Snow Removal in Community Associations: Why Having a Plan is Important
Mother Nature is often unpredictable, especially when it comes to snow. For community associations, having a snow removal plan in place before the first flurry hits the ground is just smart and good business. Many members will believe their street is a top priority when in fact, the main road takes top priority. Clear communication to members and choosing a reputable contractor helps in avoiding panic and possible property damage. Start your snow removal plan by using the following steps in advance of winter weather:
Evaluate the Community's Needs
Identify priority areas that must top the list when it's time for snow removal. Main roads, parking lots, and common sidewalks are key areas for priority attention. The number and size of the top priorities will help in developing a ballpark budget. Develop a community map that highlights these areas in preparation for meeting with contractors. Clearly communicating the community's needs to the contractor helps them to understand what type and how much equipment they will need to use.
Find the Right Contractor
Finding the right contractor in advance of a significant snowfall is better than waiting until the last minute and getting what's available. Comprise a list of local contractors and set up a time to interview each on site. Ask each contractor for a list of services, rates, and for information about their insurance. Reach out to businesses in the area for recommendations and references. Once a contractor is selected, be sure to meet with them again after the first snow removal. Reviewing the contract and work done benefits both sides as it is a good time to make improvements and suggestions.
Communication is Key
Most community associations are not responsible for snow removal when there is less than 2" of snow. Early communication with association members regarding this is important for ensuring they are prepared for their own driveways and sidewalks. Communication is even more important when the contractor enters the community after significant snowfalls. First, communicate the list of priorities. While every member wants to know when their street, driveway, sidewalk is next, management must stress patience. Next, suggest ways they can help the process by reminding them to move cars from the street to the driveway or garage. Some members may enjoy watching the snowfall while others become anxious about work and appointments. Remind all community association members that nothing happens until the snow stops. Use social media, email, and phone if necessary to communicate with members. This will keep everyone in the loop and knowing when to expect service to their street.
Let it Snow!
Like it or not, snow is going to interrupt schedules, bury cars, and make streets slippery. Staying inside with hot chocolate and a roaring fireplace sounds dreamy. The reality, however, is that most association members need to get to their jobs, their children to school, and some may have doctor appointments. Patience is in a virtue when it comes to getting out of the house or unit before cabin fever sets in. Having a snow removal plan in place before a big winter storm hits is invaluable to a community association. It serves as a blueprint for contractor to guide him to the priority areas.
Host a community feedback event at the clubhouse or another central meeting place. Have fun with it by having a beach theme to get everyone in the spirit of warmer weather. By meeting with the contractor after the first major snow removal and receiving member feedback, the snow removal plan may require changes. Either way, the association will have a standing document upon which to base future snow removal policies and procedures, preventing stress and panic at the next sight of snow.