Bunker mentality

ASCA - ASCA Update

You don’t have to seclude yourself into a doomsday bunker to be oblivious to the industry changes that are happening around you, and how the agents of change are striving to not only improve business conditions, but to legitimize our industry.

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May 27, 2016
Matthew Peterson
© Sergey Khakimullin | Dreamstime.com

Often, when reaching out and networking with the professional snow and ice management community, I attempt to convey how quickly, in business, things can go from isolated incidents or conjecture to the status quo.

This, perhaps, is most evident with insurance where trends and changes seem to take hold and reshape our industry at the speed of light. The problem for snow contractors, like yourself, is the pressure to stay ahead of the curve, which is only possible through continuing education and a constant vigilance to what is happening that could impact their business operations.

Here’s an analogy I came up with to reinforce my viewpoint.

A few years ago, the owner of a snow and ice management operation decided to shut his door and place himself and his crew into protective isolation – imagine entering one of those 1950’s bomb shelters.

After 3 to 4 years, the contractor and his team emerge and restart his old snow and ice management business. However, now it’s 2016.

Let’s recap some important differences this snow contractor faces:

  • Snow contractors are getting more professional in delivering services. They are well educated and certainly are apt pupils of risk transfer. In fact, the word ‘’risk” is now trendy and “risk managers” is a popular buzz word to associate with snow and ice management services.
  • The snow contractor is gaining a reputation for being a strong business negotiator who fights when having to sign an unfavorable contract. They will strive to educate clients on the changes in the industry that impact their business.
  • Some building owners and managers have begun to ask themselves how to identify a quality contractor versus only signing the cheapest contractor. National snow providers are realizing that they must rightly work with snow fighters they hire and not solely in the interest of one.
  • Snow and ice management companies want fair dealings with their client and the general public only. Being responsible for their own attributed fault is not too much to ask for. The snow industry is inclusive and reaches out to all parties in the process as they teach other service segments how to deal with change.
  • Signs are being posted to warn the public that dangerous conditions could exist and to be careful. They have created standards into practice, for the benefit of everyone.
  • The industry as a whole is united in educating law makers and bring awareness to legislative community about the issues the professional snow and ice management industry faces and how those issues impact far greater business concerns.

The thing is, you don’t have to seclude yourself into a doomsday bunker to be oblivious to the industry changes that are happening around you, and how the agents of change are striving to not only improve business conditions, but to legitimize our industry.

I applaud the ASCA for the work its doing to create greater awareness on issues that serve to protect the professional snow and ice management industry, and to serve as the catalyst for legislative change at both the federal and state levels.

However, not enough members of the contractor community have emerged yet from their bunkers to fully understand and realize the changes that are going on in their industry.

Don’t close yourself off to what’s happening right now in your industry. Get active, play a role, and help build a better industry.

Matthew Peterson is the president of Mills Insurance Group based in Marlton, N.J.