While winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21, brutal weather is unpredictable and can come out of nowhere. Snowy and icy road conditions can quickly turn in an instant, leaving operations in a mess, and there is no way of knowing how many times it will hit! However, it doesn’t have to be like this. To make the most out of the snow & ice season, there are four best practices you should follow.
1. Always Be Prepared
One way to keep prepared for the upcoming snow & ice season is to set up a ticketing system ahead of time based on the type of contract. It may be the same ticket that gets used all year long for a seasonal contract, or it may be a per-inch or per-push ticket based off the amount of snow that comes down. In either case, having the tickets set up ahead of time will ensure that your internal crews and/or subcontractors can hit the ground running on short notice.
Another great way to stay prepared is to lock contracts in early. It’s highly recommended to not wait until the last minute to set up snow contracts. The closer to winter, the more companies will begin to scramble to fill their own contracts. It’s best to avoid the scramble and lock in those contracts sooner rather than later to ensure you're prepared for an unexpected early event.
2. Track Equipment Usage
Tracking equipment is a great way to manage damage, wear & tear, and theft. It may be discovered that certain team members need additional training if repairs are disproportionately coming from their equipment. In turn, a discussion with them may be necessary to determine why the equipment is damaged.
Additionally, it’s important to track equipment miles/hours so that companies can perform proper preventive maintenance on a schedule, not a guess. Having a set standard for equipment maintenance can not only prolong its life, but more importantly ensure its readiness the moment the equipment is needed. The last thing anyone wants is for a piece of vital equipment to be in the shop when needed most.
3. Track Hours
The snow season can be hectic. Between employees, subcontractors, different pay rates and different contracts, payroll can become a mess without a proper system in place. The members of the team may be honest and trustworthy; however, mistakes can happen. Their personal time sheets may be unreadable, damaged, or they may have forgotten to record their time after a long shift. Not to mention the difficulty of managing time when a subcontractor scribbles their hours on a piece of paper and then forgetting where they placed it for a week. Being proactive with time management can prevent future pains down the road during the snow season.
In today’s competitive environment, hours and material tracking needs to be consistently accurate and timely. A mobile app (like Aspire's Crew Mobile) can help you keep these records up to date. Crews and subcontractors can clock in through the app and the data won’t be lost. This also means that the data will be available in real time for the leadership team to adjust on the fly during an event. A mobile app can also manage materials used from inventory to ensure efficient use and accurate billing.
4. Bring in the Right People
This is a practice that should be conducted no matter the season, but hiring trustworthy employees is an especially vital business practice during the snow season. Team members that have the company's best interest in mind and make sure that clients are happy are not easily replaced. Therefore, retaining reliable members of the team is a must. When a snow event is on the horizon, employees and subcontractors need to be ready on short notice and have agreed upon payment terms in place to remove any ambiguity. Trying to negotiate payment with a subcontractor during a blizzard is not a great way to kick off a favorable season.
When choosing the appropriate subcontractors to work with, make sure they align with the company’s culture and quality expectations because they will be representing your business during the season. They must be willing to plug in and accept technology as part of their operations or they could jeopardize the progress being made.
Luckily, this is not a process that you need to take on alone. Aspire’s snow removal business software was designed to help snow & ice professionals like you to manage their business more effectively. The software restructures administrative work and creates more time for servicing clients and other important duties. Between custom ticket management, the ease of Crew Mobile, and accurate job costing, managing the snow & ice season becomes so much easier. It doesn’t have to be a season of headaches when there is a proven system in place that improves efficiencies and accountability.
At Aspire, we understand that when you’re running a landscape/snow and ice company, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. That’s why we’ve developed an all-in-one, cloud-based solution with the functionality you need to keep your entire business running smoothly—and profitably. If you’re ready to take your company to the next level, contact us today!
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