Snow removal procurement is based on a 52-week seasonal cycle, which commences in the spring. This timeline lays out every step of the process, from requesting initial information through to the conclusion of the contract, and follows the best practices recommended by the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA). Followed correctly, this timeline ensures commercial organizations can secure quality snow and ice removal contracts with reputable providers and allows ample time to finalize the details before winter arrives.
The following post will explain the key stages of securing a commercial snow removal contract and outline some important tips for working with a provider.
The snow service procurement timeline kicks off in early spring. This is when providers will start accepting requests for information from potential partners and share details about their services for the coming year. To ensure you don’t miss out on the best vendors, you should begin reaching out to companies as soon as possible.
By mid-spring, many providers will start to renew existing contracts. If you are happy with the snow removal service you’ve been receiving and want to remain with your provider, then it’s important to open the discussion before new customers start reaching out in early summer. This is also the best time to approach your current provider with any proposed changes to the contract.
If you’re on a multi-year contract then your provider will likely give you confirmation of continuation by mid-spring. If you haven’t heard anything then we recommend reaching out to the company to ensure everything is on track ahead of winter.
Late spring is when many property and facility managers begin making their requests for procurements. From now until the end of summer, snow service providers will be busy working out contracts with commercial partners. Our advice for making sure you get a great deal? Start early. If you play your cards right you could have your winter maintenance sorted before summer even arrives.
Snow service providers will normally carry out property walk-throughs in the cross-over between summer and spring. This allows them to provide in-depth answers to any questions you might have. Late spring is the ideal time to get into the nitty-gritty about what type of services you’re looking for and to identify the level of service your property will need.
Key things to consider here are:
- What are your expectations for the Level of Service(LOS) – for example, “50% of the paved surface visible/regained by 10 a.m. for the majority of road lanes”
- When do you expect services to be completed – consider what time/days the site experiences key traffic/patrons
- Any areas that should be prioritized
- Establish the trigger forecast required for dispatch of services and an accumulation threshold that specifies the maximum amount of accumulation acceptable on a site
Early summer is prime time to submit your request for snow services. One of the trickiest things about commercial snow removal is that you have to begin planning before the weather turns cold.
In general, you should be looking to secure your snow removal contract by mid summer at the latest. Quality vendors have a limited capacity to accept commercial clients, so if you wait too long, they will be fully booked. By the time Fall rolls around, only the less reputable vendors will be taking on new contracts. The longer you wait, the less choice you will have.
Once you submit your request, you should expect to hear back from the provider by mid-summer. Before the contract is finalized you and the provider will have time to negotiate and review the legal aspects of the partnership. For companies that submit their requests according to the timeline, contracts are normally in place by the end of summer/start of Fall.
Throughout Fall, snow service providers will carry out any training or prep work needed ahead of winter. By this point in the year, your contract should be steadfast, so for commercial customers, you can sit back and let your snow service partner take care of the preparations!
Winter is the season everything has been leading up to! As the weather turns colder, your service provider will begin monitoring the forecast to ensure they are ready to take care of your site. As snow and ice accumulate, they will remove it according to your contract, working with you to keep your property safe and accessible. Many providers also carry out in-season training in winter, putting into practice the theory learned during the Fall.
Winter is generally when companies tend to bill their clients, although this will depend on the fee structure agreed in your contract. These normally fall into one of four categories:
- Per-Event Service: A set of agreed-upon fees to be charged each time an event occurs.
- Per-Occurrence Service: Fees are charged each time salt is applied, the snow cleared, or both.
- Per-Season Service: Predetermined monthly fees, based on an agreed set of services and paid throughout the contract.
- Time & Material: Pre-agreed fees based on the amount of time and materials are used.
As winter draws to a close, your snow provider will start shifting any equipment from the site in preparation for spring. The process of repairs can usually begin once the weather starts to warm up, and the last of the snow has passed. Contracts generally end at the start of spring.
Commercial Snow Services in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
The winter months are a time when safety and accessibility are especially critical, so having a fleet available to you 24/7 is so important. At emi landscape, we never take half-measures. We have been partnering with commercial properties in Eastern Pennsylvania for more than 35 years, and are committed to helping our commercial clients through Pennsylvania’s tough winter season. Snowplowing, hauling, and de-icing are just a few of the services we provide.
Contact us today to discuss how our snow and ice services could help your business stay safe and accessible this winter.