“You get what you pay for.” This old saying applies to a range of purchase decisions a commercial property manager must make to care for their grounds, including snow and ice removal services. If you are collecting bids for snow removal, you might be wondering, “How much should snow removal cost in Kentucky?” The range of prices vendors present can be confusing, and we know that it can be tempting to go with a lower cost vendor. But when winter weather events occur, how will that provider respond to reduce your liability for slip-and-fall accidents and preserve the safety of people on your property?
At Klausing Group, we look at snow and ice management as a safety service—it’s more than pushing snow off of parking lots and walkways.
So, how much does snow removal cost? What return do you get for your investment in snow and ice removal with a reputable contractor that is industry-accredited by associations including the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) and National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP)?
Let’s talk more about what commercial snow removal actually costs per service. We’ll break it down so you can see how the major components of snow and ice removal are priced. This way, you can make a wise decision about the snow and ice removal services your property needs—and enlist in a professional that is responsive, quality-driven and safety-minded.
Pricing Out Different Types of Snow and Ice Removal Contracts
The cost of snow removal depends on the type of contract you engage in. For example, we offer three types of snow and ice removal contracts: time and materials, per-event and seasonal.
1. Time and materials contract
With a time and materials contract, our equipment is stationed on your property and a team is dedicated to snow removal on your site. This is ideal for large commercial and industrial facilities, 24/7 manufacturing operations and properties that need around-the-clock snow and ice removal. (Most property owners do not need a time and materials contract, but those who do require immediate and ongoing response during winter weather events.)
Cost: Parking lot plowing involves clearing wide, open lots and roadways. The rate can increase depending on the site size and volume of snow. And, it depends on the equipment on site. For example, a skid-steer with box plow may cost less per labor hour than a backhoe with a box plow. Costs are based upon they type of specialized equipment and trained labor to operate those machines. Time and materials contracts are also charged a snow readiness fee that covers the cost of storing equipment on the property. This cost depends on the type and quantity of equipment as well as the size and specifications of the property.
Tip: Time and materials contract pricing is always determined with customers prior to any snow event. They are aware of the cost per hour for each piece of equipment and each person working on their property. Itemizing and detailing the labor hour and equipment cost for every event ensures accountability.
2. Per-event contract
This contract charges a fixed price for snow and ice services. There is tiered pricing for per-event contracts. For example, we know we achieve maximum efficiency with equipment and labor when the snow accumulation is 0-3 inches. When there’s more snow, 3-6 inches, efficiency is impacted and clearing the same property will take longer and require more resources (deicing products, equipment). When snow is 6-9 inches, the cost increases to manage that greater volume. And, when snow is more than 9 inches, that is considered blizzard conditions and all properties move to predetermined time and materials contract pricing.
Cost: Pricing is based on the the property size and volume of snow. Each visit during an event has a fixed price. Blizzards trigger predetermined T&M rates.
Tip: Find out how the contractor prepares for larger snow events. Does the provider have the resources and labor to up the ante when winter weather conditions get more severe? If pricing is the same for all types of snow events, will you really get the response, quality service and safety results you expect?
3. Seasonal contract
This is a fixed-price contract, so no matter how much (or how little) it snows, you pay the same monthly fee for snow and ice removal services. This is helpful for budgeting. Seasonal contracts are figured based on the property size and features. Are there loading docks and high-traffic areas that require immediate and ongoing response? Will sidewalks require special labor to properly clear (hand-shoveling, snow blowing)? We take into consideration not just the size, but the complexity of every property when pricing a snow removal contract.
Cost: When figuring the cost of snow removal, it’s important to remember that all sidewalks are not the same. Some are easy to shovel and do not require added equipment, while others call for snow-blowers. The more equipment and labor required, the higher the price per hour.
Tip: Is the contractor aware of the cost per hour to operate every piece of equipment? It’s important to get this information. We strive to be completely transparent with property owners and they can see what the real cost of snow removal is. In figuring seasonal contract pricing, we look at past winters’ accumulation and snow events, along with weather predictions, and find the average to project how much snow removal we think the season will require and how much service a property needs. Then, these hourly rates are applied and a seasonal contract price is determined.
Expertise and Professionalism are Priceless
You can shop price alone for snow removal services, but the critical nature of this work demands more attention. Ultimately, snow and ice removal protects people on your property from getting injured. The service reduces vehicle and slip-and-fall accidents, decreasing your liability during potentially dangerous weather conditions.
Beyond pricing, be sure to find out if the contractor is accredited by an industry association, and engaged in training and education to keep skills sharp.
Also, find out what type of equipment the contractor operates. Newer trucks and equipment is less likely to break down or cause safety problems, which means better response time and performance. Commercial snow removal is much different than clearing a driveway. It involves complex logistics, heavy-duty machinery, trained labor and experience.
Let’s talk more about snow and ice removal so you can maintain a safe property this winter. Contact Klausing Group in Lexington at 859-254-0762 or Louisville at 502-264-0127. Or, fill out this simple form to request a proposal.