The temperatures are quickly dropping, and you know what that means – snow is just around the corner. If you haven’t already hired a snow removal and ice management company, the time to do so is right now, as most companies already have their customer contracts in place by this time.
Finding the best snow removal company to handle your commercial property is not as easy as opening the phone book or doing a quick online search. Anyone can add a plow to their truck and claim to provide snow removal services, but it’s not that simple. Before signing on the dotted line with a snow removal company, ask these questions first:
- Do they have the right equipment? Make sure the company you’re working with has an arsenal of snow management equipment that includes heavy duty loaders, plows and ATVs.
- Are they ASCA trained and certified? The Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) developed written industry standards based upon the ANSI Approved National Standards, and developed an education program that help snow and ice management companies correctly document their work, improve their operations and reduce risk. Make sure the contractor you work with has received this training and certification.
- Are they ISO9001/SN9001 certified? This is a quality management system created specifically for the professional snow and ice management industry. Contractors earn ISO9001/SN9001 certification through an independent, third-party audit that focuses on processes and procedures that adhere to service quality, as well as the implementation of the Industry Standards for the professional snow and ice management industry.
- Are they SIMA (Snow and Ice Management Association) trained and certified? This certification is received after an individual takes a written exam that’s designed to measure their knowledge in all areas of the snow and ice management business.
- Are they properly insured? You may not be aware, but the industry is changing and it’s becoming harder for those who work in snow and ice management to get insurance. Make sure your contractor is properly insured so you’re not stuck with the liability in the event of an accident.
At Invictus Professional Snowfighters, we are the only ISO9001/SN9001 certified company in the Pacific Northwest consisting of ASCA and SIMA trained and certified professionals.
Once you’ve identified a snow removal and ice management company, make sure you have enough budget set aside to work with them. Prices fluctuate depending on where you live and the amount of snow the area usually gets, but if you’re seeking snow removal service in the Vancouver, BC area, and other parts of the Pacific Northwest where Invictus operates, property managers can expect to pay an average of $200/hour. Typically, a half-acre of snow is cleared per hour, per inch of snow. Also, don’t forget to set aside budget for salting, which costs approximately 1 cent / sq. ft.
While some areas, like Vancouver, may not require as much snow removal as other parts of North America that usually get a lot of snow – like Quebec, Alaska, New York or Utah –, the weather is unpredictable and it’s better to be safe than sorry. You should budget on the higher side in case of heavy snow, and if you don’t wind up using all the money you put aside, a snow removal and ice management company will usually let you roll that money over into next year, so you won’t lose any of it.
Now that you know what to look for and what to expect from a snow removal company, start searching! The last thing you want is to be left out in the cold when that first snow fall hits.