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Hiring a Snow Removal Contractor: A Complete Guide

December 28, 2023
Hiring a Snow Removal Contractor: A Complete Guide
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Hiring a snow removal contractor can be a critical decision for businesses and property owners, especially in regions where snowfall is common.

With the expertise and equipment to efficiently clear snow and ensure safe and accessible premises, commercial snow removal services can be indispensable. That said, finding the right contractor requires careful consideration.

This helpful guide to hiring a snow removal contractor will explore the key factors to consider and questions to ask, along with some important aspects of the contractor's snow removal experience. After reading it, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and have your winter snow removal needs met effectively.

What Is the Average Cost of Snow Removal Services?

What Is the Average Cost of Snow Removal Services?

When it comes to securing snow removal services, the average cost can vary depending on several factors, including the size and layout of the property, the amount of snowfall in the region, and the level of service required.

On average, commercial snow removal prices can range from $100 to $500 or more per visit. This cost typically covers services such as plowing parking lots, clearing walkways, and applying de-icer as needed.

It's a good idea to talk to several local snow removal service providers to obtain accurate cost estimates tailored to your needs.

Common Snow Removal Services

Most snow removal providers offer several different service options. Here are some of the most common:

  • Snow Plowing: Employing specialized equipment, such as trucks with plows or front-end loaders, to clear snow from driveways, parking lots, and roads.
  • Snow Shoveling: Manual removal of snow from walkways, stairs, and smaller areas where heavy machinery isn’t suitable.
  • Snow Blowing: Using a snow blower to quickly and efficiently remove large amounts of snow from driveways and other areas.
  • De-Icer Application: Applying chemical de-icers, such as salt or calcium chloride, to melt ice and prevent its formation.
  • Emergency Snow or Ice Removal: Prompt response and removal of snow or ice following extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall.

These services cater to different circumstances and can be customized based on your specific requirements. Whether you need snow plowing services for a large parking lot or snow blowing for your driveway, a professional snow removal service can keep your property safe and accessible during winter.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Snow Removal Company?

Outsourcing snow management tasks to the pros has many potential benefits. In this section, we'll show you how the Earth Development team can help keep you safe and your business running efficiently this winter.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Snow Removal Company?

1. We Use Only the Best Equipment

Our snow plows are operated and serviced by local snow removal experts. That means greater effectiveness and reliability when the snow hits. We also have larger vehicles and tools at our disposal to ensure that your property is adequately cleared and that there are no delays to hold you up.

2. Our Services Can Reduce Your Liability

If you own a business, you must contend with numerous laws requiring that your entryways remain clear, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. You face potential liability issues if your walkways aren’t safe to use.

We can help reduce your liability by making sure the job gets done right and all walkways and entrances are hazard-free during the colder months.

3. You’ll Pay Less

Professional snow removal services can actually reduce your overall expenses. While it might seem cheaper to handle it yourself, snow removal can easily be too big a job for you and your staff. As a result, you'll see a reduction in employee productivity and a loss of sales and profitability when customers and clients can’t safely access your store.

We offer several snow removal contract options, meaning you’re guaranteed to find a plan that fits your budget.

4. There’s No Need to Train Your Team

If you attempt to handle snow removal yourself, you'll not only have to train your employees in special techniques and best practices but also open yourself up to additional liability when they’re outside shoveling snow.

When you work with professional snow removers, you can avoid that liability — and the inconvenience of training employees when their time could be better spent handling other important business matters.

5. It's Much Quicker Than Doing It Yourself

It's Much Quicker Than Doing It Yourself

With our industry-leading snow removal services, you'll get the help you need fast. Our team of local snow removal professionals is ready to tend to your property before, during, and after snowfall or adverse weather conditions.

You can call us out at any time of day to perform snow removal, clearing, de-icing, or salt application and make sure your doors stay open. We work just as quickly as we show up.

6. Your Driveways and Sidewalks Will Always Be Clear

Just like entryways, driveways, and sidewalks require regular de-icer applications to keep snow runoff from refreezing. We'll keep your driveways clear and safe for vehicles and your sidewalks nice and grippy for pedestrians.

There's more to clearing sidewalks than just shoveling. We have the know-how and the tools to do things the right way.

7. You Won't Fall Victim to De-Icer Shortages

Every year, businesses that fail to prepare for heavy snow fall victim to shortages of salt, sand, and other de-icing products. As a specialist snow removal business, we're always equipped with the tools and products needed to keep your property safe and accessible for customers, clients, and employees.

Don't risk running out of de-icer this winter — count on the professionals to furnish the necessary supplies.

