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  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.

How ISO Certified Snow Removal Services Save You Money

Sneller Snow Removal Fleet ISO 9000

As snow season nears, so does the threat of slip and falls lawsuits and bad PR that Michigan businesses would love to avoid. In fact, thousands of people will die each year from injuries received while falling on snow and ice according to the CDC. But working with an ISO certified snow removal company can limit your liability, protect you from legal action and save you money overall.

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Reduce Lawsuit Risks

Hiring a snow removal company with ISO 9001/SN9001 certification means you have the assurance of a using rigorously tested contractor for your snow plowing, ice management and snow removal. To get certified, companies must have carefully documented processes and procedures for managing and validating a company’s snow removal plan. This dramatically reduces your need to worry about slip and falls on your property.  

Should a slip or fall occur, an ISO 9001/SN9001 certified company will have the documentation in place to help successfully build a solid defense against any lawsuit. This not only helps to protect your company, but it tends to discourage lawsuits from being filed all together. This saves your company time, money and bad publicity!

Through the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), a set of written snow and ice management Industry Standards were created that later were accredited by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Following these protocols ensures a company has professionals committed to quality management, strong communications policies in place and an ongoing review  system for continued improvement.

Why do we know so much about accredited snow removal?

Sneller Snow Systems takes accreditations and certifications very seriously. In fact, we were the first snow removal company in Michigan and the 12th snow company in the world to receive ISO 9001 and SN 9001 Certification for snow and ice management! Since 1984, Sneller Snow Systems has been working hard, year-round to provide reliable commercial snow removal to businesses in the Grand Rapids and Lansing Michigan areas.

In Michigan, during harsh winter weather, Sneller Snow Systems provides peace of mind by reducing your risk from the effects of winter weather, and keeping your business safe and open.

If you are looking for the best snow removal services in Grand Rapids or Lansing, MI, please contact us online or call 616-868-4900 to discuss your exact needs.

ADA Compliant Snow Removal: Grand Rapids Michigan

ada compliant snow removal - wheelchair on snow

There are many factors to take into account when the snow falls and removal is required in Grand Rapids Michigan and around the country. One thing that can sometimes end up overlooked is to continue proper access for the handicapped. It’s vital to make sure your property has ADA compliant snow removal (Americans with Disabilities Act).

ADA Compliant Snow Removal Tips

When an abundance of snow falls, the tendency is to clear paths as quickly as possible. But it’s important to clear an extra wide path to the building for people who need more than a small walking path to access the building.

It’s also essential to clear curb ramps. And don’t just plow the handicap spaces, but be sure to include the area surrounding them as well, including access aisles.

ADA Compliance goes well beyond wheelchair accessibility. Consider other physical and mental disabilities as well. Be sure mentally handicapped visitors that are trying to be independent can see proper signage after a storm.

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Business owners are responsible for the parking lot, walkways and sidewalks adjacent to their property to be kept reasonably clear of winter snow and ice. Even if a slip and fall lawsuit is difficult to prove in Michigan, there is still human decency, first impressions and public relations to think about. In fact, many people feel that how a property owner handles winter clean up is a direct reflection of how much they value their employees, customers and visitors.

As revealed in an ADA information document titled “Effective Snow Removal for Pathways and Transit Stops,” there are other considerations to keep in mind to help people with disabilities on your property in winter:

  • Ice and salt can get on a wheelchair user’s hands and on the mobility device resulting in injury or rust. Consult a professional for ice management so the proper product and amount is used.
  • People who use surface and visual cues for navigation may find snow and ice left on pathways disorienting.
  • Ask a snow removal expert for a consultation on property design elements to snow and ice from impeding on pedestrians or drivers. For example, build in adequate space between the sidewalk and street to make room for snow.
  • Many people with disabilities depend on public transit as their primary transportation option. Accessible pathways and transit stops should be a priority especially during winter weather.

Business owners and snow removal companies should work closely with the city and transit departments to not only comply with all regulations, but to make it as easy as possible for all people to move around the city during snowy weather. This includes the cities of Lansing and Grand Rapids, as well as the rural communities surrounding them.

Sneller Can Help!

At Sneller Snow Systems, we make it a priority to keep up-to-date on all ADA requirements and best practices for optimal risk management. We also thoroughly study our customers’ properties to provide top-rate snow and ice removal services that are ISO 9001 certified.

