How to choose the right snow clearing service

Choosing the right snow removal service is a crucial step in winter preparation for businesses and homeowners alike. Here are seven expert tips for choosing a reputable and reliable contractor this season.

Step #1: Request an on-site visit or appraisal

Your snow removal contractor should visit the property and take notes on requested services and potential obstacles before the first snowfall. This allows them to accurately estimate the amount of time and effort it will take to maintain the area.

Step #2: Ask for a schedule

Different properties have different snow removal requirements. Where one weekly plowing is required, another may require bi-weekly plowing, or only cleaning after a fresh snowfall. Knowing when to expect your contractor to arrive can help you plan alternate snow removal practices between visits, such as: B. shovels, salts, etc.

Keep in mind: Some contractors perform snow plowing services as a part-time job, which can affect their availability. Be sure to confirm their hours of operation before winter hits.

Step #3: Check their references

It is important that you hire a known, licensed and bonded professional to do your snow removal service.

While some homeowners might fall into the trap of choosing less reputable contractors for a lower price, snow removal (and its potential impact on the safety of you and those on your property) is not an area where you should prioritize savings over safety.

A quick Google search should give you an idea of ​​a company’s reputation, but it never hurts to ask for references. A company with a good reputation should be able to provide these, and any company reluctant to do so is probably not as reputable as it should be.

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Step #4: Ask for the insurance certificate

The company you choose for your snow removal service should be properly insured in case of any accident or damage it causes. Ideally they should be able to provide a copy of their insurance which you should keep throughout your contract.

Most importantly, this documentation should demonstrate that their liability and workers’ compensation insurance is current.

Step #5: Always get a written contract

Talking to a snow removal company is just the first step in solidifying your coverage. Always make sure you draw up a detailed contract before the start of the season. A valid contract contains sections on:

  • Scope of services to be provided (ploughing, shoveling, sanding/salting)
  • The unique needs of your property (e.g. parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, roof coverings)
  • The frequency or conditions of their visits (i.e. the amount of snow required for them to appear, days of the week they plan to plow, etc.)
  • your payment expectations

Did you know: Most contractors use either a pay-per-plowing or pay-per-season model. Being asked to pay all fees upfront should be a red flag that the contractor is not reputable, as most contractors split fees into multiple payments during the season.

Read everything before you sign and note any cancellation fees and additional fees that may apply.

Step #6: Remember to rate

Most home and business owners make the mistake of setting up a snow removal plan and considering their part of the process complete. However, it is also important to monitor the contractor’s work throughout the season.

Ensure that snow and ice are removed in a timely manner and according to the established contract after a weather event. If not, fix any issues and adjust future seasonal contracts as needed to avoid further glitches.

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Step #7: Review your insurance policies every winter

Creating a snow removal plan is essential to ensure the safety of those entering your property during the winter months – but accidents still happen from time to time.
Make sure you are covered Check your policy limits and coverage details for your commercial property insurance (for business owners) or yours Homeowners Insurance (for private property owners) Policies before the first snowfall. Knowing you’re covered should someone get injured on your property gives you the peace of mind that you can keep working throughout the winter, no matter how much snow falls.

This article was originally published in February 2021. It has since been updated for accuracy.

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