When Service Is Actually Provided 

By Tim Jackson | Vice President, Welsh Facility Services

As a Property Manager or Facility Manager it is always a good idea to clearly define your “snow trigger” expectations within a seasonal contracted agreement.  In order to identify your needs, begin by asking yourself some simple questions.

Is my site a destination or a route?

Is my site a destination or on a route? Destination sites typically have equipment available on-site and will be ready to provide snow removal services prior to defined snow triggers being met.

Route sites may not necessarily have equipment available or ready when snow triggers are met, and there is a potential that the site could be the sixth out of ten sites on a contractor’s site removal list. The rate at which snow is removed can negatively impact the site in relation to compaction rate, wind, drifting, temperatures, and salting requirements.

When should the contractor begin service?

Contractors should be aware of expectations when beginning snow removal services. The contractor has one of two options 1) to dispatch once snow triggers are met, or 2) to dispatch in anticipation of snow triggers being met. If the contractor decides to monitor and wait to dispatch crews, response times will decrease and customers and tenants may be at risk for slips and falls. If the contractor dispatches prior to the snow event, they can be on-site pre-treating and performing snow removal needs at once.

Establishing your snow triggers prior to contracting with a snow removal service will have a direct impact on how your site is priced and the expectations set. For example, if a 2” trigger is chosen, the contractor isn’t obligated to perform snow removal until that trigger is met. Most Property and Facility Managers believe snow removal should start prior to the triggers being met, which can often cause concern for both parties as it relates to service, cost, and potential slip & falls.

Best Practice Recommendations

As a best practice, Property and Facilities Managers should define the appropriate expectations as it relates to snow triggers and timing of service with contractors during the RFP process. Clearly defining these expectations can eliminate the unknowns and set the appropriate pricing model along with expectations to how the site should be maintained relative to snow removal.

Generally, it is best to pay the up-front cost to perform snow removal at a trigger of 1” on parking lots and 1/2” on all sidewalks, or an additional weather event that requires snow removal needs, such as freezing rain, slippery conditions, etc. Using these techniques will eliminate the “gray area” on contractor reaction time, and is a smarter approach to pricing/budgeting than paying out potential legal claims due to potential slip and falls.


Welsh Facility Services provide commercial maintenance services to property owners, managers and businesses in Minnesota and across the country. Learn more here – Welsh Facility Services 



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