways, and other parts of your property is essential to keeping people safe and helping your business. So if you’re considering hiring a snow removal company, let’s explore a few benefits you can expect.

Reduced liability: As a business or property owner, it’s important to keep in mind your liability risk. If a parking lot or sidewalk is not taken care of after a snow storm, people could slip and fall. Accidents like these can be bad for business — not only can it give your business a bad reputation, but it can be expensive as well. According to a recent study, the average claim for an injury caused by snow- or ice-related fall amounted to about $33,000. So hiring commercial snow removal services can help keep customers and employees safe when on the property.

More efficient: If you try to manage snow removal by yourself, you’ll be wasting a lot of valuable time that could be spent bettering your business. This is especially true if you have a large parking lot and plenty of walkways that need to be taken care of. Fortunately, commercial snow plowing is an efficient way to ensure snow and ice are removed properly and effectively. After a big storm hits, you can rest assured that your property will be taken care of and business can go on as intended.

Increased business: After a storm, if customers are out and about and see that your parking lot is full of snow, it’s unlikely that they’ll try to go in. And losing customers because of snow and ice could be detrimental to your business. But if you invest in snow removal services, then you won’t have to worry about that. You’ll know that your customers and employees can all get to and from your business with ease and no one will have to worry about dangerous conditions.

As you can see, there are several ways businesses can benefit from investing in snow removal services. So if you’re looking for an easy way to keep people safe and help your business grow this winter, consider hiring a commercial snow removal company this winter.

What Storks Can Teach You About Commercial Grade Contractor Snow Removal Equipment

Sneller Snow Systems, Snow Plow: Lansing & Grand Rapids, MI

We talked to Gene Stork and Jeen Stork of Stork Plows, a plow dealer in Bernville, Pennsylvania, about what to look for when you need a contractor grade plow for plowing commercial sites.  Gene and Theresa Stork started Storks Plows over 30 years ago and now their son Jeen is part of the team.

 

The Storks started managing a repair shop and providing snow removal service at the same time.  When it became apparent they couldn’t keep up with both, they decided to support snow removal contractors along with maintaining their repair shop.  They grew into one of the largest snow removal equipment installers in Pennsylvania.

What Should a Contractor Look for in a Plow Worthy of Commercial Snow Removal?

 

We asked Stork what are some of the things contractors should look for in a plow.  “It depends,” were the first words out of Stork’s mouth.  Is it mostly large parking lots or a lot of driveways?  Will there be a lot of sidewalks and can you push the snow off the sidewalk onto the grass or does it need to be hauled away?  “I ask guys to bring in pictures of some of the properties they work to get them the right equipment.”

 

Then Stork shared, “In general, you want a heavy truck with a heavy-duty plow.”    If your truck model has the option for a snow plow prep package, definitely get the snow plow prep package.  What is included in the package will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, yet almost all of the packages will include stronger springs in front and a bigger alternator to keep up with higher electrical demand of snow plows and salt spreaders.  Most packages will also include a transmission cooler to help to get rid of the extra heat that builds up in a transmission while plowing.

 

As for the plow itself, upgrading to a heavy-duty contractor plow is a no-brainer.  You will find up to 100 pounds of more steal on the plow due to the thicker steal used and extra supports designed to take a beating.  There may be more springs or shocks too and it is usually only a few hundred dollars more to move up to the heavier duty plow, a small percentage of the total cost of an installed plow.

 

“All the big brands offer a heavy-heavy duty plow line,” says Stork, and for the most part, they all will stand up to the normal use you see with most employees.

 

When it comes to skid steers, wing plows are becoming more popular.  The wing plows mounted on a skid steer works great as a universal tool clearing driveways and sidewalks fast yet still effective at clearing open spaces.

 

What About Salt Spreaders for Commercial Contractors?

Stork points out there are a few things to consider with salt spreaders.  The first is, how far away salt is stored from where you spread the salt will dictate how big of a spreader you need.  If your salt pile is 10 miles from where you will spread the salt, you will want the biggest spreader your truck’s weight limit will allow, while if your salt pile is on site, you can get away with a smaller unit.

 

Salt spreaders are also notorious for rusting due to the corrosive nature of salt.  While you want to minimize what can rust on a spreader, stainless steel models have been seeing a comeback since many manufacturers now offer electric models.

