KEN'S TWO CENTS: Postseason To-Do List

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May 29, 2008

ell another spring is here and another winter has passed into the history books. For many of the nation’s snow removal contractors this past winter and its ample snowfall has been very lucrative and full of sleepless nights.

Any way you slice it, though, we’re moving full steam onto whatever it is we do in the offseason. For some of us it might be "Mulch Madness" for others its fertilizing and preemergents or maybe design/build or other construction-related projects. Regardless of what it is you do when you’re not out plowing snow or prepping for a storm there are a few things to keep in mind when closing out your snow season that will help lessen the pain of getting back into it this fall.

First and foremost is billing. Get it done or "git-r-done" (depending on which state you call home) as soon as possible. Sending out bills in August is an unacceptable practice for a professional snow removal contractor, enough said.

Conduct your post-winter site surveys for damage and repair as needed in a timely manner. Develop and distribute a customer satisfaction survey and see what your customers really think of your snow removal service and performance this past winter. You might be either pleasantly surprised or rudely awakened.

Either way a customer satisfaction survey allows you to address and correct potential issues with your service and possibly open the door for discussion on early contract renewals.

Next, devote some time and evaluate your contracts to see if they met your company’s profit margins or how you can make them more profitable next winter. If you crunch the numbers and this doesn’t seem possible, then you may want to consider not renewing these contracts for the next snow season.

Spring is also a good time to grow your business by contacting potential customers who you noticed received poor service during the season Try to gain their business while this past winter and the frustration they may have felt with their snow removal provider is still fresh in their minds.

And don’t forget your equipment. Store your equipment properly and make sure you use plenty of dielectric grease in the electrical connections and service the equipment as per the manufacturer recommendations.

Finally, decide what equipment acquisitions you would like to make now and set up your Winter 2008-09 budget. There are a lot of good deals to be had in the off-season, so contact your snow removal equipment dealer.

Depending on the extent of your snow removal service or the type of clients you serve, this postseason to-do list could continue to grow. At the very least it should reinforce the fact that snow removal is truly a year-round venture. So I should get started on my postseason to-do list and practice what I preach. Have a safe summer and wish for a snowy 2008-2009.