plow clearing snow in parking lot

8 Snow Removal Safety Tips for Your Commercial Business

As bitter winter winds sweep across the Chicagoland area, transforming it into a winter wonderland, you are likely facing the annual challenge of commercial property snow removal. 

The accumulation of snow and ice poses significant safety risks for both potential clients and employees. During the winter months, there is nothing more important than keeping the outdoor portion of your commercial property safe. Ensuring the safety of employees, clients, and visitors, is not only a legal obligation, but a moral one too. 

Let’s explore eight important commercial snow removal tips that will help to keep your business safe and allow for smooth business operations to continue, despite the weather. 

Partner with Professionals for Corporate Snow Removal

Snow plowing commercial properties requires more than meets the eye. If snow and ice are not handled properly by professionals, it can result in damage to your property, or even worse, serious injuries.  

Finding commercial snow removal in Chicagoland can be just as difficult as finding a landscape maintenance contractor. Many commercial landscapers offer snow removal as part of their commercial service offerings, so if you have a strong partnership with your existing landscape provider, consider asking about their snow removal options. They already know the intricacies of your property and a follow-up is not needed in the Spring to address any landscape repair, as your landscape is their responsibility year-round.

Snow truck plowing street while snowing
If a partnership with your landscape maintenance contractors is not an option, ask these questions when meeting with potential snow removal companies:

  1. Do you perform regular inspections throughout the season at my property?
  2. What type of equipment will you use at my property? Will it be shared with other properties or dedicated to my business?
  3. Are you licensed and insured?
  4. How do you keep your team safe? What type of training do you offer?
  5. How long have your team leaders been with the company? What experience do they have with managing snow at a business this size?
  6. How large is your service area? This will tell you how quickly they will be able to get to your business when you need them. A smaller area means less lag time in service.
  7. Do you have GPS or geofencing in your trucks? This allows the company to see where all their trucks are, when they arrived, and when they left. It usually means more accurate billing, which can help save you money. It also allows the company to reroute trucks to your property in case of an emergency. 

Prepare for Snowfall Early

No one wants to start considering commercial property snow removal in August, but qualified snow removal companies are already preparing. When snow storms hit, it takes a carefully coordinated plan to have effective snow management. 

retirement condo commercial landscaping property manager and account manager 2

Before snow begins to fall, be sure to take the time to tour your property with your account manager. This will allow you to point out any hazards you know of on the property or note any areas that will need special attention. 

Your account manager can also point out to you any areas they feel may need attention before snow removal can occur. Sewer lids or manholes can obstruct the path of the plows and large potholes can allow water to collect, making ice management challenging. Be sure to discuss the following items during your tour and meeting:

Discuss the Communication Plan

To have an effective corporate snow removal, communication is key. Professional companies often have technology in place that can help with communication. 

Efficient communication during the winter months means that your snow removal partner is proactive. Consider asking if you will be notified before snow events or if you will be made aware of when the snow management teams deploy to care for your property. At James Martin Associates, our team contacts each client before major snow events and before every snow deployment, so you can be sure your property is being well cared for. 

Account manager at desk on computer and on phone

Establish Snow Removal Priority Areas

Before meeting with your snow removal partners, discuss with your team what areas should be marked as high priority. During heavy snowfall, it takes time to tackle your entire property, so having a list of areas that should be handled first helps your business stay functioning and safe. 

If you are unsure of what areas should be designated as most important, your snow removal commercial partners will have suggestions. Some priority areas could include:

  • Customer Main Entrance
  • Employee Main Entrance
  • Frequently Used Sidewalks
  • Shipping and Receiving Areas
  • Problem Areas- Do you know of an area that always gets icy? Let your snow removal team know about that, especially if it is a frequently used location.
  • Sections of Parking- If you have an especially large parking lot, consider which area is the most accessible and easiest for customers or employees to reach the entrances. Mark those as priority areas to be dealt with first before the rest of the parking lot.

Designate Snow Pile Areas

Where snow is piled throughout the winter season has the potential to make or break the effectiveness of your entire snow removal plan. Snow removal commercial experts need to know exactly where to pile snow as it accumulates so that the flow of traffic in and out of your business is not impacted. 

The area you select needs to be both large enough and far enough away from any hazards. You should also consider potential drainage impacts as snow begins to melt in the Spring. 

account manager and client looking at property

Trim Trees

Tree trimming doesn’t exactly scream snow removal safety, does it? Surprisingly, inspecting your commercial property for trees that need attention is a proactive step you can take during your property tour to ensure safety. Winter often brings high winds and heavy wet snow, and when this hits brittle, struggling tree limbs, it can cause major safety issues on your property. 

In addition to inspecting and trimming dead or diseased tree branches, tree trimming may need to occur in certain areas around your property to prevent damage to the trees from equipment or snow piles. If branches are overhanging areas where this big equipment needs to go, it can prevent snow from being removed efficiently or potentially damage your trees. 

commercial landscape maintenance crew hand trimming 1

Invest in Ice Management 

Unfortunately, commercial property snow removal can get costly, which leads you to look for ways you can trim your budget. However, skimping on ice management solutions in your contract can end in disaster. Ice management is key to the success of any corporate snow removal plan. The frequent thaw and refreeze we experience in Chicagoland means parking lots that are cleared and plowed can still be extremely hazardous without ice melter. 

The Importance of Snow Removal Commercial Property Safety

We know that you care about the safety of those who visit your property and your employees. While it is true that safety at your property can never be fully guaranteed, selecting a professional corporate snow removal company, preparing for snowfall early, touring your property, and investing in ice management can help to significantly lower risk. 

As experienced snow removal partners, our over 45 years in the business have taught us a lot. We know that researching snow removal companies can be both time-consuming and frustrating, especially when you don’t get a quick response back, and that trying to manage snow removal on your own is overwhelming. 

You deserve a reliable snow removal commercial partner that enhances the efficiency of your business and solidifies your reputation as a responsible part of your community. 

plow clearing snow in parking lot near business

At James Martin Associates, we would love to discuss a corporate snow removal plan that keeps your property safe. 

Want to learn more about how James Martin Associates can meet your Chicago commercial snow removal needs and help keep your property safe this winter? 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.