8. There's No Need to Monitor the Weather

Whenever people ask us what the best first step to protecting their businesses during the winter is, we always say monitoring the weather. Why? Because doing so allows you to take proactive measures, such as laying salt before the snowfall hits.

When you hire Earth Development, you’ll save lots of time and energy and enjoy more accurate predictions, thanks to our professional partnerships with expert meteorologists.

10 Questions to Ask Your Snow Removal Company

10 Questions to Ask Your Snow Removal Company

Hiring a snow removal company requires asking the right questions to assess their reputation and capability. Along with a given provider’s specific services and pricing, you'll want to inquire about their years in business, insurance coverage, licensing, equipment quality, and customer reviews. Vetting providers thoroughly will help you choose a company you can depend on.

1. What's Their Plan for Managing Your Property?

First off, you’ll need to know how a particular provider plans to service your property. When a winter storm hits, a contractor will need a comprehensive plan of action to prepare the grounds, remove snow and ice, and minimize the risk of tripping and falling on your property.

A good contractor should perform a thorough consultation and analysis of your property during the warmer months, identifying areas that are likely to experience more ice buildup and taking note of potential slipping hazards.

With that information in mind, your contractor can make sure they’re ready for the moment the forecast predicts snow.

2. What Areas Do They Serve?

Keep in mind that just because a contractor is close doesn’t necessarily mean they serve your area or will be able to do so in a timely manner. Make it a point to ask each provider where exactly they operate and if they can assist you when you need them most.

Earth Development has experienced teams across Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, and many other locations.

3. What Types of Contracts Do They Offer, and How Do They Charge?

There are different types of snow removal contracts. You’re free to choose between seasonal rates, per-push costs, and other contract options to ensure that you only get the services you really need and that your business is fully protected.

4. What's Their Timeline for Treating and Pretreating?

Timing is everything. Salt doesn’t work below 15 degrees, so it’s important to apply it and other de-icing substances to the ground before freezing temperatures arrive.

If you wait too long, your business will already have suffered the adverse side effects of the weather, with customers unable to access your business and employees at risk of falling as they enter and exit your property. Early action is the key to effective treatment.

5. Is Their Staff Trained and Certified?

You should always find out whether the snow removal team you’re considering working with is fully trained and certified before you hire them. This will ensure that the work you receive is of the highest quality and that the right steps are taken to protect your staff and customers.

6. What Is Their Typical Response Time, and Do They Offer Emergency Services?

Sometimes, you need more than just a pre-emptive salting or snow plowing. When worse comes to worst, you may require emergency services to protect your customers and workers during and after a storm. At Earth Development, we provide 24/7 support and a dedicated snow management account representative for around-the-clock reliability.

7. Do They Have the Right Equipment for the Job?

This is a key consideration that you may not have thought about. Some contractors rely on rental equipment, finding companies to provide snow removal equipment on a temporary basis once the winter months come along.

If you think you might need regular services and reliability, you should know whether your contractor owns their own equipment. That way, you won’t miss out on critical snow removal services because of an equipment shortage.

8. How Much Do They Value Communication?

Communication is a vital part of efficient snow removal. If you don’t know where your provider’s team is, you can’t plan to keep your business operations open.

A good local contractor will communicate with you throughout the season and let you know when they’ll be performing essential pre-treatment and snow removal work.

9. Which Weather Forecast Do They Rely On?

Does your prospective contractor rely solely on the local weather channel, or do they work with professional meteorologists who provide their services specifically for industries like this?

Earth Development consults special meteorologists who offer the most accurate and up-to-date weather predictions based on specific ZIP codes. That means super-localized predictions and the ability to take action before the snow starts coming down.

10. How Long Have They Been in Business?

Lastly, you’ll always want to ask how long the company has been in operation. This will help you determine their team’s experience level and how trusted they are in your community.

Earth Development has been in business for more than 20 years, and we’re known for our reliability among big and small businesses throughout the Midwest.

4 Reasons Why Summer Is the Best Time to Arrange Your Snow Removal Contract

4 Reasons Why Summer Is the Best Time to Arrange Your Snow Removal Contract

Planning ahead is important for every aspect of your business. Here are a few reasons why it’s smart to get a head start on your snow removal contract.

Choosing a Solid Winter Service Company Takes Time

You shouldn’t be hasty when choosing a snow removal provider. There are many companies out there that promise reliable services, but not all of them are equally dependable. At Earth Development, we believe in providing comprehensive consultations so you can rest assured that our full snow removal and salting services suit your needs.

