When winter storms hit in West Michigan or anywhere in the north, you need to make sure your business will still be able to operate and serve customers even in heavy snow and ice to prevent expensive losses. But how can you make sure your snow removal contractor will provide excellent service for your investment? Here’s an essential checklist to make sure you are hiring a quality snow and ice management company based on our own experiences and the advice of the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA).
Companies often offer a variety of prices and services. Do your research to make sure you find a company that is offering what you need for a reasonable price. A “bargain” quote may end up costing you more in the long run with ineffective or incomplete service, a lack of proper equipment for efficiency or less insurance than needed. Do not forget to ask about special fees for unique conditions such as especially deep snow or additional services such as de-icing or detailing.
Even though large commercial companies are often reputable, it never hurts to check references to make sure you are getting exceptional service. Make sure the company you are hiring is reliable, insured, and has a record of excellent customer service. You should also check the safety record of the company and make sure they are committed to safe operating practices.
We also recommend hiring companies that are affiliated with reputable associations like the Better Business Bureau (make sure they are accredited with A+ rating), Snow and Ice Managment Association (SIMA), International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), Snow Fighters Institute and local associations and chambers of commerce.
As with hiring any contractor, you will want to carefully review your written agreement to make sure all the services you have discussed are included and priced appropriately. Check to see how the company will document work in progress and what contingency plans they have in place for potential problems. You should feel comfortable with the company you have hired and establish up front how to reach them by telephone, e-mail, and/or online services.
It’s also essential that your snow and ice management contractor has a specific communication plan of their own to keep you informed and updated. Look for statements like “24/7 weather monitoring” and “text or email alerts.” The best snow plow companies communicate with customers before, during and after the storm. You should expect this from your snow contractor.
Does the company you’re considering include zero tolerance ice management if that’s one of your goals? Do they treat sidewalks and parking lots before the storm even begins to stay ahead of the storm? Consider the level of service you really need and be sure the company can provide those services. Does your company provide custom ice melt mixtures that are specifically configured for the area being treated and the conditions at the time? Make sure your company has a plan and is prepared for every possible winter condition.
This sounds pretty obvious, but a low cost snow plow option can be tempting… Companies that have adequate insurance can cost more than those that do not. However, just as you make sure your business has proper insurance coverage, make sure your commercial snow removal company does too. The risks associated with snow and ice are too great to gamble on a lower cost contractor.
The best snow and ice contractors have a detailed plan in place for a variety of snow or ice events. They have precise steps in place for minor snow, blizzards, ice storms and other snow events that might cause power outages or reduced resources and man power. Regardless of the storm, they will have equipment ready to go, routes scheduled and a plan in place to keep their customers informed and their sites clean.
At Sneller Snow Systems, we provide comprehensive commercial snow and ice solutions for businesses in the Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan areas. For more information or to put us to the test on this checklist, contact Sneller today.