20 August 2016 - 19:46, by Joshua S. Gamez
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Truly a property manager’s dream… the very notion of “the disappearance of snow”. While the winter proves to be a break from many exterior maintenance services and a plethora of capital projects, which tend to be performed during the warm season, winter brings its own set of challenges—specifically, severe winter weather.
Perhaps only tropical storms or tornadoes could rival this severe weather that relentlessly pounds our region, the Mid-Atlantic & North Eastern regions of the United States, during winter months.
“Professional Snow Management, is a system, a military machine with a vast fighting force and highly trained battlefield commanders”
How can a commercial property manager realize, “the disappearance of snow”?
The answer is obvious. Select the right contractor. Selecting the right snow removal contractor is critical in “the disappearance of snow”. What should you look for?
These are ten questions you should ask your prospective snow removal contractor:
- Do you have snow insurance? Make sure your contractor has snow insurance. Make sure your contractor’s insurance broker lists on the certificate, “coverage exists for snow removal operations.” Many so called “contractors” can produce a certificate but do not actually have snow insurance coverage. If they do not have snow insurance, then it’s time to move on. If they do not have it or did not have it, they are not a snow professional.
- Who owns your company? A Logo does not plow snow and a glossy brochure does not make it disappear. Every company has a leader. Find out who he or she is and if you feel the need, call them to see if they really are a leader.
- How long have you been in business? Don’t measure a contractor’s experience in years, measure it in blizzards. Were they in business when 22.4 inches fell on Philadelphia January 22, 2016 or when 28.5 inches fell on February 5-6, 2010? How about when 23.2 inches dropped on December 19-20, 2009 and our personal favorite, the Blizzard of 1996 (30.7 inches)? Have they proven they can manage the most catastrophic storms?
- How much of your snow removal operations do you sub-contract vs self-perform? The fact of the matter is, there are a ton of facility maintenance companies that will offer snow management services. Likewise, there are a ton that do not actually plow snow themselves. They are paper pushers—middle men. They tout technology and fancy apps. They are, in our opinion, the worst performers when catastrophic snowfall or icing events occur. A good company will self-perform at least 51% of its own work. It will have its own assets including a supervisor on every job site.
- How much deicing material do you inventory during the summer? Wow! What a question. Does the contractor have at least one salt silo, if not many? When winters are heavy, and unrelenting, you rely on your contractor to have salt. They must have the infrastructure and capital to inventory salt, at least several storms worth, at all times.
- What is the average age of your truck fleet? If you need a tetanus shot to look at your contractors fleet, there is a problem. Professional Snow Contractors rotate their fleet every 5-7 years depending on the unit. Old, worn, tired fleets break and break very fast.
- What systems do you use to manage your snow removal operations? If the contractor cannot describe the systems they use to plan, communicate, order, dispatch, maintain safety, communicate, re-direct, bill and so forth…they are not a professional snow management contractor. No systems, no control.
- How do you monitor the weather? What system is the contractor using to monitor storm threats? Do they work with a consulting firm? How will they communicate these threats and forecasts to you?
- How would you make my snow disappear? The contractor should be able to present a snow plan, or a default plan. This is the planned response to a normal snow fall or an average deicing need. How much equipment? Where will salt be stored? Always ask for a plan. Then ask for a contingency plan for large storms or ice storm systems.
- References… Ask for references… and actually call them. Also, ask the contractor to show you aerial images of their portfolio of active sites. This will give you an idea of what they are actually doing.
Professional Snow Management is a not a pick-up truck, a backhoe, a salter or a snow blower. Professional Snow Management, is a system, a military machine with a vast fighting force and highly trained battlefield commanders who can react and direct at a moment’s notice, perhaps for days at a time.
“Don’t measure a contractors experience in years, measure it in blizzards”
About East Coast Facilities
East Coast Facilities is a family owned facility maintenance company. Our leadership has over 20 years of experience in commercial and industrial snow management services. We have the proper insurance coverage’s, leadership, infrastructure, fleet, operating systems, financial strength, and references to put you at ease and make your snow disappear.
East Coast Facilities only services large commercial or industrial properties and/or portfolios. East Coast Facilities, Inc. is the only Commercial Snow Management Firm in the United States with its own Weather Forecasting Center, led by a Certified Meteorologist.
“Good is the enemy of great. Good is not good enough in Snow Management”