Understanding Residential Snow-Clearing Contracts Skip to content
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Many people have a love-hate relationship with winter. On the one hand, we love playing in the snow, whether we’re skiing through a snowy forest, taking the snowmobile out for a spin or watching the kids make snow angels in the yard. 

But on the other hand…

Waking up to find it piled high on your driveway can put a real damper on your day, especially if you’re the one who has to shovel! And we know it only gets worse after the city plows go by :(

You have a few options here: continue shoveling, buy a snowblower (which makes it slightly easier) or hire someone to clear it for you. If you choose the latter option, it’s best to get a signed contract so your property is on someone’s radar and won’t be “missed” during winter storms. 

Note: This post is about residential contracts… if you’re the owner or manager of commercial property, you can get information about our services here.

What kind of residential snow-clearing contracts are there?

There are five different types of residential contracts available, with some being more complicated than others.

  • Time and materials contracts — with this type of contract, the price changes according to the exact services performed during snow events, and industry term for any kind of weather that accumulates snow. This includes an hourly rate for labour, equipment and the cost of materials used. Contracts like this are a logistical nightmare for all concerned and give me a headache just thinking about it.
  • Per-inch contracts — with this model, you’d pay based on overall snow accumulation. It requires a lot of measuring and reliable reporting from local weather stations and doesn’t take into account the effects of blowing snow creating drifts in your driveway.
  • Per-event contracts — These are similar to per-inch contracts, except you pay one price for the duration of the storm, no matter how many visits are needed. The difficulty here is defining when one snow event stops and another one begins (especially when factoring in lake effect snow).
  • Per-visit contracts — When you have a per-visit contract, you’d pay each time your contractor visited your property. This can add up quickly when the storm is particularly fierce.
  • Fixed or flat-rate contracts — This type of contract is by far the easiest to administer and is the one we use here at Hutten & Co. You would pay a single price for the season, which can be broken down into predictable monthly payments with no surprises.

Why does Hutten & Co. use a fixed-rate contract for residential customers?

In the past, we used the per-visit structure, but we felt it would be much simpler for everyone if we adopted the fixed-rate model. These contracts are easier for us to administer and take the surprise out of invoicing for our customers and help them manage their budgets. 

A fixed-rate contract also makes it possible for us to have the staff, equipment and materials available and prepared when snow events occur. 

Snow contracts should make everyone's lives easier, not add unnecessary layers of complications.

How are prices determined for fixed-rate contracts?

At Hutten & Co., our prices are based on the overall size of your driveway. To make it more efficient we don’t actually go to your home and measure… Google Street Views gives us a good indication of the size by how many cars fit in your driveway. 

From there, since we only clear driveways (and not pathways or sidewalks), the calculation is quite simple.

What if there isn’t very much snow this year?

Our fixed-rate prices are based on  the average number of service calls we’ve made to our current clients over the past 5+ years, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be paying too much for our services. We’re certain you’ll find the level of service you receive will exceed your expectations.

When will my contract start and end?

Historical data shows that winters in Owen sound go from November to March, so our residential snow contracts start on November 1 and end on March 31. Of course, if there is a major snowfall after that date, you can have us clear your driveway and pay per visit. 

And once you sign on to our services, you’ll receive a number you can call 24/7 for snow emergencies.

How do you know when it’s time to clear my driveway?

We have a crew that drives by our client’s properties and monitors conditions on a daily basis. It’s their job to determine when there are 3 inches of accumulation — known as the “trigger threshold” — and dispatch the snow-clearing crew once that threshold is met.

Why do you only service Owen Sound and Port Elgin?

We’re running compact agricultural tractors with inverted blowers when clearing snow from your driveway so we keep our contracts within the city limits. Going much further with these vehicles would take too much time and make it difficult (if not impossible) to give the prompt service you expect and deserve.

Getting started is easy too…

If you want to enjoy your winter without the hassles of keeping your driveway clear — making it easy to get to work or pick up the groceries — just reach out to us for a quote by calling 519.376.9364, emailing us at [email protected] or filling out our online form

We’ll get on Google Street View and get back to you with your quote.