The weather in New Jersey can be pretty unpredictable during winter. One day it’s a balmy 60 degrees, and the next Mother Nature is dropping a foot of snow on us. It can be fun if you’re a kid awaiting a snow day, but a major point of stress for business owners and property managers.
Snow and ice can mean lost business, accidents and lawsuits, and endless complaint calls from visitors or residents – in short, headaches for you!
But the right snow removal contractor can change that, turning winter from something you dread into something that hardly crosses your radar – at least where keeping your property clear and safe is concerned.
So what does “the right contractor” mean? Well, that can depend in part on your needs, but here are some important questions to ask yourself when looking for one to serve your property or community.
Will My Visitors, Employees, And Residents Be As Safe As Possible?
There are lots of ways that snow and ice removal can go wrong. We’re all familiar with those mountains of snow that block our view of what’s coming around the corner. Or the threat to our safety every time the temperature rises a bit during the day only to sink again at night, causing puddles of black ice where roads and sidewalks had been cleared before.
In enclosed communities and parking lots it can be difficult to displace snow when space is limited, which means your snow removal contractor should have a clearly annotated site plan that ensures proper moving and stacking of snow in a way that won’t cause thaw and refreeze areas or obstruct handicap zones, fire hydrants, sewers, lighting, or other key aspects of your property.
A site plan will also demonstrate the prioritization of high traffic areas so your property is ready and safe for the people who use it.
In addition, be sure that your contractor has the tools and expertise to choose the best option for the weather, whether it’s plowing, shoveling or sanding – or coming back to do it all over again as conditions evolve.
Will My Landscaping And Grounds Be Treated With Care?
Your snow removal contractor should be proficient in snow removal, but it helps to have a contractor who also understands landscaping.
There is an art to landscape design, and an art to removing snow from it without causing damage. There is an understanding of how to protect pavers, cement and other paved surfaces beyond simply pushing snow off it.
There is also an understanding of how sand and salt affect everything from gardens to paved surfaces and stone. Not all de-icing materials are created equal. Choosing the wrong kind can result in residue on your driveways, sidewalks and other hardscapes, damage to plants and grass, split concrete or paved surfaces, or corroded features like door thresholds, carpets or other flooring.
Check with your contractor to be sure there is a clear plan for protecting your landscape and property features.
Will This Contractor Be Available And Prepared When Needed?
Whether it’s plowing, sanding, or de-icing, your contractor’s focus should be on getting the job done quickly, cleanly and safely. Part of that means being prepared before a snow or ice event. You should never be left wondering when or if someone will show up, or if there are enough plows or people to complete the job.
Problems arise when contractors spread themselves too thin to get the job done in a timely fashion. They arise when equipment isn’t prepared, or is inadequate, outdated or in danger of breaking down. And the result is an unsafe environment that’s almost certainly going to result in at least one angry complaint call to you.
Verify that your contractor, management team and supervisors have the
necessary experience, manpower and equipment to support your needs, as well as an upgrade plan for replacing outdated, inefficient or broken down equipment prior to emergency situations.
That means your contractor keeps an eye on the weather and anticipates issues so you don’t have to – and has resources in place long before a snow or ice event, ready and available to mobilize the moment you need them.
Will I Be Able To Ask Questions And Communicate Concerns When I Need To?
Weather changes unexpectedly. Mistakes happen, things go wrong, problems pop up. It’s just a fact of life – not even the most prepared among us can guarantee that everything will go according to plan. But what we can do, is adapt to those situations and respond appropriately.
Part of good snow removal service is _customer_ service. You want to feel confident that the job will be done, but you need to be confident knowing that when things aren’t perfect, you know who to speak with, how to do it, and when to expect a response.
There’s nothing worse than sitting through a snow storm with angry residents and no snow contractor in sight, with nobody answering the phone to tell you what’s going on.
Ask about communication practices and procedures so that you can be
assured of open 24/7 communications via phone, text, email, or all of the above. Better yet, look for a contractor who has a supervisor on site so that if anything should arise you have a direct point of contact right there with you.
Finally, there is no “one size fits all” approach to every property and every weather scenario. Your contractor should be able to advise you in the best interest of your property when you need to make a decision to salt, shovel or plow, then follow through with the best possible plan for the timeliest result.
If this all seems a bit fantasy-like and you’re not convinced that you’ll ever find it all in one contractor, give us a call or get in touch online and ask for a free snow removal proposal. A stress-free winter is waiting for you. We’re here to show you how.