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How to Protect Your Commercial Property this Winter

Having the right contract can save you time and money

By Nick DiBenedetto

Winter will soon be here – along with the snow and ice that makes getting around messy, inconvenient and dangerous. Having a snow and ice management contract in place lets you rest easy when the snow starts to fall thick and fast.

New England winters can be harsh — so it’s important for owners and managers of commercial properties to make sure they have a snow and ice management contract in place long before the first snowflake hits the ground. 

But with many companies experiencing shortages in both labor and equipment — most notably salt — if you wait too long before hiring a snow management company, you may be left out in the cold.

When it comes to snow and ice management contracts, there are two basic types typically offered to commercial clients —  seasonal flat rate contracts and per event contracts. 

Let’s take a look at both to see which is right for your commercial property.


Seasonal flat rate contracts

These are also known as fixed-fee contracts, and are all-inclusive contracts offered to commercial clients for a flat monthly fee. 

These contracts are usually multi-year agreements and typically come with a predetermined cap — this is to mitigate the risk to both parties. 

If snowfalls are lower than anticipated, the snow removal provider will benefit. If snowfalls are higher than anticipated, you’ll save money over the other contract options. To be fair, the price is usually based upon a blend of above, below, and average snowfalls for the region.

A cap is necessary to protect the snow and ice management provider from losses due to excessive snow events. As an example, the average snowfall for Massachusetts is 51.05 inches per year. It would be fair for the provider to cap snow removal at 60 inches. If the cap is exceeded during an exceptionally snowy season, you would pay extra for every inch of snow beyond the cap.

These flat rate contracts are popular with property managers for two reasons :

  1. When a snow event occurs, your service provider will automatically send their crew to clear away your snow and ice.  So you can rest easy knowing your property is being taken care of without you having to do a thing. 
  2. Seasonal flat rate contracts are predictable. It’s easier to budget if you know exactly how much you’re going to pay your contractor.

As an added benefit, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of hours or how many times they visit your property. You can rely on information from a certified weather reporting agency to track the annual snowfall.

When signing any contract, be sure to specify the services to be performed before, during, and after a storm. To avoid contract disputes, sign with a qualified, experienced provider.

Per event contracts

With per event contracts you only pay if it snows. 

And just like flat rate contracts, when a snow event occurs your provider automatically sends their snow and ice team to clear your property —  the fee structure may be different, but the level of service remains the same.

Some property managers like this because they don’t pay for services they don’t receive — but in winters with heavy snowfall it can be a bit of a gamble and you could end up paying more.

With this type of contract you'll need to clearly define the price for each individual operation — such as clearing sidewalks, parking lots, and applying salt or de-icing products. 

The size of the storm (as determined by the weather agency), dictates the amount of servicing required — and how much you’ll have to pay.

What type is best for your property?

It’s not really a question of whether or not you need snow and ice management —  responsible commercial property managers know comprehensive snow and ice management plans are necessary to keep their property safe.

What it comes down to is your (or your board’s) risk tolerance and whether or not your budget is flexible enough to tolerate monthly fluctuations.

Whichever fee structure you’re comfortable with, hiring a snow and ice management company makes caring for your commercial property a breeze — you’ll spend less time chasing contractors and more time focusing on what really matters

By partnering with us you can expect:

  • Thorough site inspections — before any work begins for the season, your account manager will inspect your entire site with you to ensure we understand your needs — and to note any curbs, fences and obstacles.
  • Efficient & professional service — during a snowfall, we relocate snow and melt ice quickly and efficiently, minimizing salt damage to protect your landscape’s health. Your account manager will also always be a quick phone call away.
  • Certified reporting — ND Landscape Services works with a third-party meteorological firm to ensure we make the right decisions during weather events and can certify our final reports afterwards.
  •  Active members of the Snow & Ice Management Association — rest easy knowing we have snow professionals who are current with snow and ice management “best practices” and are involved with the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) 

The process is simple. If you want your property to be safe this winter, contact us for a free consultation. After you submit a request for a quote, we’ll take it from there.

Now is the time to lock in your snow and ice management contract, so don’t delay — if you leave it too long, you might be left scrambling to find a provider.


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