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It’s advantageous to plan for snow and ice management services early.

If you’re managing a commercial property in a region that experiences winter weather, you know how challenging travel can be during a snowstorm or icing event–for pedestrians and drivers alike. So, it’s highly advantageous to start planning early with your snow and ice management services contractor. 

In fact, the benefits of being prepared well before the first winter storm arrives are multiple, with one of the greatest being pretty substantial cost savings, since waiting until the last-minute can literally double (or more!) the price of snow removal services. 

This is why we’ve asked landscape services expert Ryan Kirkham, owner-operator of multiple U.S. Lawns territories encompassing the region of Florence, Kentucky as well as Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, to share his experienced insights on the matter. 

There is a lot of preparation required to manage wintry precipitation effectively.

First, it’s important to understand that there is a lot of preparation required in order for snow and ice crews to effectively manage every type of wintry precipitation the season brings. 

According to Kirkham, there are some key aspects that must be lined out months ahead of time and this can be tricky, particularly since many property management firms tend to procrastinate securing snow and ice contracts–something that can present an entirely new set of challenges, since the cost of additional snow removal products and equipment can be dramatically higher, if they’re even available. This means budget conscious property managers will certainly want to secure snow and ice services several months ahead of time. 

Planning and timeline overview.

To give you a better idea of why signing early is so important, here is an overview of the steps Ryan and his teams employ, along with the timeline they must operate within in order to manage accumulating snow and ice most effectively on every different type of commercial property the serve: 

  • Bulk orders for ice management products must be made in late August or early September at the latest. For Ryan and his teams, knowing how much salt they’ll need always requires a certain measure of projecting, based on the extended weather outlook, contracts they’ve already secured, and historical data of previous years’ last-minute contracts. 

This is a critical point, since the ability to serve late contracts at the highest level can be compromised during a particularly long winter–this alone makes quite a convincing argument for advance planning.  

  • Rental equipment must be reserved in early September to ensure the teams have the machines they need to provide effective snow and ice management services for every unique property. 

Once again, contracting late makes it very difficult to ensure you’ll be fully served, even if your snow removal contractor maintains the best of relationships with their suppliers–if the equipment isn’t available, it just isn’t. 

  • The team begins assessing the company-owned equipment in late September to make parts lists for items needed, ensure everything hooks up right, is in good repair, is functioning properly and ready to deliver for the season ahead. 
  • Meetings with subcontractors begin in October. This matters because Kirkham needs to share expectations surrounding each type of weather event and, as he explains he also must, “make sure that they have their site plans and we have an execution plan for what a salt event looks like; what a plow event looks like; what a major snow would look like; and then we have those scenarios played out, pre-routes made and schedules done, since the route is going to be different for each type of event.” 

It is due to this conscientious prep work that when you see U.S. Lawns teams in action, you can be confident that your grounds are being serviced with the utmost care and efficiency. 

  • Come November, Ryan becomes laser focused on the long-range winter weather forecasts, which is instrumental in helping the team establish delivery dates for equipment drops on the larger properties they provide snow and ice management services for.   

While all of this is a bit intensive before the fact, it makes things go ever more smoothly for Kirkham and his crews, whether the winter storm takes place as originally anticipated or not–something that keeps customers at ease even during the worst snow and ice storms. And when it comes to providing peace of mind for customers, Ryan doesn’t stop here, either. 

Communication is invaluable.

He recognizes that communication is invaluable to the process. So, Kirkham has a pre-storm check process:

When there is an impending storm on the way, Ryan’s teams send out an initial notice three to four days ahead of time to let customers know that they’re keeping a close eye on the storm’s development and will be reaching out again by a designated day and time with a preliminary action plan. 

Then, they do the follow-up as promised, and this is where they narrow in on their plan to give the client a feel for what to expect based on the way the storm is developing–i.e. they’ll be pre-treating surfaces before they plow, etc. 

Keeping each customer well informed is beneficial for two reasons. First, it keeps them apprised of what’s coming while reassuring them that their U.S. Lawns landscaping team is already on top of everything. Secondly, it eliminates the frequent disruption of phone calls, which makes a great contribution to efficiencies–and we want to stress this once more, the ability to provide the most detailed plan comes back to having the time to know each customer’s property and priorities, so the earlier you’re on your snow removal contractor’s radar the better. 

In the words of snow and ice management pro Ryan Kirkham, “Early planning for snow and ice management makes a game changing difference.” And as it happens, July is the ideal time to start getting your snow and ice management team in place, so contact your local U.S. Lawns today! Then, when the snow starts falling, you can relax a little bit knowing that we’ll be keeping your grounds safe and accessible all through the wintertime. 


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