 

Stork explains what really makes a difference in keeping the rust away is how well you clean the spreader at the end of the season.  Small amounts of salt sitting in the spreader during spring, summer, and then fall destroys the metal.  When you get a spreader, find one that is easy to clean all the salt and / or sand out, then store the spreader out of the elements to give more years of life to your equipment.

 

Looking for a spreader that has one control that integrates with all your accessories is also a bonus.  Stork pointed out newer controls like with the Fleet Flex electrical systems do a great job allowing all the accessories to integrate with a single harness making installs and use a lot easier than in the past.

Sneller Snow Systems, Salt Loading

Other Advice for Commercial Contractors?

Stork volunteered, “Over the years I have heard a lot of horror stories.”  So, Stork recommends taking pictures…a lot of pictures.  Before the winter season begins, take pictures of damage to the property and walk the owner of the property around so they can see the damage themselves helping you to avoid blame at the end of the snow season.

 

You should also take pictures of the property in good weather when there is no snow in order to show your employees where to put snow and where all the hazards are to be found.  Take time to walk your employees over every property they may clear so everyone is aware of the hazards and on the same page of what needs to be done.

 

When the snow season is over, take pictures again.  Quickly own up to any damage your team may have caused, but more importantly the end of the year pictures also ensures if there is damage to the property after the last snow, no one can start pointing fingers your way.

 

We asked Stork if being a Christian, family run business made a difference.  Stork replied, “Honestly, we try not to make a big deal of it.  I am always going to tell everyone the truth is one thing they can always expect though.”  Stork admitted not being perfect, but being a Christian also means he focuses on people, “so providing great customer service is important to me, because I want to treat people right.”  It does not matter who you are, Stork wants everyone to feel welcome at his shop.

 

Thanks Gene and Jeen for your insights!

What is Deicing & How Do Deicers Work in Grand Rapids MI

Deicing & Deicer Product on Asphalt

Deicing is an important component of any Lansing and Grand Rapids snow removal and ice management plan. Snow can be removed, but the result can still be a slick walkway or parking lot due to post-plowing conditions, freezing rain or re-freezing of moisture left on cleared surfaces. It’s vital to have an experienced approach to deicing to make sure your property is safe for all who visit your property. So let’s look at what deicing is and how deicers work.

What is Deicing?

Deicing refers to the use of either liquid or solid ice melt products. Liquid deicers are often used to prevent or greatly slow the formation of a bond between snow or ice and the pavement. Depending on the type of precipitation, these products are most effective when applied before the actual weather event, with periodic applications during storms to boost its effectiveness. It’s also important to note that not just one formula is perfect for every ice condition. A professional snow removal company knows that custom mixtures are best to accurately address the temperature and moisture of a given storm.

How Do Deicers Work?

Solid deicers work by lowering the freezing point of water, creating a brine with the chloride that bores through snow and ice and breaks the bond between ice and the pavement. The exact choice of ice melt product to use is dependent upon the temperature, current conditions and moisture or precipitation.

Refreezing occurs when the melted ice or snow dilutes the deicing chemical to the point where it allows the water to freeze again. Rock salt will melt ice to around 15 degrees, but when the temperature goes down again it refreezes. The increased freeze/thaw cycle is harder on surfaces like concrete. Even though a deicer with a lower re-freezing point may be a more expensive product, it will probably require less product to melt and control ice and fewer applications, resulting in fewer man hours and lower costs.

Refreezing is also dependent on factors such as surface temperature, chemical concentration and air temperature, and these variables should be closely monitored to determine the necessity and timing of reapplying deicing products.

Professional Snow Removal in Grand Rapids & Lansing

Sneller Snow Systems provides professional snow removal services to the Grand Rapids and Lansing MI areas. We watch weather systems closely including surface temperatures, and freeze/thaw cycles in the Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan areas. This ensures that we treat properties with the best ice management mixture at the exact times of the day when they are most effective. If you own a business located in the Grand Rapids or Lansing areas, contact us to discuss your deicing and snow removal needs.

How Deicing & Ice Melt Products Work

Snow Ice Melt

Deicing and ice management are important components of your snow removal and winter management plan, especially if you have a business located in Lansing or Grand Rapids MI where we’re located. Snow can be removed, but the result can still be a slick walkway or parking lot due to post-plowing conditions, freezing rain or re-freezing of moisture left on cleared surfaces.

