This post originally appeared on brightview.com and was republished with permission.
The sun is shining bright. The temperature is starting to rise. Before long we will be swatting at mosquitoes and wiping the heat from our faces. We will be longing for days lounging around the pool and dreaming about sitting on the beach, with the wind in our hair and a cold one in our hands.
How could we start thinking about snow? And why would we even want to?
Because now is the time to lock in your snow removal contract.
There are a lot of variables to consider when putting together a snow removal and ice removal plan. You will need to consider the type of property you are putting under contract, the businesses and people it will impact, the type of contract you want to engage in, and the best commercial snow removal companies in your area.
All of these components are equally important but let's focus on the snow removal provider since this is the task that will take you the longest. Unless you already have a provider in place, you will need to choose one.
The process of finding the right snow removal partner for a larger commercial property can easily take 3 plus months to complete. And remember, most snow remediation companies can only take on so many clients with so many sites. So, if you want to partner with the best companies you will need to jump into the process early. Now you see why you need to start thinking about snow while you're lounging at the pool or enjoying the ocean's breeze.
Once you narrow down the candidates you will need to take them through the vetting process before making your selection, designing, and implementing an onboarding plan.
But how do you narrow down the candidates? Here are a few basic questions you should ask of all of your potential snow removal partners.
Questions to Ask of Snow Removal Partner Candidates
- How long have you been in business? And how long have you been in the snow removal business?
- Are you a member of the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) or Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), and do you carry any certifications through either or both of these organizations?
- Do you have your own team or do you subcontract out?
- How many contracts do you and your teams manage each year?
- What size properties do you manage? And what size property do you think you manage the best?
- What type of properties do you manage - Retail, HOA communities, Apartment/Condo complexes, Office buildings?
- Based on what we have shared about our property (the more information you can provide your snow removal candidates the more thoroughly they can answer this question), how would you manage our snow removal? What would be your communication plan before, during, and after a storm?
- Does your company perform a preseason site inspection to look for obstacles or potential problem areas? If using subcontractors, how is this information communicated with them?
- Can you provide us with a list of references?
Selecting Your Snow Removal Partner
First, short-list the snow removal companies you would consider to be candidates for partnership. Next, completed their interviews, incorporating the questions we outlined above into the interview process. Narrow your focus down to the three companies that stand out from the rest. These are the organizations you will want to ask to submit a formal proposal.
If you currently have a snow removal partner, make sure the proposals include a transition plan and that it includes a timeline for the transition. The proposals should also include pricing for the various services you wish to have carried out. Typical contracts include snow removal from parking lots, driveways, sidewalks and patios/porches. Check the terms of the contract as there are different ways contracts can be priced, for example: fixed contract, per inch, or per push. For a more detailed break down these various contracts see Snow Removal Contracts 101.
Making your final selection can be easy. Sometimes that perfect candidate rises to the top and is head and shoulder above the rest. If a couple of the companies have similar capabilities, strengths, and pricing, then another round of interviews and negotiating may be necessary.
Don't delay making this decision, though. You will want to give your new snow removal partner plenty of time to inspect your property(s) prior to the first snowfall, fine-tune their plan, pull together the resources to support your property(s), and conduct a dry-run(s).
Communication between you and your snow removal partner is critical. Make sure to keep each other informed when issues arise. And document them when they are fresh on your mind. You will want this information for when you go through the process next year - whether to vet a new partner or to strengthen the partnership with the one you chose this year.
Before you know it, just as you start to feel those temperatures rise, you're going to need to start the process over again. If you have documented the pros and cons well, you will be able to tweak the scope and services of your contract - or negotiate a new one - to better serve your needs and those of your clients.
We hope you will consider BrightView as a potential snow removal partner. BrightView's Certified Snow Professionals manage over 160,000 sites from more than 200 branches that include 7,500 service partners. You can learn more about our Snow and Ice Removal Services here.