Now that the fall season is upon us, that can only mean one thing. Old Man Winter is right around the corner! And the good news is that many associations have enjoyed savings over the past few years due to the mild winters that we have experienced around the Chicago area. The question is are you prepared in the event of a heavier snow season? And are you really paying attention to the snow agreements that you are considering? What are the key items to pay attention to and what are the pitfalls to avoid? Here are the top 10 tips to avoid getting buried under snow this season:
10. In order to get 3 qualified snow removal bids (which is recommended), send out requests to 5 companies.
9. Send out an RFP (request for proposal), and tell the vendors how you want the snow removal handled for your association. Don’t let them tell you how they will do it.
8. Your RFP should address items such as the following:
7. Get your snow removal agreement in place ideally by end of September. So if you still don’t have a snow removal vendor in place, you should start today. The first snow fall occurs usually around Thanksgiving but you don’t want to wait until the last minute
6. Many snow removal companies start the bidding process in August so next season you may want to start the process earlier so that you are not feeling pressured.
5. If you go with a per incident pricing model, make sure you have enough budgeted for snow removal in the event there is a heavier snow season.
4. Make sure to walk around the property with the snow contractor once the agreement is signed so that it is clear what are the expectations of the association.
3. If the association hires a company to only provide services over 2″, then the board needs to identify who will provide the services under 2″. I don’t recommend this scenario, but many smaller associations do adopt this strategy to save money.
2. Communicate the snow removal plan to ALL the homeowners so that they are fully informed on the plan and who to contact in the event of a complaint or problem. It is always best to funnel all feedback and complaints through 1 person when communicating with the snow removal company. In addition, identify what number to call and who to speak to in the event of a complaint from the association.
1. Ensure that your snow removal vendor carry proper insurance coverage in the event that they cause property damage or in the event that an employee of the snow vendor is injured on the association property.