Deicing refers to the use of either liquid or solid products, but in reality liquid deicers actually prevent or greatly slow the formation of a bond between snow or ice and the pavement. These products are most effective when applied before the actual weather event, with periodic applications during storms to boost its effectiveness.

Solid deicers work by lowering the freezing point of water, creating a brine with the product that bores through snow and ice and breaks the bond between ice and the pavement. Have questions about this? Contact us!

Refreezing occurs when the melted ice or snow dilutes the deicing product to the point where it allows the water to freeze again. Rock salt will melt ice to around 15 degrees, but when the temperature goes down again the remaining moisture can refreeze. The increased freeze/thaw cycle is harder on surfaces like concrete. Even though a deicer with a lower refreezing point may be a more expensive product, it will probably require less product to melt and control ice and fewer applications, resulting in fewer man hours and lower costs.

Refreezing is also dependent on factors such as surface temperature, product concentration and air temperature, and these variables should be closely monitored to determine the necessity and timing of reapplying deicing products. Sneller Snow Systems provides that monitoring, closely watching weather system, surface temperatures, and freeze/thaw cycles in the Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan areas. Contact us to discuss your ice management and snow removal needs if you have a commercial property in our region.

Slip and Fall Lawsuits: Can a Michigan Business Be Sued?

Slip Fall Accident

Michigan’s snowy winters, especially in areas such as Grand Rapids and the state capital, Lansing, are often impressive. When snow falls, businesses have risk management concerns of slip and fall accidents on their property. Can a Michigan business be sued for slip and fall accidents on ice? The answer’s a bit complicated but in the end, relatively clear. While we’re not lawyers, here’s what we dug up to help you:

Liability Increases During the Winter

A business that knowingly and negligently disregards its duty to keep its walkways, parking lots and entrances free of snow and ice increases its liability risks. An army of personal injury attorneys in Michigan eagerly await the start of winter, and they can’t wait to file lawsuits, no matter how frivolous they might seem. Fortunately for the average Michigan business when it comes to slip and fall injuries:

  1. Over the last several years, it’s become increasingly difficult to press slip and fall injury claims against Michigan businesses because of snow and ice on their premises.
  2. A January 2013 article posted on the Insurance Journal website reports that Michigan courts are using a tough recent standard, set by the state Supreme Court, to rule against numerous slip and fall injury claimants.
  3. Detroit’s local CBS affiliate, in a December 2012 online piece, also notes that slip and fall injury claimants must prove they had absolutely no other way to avoid the hazard to press their lawsuits.
  4. As a consequence, CBS reported wintertime slip-and-fall injury lawsuits have declined from 20 percent of business to 2 percent for some Michigan personal injury attorneys.

Should a Business Risk a Slip and Fall Lawsuit, Though?

While Michigan businesses can often beat wintertime slip and fall lawsuits, the bigger question is if the business should take such a risk at all. Consider:

  1. Slips and falls due to wintry conditions can quickly spread negative feelings about your business, both by word-of-mouth and over the internet. It costs your business goodwill, and that hurts.
  2. A business is also being ethical and smart to keep its premises free of snow and ice. Doing so helps increase customer safety.
  3. “The NSC says that approximately 25,000 people are victims of slip and fall accidents every day, costing businesses $3.5 million dollars every hour, 365 days a year. With the average cost to defend slip-and-fall lawsuits running $50,000 (as reported by the National Floor Safety Institute), developing and implementing a plan to reduce slip and fall claims against your business can dramatically improve your bottom line. The first step is to realize that you can’t protect yourself from false slip and fall claims without proof of due diligence.”

So who can help you in proof of due diligence and risk management in Michigan?

Sneller Snow Systems can. As Michigan’s only ISO 9001/SN 9001 certified snow and ice management company, we have endured and passed a rigorous audit process, which ensures that we adhere to the ANSI accepted snow industry standards, and maintain the appropriate records surrounding each snow event. This helps you to build a solid defense against a potential slip and fall claim.

For the best high-quality commercial snow removal in Grand Rapids MI and Lansing, contact us at Sneller Snow Systems today. We have ISO 9001 certified snow removal systems in place to keep your business open and visitors safe.