Winter brings with it the likelihood of severe weather that can adversely affect your business. Preparing and planning for snow removal services may determine business success or failure. Planning now will help ensure that your company and your customers have the same expectations during and after snowstorms.
Let’s start by looking at the financial damage businesses incur from winter storms. According to the Insurance Information Institute, businesses suffered around $3 billion in losses during 2018. Interestingly enough, this was nearly triple the losses from 2017. Much of this was due to a failure to plan for snow and ice removal properly.
Those numbers should concern any business owner who does not have a plan for snow removal services in place when winter weather hits. It is necessary to create a plan and then review it well before the next snow season begins. This article covers what areas you need to focus on when planning snow removal services during and after winter storms. It also offers suggestions on what you should expect from snow and ice removal and how Allen Outdoor Solutions is your St. Louis snow removal partner for all of your snow removal services needs.
Planning for Maintaining Facilities
The first piece of the plan should be detailing what facilities you are responsible for and how they may need snow removal services during and after a winter storm. What is the condition of the buildings, parking lots, and sidewalks your business operates in? Whether you lease or own your facilities, your business will ultimately suffer if you allow a degraded building to be damaged during poor winter weather. Have you or one of your team personally checked for:
- Roof issues.
- Condition of drains and gutters.
- Seals around doors and windows.
- Condition of plumbing and pipes.
- Parking lot preparation and maintenance.
How often do you inspect your roof? Or, if you lease, how regularly does your property management company check their roof? Do they work with a snow removal services company to ensure the roof is not damaged during the winter months? Several potential trouble areas should be assessed well before winter arrives.
Most roofs are designed so that water and melting snow travels along roof valleys towards drains or gutters along the edge. After several years of heavy rain and snow, these valleys may show more significant wear than the rest of the roof and may require maintenance. Failure to maintain them may result in leaks or even a roof collapse.
Condition of drains and gutters.
When kept free of debris, gutters and drains typically work great. Gravity makes sure of that. But they still require regular inspection and maintenance. Water damage may loosen faulty connections between the gutter or drain, and the structure. This causes them to become unbalanced.
When this happens, water, ice, and heavy snow may flow into or push up against the roof or side of the building. Eventually, this will damage the structure and may lead to water or snow getting inside the building.
Seals around doors and windows.
You may not be able to decide whether your facilities have storm windows, but you can make sure that both windows and doors are properly sealed and not exposing your business to possible damage.
Using storm windows in an area like St. Louis is usually a good thing. You can save money on utilities and keep out any drafts during cold weather. However, depending on the type of business, you may have to concern yourself with condensation problems during the winter months.
The buildup of condensation is mainly due to the fact that the storm windows do a great job of sealing up the property. Most commercial and industrial structures have sufficient climate control so that humidity does not become an issue, but for some, it can be a real problem. If you think it may be an issue for you, add this critical item to your checklist of things to do before winter storms arrive.
Condition of plumbing and pipes.
Defective plumbing can ruin a business. Water damage creates an expensive nightmare for any business or property owner. Costs of even minor physical damage can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to drying the facility out, there may be a need to replace walls, flooring, equipment, and inventory.
Additionally, the water damage that is left untreated may cause mold contamination to occur, threatening the health of anyone exposed to it. Depending on the type of business, mold contamination could also ruin your products.
What is the condition of the pipes in your building? Pipes need to be inspected by a professional regularly. A certified plumber will know where the weak points are and will be able to tell you whether insulation is required, or if existing insulation needs to be replaced.
In addition to the pipes, all plumbing fixtures need to be checked. Toilets, sinks, dishwashers, and anything else that ties into the building’s pipes need to be inspected. Cracks and fittings may fail, due to cold pipes, causing damage inside your facility.
Parking lot preparation and maintenance
If you are responsible for providing parking for your customers and employees, you should already know that keeping a lot clean and safe is a top priority. Employees cannot come to work, and customers cannot buy goods from you if they cannot find somewhere to park. Snow and ice removal should not be hindered because of structural problems with parking lots and sidewalks.
This is especially true during the snow season when the amount of snowfall dictates how quickly a parking lot will be usable. St. Louis snow removal involves having a reliable, experienced team available to help you keep your business running during inclement weather.
Before the snow season arrives, parking lots should be inspected for damage. Repairs to potholes and any lighting/electrical issues should also be made. Once winter hits, it may be challenging to navigate through the parking lot or make repairs.
