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4 Types of Business Snow Removal Plans

What Is The Right Snow Removal Plan For Your Business?

This has been a bit of an odd year for our weather in Cache Valley. We had a dry summer, as usual, then a wet fall, but in the middle, we had an early snow storm that hit us by surprise. It melted within a few days, but it has us thinking about our snow removal plans.  Do you have your snow removal plan ready yet? CV Lawn King, a landscaping company that does snow removal during the winter, talks a lot about the need to have a plan for snow removal. What is yours? How you manage it should fit the type of business you run.

Types of Snow Removal Plans

snow removal with a shovel1. Self-Service

The most basic snow removal plan is to just do it yourself. Get a shovel and go at it, or have an employee paid to do it for you. This can be the cheaper option, but it’s also time consuming for you and will require you to get to work earlier on snowy days to do it. This plan works best for very small businesses, the types that don’t have their own parking lots. If you only have to shovel a few walkways around your building, doing it yourself saves you money.

2. The Mixed Approach

For businesses that have their own parking lots, a shovel won’t cut it. To really clear a parking lot, you’ll need a plow. You can rent one to attach to a truck and do this yourself, then use a shovel to clean up the sidewalks. This is where you start to run into the question of how much your time is worth, however. You’ll have to wake up even earlier to do this yourself, but it’s still doable. The question is how much time you want to spend on it. You can hire someone to plow your parking lot for you, while you do the sidewalks yourself. This will speed up the process, while reducing the price of hiring someone.

3. Hiring Help

If you’re a large business with a huge parking lot, doing it all yourself is really not an option. There’s just too much.  You’ll either have to get up MUCH earlier, or open later.  Neither of these options makes for a good time. Hiring someone to handle your snow removal in this case is usually the best option. The time you spend doing it yourself can cut into the time you spend running your business, so the saving becomes a moot point. If this is the sort of thing you care about, hiring someone to do it for you is a good way to support local businesses, too.

snow removal with a plow4. Owning All Your Own Equipment

For a very big and successful business, one option might be to simply own your own plow and have an in-house team with this responsibility. This has a significant up-front cost.  You have to buy the equipment and have a place to store it when it’s not being used. Storage means either renting a storage unit, or having a garage attached to your company. Either way can be expensive.

For places like Cache Valley, where we get maybe a couple of snow storms a year and only occasional powder the rest of winter, this is probably not economically feasible. The extra cost of purchasing the equipment and storing it doesn’t mean too big a savings for the few times you’ll really need to bring it out. If you’re living somewhere that heavy snows are a more consistent thing, however, this is definitely an option that could save you money in the long run.

Make Sure Your Snow Removal Plan Is Flexible

One problem you can run into is the lack of a back-up plan. If your plan relies on hiring someone to cover your snow removal, that’s probably going to work most of the time. That said, there is always the possibility the weather surprises us. I still remember one year when I was younger that several nasty snowstorms came through the valley. Not only did we get a couple of feet of snow over a few days, but strong winds pushed the snow into piles that could be as high as six feet tall against buildings. While that was fun for riding sleds, it was probably more of a hassle for businesses who needed it gone.

If something like that happens, a lot of people will be scrambling for extra help they might not have normally needed. Snow removal companies can get backed up.  You may find it harder to find someone to help. Or you might be one of those smaller businesses who suddenly needs help they normally wouldn’t. You should prepare for this possibility with a back-up plan. Don’t rely on a single company to help, but instead find out who else there is to go to if the usual help gets overloaded.  Know what your options are so you don’t find yourself searching desperately on the day you need it.