East of the Cumberland Plateau, Knoxville, Tn. has its share of inclement weather.  Of course, we are not as acquainted with snowy skies as our northern friends.  Yet, at Lawn Butler, we are fortunate to provide you with some practical solutions in dealing with snow removal.  Now, while this article will not prod you to set up our company sign in your yard reading, “Unassembled snowmen/snowwomen for sale,” it will get you started on determining a solution for your property.

It’s crucial to find a trusted company to meet your winter needs and provide safe grounds.  Your reputation depends on having safe and well-maintained grounds, and the first step in that process is determining if a provider can give you the security and services particular to your needs.  We’ve had companies wait to contact us until the day of a snow event, asking us to service their property…and we gladly did.  But, this isn’t the best route to take.  Target your needs and pair them with a provider who offers the solutions for everything your facility needs.  Locating that provider can seem daunting.  We get that.  Yet, it’s as simple as the next few steps we will discuss below.

Determining Your Snow Removal Needs

First, submit a request for proposal — RFP for short.  Creating a thorough RFP for snow removal services can be intimidating for folks who don’t see 50” of snow a year.  Temperatures might still be fluctuating between 30-60 degrees in a twenty-four hour period, but the first snowfall isn’t as far away as you might think.  Don’t put it off; enlist these simple steps to clarify the mater.  Afterall, you want professionals to have ample time sketching out effective snow/ice management plans for your property.  First, make a map of areas which are top priorities on your site (e.g., entrances; exits; handicap accessible routes; fire hydrants; etc.) so service providers don’t have to guess when it’s all covered in snow.  Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask about their turnaround time and when they will anticipate showing up initially.  Circumvent unwanted piles of snow on your site when employees get there.  Communicate what time your business opens, and when employees will need initial access to the facility.  Sufficiently equipped companies will typically offer an ETA ranging from one to three hours.

Get the Plan that Covers your Needs

Now, you have established a plan and agreed upon timing, what’s next?  Thirdly, check their actual list of service.  Not every landscape company is created equal.  You need to have the company specify precisely what they will (and won’t) do for your property.  Ask pointed questions, such as the following

  • Do you clear parking lots, sidewalks and entrances of snow and ice?
  • Do you spray deicers?
  • Where do they suggest the snow get relocated?
  • Are your ice and snow removal services an add-on option for your maintenance accounts, or is it a stand-alone service?

Know exactly what you’ll get before signing a snow removal contract.  Winter events are difficult enough to predict without adding any surprises from the company you hire. Asking the right questions can prevent frustrations for both yourself and the service provider.

Increasing or Decreasing Your Liability

Just as important as the steps aforementioned is, the Fourth question, verifying your provider has the required insurance.  When everyone else heads inside, your ice and snow removal company will be out in the treacherous weather.  Make sure you aren’t signing on another liability altogether, and it is fair to ask what training/safety measures your company is a part of.  For example, while Lawn Butler has the appropriate insurance, we are also members of SIMA (Snow and Ice Management Association) and practice several forms of safety training on a weekly basis (e.g., LS Training)…and even more specific to snow and ice solutions in the colder months.  A lot of people think they can just hook a plow to their truck and start going — without getting any coverage.  Make sure that’s not the case with the company you choose to manage your site.

Lastly, the Fifth step is to ensure they track their equipment and employees.  If someone slips on your property, or you have questions about when the removal services were performed, you need to be able to prove when the company was there servicing the property.  The best way to track that is by trusting a company that has equipment with GPS tracking.  That system will track where the equipment is, when it got to your site, and when it left.  Also, companies utilizing this technology usually take pride in their employees and equipment.  This assures you that the provider is using quality, up-to-date, commercial-grade machines and attachments to clear your property which are most likely also well maintained.  Snow removal equipment should undergo daily inspections to ensure it’s working correctly.  Just as much as you desire to be prepared, you also want the company that’s ready for anything.

The Bottom Line

Succinctly put, hire a snow and ice removal company that you can trust.  As we like to say at Lawn Butler, “If you can’t trust your butler, whom can you trust?”.  Do not let your property become a hazardous zone this winter.  Find a company that focuses on quality work, quick turnaround times, safety and desires to meet your property management goals.  Our services include hand labor for clearing walkways and stairs, along with using equipment and spreader trucks for roadways. We inspect our equipment before it heads to your job site and keep all of our machines in good condition.