Snow Removal: Choosing the Right Company

Snow Removal

Snow removal may not be at the forefront of most Maryland residents’ minds right now, but for property managers of commercial and residential properties, it should be.

Most Marylanders have awakened on a winter morning to see the sun glinting off a fresh blanket of snow that has fallen in the night.  It’s a beautiful scene. For most responsible adults, their next thought is, “How do I get rid of it?”  This is especially true if you are a property manager who oversees residences or businesses.

If you are a property manager, it you are most likely already looking at snow removal companies and getting your quotes.  Planning ahead is the most important step in insuring the safety of your tenants and their guests and customers.

The hazards of snow and ice.

Snow removal and ice management is one of the most important items on any property managers check list.  Handling it early means our trucks and personnel can be on site before the storm hits.  We can pretreat the area, advice you on any areas that need to be cleared for our equipment and insure that the snow storm is handled as a matter of routine, not emergency.

Because you could be legally responsible if a resident falls on an uncleared path; this might result in a financial judgment against you.  The amount of time before snow must be removed is often stipulated in local ordinances.

Generally, Maryland residents have from 12-72 hours to remove snow from public walkways, while in Virginia, depending on the amount of snow, residents have from 24-72 hours to clear snow from sidewalks. Maintenance workers are not supposed to dump the snow into the street, which is public property, but put it elsewhere on the owner’s land or at an approved site.

Plan for Snow Removal

It is unwise for a property manager to not be prepared with a snow removal plan. If you are in a snow area, you must budget for removal and select a company to do it for you or purchase the equipment to do it with your own personnel, which can be much more costly and even dangerous to property and personnel.

Don’t be like the property manager of a large outdoor shopping area in Oakton, Va., who did not plan well. During one of the “snowmaggedon” incidents, shoppers trudged through the snow to get to the mall to find out that the parking lot had not been plowed. The grocery store, McDonald’s and coffee shop were open for business, but parking was impossible. The deep snow radically affected the business at the mall. Many saw the snow in the parking lot and went somewhere else to shop.

Choosing a Snow Removal Company

What should you look for in a snow removal company? How do you know you are making the right choice.

  1. Do NOT shop strictly based on price.

    Looking for a reputable company who has years of experience can save you many headaches. Experienced companies have seen almost every snow scenario and can help you tackle most of the problems your property will face. A reputable company will hard work in difficult conditions, have the required equipment and just as importantly, the insurance necessary to do the job right.

  2. Get referrals.

    A reputable company will be willing to give you a short list of clients they have worked with in the past. Check their referrals and make sure they are satisfied.  With the onslaught of social media reviews, you may be tempted to rely on these reviews.  While they are often good, be wary of any company that has all good reviews. A company without a single negative review may be stacking the reviews with relatives and friends. Whatever you do,  don’t be satisfied with “my brother in law has a truck and a snow blade.” Using an uninsured source is dangerous to your bottom line.

  3. Be specific and get the quote in writing.

    A reputable company will give you a written proposal. They will ask all the right questions to make sure they serve your needs. Do you just need sidewalks cleared? What about the parking areas? Do you also need the front steps, sidewalks, and parking lots pretreated? Will you be clearing out the cars before the storm.  Are there any areas you would like to remain untreated?

As with any weather-related challenge to your residents, be prepared for snowy or icy conditions.  Have a good plan, be ready to work with reliable people and keep the safety of residents in mind at all times.

Keep an eye out here for weather updates.  Don’t be caught by surprise. Learn more about SnowMovers, Inc.