It’s important to use the time you have to find the best snow removal service, not just the one that’s most visible. Starting in the spring and summer months gives you that valuable time.

Your Contractor Needs Time to Prepare to Serve Your Property

Not only do you need time to pick the right provider, but your provider also needs time to gear up for the job.

Your new contractor will need to ensure that they have the necessary equipment, materials, and manpower to cater to your property. That means getting familiar with your property and sourcing salt, a resource that sees regular price fluctuations and is often subject to shortages in the wintertime.

It's Best to Discuss Your Needs Without Being Rushed

When the snow and ice begin piling up, you might become desperate enough to hire anyone who says they can clear your property and make it accessible for your customers and employees.

However, by taking the simple step of speaking to a snow removal expert well ahead of the snowy season, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to ask questions, discuss your concerns, and examine your property to find places that may pose the most danger.

You Don't Want to Get Caught Off Guard

By the time heavy snowfall becomes an issue, it’s usually too late to fully mitigate the impact bad weather can have on your business.

Even if you find a snow removal company to help at the last minute — which isn’t too likely — your business will already be unable to offer safe access to customers. As such, you’ll be faced with the decision of shutting down temporarily or putting yourself and your patrons at risk by remaining open.

Don’t fall behind when the snow comes. Have a local snow contractor ready to clear your sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots so you can stay operational this winter.

Other Important Considerations When Hiring a Snow Removal Company

Other Important Considerations When Hiring a Snow Removal Company

Before you formally commit to working with a certain snow removal provider, there are a few other factors worth considering. Here’s what to look for.

Look for Mailing Information

All reputable snow contractors in Wisconsin list their addresses (and it shouldn’t just be a virtual office where you can send emails). A trustworthy business will have a real address that you can visit in person to meet the team and get a feel for their way of doing things.

If the company you’re thinking about hiring only has a P.O. box, consider it the first sign that you should look elsewhere.

Think about it — if you can’t actually see the provider’s fleet, how do you know what tools they’ll use? And if you can’t meet the team, how do you know they’re qualified, trained, and professional?

Sign a Snow Removal Contract

We can’t stress this enough: sign a contract! Without one, you may find yourself with an unreliable team of snow removers who don’t show up on time or provide the services they advertised, or deliver to a subpar standard.

An official contract establishes legal liability and makes you much more likely to receive the services you need.

Ask for References

Would you hire a nanny for your kids without asking for references? What about a doctor, exterminator, or heating and air specialist?

Asking for references is an important part of doing your due diligence. When a contractor works with big companies or prominent local figures, you can be confident that the quality of their work is so good that others are willing to stake their reputations on them.

Our snow removal professionals provide services across the Midwest for well-known companies like The Home Depot, Walmart, Target, CVS, and more.

Check the Contractor’s Insurance

Your provider’s insurance may or may not come into play for the job you hire them to do, but it’s crucial to verify that they have it nonetheless. Far too many companies aren’t properly insured, which can leave business owners vulnerable to huge expenses if something goes wrong.

If your snow removal company performs subpar work, puts your employees or customers at risk, or damages your property in any way, you’re potentially looking at costs of thousands of dollars or more. With that in mind, always make sure the provider you choose is fully insured.

Size Up Their Fleet

Size Up Their Fleet

When you stop by the provider’s headquarters (and you should), take a few moments to scope out the size of their fleet. The best snow removal companies tend to have a large number of trucks and own big equipment like snow plows, ice melters, and skid loaders.

Some companies lease this equipment for occasional work. While they may know what they’re doing, more or less, the fact that they don’t use the equipment as often as providers that own their own may be a reason to go with someone else.

Ask If They Also Provide Landscaping Services

You may not need snow removal in the summer, but chances are good that you could use dedicated landscaping services. Ask each company whether they offer these services in the warmer months to set yourself up with an all-in-one, year-round service provider.

At Earth Development, we can handle it all, from basic lawn maintenance to large-scale commercial landscaping.

Hire the Midwest's Trusted Snow Removal Specialists

When an unexpected snowstorm hits, having a trusted snow removal contractor on standby can hand your business a much-needed lifeline. Earth Development provides reliable commercial snow removal services to keep your property safe and accessible year-round.

With 24/7 emergency services, top-of-the-line equipment, and experienced crews of local professionals, we’re the best choice for your snow removal needs.

To learn more about our services and find a plan that suits your business, give us a call at (866) 576-7817 today!

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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The amount of snow Minnesota gets each winter fluctuates, but it’s typically safe to expect a consistent amount throughout the winter months. Last year, did you have enough space on your property to store plowed snow?