US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that injuries and death caused by snow removal cost over $1 billion per year. Injuries to pedestrians due to slips and falls on ice and sleet are commonplace. Property owners that do not take adequate care to control slippery conditions face unnecessary liability.
What constitutes adequate care? Hiring a professional snow removal company to plow and control ice is a good place to start. Snowstorms don’t happen at convenient hours – reliable snow removal companies are prepared to remove snow at any hour. Snow removal experts use techniques to minimize risk of injury and property damage. A dependable Snow Removal Contractor has the proper equipment and skills to remove snow and de-ice. Snow plowing and anti-icing experts are knowledgeable about the best products available.
Fixed prices are often available to cover the winter season – depending on the agreement, extra charges may apply at certain breakpoints, i.e. in the case of a particularly heavy storm or if there are more storms in a season than what is priced in the contract. De-icing, as it requires use of chemical product in addition to labor, is typically charged on a per job basis.
De-icing is an important aspect of liability mitigation. Any agreement for ice control should spell out what chemical is to be used. Although Rock Salt is most common because it appears to be the cheapest option, it is very corrosive to concrete and rebar and it can be quite harmful to lawns and plants. When considering the big picture, Magnesium Chloride could save money – it’s less corrosive and less harmful to vegetation. If the is no landscaping to be damaged but concrete is present, Urea can be a good choice.
Workers Compensation for snow removal workers is expensive. Professional snow removal contractors buy specialized insurance policies to cover various liabilities associated with snow removal. Make sure your contractor is fully insured – you don’t want to be liable.
What do you need to consider when hiring a snow removal company? You need to know what is included in the estimate. In the case of a fixed price for the season, the contracgt needs to explicitly lay out extra charges in the case of unusually heavy storms. The agreement also needs to explain how the snowfall will be measured. When comparing prices, you need to know whether or not pricing includes cost of salt and sand. Will the contractor remove snow during snowfall or only afterward? How quickly will the contractor begin work? Are sidewalks included?
Contracts can also be structured for charge per storm or charge per plowing. Regardless, what is most important is that the agreement calls for snow removal to take place quickly when needed. Timliness and appropriateness of response in extremely important – protect your property’s inhabitants and your liability.
Check referrals. Make sure to address all issues in a contract. Otherwise, calling to have snow removed during a storm is like looking for a taxi during a rainstorm. Many states and some municipalities and counties require license.
If you want to check snow conditions, many states show snow conditions at important roads and intersections with live traffic cams – cool stuff!