Strategize for Inclement Seasons

Are you prepared to deal with the impending ice, snow, and sleet, or will your business suffer due to the weather?

Strategize for Inclement Seasons

Picture this: It’s the dead of winter and the local weather forecaster has called for the first major storm of the season. Are you prepared to deal with the impending ice, snow, and sleet, or will your business suffer due to the weather?

While snow and ice removal management plans are often hastily prepared just in time for the season’s biggest storms, it’s never too soon to prepare for Old Man Winter. By starting early, you’ll benefit from having the time to review multiple bids and properly plan for how the inclement weather will affect the property. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure your property is prepared for whatever the winter season has in store.

Ignore Long-Term Predictions

Don’t let winter weather predictions for the upcoming season influence your snow and ice removal planning. While the weather might end up being mild, it’s always smart to budget and plan for a winter that is colder than average so you won’t be caught off guard come December.

Vet Contractors Early

Have a plan in place well before cold weather makes its way to your area. Consider beginning your RFP process as early as possible (ideally in the spring) to review partners and snow contractors that will manage your snow and ice removal for the upcoming season. This is also the time to consider renewing existing contracts with your current landscape professional or snow removal company before they book to capacity.

Create a Foolproof Plan

Take the time to thoroughly review your snow removal contract before the first snowfall. By making sure that you are on the same page as your service provider about the work that is included, you’ll ensure there are no surprises when the flakes start to fall. Finalizing contract negotiations with your chosen snow and ice removal management company as early as possible will ensure both parties—the buyer and contractor—avoid any confusion about the services that will be provided and are satisfied with the results.

Clarify Scope of Service

Prior to signing off on your new snow and ice management contract, be sure to clarify both the level of service and your contractor’s scope of work. The written contract should specifically address areas your contractor will plow, where snow and ice will be relocated on our property, and when service will begin. Include emergency contact information and documents providing proof of liability insurance. State whether the contract is seasonal, or based on inches of snow, a specific time span or materials used.

Schedule a Walk-Through

Once you finalize a contract, schedule a walk-through meeting with your contractor. During this time, look at each aspect of your landscape and discuss how your snow and ice management plan will be carried out. The service provider can help you determine how deicing agents will affect your landscape, recommend areas where snow piles can safely be located, discuss landscape repairs that might need to be made next spring, and confirm if your contract covers this work.

Make Final Adjustments

Use the off-season to assess and address previous oversights in your snow and ice removal plan. For example, you may want to determine which areas of your property are prone to ice buildup, understand current drainage conditions, and take steps to protect your landscaping from ice and chemicals. Discuss these observations with your contractors so they can make appropriate adjustments for the upcoming season. Here are some examples:

Water regularly. Many facility managers forget about watering once the heat of summer is gone. However, it is important to continue watering foliage during the fall, so shrubs and trees can access moisture in the soil throughout the winter and aren’t damaged by large snow and ice piles.

Plan and protect. Mulch isn’t just attractive; it actually insulates the roots of your trees and shrubs. If mulch has worn away during the summer, consider adding a few more inches to cover the roots of your plants so they aren’t exposed to deicing products.

Take Advantage of the Dry Season

Winter’s elements can be hard on your property. Plan ahead and sign off on a snow and ice removal contract that ensures your property remains safe and attractive year-round.

Posted On September 5, 2017

Brian Birch

Chief Operating Officer for the Snow and Ice Management Associatio

Brian Birch, CAE, is chief operating officer for the Snow and Ice Management Association. For more information, visit

Missy Henriksen

Vice President of Public Affairs, National Association of Landscape Professional

Missy Henriksen is vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Learn more by visiting

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