Choosing The Right Snow Removal Contract for Your Commercial Property
A review of the most common contracts to help you choose
It may seem crazy to think about snow in the heat of summer, but waiting till temperatures start to drop may prove to be costly. There are a lot of variables to consider when putting together a snow and ice management plan. You will want to consider the type of property you are putting under contract, the businesses and people it will impact, the type of contract you want to engage in, and the best commercial snow removal companies in your area.
We will address the various property types, contract types, and who they impact and support in this article. You can find help choosing the right commercial snow removal partner in the article, Snow Removal Contract 101.
There are few things more beautiful than freshly fallen snow. But don't let its beauty lull you into a false sense of security. Keeping residents, students, employees, and visitors safe while on your property, or ones you manage, is of the utmost importance. An unnecessary slip and fall accident can prove to be quite costly - both physically to the injured party and financially to the property owner.
Different properties will require different services and different attention. Let's take a look at the two major types of property categories.
- Retail Buildings
- Commercial Office Buildings
- Industrial Facilities
- Corporate Campuses
- Places of Worship
- School Campuses (K-12, Colleges & Universities)
- Medical Complexes
- Hotels & Resorts
- HOA Communities
- Apartment/Condominium Complexes
- Senior Living Complexes
Properties that experience high levels of foot traffic, will require the most comprehensive snow removal coverage. It will be important to communicate with your snow removal partner the hours of operation, high-traffic days, and times. Knowing if your clients only operate on the weekends or if they are open in the evenings will help your partner properly prepare and schedule.
Residential properties will have their own unique requirements depending upon the type of residents that live there. Senior Living complexes will likely need more attention than a community of young adults. Some communities may want their streets, driveways, and sidewalks cleared while others will want just their streets and driveways.
As much as we would like, we cannot predict with 100% accuracy annual snowfalls. Now that you better understand some of the unique characteristics your property may have, let's look at the contract options available to you.
Fixed Fee Contract
A Fixed Fee contract is an increasingly more common contract for areas that experience above-average snowfall over several years. It is the only contract in which all parties know exactly how much snow and ice removal will cost per season.
For the contract to be fair, both parties will need to agree on a price that is based upon a blend of above, below, and average snowfall for the region.
A Fixed Fee contract does come at a risk and is the reason they are multi-year agreements and typically come with a cap. If snowfalls are lower than anticipated then the snow removal provider will benefit. If, however, snowfalls are higher than anticipated, you will save money over the other contract options.
Be sure the contract is specific as to the services to be performed before, during, and after a storm.
Time & Materials Contract
A Time and Materials (T&M) contract is exactly as it sounds, and the complete opposite of the Fixed Fee contract. You pay for only the materials used and the time it takes to complete the services. If you or the company/organization you represent, doesn't mind a floating budget then this is a good choice. But understand you will spend more time managing a T&M contract to verify hours spent and materials used.
The risk, of course, is an unexpected heavy snowfall or a year of multiple above-average snowfalls. It will be important to vet your snow removal partner. While a lower hourly rate might be enticing, it could very well cost you more due to inefficient and inexperienced contractors. You can find a list of questions to ask your potential provider in the article here.
Per Push Contract
A Per Push or Per Occurrence contract falls between a Fixed Fee seasonal contract and a T&M pay as you go contract. A Per Push/Per contract outlines the price for each snow occurrence. A larger storm or one that is long in duration will result in more "pushes" or occurrences making budgeting more difficult to predict.
Strong communication between you and your snow removal partner will be critical to avoid invoice questions that can arise due to heavier and longer storms.
Per Inch Contract
A Per Inch or Per Event contract is based on snow accumulation levels. The contract should outline the services to be performed at the various snowfall levels, such as 1- to -3 inches or 3 to - 5 inches.
Though the cost per inch per event will be clearly defined, budgeting is difficult since the number of events per season and the duration of these events is unknown.
Regardless of the type of contract you decide upon, it is important to ensure the snow removal partner you choose has the experience and the equipment to handle both light and heavy seasons. Communication between both parties will be critical for a successful season.
We hope you will consider BrightView as a potential snow removal partner. BrightView's Certified Snow Professionals manage over 160,000 sites from more than 200 branches that include 7,500 service partners.