December 1, 2022 2:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A commercial winter maintenance agreement should always include these and other details; 1) timing of removal, 2) snow disposal location, 3) price, 4) service options, and 5) proof of insurance and WSIB. Written snow and ice removal agreements with lots of details will ensure you get the type of service you want and will protect you in the event of a dispute. 

Detailed contracts help compare commercial snow removal contracts and should address these topics:

  1. Timing of snow and ice removal after a snowfall
  2. What constitutes a snowfall?
  3. How is pricing determined?
  4. Service options
  5. Types and extent of insurance
  6. Where will the snow be collected or relocated?
  7. Are lofty verbal promises also in writing?

1. Timing of snow and ice removal after a snowfall

  • A contract should state how long the company allows between a snowfall and the clearing of that snow.
  • Some contractors will not put in writing an allotted time to respond to a snowfall meaning the more ambiguous the agreement is, the less likely it will be that your services will be consistent.
  • How long is “as soon as I can after a snowfall”? You may find yourself on the phone all winter with questions about timing.
  • If you want the parking lot cleared before customers show up, provide that time and the days required and have it recorded in the agreement.

2. What constitutes a snowfall?

Hint: they should come out to clear even an inch of snow and salt and clear walkways; light snowfalls are notoriously slippery, which can leave you open to slip-and-fall legal suits.
  • It is essential to understand a company’s definition of a snowfall that prompts a service visit for you to compare contracts.
  • Do they come out for snowfalls over an inch or only over two inches? Three inches? 

Slip-and-fall liability suits are on the rise. Having a detailed contract with a commercial snow and ice removal company will be of benefit, not only for the safety of your customers and staff but, in the case of a lawsuit, as proof that you are responsibly addressing their safety.

Read our article,
‘How to Avoid Wintertime Slips & Falls on Your Commercial Business Property.

3. How is pricing determined?

A contract goes both ways.
  • If a line in the contract states the contractor has the right to keep the property safe at all times, it can be an obligation on your behalf to pay for a lot of extra site visits.
  • Flat-rate contracts are always the easiest to plan; they may initially look more expensive but are the most cost-effective type of contract.

4. Service options

Environment and pet and animal-safe salt is top of mind for apartment buildings and condominium complexes. More than 70% less corrosive and harmful than road salt, it is always a good fit.
  • London Snowplow & Landscape uses a highly heralded, locally made, environment-friendly, pet-friendly deicer for walkways and steps.
  • Ask too about the contractor’s equipment. Do they use snowblowers, salters, dump trucks, snowplows, and sidewalk machines?
  • What if one of their vehicles breaks down / do they have another available to them?

    • 5. Types of insurance they have

      Your contract needs to include details of what they are responsible for and what they are not responsible for.
      • What will be their minimum plowing distance from parked vehicles, and what details do they provide under, natural disaster incidents?
      • To avoid disputes, this needs to be written in the contract.
      • A contractor should provide their insurance papers. If not, ask for a current liability insurance document; a snow and ice removal company should have at least 5 Million Dollars in liability insurance and amendments for snow services.
      • Request a current issue of their WSIB clearance certificate for their employees. A smaller company may not be able to afford the proper insurance required, which keeps you from being legally responsible for mishaps that are typically under the contractor’s responsibility.

      6. Where will the snow be collected or relocated?

      A contractor should walk the site with you.

      7. Are lofty verbal promises also in writing?

      • Eager and enthusiastic companies may let their lofty promises to provide white glove service get away from them. If these promises won them a contract, get those promises in writing.

      A commercial snow removal company’s role is to provide professional winter maintenance services and minimize their impact on your’ and your client’s ability to access your business.

      Like any other contractor’s work, their services should be transparent.
      Never leave anything in the contract “open to interpretation.”

      Contact Dennis at London Snowplow & Landscape for your customized commercial winter maintenance contract at (519) 619 0495.

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      December 1, 2022 2:14 pm