Although today is technically the first full day of fall, we here at Professional Snow Removal are gearing up for the first storm of the winter. As a property manager, building owner, or homeowner, now is also the time to start thinking about a winter service provider for your properties.
Especially in these times, many people choose to go with the cheapest option out there. However, this is not always the best option. So what should you look for when choosing a winter service provider? Here are a few basic questions to ask when looking at your options.
Does the service provider carry proper insurance?
This item should be non-negotiable. If they do not have the proper insurance coverage, their bid should not be considered. Why? You must consider the cost to you if anything should happen on your property and your service provider is uninsured or under-insured. It’s not worth the risk. Don’t be afraid to ask to see proof of insurance. Any professional snow service provider will be happy to show this to you.
How long has the service provider been in business?
You should look for a provider that is knowledgeable and keeps current on changes in products, equipment and technology. Do they belong to a professional organization? Affiliation with a professional trade association, such as the Snow & Ice Management Association, indicates that the service provider is interested in excellence and keeping abreast of industry changes.
Is the service provider able to give you comparable references?
When considering references, be sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Just because the snow service provider gives excellent service to a small restaurant does not necessarily qualify them to handle a hospital, which must be maintained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Get an estimate
If you call snow service providers for estimates, expect them to visit your property before giving you an estimate. Not only is it necessary to determine how they will approach the job, it is also necessary for them to note items that may be easily damaged if they don’t know exactly where they are, such as flowerbeds, fire hydrants and mailboxes.
Does the service provider use contracts?
A contract should be used to clearly define the level of service provided, the pricing of those services, and the payment terms. It should also disclose the cost of additional services should they be required, such as stacking or hauling away snow.
Do you understand the different ways snow service providers price their services?
Pricing should be one of the last areas for comparison of potential snow service providers. Unfortunately, it is often the motivating factor in awarding a contract. As a consumer, do you really want to know how much per hour it will cost you to have your lot cleared? Probably not, as the price would vary depending on the type of equipment that each service provider intends to use. What you are really interested in is how much it will cost to clear your lot to your specifications.
I will talk more about pricing for snow removal services in a later blog. For now, you should have a good foundation to begin looking for a winter service provider. By asking these questions, you will be well prepared and equipped with the knowledge you’ll need when looking for and talking with local snow service providers. Let it snow!