Hiring commercial snow removal services when the nightly forecast calls for a storm-of-the-century blizzard the next morning only ends up being a lesson in how to respond to through-the-roof quotes and possibly being blatantly laughed at over the phone. When the leaves turn, begin your browsing.
The Washington, D.C. area is one of the nation’s metropolitan areas that Mother Nature marks with a bullseye every December for treacherous eastern snowfalls that grind all activity to a screeching halt in a matter of hours. A pre-negotiated contract with a reputable snow-removal team equipped with heavy-duty trucks and other equipment should be as much a given among your winter preparations as furnace inspections and stocking salt, shovels, warm clothing and blankets in vehicle trunks.
IF you can find a last-minute service to clear your property’s driveway, sidewalk, parking lot or easements – and, again, that isn’t exactly assured – expect to pay far more than a more structured full-season fixed price or a price-per-inch agreement. It’s far more likely to find a business that rewards early booking with valuable discounts. Still, just in case that somehow isn’t enough incentive…
- BEAUTY AND INACCESSIBILITY
Nature gifts the Earth with few sights quite as spellbindingly serene as new-fallen snow. It blankets the world in virginal beauty in remarkably short order, but it just as quickly stymies traffic with impassable roads and binds residents to their homes as it accumulates on highways, city streets, and well-traveled pedestrian routes to work, school, and other daily destinations.
Once the buildup begins, the danger of icy and snowy walkways hiding slip-and-fall dangers can make clearing paths in a timely manner a must for county and municipal snowplows. Unfortunately, that leaves considerably less leeway for local snow removal services to prioritize private properties when they may be called upon by local governments to support street and highway clearing efforts. Never bet on last-minute luck. Apartment management companies, homeowners, homeowners associations and owners of all manner of commercial buildings and parking lots are encouraged to lock in their snow-removal contingencies to contracts prudently before the season begins.
- DEFENDING LIABILITY
One of the most hazardous risks of frozen, snowy weather is what motorists and pedestrians can’t see plainly. Accumulating snow can deftly hide wet, icy walkways that pose serious liability risks of slip-and-fall accidents. When these unfortunate mishaps lead to serious injuries, property owners can bear the brunt of thousands upon thousands of dollars in civil damages sought by injured parties. There is no understating the value of minimizing these dangers by contracting a dependable service to keep specific highly traveled areas safely cleared, especially once snowfall builds up past a negotiated level – say, more than an inch.
- CHOOSING WISELY
Quality professional snow removal should offer so much more than a couple next-door teenagers with young legs, strong backs, and a few good shovels or a neighbor with a truck and a blade. The best of the best of dedicated professionals who perform the quickest removals possible while keeping their cleanup thorough.
Many landscaping companies’ employees have extensive experience driving heavier-duty trucks. In parts of the country prone to massive snowfalls, they switch gears with the seasons by offering snowplow services. If you already have a contracted commercial landscaper, you may already have yourself a contracted snow removal service.
When starting a search for snow removal in D.C. fresh or transitioning services, look for referrals from people you trust. Friends, business owners and especially your local Better Business Bureau can likely suggest several licensed, bonded companies. These are outstanding resources, but the Internet often provides even more in-depth insight. A scan of Yelp, Google, Angie’s List and any number of other social review hubs will typically provide some quite detailed personal accounts of experiences with various companies. Take them to heart, but bear in mind, displeased customers are sometimes far more likely to spend the time and effort of leaving a review at all than a satisfied property owner.
If you are a first-time user of snowplow services or you need to change companies, you might get referrals for licensed, bonded companies from friends or other business owners, or you can check with your local Better Business Bureau. You can also read reviews from snow-removal customers on Yelp, Google and other social media review sites.