The Importance of Snow Removal for Commercial Businesses:
Snow, ice and winter weather can create several challenges for commercial property owners and managers. If your business is in an area known for heavy snowfall and winter storms, then this is especially true. By being proactive and understanding the importance of snow removal for your commercial business and property – you might be able to prevent some headaches.
It might not be top of mind, but when the snow starts to fall, business owners and property managers must be aware of the safety, operational and legal implications of not properly managing the snow.
To keep your business open and running, commercial snow removal services are critical to have, and it’s especially important to schedule these services in advance rather than waiting until the thick of the winter months. Keeping a regular snow removal schedule ensures your business stays on track.
The Potential Hazards of Accumulated Snow
What do snow and ice mean for a business? There are plenty of hazards that accumulated snow can cause. The weight of snow can cause roofs to collapse and knock down trees and power lines. Homes and farms may be isolated for days, and unprotected livestock may be lost. In the mountains, heavy snow can lead to avalanches. The cost of snow removal, repairing damages, and the loss of business can have severe economic impacts on cities and towns. Accumulated snow can cause several potential hazards, such as:
- Business Interruption. Loss of business due to inaccessibility from snow and ice blocking routes to and from commercial premises.
- Employee Accidents. Increased employee sick days, either from trips and falls on snow and ice or from injuries and illness when clearing snow.
- Customer Accidents. Risk of hazards and liability from trips and falls from visiting customers.
- Structural Dangers. When snow and ice accumulate, it can become heavy and cause building damage or water damage. Snow and ice can collapse roofs, especially on older buildings. Older buildings have a greater risk of corrosion, which can weaken their structural integrity.
Although a snow-covered building might look like a postcard, all that snow and ice can cause serious damage to commercial property if you don’t take care of it.
Operational Implications of Neglected Snow Removal
Disruption in Business Activities
Snow can create transportation and safety issues leading to empty inventories and reduced productivity that fail to meet demand. This can cause decreased business, less purchasing by storefronts and reduced revenue for production companies and other businesses. When disruptions in normal business operations occur because of neglected snow removal, the financial impact can be huge. Examples of disruption in business activities from neglected snow removal include:
- Delays in deliveries and logistics.
- Reduced foot traffic and potential loss of sales.
- Impediments for employees reaching the workplace.
Damage to Property and Infrastructure
In the winter months, neglected snow or ice on your roof can weigh down and damage your commercial property. Ice dams are one of the most common ways snow and ice damage your commercial property by causing your roof to weaken, leak or even collapse.
If not properly removed, neglected snow or ice can also create a problem to the infrastructure around your business or office building. Even though the sun can melt the snow during the afternoon hours, when the sun sets this water will most likely re-freeze. This freeze-thaw cycle can slowly cause damage to parking areas and pathways.
Benefits of Timely and Efficient Snow Removal
Enhanced Safety and Reduced Liability
As a business owner or commercial property manager, one of the key benefits of snow removal is that it can help you reduce your liability. If you’re not adequately prepared for a winter storm, you could be liable for any accidents or injuries on your property (for employees and customers).
In fact, depending on state premises liability laws, you may need to clean up, hose off, or shovel snow on the sidewalks around your business. If your business facade intrudes on the sidewalk, you may be liable if anyone walks into it and injures themselves. Interestingly enough, a business is not relieved from premises liability just because the snow or ice is visible to employees or patrons.
Positive Business Image
The image of your business can quickly be determined by the visual appearance of your commercial property – both inside and outside. When you focus on snowfall and ice removal, it can improve the image of your business. Not only can it project a more professional, well-maintained appearance, but it also demonstrates a level of commitment to customer convenience and safety.
Regular snowfall maintenance demonstrates the commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for customers and employees. This can foster trust and loyalty among existing customers and attract potential customers who prioritize safety.
Long-Term Property Preservation
Professional snow removal goes beyond ensuring safety – it helps protect your property. Snow accumulation and ice can apply considerable pressure on roofs, walkways, and structures, potentially causing damage or even structural issues. By removing snow, you can prevent the buildup of excess weight and safeguard your property from costly repairs in the future.
Snow and ice can be hard on pavements, driveways, and parking lots. The freeze-thaw cycle and the weight of accumulated snow can lead to cracks, potholes, and other damage to your asphalt or concrete surfaces. By removing snow in a timely and efficient manner, you can extend the lifespan of your pavement and reduce the need for costly repairs or resurfacing. This not only saves you money but also ensures that your property’s infrastructure remains in good condition.
The Costs of Commercial Snow Removal: Do It Yourself Or Hire Someone?
When determining if you should hire a professional snow removal company or try to perform commercial property snow removal on your own – you need to be aware of the costs that go into snow and ice removal.
Let’s dig into commercial snow removal cost and the equipment needed for snow removal business. The first and foremost expense to remove snow in a timely and efficient manner is going to be a snow plow. Typically, a gently used snow plow can be purchased for around $3,000 and new, contractor grade plows can cost up to $6,000 after you throw in installation. As you can see, purchasing a snow plow isn’t cheap.
One of the benefits of hiring a commercial snow plowing and removal company is transferring some (not all) of the risk to the snow removal company. The company is now responsible for keeping your property safe and it is also the snow removal company’s responsibility if there is any damage done to your property. That is why one of the largest expenses for a commercial snow management company is their insurance.
In the end, the biggest benefit of hiring a professional commercial snow removal company is that you can rest assured that your commercial property is safe for vehicles and pedestrians. As a business owner, that is priceless.
Factors Influencing Snow Removal Pricing
There are several factors that can affect the cost of professional snow removal, such as:
- Complexity and property size (including parking lots, pathways, etc.).
- Accumulation and frequency
- Accessibility of property and obstacles present
- Depth and type of snow (light and fluffy vs. wet and heavy)
- Equipment needed to perform the job correctly
Equipment Needed For Commercial Snow Removal
We already touched on the need for a snow plow, but other tools and equipment are also needed to efficiently remove snow and ice. Examples include:
- Snow Blower
- Snow Plow Lighting Kit
- Salt Spreader
- Skid Steer
Additional Costs and Considerations
Purchasing snow removal equipment and materials can be a substantial cost of running a business. There can also be additional costs of snow removal, such as:
- Costs for salt or ice-melting treatments.
- Fees for overnight or emergency services.
- Potential extra charges for extremely heavy snowfalls.
It is recommended to take the time to research potential additional costs that your business might face when it come to snow and ice removal.
Final Thoughts On Commercial Snow Removal
This winter season, the question shouldn’t be if commercial snow removal is important. After breaking down the costs of commercial snow removal equipment – it should be clear. Should your internal team tackle the task of commercial property snow removal? Most research points to the benefit of hiring a professional snow removal company instead of a DIY approach.
Commercial properties require a lot of planning. Many factors must to be taken into account when determining the time and cost of snow plowing and ice treatment for your property. Professional snow removal experts will consider its overall size, number of walkways, the size of the parking areas, time of normal business hours, and type of business to create a snow removal plan best suited for you. That way, when snow hits, you can bounce back sooner than later.
Winter storms are more common these days than they were in the past. But, BMS CAT has helped thousands of business owners and homeowners recover their property after snow and winter storm damage.
With locations across the nation, we can assist with any type of damage your business is facing as a result of snow and winter storms.
Should your business or commercial property experience damage from snow, ice or winter weather, contact us immediately. We can help restore, rebuild and recover your property so you can minimize business interruption and get back to normal operations.