When to search for a snow removal contractor

If you’re wondering when to search for a snow removal contractor for the upcoming winter, you’re not alone. One thing’s for sure: if you wait until there’s snow in the forecast, you could end up snowed under.

In many regions of Canada, keeping up with residential snow removal is a miserable task for homeowners. If you’re tired of slipping down the front steps or throwing your back out shovelling, it may be time to start your search for a snow removal service that won’t leave you out in the cold.

When to search for a snow removal contractor

Photo Credit: iStock.com/Milan

When to search for a snow removal service

It’s never too early to start searching for a residential snow removal service. Yet no matter how early you start, you’ll find many snow removal contractors are already fully booked for the season. Don’t let this discourage you, or persuade you to hire the first person you find with a plow attached to their truck. Take the time to do your research and select an established company for reliable residential snow removal.

Most professional snow removal contractors have a list of customers who have signed up for snow removal contracts ahead of the season. These customers will get their snow cleared first, before any last-minute callers, so act early and if you get quality service consider renewing for next year.

How to find a snow removal contractor you can trust

Ask for a referral from a trusted neighbour or use the YP.ca search engine to find a qualified snow removal contractor near you. Your lawn care provider may also offer residential snow removal, so check with them, if you’re happy with their service.

Ensure this is a main part of their business and not just something they do on the side. A full-time snow removal contractor will have the right equipment and trained staff to handle the worst winter storms.

Ask about their equipment. It’s important to understand what they have available when a major storm hits, and what they plan to use for your snow removal needs.

Get into the service level details. Ask the following questions and make sure the answers are included in the written contract: What is their usual response time? Do you need to call them, or will they automatically show up after a snowstorm? Where will they pile the plowed snow? During a period of extended snowfall, will they plow more than once?

Check references and insurance. Don’t be shy to ask for references, and call those customers to learn more about their experience. You’ll also want to know that the snow removal contractor of your choice carries adequate liability insurance, in case of accidental damage to your property.

Get several price quotes. Depending on your needs, an annual snow removal contract may offer the most value over the course of a long, snowy season. The cost will be calculated based on the size of the driveway and what additional services like clearing walkways, porches or stairs, and salting or sanding are included. Prepare to pay more for sloping or gravel driveways. Also consider if you need the plowed snow removed from your property, rather than simply piled. Loading the accumulated snow into trucks and hauling it away can be a costly add-on. Ask your neighbours with similar properties what they’re paying to know what you should expect.

Lastly, watch out for contract clauses that include a cap on the amount of snow removal included, after which you could be charged additional fees. If the season’s snowfall is heavy, you could be facing a chilly surprise come spring: an extra bill.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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