The unpredictable nature of a snow season can leave facility managers on edge when a new snow season approaches. From huge blizzards to droughts to ice storms, winter storms can quickly unbalance budgets and leave facility managers scrambling to find last-minute service providers. These events can also hastily influence facility managers to publish RFPs in search of new service providers, which can be a costly process.

However, there is another strategy. Before entering the next snow season, reexamine your snow removal strategy by answering the following questions.

1. What are the goals for next snow season?

The end of a season is a beneficial time to reflect on the areas that have room for improvement. Small changes could help streamline the process and drive significant savings even if last season’s snow and ice process didn’t fail. Setting new goals for the upcoming season can also lead to powerful updates moving forward.

Goals for snow and ice season can be driven by different factors. Some goals can be a derivative of your business industry. For example, a facility manager who oversees facilities that receive high consumer traffic during blizzards might decide to make a goal to improve service quality control or store communication. Executives that struggled in the recent years to manage their snow removal budget might decide that budget control or minimizing the risk of overpaying is a helpful goal for the organization next year.

Setting goals help managers strive for year-to-year and season-to-season improvement. By gaining a firm understanding of next season’s goals, major shifts in an FM strategy can occur. Fortunately, there are plenty goals that a facility executive can strive for during snow and ice season.

2. What are the contractors’ performance histories?

Staying aware of a contractor's performance history is crucial when planning for the upcoming snow season. Comparing a contractor’s cost structure to the quality of work can lead to an informed assessment of the contractor's performance.

A facility maintenance manager should be able to break down a contractor’s cost structure and understand the material and labor costs associated with a snow season. Understanding these small details can help realize the costs spent on the services received.

Comparing the materials and labor costs to the quality of service allows a facility manager to quantify the value of a past contract and decide if it is a decent fit for the future. However, it is difficult to obtain measurable statistics on the quality of work provided, so facility managers have begun to collect ratings for performance history.

Involving store personnel is an effective way to collect measurable data on service quality because they are affected by the performed services. If a service provider does not perform quality work, the store personnel or the store manager must take on the responsibility of keeping the store accessible when snow or ice occurs. The best-in-class operators encourage store managers to rate each snow service and use these ratings to identify performance history and improve facility maintenance strategies.

3. What is the right pricing strategy?

A facility manager should be able to identify compatible pricing strategies after creating goals for next snow season and understanding a contractor’s performance history. These pricing strategies will vary per facility because the needs and goals are different for every facility.

For example, a seasonal variance pricing strategy would be effective for a facility manager who makes a goal to minimize the risk of overpaying for snow services. In this pricing strategy, the premiums that a provider may charge for potential risks are not as high due to overage clauses in the contract. Facilities with locations across the country may also allocate money from an area that received little snowfall for a location that incurs heavy snowfall.

On the other hand, a fixed seasonal pricing strategy would be well suited for managers who have a goal to control their snow seasons’ budgets. A seasonal pricing strategy includes a fixed price for snow removal services during an entire season. This strategy is best for locations that have predictable and light winters because if a store requires more services than what is included in the contract, the facility manager must pay for additional services.

Bonus question: How can answering these questions improve my business?

A facility executive can make improved decisions before entering the next snow season by answering these questions about last snow season and getting an understanding of their goals. Rather than moving forward with a service provider based on emotions, using measurable data and goals can lead to fact-based and profitable decisions.

It’s time to stop thinking about landscaping and snow and ice management as separate strategies. When you partner with SMS Assist, you can get a unified solution that delivers better costs, improved quality, and around-the-clock support. Learn more about our landscaping services or request a demo today.

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