We’re fortunate again to be with Cindy McCord, the owner of Bloomfloralscapes, a full-service landscape, maintenance, construction, and snow removal company. Last time we talked about an owner’s evaluation of a snow removal company. Today, Cindy is going to get into the specifics of the snow removal contract.
Keep All Parties Informed about Contract Specifics
It’s very important, as we discussed in the previous video, that once you’ve vetted your contractor and you’ve decided to proceed with the snow removal contract, again review and define and set the expectations of the tenant, the management company, and detail that in the contract. This might be the trigger point for when snow removal begins. Is it one inch, two inch, three inches? Does it include sidewalks? Does it not include shoveling sidewalks? Does it only include driveways, loading docks? Be very specific about what areas to include and the means of clearing, whether it’s hand removal, plowing, whatever it might be. It’s very important to define this expectation with the snow removal company as well as the tenant. If the tenant is not well-informed as to what the contract calls for, then it sets up a potential for miscommunication frustration throughout the whole snow removal season.
Do Pre-Season and Post-Storm Reviews
Leading into this, it’s important to do a pre-season sidewalk, and to define areas either on the map or also listed within the contract, areas to push snow. Make sure to avoid pushing snow into handicapped spaces, make sure that curbs are labeled and loading docks, and identify certain shady spots that might be potentially hazardous for slip and falls. In relation to that, you also want to do a post-storm review and feedback after each storm. Each storm is different, and you’re going to have to be flexible as to certain expectations. However, it’s always good for the snow removal company to understand how they perform and what could be changed or tweaked a little bit differently. If you do all three of these, you really set yourself for a relationship built on trust, at least for a cohesive team and management style in the project, which will help alleviate a lot of frustration.
Maintain Constant Contact
Snow removal is difficult and challenging because of the timing aspect of it and also because all partners involved need to remain somewhat flexible, again, because each storm is different. So while everything can be outlined in a contract, you have to have that trust within the relationship so you can have constant contact, whether through email or text or phone calls, and know that the contractor’s on-site and performing according to what the specifications are. What we do within our company is we make sure that we constantly have what we call constant contact. I’ll personally be on the phone throughout the night, not only with my crews, but also with customers to evaluate if they’re on-site. Some customers might choose to do their own sidewalks, so they’re on-site and they can call us and let us know what the situation is on site, which can help us to route crews and identify where we need to be and time the storm a little better.
Ask for Job Reports
Another question you might consider is the job reports. This is part of the post-storm review. This helps with assessing and looking at, identifying maybe, efficiencies on the job, how equipment is used, how people are used. It also helps to relay it back to the bill and the invoicing so you can manage your costs and manage your contractor. Many contractors are employing GPS systems in their trucks, which you might ask them to provide those reports as well. These are all issues that, if you stay in communication and you’re willing to put some time and effort into the relationship with your snow company, then it will really reduce the frustration and the liability on snow removal jobs.