Thinking about hiring a snow plow service this winter? The numbers show that shoveling sends an average of 11,000 people to the hospital each year. A study from the American Journal of Emergency Medicine reports people suffering from bad backs, broken bones, head injuries (from slipping and falling on ice), and even fatal heart attacks. Luckily, finding someone to plow for you is relatively easy; many tree and landscaping companies offer this during the off season.
Whether you’re looking to save some time or your health, here are some things you should consider when shopping around for a plowing service.
Contracts are your friend
Know what you’re getting and have it in writing. It’s important to have an agreement with your plow service so that there are no unwritten expectations for service. Contracts will lay out when companies will come (based on certain predefined amounts of snowfall), what exactly will be done, and any special considerations. Contracts will also address what happens in the event that there is damage done, and what type of insurance coverage a company has.
There’s more to it than plowing
It’s important to note that regular plow services often don’t leave you with a perfectly clear driveway and walkway. If you have a gravel driveway or uneven paving, you should expect small amounts of snow left behind (especially with wet, slushy snow). In this case, it’s best to have a plan for additional aids like salt or sand to take care of areas that can re-freeze and become slip hazards.
In addition to clearing snow by plowing, some companies also offer snow blowing or shoveling services. You should decide whether you or your snow removal service will be responsible for clearing out entryways, decks, stairs to second floor entrances, sidewalks (see more on that below) and walkways. You can request snow cleared from other areas that require a little more care in order to protect your home and landscape, such as access to utility meters, exterior pipes or propane tanks, trash cans, etc.
Tell us where to put the snow!
It seems like a simple point, but make sure you let the plow company know where you’d like the snow to be pushed so that important things aren’t barricaded or covered, and to avoid wear and tear to any landscape features you’d like to preserve, like a garden bed or a stone wall along the border of your driveway. To get the best control over what gets plowed (and where), place markers on the edges of your driveway and walkways to assist your plow service. Pro tip: Remember to place the markers out before the ground freezes. We recommend you take this action before Thanksgiving, which is usually when we get the first snow of the season.
It’s often required
Even if you don’t hire a plow service, just know that every homeowner is required to clear all sidewalks along their property within a specified window (usually 24 hours), or they may be fined. Each town and city has their own rules and regulations, so be sure to look up yours. Landlords in Massachusetts are also legally obligated to keep all egresses free from obstructions—which includes snow and ice, which pose significant slip-and-fall hazards. Lastly, don't forget your mail carrier! You’ll have to make a path to your mailbox that’s reasonably clear of snow and ice, or delivery may be delayed.
We’re Here For You!
Lyndon Tree Care & Landscaping offers full plow service with snow blowing and shoveling. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to clear you out of your driveway so you can be on your way. We also offer vacation-only service to take care of snow removal while you're away. Not only will it look like someone is home, but you will return to a clear driveway and path to your door. If you have questions or would like to sign up this winter, please click here.