Commercial snow plowing is not a simple task or an easy undertaking. For commercial snow plowing services, there are several do’s and don’ts to be aware of. And if a commercial property is in need of these services, the same do’s and don’ts will reveal what services are worth their salt.
Let’s first look at the different types of commercial snow plowing services.
These contracts are long-term agreements that ensure a company will receive proper snow removal services all season long. These relationships are meant to last for years, not just one season through the snow and ice.
If someone is choosing a full-service contract, they’ll want to make sure all of their needs will be met: snow removal and ice treatments for all areas of their property, including but not limited to sidewalks, walkways, parking lots, stairs, landings, entryways, exits and more.
It’s a big undertaking to sign onto a full-service contract, so it’s important for both sides to have clear and specific expectations going forward.
A seasonal contract is a relationship between a contracting service and a commercial property that lasts for the duration of a season. In this case, the snowy season. The exact months might vary depending on the season’s snowfall or the contract itself.
These contracts benefit commercial businesses and contracting crews because they are placed at a flat rate. That means if it’s a snowy winter, the commercial property won’t have to pay more for the services. And if there’s less snow than normal, the contracting company won’t get paid any less. It leverages the variability of the season in favor of both sides.
Per Event Contract
It snows, the contracting company plows, the commercial property pays. It’s that simple. Crews and companies will generally agree to what constitutes an “event,” such as three inches of accumulated snowfall. That would then trigger the crew to come out to snow, and the commercial property would owe them for that service.
Property managers like this set up because it ensures they won’t pay for no service. If it doesn’t snow all season, this looks like a good decision for a property manager. However, the tables can easily turn and leave that same manager feeling like they’re losing money because of a high-snowfall year where they pay for it every time.
When it comes to the snow plowing itself, there are several tips that crews should take. And if you’re a property owner or manager, see if your crews take these considerations seriously to evaluate their services. Let’s start with the do’s.
Do Put On Safety Clothes and Gear
What are crews dressed in? They ought to be covered head to toe, with all of their skin shielded from the harsh elements. Look for face coverings, proper jackets and snow pants, boots, gloves, goggles and more.
Another important factor is visibility. Are crews wearing orange or reflective vest or clothing? If a crew isn’t equipped with the gear they need to stay safe on the job, then then it’s a red flag. Companies need to take care of their teams, outfitting them with the proper attire and gear to do the job right.
Do Make Sure to Have Three Points of Contact
There’s always the potential for a slipping hazard when someone is working with ice and snow. To make sliding or falling less likely, team members ought to maintain three points of contact when entering or exiting vehicles. Also, this matters at any point where the worker is moving from one level to another.
A point of contact is anywhere a person is touching the ground or a stabilizing force. For example, one foot on one step, one foot on the landing below it and one hand on a railing is three points of contact. This ensures that if one point of contact slips, there’s still always two more to steady you.
Do Fasten Your Seatbelt When Driving ATV’s
If your vehicle is moving, then your seatbelt is on. That’s the rule to follow, and there’s no other way around it. Snow and ice make driving conditions more hazardous, which means it’s even more likely that there could be a slip, skid or slide that results in a crash. Drivers need to protect themselves from injury.
Do Maintain a Clear Perspective
Windshields and goggles need to be clear. If they get all foggy or wet, then visibility will be limited. That’s dangerous for the snow clearing crew as well as any passers-by. If you can’t see, then how can you use equipment and tools safely?
Do Make Necessary Adjustments for Other Surfaces
Depending on the surface you’re clearing, you’ll need to use different tools, equipment or techniques. If you’re plowing a parking lot, you’ll use a different set of tools and tactics than if you’re clearing a narrow walkway made of pavers. You don’t want to damage the surfaces beneath the snow and ice, and you want to protect adjacent surfaces, such as the grass next to the walkway.
Commercial Snow Plowing Safety Don’ts
Now that we’ve covered the do’s, let’s get to the don’ts. These are the things you should never do as a snow-clearing crew member, or the things you should never see from your snow-clearing crew if you’re a property manager.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate
Hydration is so important for all people. It’s especially important for those who are performing strenuous physical labor, like snow clearing. People still sweat and get dehydrated even when it’s cold. Make sure your crews are all taking care of themselves so that there are no safety issues.
Again, safety is so important. Don’t overwork your crews, or there could be injuries. Not only would it be terrible for the person injured, but also would it be terrible for the safety of all individuals frequenting the property. If the job doesn’t get completed or gets completed inadequately, it’ll be an issue.
Don’t Let the Snow to Accumulate
If you wait for the snow to build up, it’s going to make clearing it harder. Snow is much heavier than some people think. It may look light and fluffy, but it’s heavy. Bit by bit, it’s much easier to clear a site effectively and efficiently.
Don’t Forget to Clear Sidewalks First
Sidewalks ought to be cleared first. That way, foot traffic will be safe and possible. Cars can still get through a little bit of snow even after it’s become more dangerous for pedestrians. You’re going to have both cleared as soon as possible, so you should start with the sidewalks for your foot traffic to stay safe and mobile.
Don’t Rely on Mirrors when Operating Vehicles
With limited visibility in the falling snow, foggy mirrors and blind spots, mirrors don’t cut it when you’re operating heavy machinery and large vehicles. If there’s a direction you’re going to travel in, you have to first look in that direction with your eyes. Otherwise, there could be injuries that are totally avoidable.
Don’t Rush, and Don’t Pile
Rushing breeds sloppy work. If your crew works too fast, they won’t do a good job. And when snow and ice aren’t properly dealt with, it’s a huge safety issue. Also, creating large piles of snow obstructs sight lines, and those piles take so long to melt in the spring. Avoid both rushing and piling.
Don’t Block Important Access or Pathways
The point of snow and ice clearing is to enable mobility and passage. If you’re blocking access to buildings or pathways, then you’re not serving the purpose of your task. Companies need to be able to stay open and function in the snow, no matter what. That means it’s up to the snow clearing crews to do the job right.
If you’re looking for a landscaping and snow removal service that is reliable and effective, then you’ve found the right people. At Exscape Designs, we have the experience, the team and the equipment to handle any commercial property snow and ice removal needs.