Planning Communication with Employees, Vendors, and Customers
Once you have a handle on all the components in all the facilities you do business in; you need to plan for effective communications during snowstorms. This involves working with your staff, vendors, and, most importantly, your customers.
- Communicating with your staff.
- Communicating with vendors.
- Communicating with customers.
Communicating with your staff.
What happens if your staff is unable to come into work for a few days because of snow? Maybe one time it would not hurt the business too bad. After three or four times, every winter, you may see a considerable hit to the bottom line of the business. The company is losing money because of an inability to communicate and schedule workers.
Even if snow removal services can travel during the storm, there will be times when closing the business is necessary. It is a good idea to communicate with your staff what your expectations are for when they are expected to come into work.
The best way to do this is to establish a notification system via phone, text, or even through an online chat room on social media. Since the unpredictability of weather will make it difficult to establish specific conditions on when the business is closed, the safety of you and your employees should be able to communicate as the event unfolds.
Communicating with vendors
One of the most critical vendors any business needs to communicate with, before and during a snowstorm, is the company providing snow removal services. Effective planning means that you have coordinated when to expect snow and ice removal to occur.
At Allen Outdoor Solutions, we are experts in St. Louis snow removal. We appreciate the importance of communication with our customers and in meeting our obligations for getting the job done as quickly as possible. We also understand that snow removal services are a key component of keeping your business running.
Your business may require regular deliveries and support from other vendors. Establishing expectations before the snowy season will help you to work with customers in the event of delays. Customers are much more forgiving during inclement weather if they believe that the business is organized and is managing the situation as best as possible.
Communicating with customers.
Communicating with customers should be an ongoing task for any business. Effective communication, established when first working with the customer, will make it much easier to keep them happy during a storm.
Your pre-snow season checklist should include an assessment of how you communicate with customers year-round. How do customers know to learn about what your business is up to?
Are you on social media? Do you regularly post to social media or communicate with customers through email? The customer should not have to try and find you when a storm hits, and they want to do business with you.
For example, if they follow your business on Instagram and regularly see updates, they will feel much better about you if they see an update during a storm. Even if it is a picture of you watching snow and ice removal happening while standing in front of a snowbank, you will gain more goodwill by keeping them in the loop.
Ideally, businesses should keep a minimum of inventory on hand. Even during a snowstorm, most companies can ride it out and not concern themselves with the inventory. However, certain types of businesses are dependent on receiving and selling goods in a timely manner. Their inventory flips weekly, or in some cases, daily.
A restaurant is an excellent example of a business that requires regular delivery of goods. An inventory of fresh produce, dairy, and baked items may only last a few days.
Before the snow season, it is worth it to contact all of your vendors to understand how they operate during inclement weather and how that may affect your business needs. Once the first storm hits, they may have already coordinated schedules with their other customers, leaving you at the bottom of the list.
Snow Removal Plan
Now that you have all the preparatory work done for your facilities, communications, and inventory, it is time to implement a snow removal plan. None of the plans for those other areas will come to fruition if you do not have an effective snow removal plan.
The first step in creating a snow removal plan is to work with someone who has experience in providing snow removal services during all types of conditions. Allen Outdoor Solutions, the leading St. Louis snow removal solution for homes and businesses, will help you set up this plan. We offer pre-storm salting and snow and ice removal for our valued customers.
One of the best ways to get ahead of a snowstorm wreaking havoc on your business is to salt parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks before the storm arrives. Doing this may save time and money since the salt makes it more difficult for ice to form.
Businesses in the St. Louis area that has a contract with Allen Outdoor Solutions have the peace of mind in knowing that our team will be dispatched to where they are needed to salt before the storm hits.
For those who plan, managing snow and ice removal during and after a storm can be a painless process. Having a contract with Allen Outdoor Solutions means you can focus on your business and leave the snow and ice removal to us.
Whether a single sidewalk or a large facility with driveways, parking lots and sidewalks, Allen Outdoor Solutions has the professional staff available to clear snow and ice and make your facility safely accessible. Our trucks can work in any sized space and deal with any amount of snow.
With 24-hour a day response and a crew of snow and ice removal experts available, Allen Outdoor Solutions is your best bet for St. Louis snow removal service. Contact us today and add us to your business plan for snow and ice removal.