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The Top 10 Questions HOAs Should Ask Their Snow Removal Vendors

Teal-colored snow plow truck pushes large pile of snow down road

During winter, homeowners' associations (HOAs) must proactively address the challenges posed by the season’s snow and ice-filled weather. A crucial aspect of winter preparedness is choosing the right snow removal vendor. A dedicated snow removal vendor not only enhances safety but also protects property values by maintaining accessibility. From safeguarding residents to mitigating legal liabilities, the benefits of a reliable snow removal vendor cannot be overstated. Read on to learn what you should consider when selecting a snow removal partner, including the top 10 questions to ask before signing on the dotted line.

How to Find a Snow Removal Vendor

As a community leader, providing a swift and efficient response to winter weather is paramount. To kickstart the search for a suitable snow removal vendor, embrace a proactive approach:

  • Get a head start. Initiating the vendor search in late summer or early fall allows ample time for evaluations and negotiations. This is crucial in securing a vendor capable of meeting the specific needs of your community with their available time and resources.
  • Check multiple companies. Cast a wide net when researching potential snow and ice removal vendors. Assess their reputation, experience, and client testimonials. This comprehensive approach ensures the selected vendor aligns with the requirements of your HOA.
  • Understand the 3 Ps: pricing, personnel, and process. Transparent communication about pricing structures, the qualifications of the personnel involved, and the overall snow removal process is essential. These elements will drive the relationship your community has with its snow removal vendor company.

The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Snow Removal Vendor

Finding the right snow removal partner for your community may take some time. To get the clarity needed to make an informed decision on your options, consider asking potential vendors these 10 critical questions.

  1. How Big Is Your Team?

A vendor with a robust team ensures snow removal is timely and efficient. Understanding the size and capacity of the vendor's workforce is key to gauging their ability to handle your community's needs.

  1. What’s Your Response Time in an Emergency Event?

Speedy response times during emergency events are vital to the safety of community members. You want to hire a vendor company that can clear paths and get residents back on track with daily activities as quickly as possible. Knowing the vendor's capabilities in handling urgent situations helps give HOAs confidence in their ability to manage challenges.

  1. What Do You Do with the Snow That You Remove from Roadways?

Proper disposal of removed snow is often overlooked. However, a vendor that makes your snow issue someone else’s may cost you more in the long run. Guaranteeing the vendor adheres to responsible and legal snow removal practices is crucial for environmental sustainability and legal compliance.

  1. Is Your Company Insured?

Insurance coverage protects both the vendor and the HOA. It’s imperative to verify that the snow removal company carries adequate liability insurance, mitigating risks associated with property damage or accidents. Without the correct coverage, your association may be responsible for covering costs due to vendor error or negligence.

Snow covering a row of homes, bare trees, and cars sitting in driveways.

Figuring out HOA insurance can be a detailed process. Read our “HOA Insurance FAQs for Beginners” ebook today to get the information you need.

  1. Does Your Company Hold Any Relevant Certifications?

Certifications validate a snow removal vendor's expertise and commitment to industry standards. The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) and Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) are the main organizations that provide designations. Certifications, like the ISO 9001/SN9001, verify that a contractor has been rigorously tested for proper snow plowing, ice management, and snow removal practices. Inquiring about certifications provides a better look at a vendor’s proficiency in handling winter weather challenges.

  1. How Does Your Pricing Work?

Any proposal you receive for snow removal services should include pricing details. Line-item pricing should break down the costs of everything from snow removal from parking lots and driveways to sidewalks and patios. Also confirm that services are priced on a fixed number instead of per-inch or push-of-machinery. A fixed cost on a contract ensures you know what you’re paying for. Pricing on a per-inch or push-of-machinery scale may include unexpected surges in billing. Understand winter weather trends before you sign a contract to get the best bang for your buck.

  1. How Long Have You Been in the Snow Removal Business?

Experience is a major indicator of a vendor's ability to navigate various winter conditions. Longevity in the snow removal business suggests a proven track record and adaptability to evolving industry standards.

  1. Do You Perform a Preseason Site Inspection?

A preseason site inspection allows vendors to familiarize themselves with the property's nuances for a more effective and tailored snow removal plan. Your snow removal partner should be prepared to inspect your property prior to the first snowfall, fine-tune their plan, pull together the resources to support your community, and conduct a dry run for removal.

  1. How Would You Manage the Snow Removal for Our Property?

Snow removal isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Prospective vendors should be able to explain their approach to snow removal for a seamless and effective winter maintenance plan.

  1. Can You Provide Us with References?

Requesting references allows the HOA to gain insights into the vendor's performance from other communities. First-hand accounts from associations like yours can offer a realistic preview of what to expect. If the feedback you get is positive, you have reassurance about the vendor's reliability and professionalism.

Need some additional ways to find the right vendor for your community? Follow our “8 Steps To Choosing The Right Vendors For Your Community” ebook to make the perfect pick!

HOA Winter Maintenance Guide

By asking your potential snow removal vendor these 10 pertinent questions, HOA boards can make informed choices to guarantee a safe and accessible community during winter. Selecting the right snow removal vendor is a decision that significantly impacts the winter experience for an HOA and its residents, but it’s not the only thing that associations should be looking to take care of during the season. For further guidance on HOA winter maintenance, download our comprehensive “HOA Winter Maintenance Guide” ebook.