Plow removing snow from parking lot

Commercial Snow Removal Costs Around Chicago: The Price Breakdown

When winter rolls into the Chicagoland area, you need commercial snow removal services you can count on. However, you have a budget to consider as well. Your property needs to be safe and accessible for employees and visitors through the snow and ice, no matter what.

Considering prices range vastly from company to company you might be wondering what goes into pricing for commercial snow removal costs. You need reliable and effective snow and ice solutions that work with your budget, not against it. 

Let’s explore the 4 factors that determine how much snow removal will cost and how to decide which company offers the best value so you can spend your money wisely.

What Factors Go into Commercial Snow Removal Costs?

Depending on the company you select, some of these factors may not be applicable, though they should be. In order to run a successful snow removal operation, ensure the snow and ice removal contractor you hire can speak to how each of these elements play into the overall cost you receive in a quote.


As with most other industries, labor costs have significantly risen over the past few years. Your commercial snow plow rates will likely include a small increase to meet this need. 

Professional and experienced companies have team members who are highly qualified, trained, and licensed. These companies should and do pay their experts a little bit more. Licensed operators are required to pass tests and health screenings in order to operate heavy machinery on your property. Operating this machinery without proper licensing is unsafe for clients, employees, and your property itself, but it unfortunately does happen sometimes with inexperienced contractors.

Be sure to inquire with your potential snow removal company about their employees. A well-trained team means a more safe property with less risk for damage. 

crew shoveling snow outside during storm


Chicago commercial snow removal requires a large variety of equipment. Depending on the size and longevity of the company you select, they may own most of their equipment or they have to lease it from various vendors across the area.

Owning and leasing can be both positive and negative for you as a client. 

plow equipment working to remove snow from parking lot
Purchasing equipment means that it starts out the season brand new. Companies know that it is theirs, so they tend to take better care of it, ensuring it is regularly serviced and inspected. There is also no issue of availability when a company owns some or most of its own equipment. 

However, this can also result in potentially older, less efficient equipment arriving at your property if your contractor has over-extended themselves.

Leasing equipment can be a huge benefit to commercial businesses if the equipment leased is in new or near new condition. This equipment is expected to be returned in excellent condition, or else fees are added. Renting vehicles or equipment like skid steers also allows for a variety of equipment to be available to each property when needed. Most companies cannot afford to purchase several enormous front loaders, so they may fill the gaps in the equipment they own with reliable rentals so the properties they service have the needed equipment. 

However, if a company is renting equipment like snowblowers, which are frequently rented out, returned, and overworked, leased equipment can be unreliable and underperform. 

During your initial meeting, don’t hesitate to ask a company about what type of equipment they own, what they will lease, and how that will impact your commercial snow plow rates. Include questions about what type of equipment will specifically be serving your property. Not enough of the right type of equipment can result in your property not getting the level of service it needs exactly when it needs it.


The material costs to manage ice at your property are a main factor in commercial snow removal costs. Over the last 3-5 years, salt costs have gone up about 25%. A larger professional company can order their salt deliveries in bulk, which saves you money in the long run. 

Be sure to inquire if your snow removal partner utilizes brine as well as traditional rock salt. Brine uses less salt product and is better for the environment and your landscape

salt laid down on sidewalks to help melt ice and snow


While overhead costs for commercial snow plow rates are not the most exciting aspect to think about when budgeting for snow removal, they just might be one of the most important. 

The technology and resources a company uses to accurately quote for snow removal and to communicate during a snow event are extremely important. 

Good companies will use aerial photography or technology programs to give the best guess at commercial snow removal costs, but great ones will also physically measure your parking lot and paved services, so you don’t end up with surprise costs during the season. 

Additional overhead costs that your snow removal company may hold that result in a direct benefit to you as the client are GPS tracking in all trucks as well as technology that helps with effective and efficient communication during a snow event. 

snow truck with lights on plowing snow

Understanding Commercial Snow Removal Costs

Your commercial snow plow rates depend directly on what type of service you have indicated your commercial property needs. 

For example, a medical facility that is open 24 hours needs vastly different snow removal services than an industrial facility that is open the traditional 9-5. Factors like how often a team needs to visit, how large your property is, and what services the snow removal team provides while they are there all play into your final pricing. 

That being said, it is extremely important to select a Chicago commercial snow removal contractor that is honest and open to questions. Great communication offered from the initial meeting can help you feel confident that you will receive that same effective communication when it matters, during actual snow events. 

Don’t hesitate to ask about contract options. Experienced companies typically offer a variety of choices including both fixed seasonal pricing and per-occurrence pricing, as well as, both single and multi-year agreements.

As experienced snow removal partners, our over 45 years in the business have taught us a lot. You need to know what you are paying before a snow event occurs, which is why we work to be a proactive partner, offering several pricing options well before the first snowflake flies. 

We know that researching snow removal companies can be both time-consuming and frustrating, especially when you don’t get a quick response back. At James Martin Associates, we would love the opportunity to discuss with you commercial snow plow rates and how our team can meet your needs this winter

Truck plwong snow in parking lot
Want to learn more about how James Martin Associates can meet your Chicago commercial snow removal needs? Get started by filling out our contact form. Our experienced account managers can discuss what your property needs so you can make a wise choice for your commercial landscape. 

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Aaron Schlines

Aaron Schlines

Aaron Schlines, a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a licensed Landscape Architect with over 25 years of professional experience in the residential design/build industry. His knowledge of regional horticulture and hardscape materials paired with his thoughtful and sophisticated design style lead to designs that are appropriate and timeless.