Winters in New England can be some of the most severe in the country. Snow can come as early as October and as late as April. Being prepared to manage the snow is an essential step for any property owner or homeowners association. Snow can pose a host of dangers if it’s not managed properly. Clearing driveways and walkways, ensuring easy access to fire hydrants for emergency services vehicles, and making the property generally safe for residents and visitors are crucial. In this article, we’ll lay out some of the things to keep in mind as you review your snow removal options this season from cost to how to find the right vendor for you.
The Average Cost of Snow Removal
In order to determine the cost, a snow removal vendor will visit your home before the snow season to assess the situations they may encounter and the equipment they’ll need. Some providers charge by the hour, while others bill depending on the number of inches of snowfall or the number of times they need to visit your property. Be sure to ask how each vendor charges to avoid any surprise fees when the snow actually falls.
Once you select a vendor, be prepared to pay a nominal refundable deposit (about $50). On average, you may pay $35 to $400 for the entire snow removal service. This amount can differ based on the size of the property, how much snow needs to be cleared, and labor costs.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the different ways snow removal companies charge for their services. Keep in mind, the costs listed below are estimates and averages, your specific costs could vary greatly depending on your specific needs and property size.
Charging per Hour
If the snow removal contractor bills by the hour, it could range anywhere from $25 to $75 per hour. This amount can be less if you have minimal snow to clear because many hourly snow removal firms charge in 15-minute increments. Quick tip: ask your vendor how their team will remove snow at your property to better gauge how quickly it will be completed. There’s a big difference between a shovel and a snow blower!
Charging per Season
Some snow removal providers offer seasonal contracts, which suit those living in locations with regular snowfall. With a per-season rating, you can pay around $350 to $450. If it’s a year where snowfall is particularly frequent and heavy, this can be a big cost-saving!
Charging per Visit
If your vendor charges per visit, the price is usually around $30 to $50. Make sure you get a sense of how many other properties their team manages so you know when you can expect the snow to be cleared. Keep in mind the team may need to visit your property multiple times over the course of a day in instances of heavy snowfall.
Charging per Event
Each snowfall is a separate event, with every event costing around $30 to $75. This pay structure often applies in regions with low snowfall averages. In years where snowfall in New England is low, this can be a cost-saving option.
Charging per Inch
It can cost around $60 to $95 to remove 6 inches of snow. However, your service provider could add $30 for every additional 6 inches. If you live in New England or a region like it where snowfall totals are generally high, this may not be the best option for you.
Charging per Area Size
For a standard driveway 60 feet long and two-car wide, the plowing costs range from $30 to $100 depending on how often clearing is needed. This amount can increase if any extra car parks, rooftops, pavements, or pathways need to be cleared.
Clearing snow from sidewalks ranges from $25 to $75 per hour, $50 to $100 for an event, or $40 to $80 for a single visit. Parking space clearing ranges from $25 to $75 per hour, from $75 to $200 for an event, or $60 to $150 per visit.
Charging by Methods Used
There are many approaches your snow removal service provider could use to clear snow from your home. They may charge you around $25 to $75 per hour for simple shoveling and snow blowing. For more demanding tasks, this can rise to between $30 and $95 per hour.
Remember, snow removal includes more than just clearing the snow. Vendors can charge additional amounts for sanding and salting. Be sure to ask specifically about these additional measures to ensure your property is as safe as possible!
Selecting The Right Vendor
When it comes to finding a snow removal vendor, first and foremost, you need a company that is reliable and responsive. Particularly after a winter storm, inquire about their standard responsiveness: how do they communicate with you before, during, and after a storm? At a minimum, your selected vendor should be able to take care of your parking area, walkways, and entryways. The company should pay close attention to the details of your specific property. You want to minimize any disruptions in your residents’ daily lives as much as possible during a snowstorm.
Operating large mechanical snow-clearing gear can be unsafe and even the most skilled operators might unintentionally damage a car, house, or fence. Your snow removal company should have adequate liability insurance so that in the event of an accident, you won't pay for the damages or face lawsuits.
A skilled vendor exhibits extensive expertise in the field. They should arrive on time, keep the required equipment in excellent condition, and effectively complete the tasks. A complete and precise estimate or proposal can also show a company's proficiency. Be on high alert for add on fees and unexpected expenses to avoid any budgetary pitfalls.
Asking the Right Questions
When hiring a snow removal vendor in New England, asking the right questions can help you understand their dependability, experience, and site strategy. Among other questions you should ask:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Do they allocate specialized teams to your property?
- How do they manage and treat the ice?
- How large of a property can they service?
- What equipment do they use?
- How do they prepare before a storm occurs?
- How do they determine their price?
- Do they sweep the sidewalks and all entrances?
- Do they own the tools and directly manage the personnel that will be used on your property?
Consider it a warning sign and move on if the company cannot respond to these questions. You want a vendor who is reliable, responsive, and can provide you with clear answers to your questions. The last thing you want is a surprise bill at the end of the season because you weren’t clear on their policies.
Once the snow falls, having a skilled snow removal company, with specific experience handling New England winters, at your side can give you peace of mind. If you’re looking for a vendor and your property is professionally managed, be sure to ask if they handle snow removal services. Some property management firms offer this as an additional service for their clients. Keeping your snow removal services in-house with your property manager can mean greater savings for you. Not to mention, they already understand the specificities of your property so they’ll be sure to handle snow removal with the utmost care.