Why you need to have your snow removal plans in place now

Snow removal on commercial properties isn’t something to think about in November. Preparing for winter can be a 12-month process for the companies doing the work. And that has consequences for the businesses using those services.

“It’s a tremendous amount of logistics, planning, time and money that goes into a systemized process for ensuring critical properties are accessible and places where there’s a lot of foot traffic are safe,” says Massimo Asturi, owner of Asturi Landscape Group.

That’s especially crucial for critical services such as hospitals, but essential for trucking companies and any business that has a lot of foot traffic.

Smart Business spoke with Asturi about what business owners need to know as they choose a snow removal company.

Why is snow removal a critical service for businesses?

No one really knows when it’s going to snow and for what duration, so there’s often a very short window of time to perform the work — if there’s significant snowfall at 2 a.m., it has to be cleared by 6 a.m. It’s a tremendous amount of work, often in the worst conditions.

If that work isn’t performed correctly, it can result in extreme operational inefficiencies. For hospitals, that’s unacceptable. For businesses, it’s costly. Some logistic companies, for example, have trucks running 24/7. And if those trucks can’t move because a snow removal company hasn’t fully done its job, it can bring their operation to a halt. That can cause extreme issues for their clients when product can’t move and result in an immediate negative financial impact to the business.

Improper snow removal also increases the risk of slip and falls — from tenants to their clients and employees. Frivolous lawsuits have become more prevalent. Having a good snow program in place is not only a huge benefit to employees and clients, giving them a safe, accessible place to do business, it’s also a way to help minimize some of the risks that come with being an owner of a commercial property that’s open to the public.

How should companies choose a snow removal company?

For companies to have a reliable, professional service lined up ahead of the season’s first snow, they should have their procurement teams or facility manager put together an RFP to outline their expectations, interview and meet with vendors, to find the right company that can give them the service that they need. And they should move with some urgency at this point, as the time to lock up these services is between July and September.

It’s best to work with a self-performing company. That means they own the heavy equipment and directly employ the people that execute the services. Other companies will sign the contract then utilize subcontractors for some or all of the work. For some businesses, either can work. But when it comes to critical properties that need bulletproof service, they should always choose a self-performing contractor that has a fleet of up-to-date equipment. It’s also prudent to ask for and contact their client references.

Companies should have a preseason meeting with the service provider they select. That involves walking the site, talking about their expectations, and sharing how their business operates. A good service provider will ask lots of questions because there are issues that arise under the worst circumstances and at the worst times. The nuanced details often make a huge difference.

Businesses often don’t really realize how significant proper snow removal is until it becomes a problem for their business. It’s important to lock up a professional service provider now before an early-season snow threatens operations. ●

INSIGHTS Facilities Management is brought to you by Asturi Landscape Group

Massimo Asturi



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Make sure your grounds are clear of snow this winter.