Give us a call at 616-868-4900 or contact us online for a free estimate on your Lansing or Grand Rapids snow removal services.

Michigan Snow Removal Law of Averages & Risk Management


You’ll often hear meteorologists and others associated with studying the weather talk about average snowfalls. This is good information to have, but in order to really understand the nature of averages and risk assessment, you have to dig a little deeper into the data. Let’s explore Michigan Snow Removal law of averages and risk management to help you be better prepared for winter snow!

Grand Rapids Snow

As an example, average yearly snowfall in Grand Rapids is 74.9 inches. This is data collected from 1981 to 2010 at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

25% of the snowfall in December totals over 27.8 inches of snow, meaning 1 in 4 years will have December totals of over 27.8”. Yet 25% of Decembers also total only 11.2 inches or less for the month. That’s a wide variance. But let’s drill down a bit further.

Nearly half of the days with snowfall in the area create less than an inch of snow, leaving around 23 days with snowfall over an inch. Snowstorms over five inches occur three or four times a year, while snowfall of ten inches or more is a rare event, not occurring every year.

Sneller knows Grand Rapids Snow Removal! Call us today to get a free quote! 616-868-4900

Lansing Snow

Data for Lansing is similar, but with an average of only 51 inches per year. 25% of December snowfall totals receive over 16 inches, while the lowest 25% see less than 8.2 inches during the month. Snowstorms over five inches occur on average once a year, while storms of over ten inches are rare events.

This data points toward a need for risk management. As a business owner, you need to keep your customers and employees safe from falls on ice or snow. Every year more than one million Americans seek ER treatment for accidental falls, many of those on slick winter surfaces. You must also protect your business from lawsuits resulting from falls on your business property and ancillary areas such as parking lots.

Michigan Snow Removal Services

This is the reason you need professional snow and ice removal by a reputable & certified Grand Rapids and Lansing Snow Removal company that takes snow and ice management seriously. You can’t plan for a high level of snowfall with any degree of certainty. You are essentially playing the law of averages, and while averages are accurate over the long haul, your business’ snow removal crisis has to be dealt with today.

Let Sneller Snow Systems manage the risk of large snowfall and/or ice created by cold temperatures for you. We provide comprehensive services, including snow plowing, snow removal and hauling, deicing and ice management, and sidewalk snow removal. We also provide outstanding communication regarding the weather, conditions at your site, and what services were provided. We are SN 9001 certified, and we can provide you with the necessary documentation regarding services provided and conditions to defend your business in slip and fall lawsuits. Contact us for a snow removal plan that fits your business needs.

Winter Property Management Tips: Michigan Snow & Ice Management

snow covered shopping carts and parking lot

As a leading commercial snow removal company in Grand Rapids, we know there are many things that go into effective commercial property management and maintenance for our clients. Meeting the needs and demands of customers and tenants is vital when it comes to keeping facility occupancy consistent. While the needs of various tenants may vary, they all generally revolve around the comfort and safety of those utilizing a given public or commercial space.

Effective Property Management in Winter

Whether you are a facilities maintenance manager or another type of property manager, it is important to cover all your bases when it comes to efficient snow removal and ice management. There are plenty of funny and interesting snow removal stories and videos on the web these days and many stem from the lack of attention that was given in the first place regarding appropriate snow removal planning. In order to avoid being becoming famous this way, become famous through the applause of your tenants and customers by utilizing the professional and comprehensive services of a commercial snow removal company.

Avoid Snow-Related Lawsuits

On the other hand, a more serious reason to be proactive regarding proper snow removal is that of costly litigation. Many public or commercial properties that do not provide thorough snow and ice removal are at an extremely high risk of encountering lawsuits by building visitors and tenants who slip and fall. Recently, slip and fall lawsuits surrounding property liability have become more and more common so it pays to be diligent. When the grounds of a public facility are not managed, a lawsuit can almost always be on the way. Hiring a snow removal company with ISO 9001/SN 9001 certification can provide an enormous shield of protection for you on these types of lawsuits.

Invest in Professional Snow Removal Services

Don’t pretend to be an expert at snow removal. Be proactive and prepared for the winter months, find out more about how the Michigan snow removal experts and Sneller Snow Systems can keep your property and tenants safe if your business is located near Grand Rapids or Lansing.