Winter in Northern Ohio can be brutal, resulting in significant challenges and safety concerns for your commercial property. Safety is the ultimate goal of commercial snow removal and ice management. At the end of the day, snow removal services secure the well-being of people who drive and walk on your property and prevent major liabilities for property owners. That’s why we spend most of the year thinking about and actively planning for the upcoming season.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the four key strategies that will help maximize your snow removal budget.
1. Salt Matters
Over the last few years, we’ve seen some of the biggest suppliers claim salt shortages, which is driving up demand and resulting in price spikes that will impact your snow removal budget. The stress on salt supply is putting pressure on snow contractors, making it difficult for them to fulfill their promises to keep your property clear and safe.
How confident are you that your contractor has secured salt for the winter ahead? What do you know about the salt supply and how it could impact the safety of your property if a solid storm management plan is not in place and underwritten by your contractor? Salt is essential to melt snow and ice and keep properties safe, but where will it come from if your contractor has not yet secured materials? These are important questions to ask yourself. Don’t expect your snow contractor to bring up this subject during your next meeting to discuss winter services.
Pro Tip: Take the lead with these snow strategies to keep your property safe. Ensure your contractors’ commitment to fulfilling your storm management plan. Go ahead and ask the tough questions. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Communicate With Your Snow Contractor
Let’s face it, many professionals who clear snow for a living are not going to share their concern about salt availability with you because they don’t want you to get worried (and cancel your service).
But you need to know whether your contractor has secured materials to fulfill your agreement. Ask how many salt suppliers your contractor has and how much salt your contractor went through last season. Also, find out if they placed a pre-order on salt. Basically, you want to get a feel for your contractor’s plan for getting enough salt this year to fulfill your commercial snow removal contract.
This is important because:
- A stress on salt supply is prompting salt suppliers to require contractors to prepay for salt. Contractors buy thousands of tons of salt in a season (at Schill Grounds Management, it’s not unheard of for us to put a hold on 10,000 tons for one winter).
- Not all contractors are prepared to put out the investment immediately to secure their supply, especially as prices have spiked this year. Our costs as contractors have increased by 40 to 50 percent.
- The price issue pales in comparison to the real concern: salt availability. That’s why you must have a conversation with your contractor about salt before the snow starts flying.
Pro Tip: Ask your snow contractor for a guarantee that the company has secured salt to fulfill your commercial snow removal contract for this winter.
3. Review Your Storm Management Plan Now
When was the last time you sat down and carefully reviewed your storm management plan? Don’t wait until the first winter storm to sit down and evaluate where your clearing efforts are focused.
Take a close look at your strategy for this coming winter to eliminate product waste on the property. We like to sit down with clients and work through the plan, identifying high-traffic areas, potential safety hazards, and priority areas for snow removal. Now is the time to gain a better understanding of how your property is used in terms of time, traffic patterns, and more.
As an industry, we are being forced to conserve product. This is not new for us at Schill Grounds Management, because we have always sought out ways to maximize materials by using alternative methods (read on for more about this).
Pro Tip: In many ways, a focus on salt conservation is a positive exercise in storm management planning. It should prompt you to take a good, hard look at your strategy for snow and ice management and work with your contractor to revise that strategy to accommodate your snow removal budget.
4. Consider Salt Alternatives
Conservation prompts innovation. At Schill Grounds Management, we appreciate that our natural resources are limited. We are early adopters of alternative methods to commercial snow removal, bringing the latest technologies to our clients. We spend a great deal of time researching and testing products that will work safely and effectively.
We have respect for the materials we take from this earth to use on your property. That’s why we introduce salt alternatives to the snow management plan, including pretreating bulk material to extend its use and using liquid deicing materials that tread lightly on the environment.
For many contractors, supply shortages like the one we are experiencing now will force them to consider, “What now?”
We’re happy to say that we’ve been asking ourselves, “What next?” all along as we introduce snow and ice solutions that maximize the use of our materials. This is beneficial for your budget and aligns with sustainability values that are important to all of us.
Pro Tip: Ask your contractor about alternatives to rock salt and how the company plans to maximize the use of other materials on your property to keep the property safe.
Ask a Snow Industry Expert
The team at Schill Grounds Management understands that you need a responsive, strategic partner to keep your property safe and clear during Northeast Ohio’s grueling winters. Don’t wait until the snow flies to get a guarantee from your contractor. Contact us today.