Timing is Everything: Contract your Snow & Ice Removal Services in Summer

By Josh Nichols, Regional Snow Manager

When it comes to contracting your snow & ice removal services, proper timing rarely gets the attention it deserves. As a result, it ends up happening much later in the year than it should. As contrary as it sounds, the best time to sign a snow contract—both for the contractor and customer—is over the summer months. Waiting until September or later to start thinking about snow could lead to higher costs or the potential for your ideal contractor to reach capacity, leaving you with a second-choice contractor that may be over-committed and therefore provide sub-par service.

The following are just a few reasons to start thinking about your snow contract now:

  • Planning – In general, an average sized job can take eight hours of planning over the course of a couple of months to be properly set up for the season. This planning process incorporates:
    • Route Creation – Assigning each site the appropriate amount of resources and routing to provide for optimal delivery of services.
    • Pre-Season Site Inspections – Visiting each site in advance of the first weather event to map out potential site hazards and any pre-existing damage, and develop an operational plan based on customer expectations and level of service requirements.
    • Snow Staking – Identifying where snow stakes will be needed to eliminate/minimize damages and to properly identify potential hazards.
    • Staging of Equipment & Material – Ensuring resources are placed in the ideal location to allow for the delivery of services during an event.
    • Classroom & Hands-on Training – Educating our team related to all aspects that go into preparing and executing for a snow event.
  • Procurement of Materials & Equipment – Material and equipment vendors have lead times and a certain amount of capacity. Ensuring we have secured the right amount of equipment and materials is critical to our ability to provide the best service. Purchasing these items early or committing to certain quantities allows us to negotiate the best possible pricing, which translates into the best pricing for our customers.
  • Capacity – Every company has a limit to the amount of properties that they can provide service to with their current staff and equipment inventory. When ample time is provided, capacity can be increased to handle more sites through increased staffing, securing additional equipment, and engaging service partners.

The time is now! If you are not already in the contract negotiation process, please contact your area manager so that they can schedule a walk-through and help build a custom snow and ice contract that’s ideal for your property. For new customers, please contact Josh Nichols at jnichols@ruppertcompanies.com.

Don’t Believe Us? Trust the Experts

The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) has developed a 52-week timeline that shares best practices in the procurement of snow services. This document was created by a group of facility managers, snow contractors, and SIMA staff who collaborated on the entire process from start to finish. The timeline captures both the buyers and sellers’ point of view, with the intent to provide awareness to all aspects of the process and what can wrong without timely planning. Note that the ideal time to begin contract negotiation is in summer, with contracts being awarded by the end of summer. For more information, visit www.sima.org/bestpractices.