If your business is located in a state that enjoys several “winter weather events” throughout the season, you must have a plan in place for removing snow and ice from your property to protect employees and customers — and to protect yourself from lawsuits.
Unfortunately, snow and ice removal can be a slippery business. Not only do you need a capable and dependable contractor that can get the job done, but you also have to make sure they are reputable and risk-averse.
The Problem With Fly-By-Night Snow & Ice Removal Contractors
In a lot of states, landscaping companies turn to snow and ice removal services to keep their business going year-round. Some do a stellar job of this. They own their own plows and snow equipment, and their employees are ASCA certified (Accredited Snow Contractors Association). They are licensed and fully insured, and they partner with local businesses to keep their property safe in the winter.
Others are well enough meaning, but the reality is that snow and ice removal is not their core business. They may lack the proper equipment or know-how, or they lack urgency. In the summer, it’s not a dealbreaker if the grass gets cut on a Friday instead of a Wednesday, but that doesn’t work in the winter. Snow removal contractors need to be prepared to be out in dark, dangerous conditions to clear their clients’ properties whenever the snow hits.
Still others fall into a trap by ‘snow and ice management’ companies. These could be national firms with no local presence, offering businesses unbeatable deals on snow removal contracts then subbing the work out to local contractors. There’s usually a hold harmless clause in their contract that absolves the management company of any liability, which forces the contractor to increase their own insurance coverage. Or, if they can’t afford that, they claim they’re insured, and their clients unwittingly take on even more liability should something happen. The contractor may or may not have the equipment and know-how, but you can bet they’re not being paid well. So when a major winter event hits, many of these fly-by-night snow contractors are nowhere to be found.
Know Your Responsibility & Liability
There are more than 30,000 slip and fall lawsuits filed annually in the United States and Canada, and slip and fall accidents are the number one cause of work-related accidents. There’s a reason these types of lawsuits are so lucrative for lawyers to take on. It’s also the reason why liability and casualty insurance for snow contractors is so expensive. And the more lawsuits brought against a company or contractor, the more expensive it becomes. Many states have a shortage of insurance companies that even offer snow removal coverage because of the amount of money they lose on lawsuits.
As a business owner or facility manager, it’s important to understand your state’s laws and ensure you – and your snow and ice removal vendor – carry adequate liability and/or casualty insurance. It’s also important to understand any contract you enter into. Always have your company’s legal team review the contract.
A quality snow and ice removal company isn’t cheap. They carry adequate insurance, and they share liability with the businesses they partner with. Responsibility isn’t a one-way street when it comes to keeping your property safe for employees and customers. Vendors should be held accountable for the job they were hired to do. Likewise, businesses are responsible for vetting and hiring quality vendors.
A good partnership is when both parties agree that safety is priority one, and the contract and rates are fair and mutually beneficial to both.
Need A Dependable Snow & Ice Removal Company?
Because snow and ice removal is a highly seasonal industry, it can be challenging to find and retain a reputable vendor. Trillium Facility Solutions takes that stress off your plate! We have done the heavy lifting for you, vetting local snow and ice removal companies and only adding the best to our network of service providers.
Get in touch with any of our amazing team members who are standing by ready to serve! Call (844) 344-3433 to learn more.