What to ex­pect when hir­ing a snow re­moval com­pany

The Capital - - COMICS & FEATURES - By Paul F. P. Pogue Angie’s List

With win­ter comes the threat of ice, snow and blocked-up drive­ways. You can brave the chilly la­bor of re­mov­ing snow your­self, or you can hire a pro­fes­sional ser­vice to clear snow­fall for you — some­times be­fore you even wake up.

You can hire snow re­movers for a one-time ser­vice, but be pre­pared to wait in that case. Re­li­able com­pa­nies al­ready have ex­ten­sive client lists, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and find some­one well be­fore the first win­ter storm hits. pri­or­ity.

■ What spe­cific ser­vices do you pro­vide? De­pend­ing on the fore­cast, many ser­vices are at the ready to lay down salt or other de-ic­ing agents as soon as bad weather is ex­pected. If a snow that can’t be han­dled with de-ic­ing is ex­pected, re­moval com­pa­nies will plow, haul snow, and shovel side­walks and other walk­ways in or­der to main­tain safety.

■ What kind of staff and equip­ment do you use? Most com­pa­nies em­ploy ra­dio dis­patch­ers in ad­di­tion to their snow re­moval spe­cial­ists. They may also have at their dis­posal com­mer­cial-grade equip­ment such as skid steers, fron­tend load­ers, snow­plows and push­ers.

■ What is the cost for snow re­moval, and how is it cal­cu­lated? The cost varies on the mar­ket con­di­tions of a par­tic­u­lar area and cur­rent fuel costs. If you know you live in an area of the coun­try that is likely to ex­pe­ri­ence a cer­tain amount of snow, you may be able to lock in a rea­son­able rate be­cause the com­pany will ex­pect a min­i­mum amount of work. On av­er­age, you can ex­pect to pay be­tween $350 and $400 for a sea­sonal snow re­moval con­tract, or around $75 for a one-time clean­ing.

■ Are you cov­ered? Con­firm that the com­pany is ap­pro­pri­ately li­censed for where you live and holds proper bond­ing and in­sur­ance. ■ ■ ■

DREAMSTIME

Snow re­moval com­pa­nies han­dle clear­ing out side­walks and drive­ways, some­times be­fore you even wake up.

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