Condominium & Commercial Snow Removal For 2024

On January 17th, 2022 there was snow storm that dropped upwards of 60 cm in the GTA. Two and half weeks later, we received another 10 cm of snow. Prior to these two storms the precipitation level had been nominal.

As a professional in the snow business, this is what we live for — battling the storm! Keeping the properties we maintain safe, having them cleared as quickly as possible so residents and businesses have full access to their properties is what we are so good at!

One key piece of the puzzle to delivering excellence to our clients is to have a well documented, well thought-out, storm plan. This plan if fluid as the forecast and the reality often differs and the plan would include the following:

  • pre-storm, mid storm, and post storm actions
  • establish deployment times
  • establish crew schedule / rotation
  • what equipment will be used
  • establish the route
  • timing on removing or relocating snow piles
  • equipment clean up / preparation for next event

Another key piece of the puzzle is to ensure that we have the proper equipment to complete the job. 23 years ago when we were clearing driveways, our fleet consisted of pick-up trucks only. For the past 15 years we have been looking after condominium and commercial properties.

We realized a very long time ago that when you take on the responsibility of condominium and commercial properties you must have the right equipment! There are so many people that count on us and if we don’t have the proper equipment, we will not be able to meet our goal of delivering excellence.

Must have equipment to service condominium and commercial snow removal properties include:

  1. a loader with a plow and large bucket used to remove or relocate snow piles
  2. sidewalk tractors equipped with a salter or a strong ATV for the sidewalks
  3. trucks equipped with plows and salters
  4. skid-steers with snow pushers

Green Side Up Contracting has invested over $800,000 in equipment which helps us deliver condominium and commercial snow removal excellence to our clients. Each piece of equipment has a GPS on it which allows us to monitor our performance. The GPS also sends a notification via email, to our clients when we enter the property.

Another very key piece of the puzzle is ensuring we have THE BEST employees and partners in the business.

Some contractors in this line of business are satisfied with having a “body that shows up”! At Green Side Up Contracting, our employees and partners are the backbone of our business and are mature, experienced, intelligent, talented and they care!

Lastly, just like any successful business, making responsible business decisions is key to ensuring that we deliver excellence to our clients. At Green Side Up Contracting we DO NOT bite off more than we can chew, so to speak.

The average snow fall in Toronto is approximately 9 cm of snow per event. When factoring in our routes, we consider how much time it would take us to clear 15 to 18 cm of snow per event. This way 95% of the time we will be way ahead of schedule and 5% of the time, or in storms with accumulation over 18 cm we will be slightly delayed.

Also when quoting condominium and commercial snow removal projects, we provide fair market value quotes, based on deliverables that will ensure the properties we look after are deemed safe and look presentable so our clients, clients, can access their properties and ensure their businesses stay open.

Far too often, and it has been evident this year, many contractors overbook themselves by under quoting and ultimately under delivering!

As of today, Saturday, February 4th, I received seven calls from seven different Property Managers who asked if we could take over their contracts as their contractor has failed them.

Although, the poor workmanship has been evident all over the place, I was shocked to receive these calls at this point of the season.

It makes me wonder who is responsible for this situation? Is it:

The contractor who provides low-ball pricing because he doesn’t have the proper equipment, doesn’t apply the enough ice melter, doesn’t have the skilled manpower or the correct insurance?

Board of directors / owners who seek low budget pricing and expect the property be safe?

The Property Manager who doesn’t due their due diligence on the contractor?

A combination of all of the above?

To help keep these shoddy, low balling, irresponsible contractors out of the commercial / condominium snow business space, here are a few tips for Property Managers and owners alike.

1. Insurance

This is an easy one. $5M in commercial liability insurance and W.I.S.B. insurance is required.

2. How many years has the company been in the condominium and commercial snow removal business?

There are so many things to factor in when it comes to delivering excellence and experience is key. The responsibilities that comes with commercial / condominium snow removal is much different from clearing driveways.

My suggestion is to hire a contractor that has a bare minimum of five years in the commercial / condominium market. You do not want a contractor learning on a property that you manage!

A good source to find contractors that are apart of our association is the Landscape Ontario site.

3. Equipment / Shop

As a Property Manager or owner you should know what equipment is required to execute on the job efficiently. If you don’t know what equipment is required, ask a reputable local contractor for advise.

Once you understand what equipment is required, then do a site visit to the clients shop to ensure the contractor has the proper equipment.

Beware of the contractor who doesn’t have a shop or place to store all of his equipment.

4. Salt

Does the potential contractor have a salt dome at their shop?

Although not 100% necessary, a contractor that has stores their own salt is more valuable than a contractor that doesn’t bulk their own salt.

5. What properties do they currently look after and where are they located?

Ask for addresses of properties they currently look after. Visit them and determine if they have similarities to the property you are looking to be serviced?

Are any of the properties they look after within a 15 minute drive of the sit you are looking for serve at? Anything over a 15 minute drive is too far. A tight route will result in much better service as you want your contractor spending their time, pushing snow not driving from site to site

6. References Specific To Condominium and Commercial Snow Removal

It is rare that a Property Manager will provide Google reviews for contractors as Google requires the reviewer to use their personal email address. So beware of a contractor that has multiple Google reviews in regard to their commercial / condominium property maintenance as they could be fake.

Having said that, other websites like HomeStars.com and TrustedPros.com screen the reviews and you although this site is for homeowners you can read about the companies other line of businesses which can paint a solid picture of who you are dealing with. If the company doesn’t have multiple reviews, there is a really good chance they are a new company and a new company most likely doesn’t have the experience required to deliver excellence.

My advice to you would be to ask for contact information (email and phone number) from Property Managers / owners they currently work with. If the contractor is responsible, references should be very easy to provide.

In summary, there are many really talented, very responsible contractors that care out there. If you due your due diligence and focus on the above points oppose to looking for the lowest bidder, you will have a hassle free winter and your clients will be very happy with you.

As I’m sure you know, if you choose the incorrect contractor you have sleepless nights and your client will be unhappy with you, potentially putting your business at risk!

On your side,

Jay Saveall

President

Green Side Up Contracting

905-503-7123

jay@greensideupcontracting.com