We just rang in the new year, and the days have started to get longer. The sun seems to set just a little later each day, and with more hours of sunlight come slightly warmer temperatures. However, it is essential to remember that winter has not breathed its last; there is still more winter weather to go over the next few months. Be it for your business or your home, snow and ice removal will continue to be necessary for a little while longer.
For many people, Alaska and snow go hand in hand. The average snowfall each winter is over 75 inches! People travel to Alaska by the thousands to see our mountains and glaciers or experience the beauty of our winter weather but, did you know snow can lead to legal problems for you as a homeowner or business owner? As a property owner, you are legally responsible for making sure all visitors to your property are safe. Snow and ice can create slippery pathways and even increase our risk of falling. Winter weather can lead to accidents such as slip and fall, auto accidents, and other snow-related accidents, which are the leading source of lawsuits in Anchorage, Alaska.
Slips, trips, and falls happen year-round, of course, but winter ice and snow create a more hazardous environment that increases the risk of personal, customer, or employee-related injuries. When it comes to adverse winter weather conditions, it is better to be proactive as opposed to reactive.
As a business owner, it is vital for an active effort to be made to prevent the build-up of ice on walkways and sidewalks. It is also important to assure your sidewalks, stairs, and parking lots are clear from ice and snow. Places like parking areas and outside break areas utilized by employees or customers in need of a place outside to smoke are commonly overlooked but frequently used.
As noted above, parking lots are another critical area that needs to be addressed if you are a business owner. Similarly, as a homeowner, your driveway area should be kept safe as well. Many winter slips and fall accidents occur when someone is trying to get from their car to your doorstep-be it your business or your home.
Ice and snow build-up are not only a slip and fall hazard; they are a driving hazard as well. These conditions can cause vehicles to slip when driving on an icy driveway, resulting in car accidents. The heavy Anchorage snowfall during an Alaskan winter storm may cause our cars to get covered under heaps of snow or snow to fall off our roof and buildup on sidewalks and driveways. Without the proper equipment, snow and ice can be hard to remove, putting the safety of your guests, customers, or employees as risk.
Why shovel yourself? When you consider hiring the services of a professional snow removal company, it is vital to do your research and ask a few fundamental questions. This way, when the next storm comes, you are not surprised by what they do and do not provide for services. Here are a few helpful tips to help you find the right company.
Your first concern is, most likely, how quickly can the company get to your property after it snows. What’s the company’s turnaround time? What’s the soonest they can get to work after it snows? Quick, efficient, and thorough snow removal is essential to implementing smart business practices in the winter, especially if you happen to own a commercial property. You’re responsible for ensuring the safety of everyone who uses your property and maintaining the exterior appeal of it to continue attracting potential customers. Do they have so many customers (or so few vehicles) that they cannot get to you quickly and efficiently?
Snow Plowing Services Provided
Before you sign that contract, remember that not all snow removal companies provide the same menu of services. Make sure to ask what they will and won’t do for your property after a snowstorm and what is and is not included in the price they are providing. In addition to the parking lots, do they clear sidewalks and entrances? Do they spray deicers? Do they haul any snow? What do they do if you do not have the space to put large amounts of snow? Ask questions and make sure you have a clear understanding of what is provided, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Even though the snow removal business’s employees should have proper training on how to work in treacherous weather, you want to make sure the company is adequately insured in the case of an accident. Accidents come in all shapes and sizes but could include damage to your business or personal property, damage to customer property or personal injuries for which you should not be financially responsible for.
If you choose to work with someone who merely hooks up a plow to their truck, keep in mind that they may not be correctly insured. Working with someone who is not insured puts your business at risk, so make sure they provide you with their proof of insurance, which should include liability coverage and workers’ compensation.
Check Their Equipment
Having the latest high-tech snow removal equipment is another essential factor that you need to take into consideration when looking for a reliable and reputable snow removal company in your area. This is a testament to how much experience the company has, as well as the fact that they take great pride in their work and are fully capable of delivering the best possible results for you. The industry standard is that all professional snow removal companies should not only perform proper routine maintenance on all their machinery, but they’re also responsible for updating their equipment and replacing pieces that are well beyond the point of repair regularly. This guarantees the quality and safety of their work. If a company is using out of date, damaged, or poorly maintained equipment, this could result in damage to your property. Additionally, vehicles that are poorly or infrequently maintained are more likely to break down when they are most needed, which means the company may not be able to get to your property when necessary.
Questions to Ask
When choosing a snow removal company, you need to determine if their experience, reliability, and capability match your needs. To determine this, ask questions such as the following:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Are their specific teams assigned to your property?
- How many vehicles or teams do they have on staff?
- How do they treat and control the ice?
- What size of properties can they take care of?
- What type of equipment do they use?
- Is there planning that takes place before a storm?
- How is the cost calculated?
- Do they clear all entryways and sidewalks?
- Do they offer the specific services that you require?
- Does the contract clearly state these services are available?
- Can the contractor provide comparable references?
- Does the contractor have the necessary equipment and employees to manage the site?
- Are they adequately bonded or insured?
If you’re talking to a company that can’t answer these questions or avoids doing so, consider it a red flag and look elsewhere. Based on a contractor’s answers, pricing points, and liability considerations, you should be able to quickly and confidently choose the right commercial snow removal contractor for your job.
Be Happy Property Services will be happy to speak with you and put your mind at ease regarding this remainder of this winter and beyond. We have the experience you need to keep your property safe for visitors or customers this winter. Having a knowledgeable snow removal contractor at your side now will bring you peace of mind when the next storm arrives. Contact Be Happy Property Services today to find out how our services will work for you.