When the snow starts falling thick and fast, everyone clambers to make sure their property gets cleared first.
Keeping your property clean during and after a snowfall keeps everyone safe — but you need to pick the right company to ensure it gets done properly!
Here are six crucial questions to ask as you look for and choose a snow & ice management company.
1. What contracts do they offer?
When it comes to choosing your snow & ice contract, you’ll have to make a critical decision, and it can be a bit of a gamble: Do you want to pay a lump sum for the entire winter, or go all-in on paying incrementally by the visit?
You’ll need to consider the individual needs and service requirements of your property before deciding.
Sometimes, though, you can make different contract arrangements. Here at Hutten, our commercial contracts are flexible. We consider historical averages for several dates and then average these numbers.
We then put a cap on the number of snow clearing occasions to keep your pricing lighter. If it happens to be a heavier winter, and we go over the cap, then we bill additional occasions at a per-visit rate, which is then discounted from the seasonal contract price!
For any residential customers, we provide a per-visit price and invoice monthly based on the number of visits.
2. Are they insured?
Hiring an uninsured company may be cheaper, but if anything happens (from a shovel dinging a car to an injury or death), you could be on the hook. Insurance is a must in the snow & ice management business, and whoever you hire should be insured over and above the requirements.
At Hutten, we’re well covered with comprehensive liability insurance. But more importantly, we have excellent contract structure and terms, site maps and a clear scope of work outlines. This structure clearly outlines legal ramifications and responsibility, and how we work together with you to mitigate risk, keep impeccable records, and provide a safe environment for the public or your customers.
3. Will they develop a site plan with you?
Every property is different and unique. Some have tight corners, and others have steep hills. A site-specific snow & ice management plan makes sure the company you partner with knows precisely where to plow, hand-clear and apply de-icer. It also identifies whether snow may need to be removed and transported off-site.
At Hutten, our team will meet with you before the season begins to make sure we’ve identified any obstacles and hazards on your property. We’ll ensure we have an accurate picture of the site, preventing any accidents from happening, and make sure we understand what is most important to you.
4. How soon will they show up?
Professional snow and ice management companies have crews on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order to mitigate risks, you need to be able to reach them when you need them!
It’s also good to know how particularly extreme conditions or storms might affect service. Has your contractor defined a certain amount of inches or centimetres that need to fall before showing up? Have a frank conversation with your provider before you sign anything — this way, both of you know what to expect when winter brings its worst!
The Hutten team physically inspects conditions every morning in Owen Sound, driving through select locations, looking for any accumulation, drifting, or freezing/thawing conditions.
5. What services do they offer, and how do they keep track of things?
Your contract should outline the full extent of services you’ll receive over the season. This outline should include timing, triggers for snow clearing, who to contact, and everything else you can expect from your contractor — whether it’s hand-clearing or applying de-icer.
It’s also important to note how your contractor keeps track of timing, locations and weather condition monitoring. Make sure you know how everything is communicated to you and who you can communicate with!
At Hutten, we want to be as clear as possible on our services, as well as how we track and report things. Our team logs all their activity on a timekeeping app during a snow event, which is time-stamped and GPS location-stamped. This app also pulls weather conditions from the nearest weather station at the same time. Since the weather can be very localized in the Grey and Bruce Counties, we also add our notes for on-site conditions to the timekeeping log.
When you work with us, all of this information is available to you upon request.
6. Are they trained or certified?
Third-party approval of a snow and ice contractor means properly trained staff — and better service for you.
At Hutten & Co., we’re members of the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) and have bi-weekly crew meetings with the snow team throughout the snow season to prevent any accidents or hazards. We firmly believe that this training is (and has been) crucial for mitigating risks for our customers.
Choose a snow & ice management company that delivers on their promises
No matter who you choose to partner with for snow & ice management, they should work hard to clarify all expectations and deliver on them!
At Hutten, that’s our goal, year in and year out. If you’re interested in a snow & ice management contract in the town of Owen Sound — whether a commercial or residential one — reach out to us for a complimentary site assessment and detailed quote, we look forward to hearing from you!