There are many inconsistencies throughout the industry in how Snow and Ice Management companies choose to present their seasonal agreements to potential clients. "Apples to apples" is a term I hear most often; it is also a term that only really applies to seasonal agreements in regard. That being the consistency from vendor to vendor applying additional charges for blizzard conditions and snow relocation services (where extra and/or larger equipment is required to perform these services). These are services that are usually rendered on a Time and Material (T&M) basis as they are not easily estimated.
This begs the question: Do you really know what you're getting out of your seasonal agreement and what are the inconsistencies that you, a property manager, should look for?
When it comes to price structure, every company seems to do things a little differently. As a property manager you are sitting in front of several seasonal quotes, all containing a set of numbers, to help you budget your service accordingly. From my experience, the number isn't what's important. It is what's behind that number that makes the difference. For instance, you can have a $10,000 agreement from on vendor and a $25,000 agreement from another. Obviously, at first glance, the $10,000 agreement looks the most appealing from a budget standpoint. Instead of writing off the higher bid, start asking some questions; why such a difference? Some of the causes could be due to a miss measured property areas, other reasons may come down to the fine print in the agreement or even the type of ice melt that the contractor has elected to use. The more questions you ask, the more you might find that the $10,000 agreement isn't a final number and some of the services that you would assume to be included in the price may in fact not be.
Is the quoted price rate you're looking at truly an unlimited rate for the entire season?
One other thing I've noticed is that "clean-up" services are usually not factored into the estimated seasonal cost. There are even some companies in the industry that price out the seasonal agreement for services beginning at 1" of accumulation or higher. This leaves you with unanticipated additional fees for salting services on days with less than 1" of accumulation, in cases of thaw and re-freeze, or during icing conditions. Say the contractor only took into account that there would be "x' number of inches for the entire season; what happens when the snowfall that year exceeds their estimated number? Will they come back to you and ask you to pay the difference to help mitigate their losses?
Keep these questions in mind when you start comparing quotes. Start asking questions now, before you sign. Make sure to thoroughly review all of the fine print in the terms and conditions sections of the agreement. Don't allow yourself to be caught off-guard with unexpected frees that you assumed were included in your agreement with your snow and ice management contractor. The more you know up front, the more it can save you from any headaches or hassles in the long-run.
Start your winter season off right by giving Beverly Companies, your outdoor property maintenance specialists, a call at 708-331-4911 today!