On The Level: Planning for Commercial Snow Removal Contracts
On The Level: Planning for Commercial Snow Removal Contracts

Planning for Commercial Snow Removal Contracts

When it comes to snow removal, it pays to be prepared.  The summer months are a great time to start looking ahead and developing a plan to meet your commercial snow removal contracts.

The snow removal business may be seasonal, but that doesn’t mean things have to slow down in the summer.  In fact, the summer months are a great time to start planning for your commercial snow removal contracts so that you have everything ready for winter.  We outline the things to consider at each step of the contract process, from proposals to signing.


Submitting a Snow Removal Commercial Contract Proposal

On The Level: Planning for Commercial Snow Removal Contracts

Before any contracts are signed, there is a proposal process where the commercial customer puts out an RFP and gets numerous bids before deciding on a snow removal contractor.

During this time, it’s a good idea to visit the site where you’ll potentially be working and do a walk-through, preferably with the client.  For both new and existing customers, this is your chance to understand what level of service they’re looking for.  Don’t be afraid to speak up if the client is looking for services that you don’t provide, since you want to be honest about what you’ll be able to do for them.  For new customers, you can find out why they are looking for a new snow removal service.  And for existing customers, this is also your chance to see if there are any additional services they might be interested in.  While you’re there, make note of things like:

  • Size of the area – where are the property boundaries?  Where are good areas to pile snow?
  • Possible obstructions – where are curbs, narrow entryways/paths, corners, etc.?  Could any of these block access to the site during winter?
  • Ease of access – is there anything that would prevent you from accessing the site in terms of security?  What is the security protocol if so?


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Once you’ve completed your site walkthrough and have details on the site itself, you can begin creating your proposal.  It’s just as important to include what you aren’t going to do as part of your services as what you are going to do in your proposal.  Based on your walk through and the RFP the client put together, you should include several things in your proposal:

  • Areas you will be servicing – make it clear what areas of the site you will be removing snow from
  • How you’ll be removing snow – clearing, stacking, melting, deicing, etc.

The RFP from the customer will usually include snow removal equipment requirements as well, specifically whether they will require that certain machines be left on-site throughout the contract period and whether there is any equipment that is not allowed on the site.  Make sure this is addressed in your proposal.


Before Signing Commercial Snow Removal Contracts

Once you’ve submitted your proposal, it’s time to think costs.  Transportation, labor, and equipment costs all come into play when looking at potential commercial snow removal contracts, as well as having a good understanding of your company’s capabilities.  For landscapers just getting into the snow removal business, a growth strategy is essential, and can keep you from taking on more than you can handle when you’re starting out.

Now is a great time to reach out to your local Cat® dealer.  They can help you better understand your equipment needs if you come to them with the type of projects you’ll be working on, and can also set aside rental equipment for you if that’s what you plan on using.  The earlier you can contact them and start planning your equipment needs, the better, as they usually only have a set amount of rental equipment available for snow and ice removal work every season.


After Signing Commercial Snow Removal Contracts

After your contracts are signed, it’s time to visit your Cat dealer again and finalize the equipment you plan on using, whether you’ll be renting, leasing, or buying, so that you’re ready for the upcoming winter season.  Again, the sooner you’re able to finalize these details the better, since you want to make sure you have all the equipment you’ll need lined up and ready to go before the work begins.  This is also the time to make sure you have a plan in place for the labor and transportation resources you’ll need.


Commercial snow removal is an exciting opportunity for many snow and ice businesses that provides steady work in the winter, and with the right planning in place now, you’ll be ready for a more successful winter storm season during the months ahead.