5 Snow Removal Tips For Condo Boards
Owning a condominium or a townhouse can be a great investment. However, there are additional responsibilities that you, as the condo board, have to manage. One of the biggest challenges for condo boards is condo snow removal. In this article, we will share with you some effective snow removal tips for condo boards.
Snow removal is a fact of life for many condo boards. Whether you have a small building with only a few units or a larger one with hundreds of units, you will have to deal with snow removal at some point. This is true even if your building is in a warmer climate. You need to have a plan in place to make sure your building’s sidewalks and driveways stay clear and safe.
1. Make sure you have the right snow removal contract in place for your condominium.
Many contract companies will give you a predefined schedule when it comes to snow removal needs depending on your building. In general, they are nice enough to follow your schedule but still expect you to be flexible when it comes to their scheduling.
It’s also important to make sure that you have a clear idea of the financial terms of your contract. Is it a fixed-fee? How many snow removal days per month can you have?
It can be difficult for homeowners to find the right condo snow removal company because they often go into business as independent contractors. Make sure that you research the company thoroughly and ask questions about specific services. Ask how much they charge, how often they service your units, how long they expect to take to clear your condominium of snow, and what guarantees they can offer.
Another important question to ask is if the company comes with insurance. Driving a snow plow through a condo complex can quickly become a hazardous job. As the condo board, you have the ultimate say over what your safety requirements are for the contractor.
2. Order your condo snow removal contract in the summer months.
Getting the right contractor is the most critical aspect of having your condominium operate safely in the winter time.
Just like any other seasonal business, the best contractors fill their schedules quickly.
You want to get ahead of the other condominiums by getting your snow removal contract in place as early as reasonably possible.
Most of our contracts are settled in August, but we do get some applicants that wait until October to get their contract in place.
Waiting until later in the season has upsides and downsides. The upside is that you may get a better rate, as some contractors have not filled up their schedules and will offer a better deal to keep their crews working.
The downside would be that these contractors are usually the last to fill their pipeline of work, and that is usually for a negative reason.
Remember that you are taking on a big responsibility when hiring a condo snow removal company. Make sure to find one that is reputable and professional. Make sure they have years of experience in the type of job you’re hiring them to do.
3. Understand the associated costs and risks with snow removal.
When choosing a condo snow removal company for this type of work, conduct a thorough investigation. Do your homework and find out what a company’s rates are, how they charge, and how they compare to others in the area. Review their insurance policies and make sure they meet your expectations.
At some point in the winter, the snow will melt and re-freeze at night. Snow removal contractors will spread salt, sand, and gravel to provide traction in areas where slips and falls may be a risk. The snow removal contractor will likely charge the costs of the traction material as an additional cost to the condo board.
Some de-icing materials can damage landscaping and concrete. Some examples include sodium chloride, potassium chloride and calcium chloride. If these materials are overused they may cause permanent damage to grass, steel fixtures, and concrete. Consider requesting landscaping-friendly premium de-icing materials.
4. Learn how to monitor and evaluate your snow removal contractors performance.
Quantify the expected results of your condo snow removal project. For example, you may want to know how many hours will be required to remove the average snowfall in your area and how long it will take for the contractor to arrive on site after snowfall. Be as specific as possible with your requirements. Ask for specifications that your contractor will need to know before starting the job. Will they need a site map? Are there areas of the condominium that require special care (e.g. areas that tend to pool water and freeze, elderly residents that require extra salt and sand in their walkways, etc.)
Always include a clause in your agreement that states exactly what areas the contractor will be responsible for, how often they will be expected to clear those areas and what will happen if the area you are responsible for is particularly bad or difficult to access.
Use clear, specific communication to keep communication lines open and avoid any misunderstandings if something unexpected happens. Also, be sure to follow up afterward to make sure all the work is done correctly. Your goal is to help them do a good job not only today but every time they come to remove snow from your property. Also, make sure you give them as much time as needed to complete their work. Remember, they are the experts in condo snow removal and want to keep your business. If you do not communicate with your contractor prior to the start of the season about any concerns, they may neglect the job you asked them to do. Also, it could result in unnecessary repair work to your property.
5. Get feedback from your residents and fellow owners.
In order to get the best condo snow removal contractor for your property, you should communicate with your residents and owners. Ask them what they think about the snow removal contractor.
It’s important to know what areas of the condominium require more attention from the snow removal contractor. With proper guidance, you can encourage your snow removal contractor to focus on eliminating the high priority items instead of spending time on low priority areas. Your residents’ feedback is vital in facilitating a stronger relationship between you and your contractor.
Snow removal is a tough business, and it is often thankless. If you get a positive remark from one of your residents or owners, please share it with your snow removal contractor. It makes our day!
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