The Importance of Snow Removal for Homeowners’ Associations
The Importance of Snow Removal for Homeowners’ Associations
For many homeowners’ associations (HOAs), winter snow removal is a necessary but costly expense. To keep residents safe and property values high, HOAs must budget for snow removal services each year. However, with the right planning and management, winter snow removal doesn’t have to be a drain on your HOA’s finances. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of winter snow removal for HOAs and offer some tips on how to make sure your HOA is prepared.
Why Snow Removal is Important for HOAs
There are several reasons why HOAs must prioritize winter snow removal. First and foremost, ice and snow can present a safety issue. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, half of all accidental deaths at the home can be attributed to a fall. While this is a staggering statistic, it’s also important to note most of these injuries happen at ground level, rather than from a height, such as ladders or stairways. That said, slips and falls are more common in the winter months, as icy sidewalks and parking lots can increase the risk of injury for residents and visitors alike. What’s more, heavy snowfall can also create dangerous ice dams, and snow can slide from the roof and fall on pedestrians, leading to additional risk of injury and legal responsibility for the HOA.
In addition to safety, winter snow removal helps protect property values. Buyers are often reluctant to purchase homes in HOAs that don’t keep their common areas well-maintained. Despite wintery conditions, people do buy and sell their homes in the winter months. By removing snow and ice promptly, HOAs can help maintain property values and make their communities more attractive to potential buyers. For those who like to save money, you may also be interested in learning snow removal can be tax deductible in some parts of the country.
Yet another important reason to remove snow and ice from common areas is to prevent damage to the property. When snow and ice melt, they can seep into cracks in sidewalks, driveways, and other surfaces, causing them to expand and break. This type of damage can be costly to repair and may cause problems for residents or negatively impact the HOA’s balance sheet if left unaddressed. By removing snow and ice regularly, HOAs can avoid the potential for property damage and keep common areas in good condition.
Lastly, keeping walkways clear of snow helps to improve the lives of residents or passersby that may have mobility issues. If sidewalks and parking lots are covered in snow and ice, it can make it very difficult for people who use wheelchairs or walkers to get around. By keeping these areas clear, HOAs can help make their communities more accessible for everyone.
How to Save on Snow Removal Costs
One of the biggest challenges for HOAs when it comes to snow and ice management is finding ways to save on costs. After all, most homeowners’ associations operate on tight budgets, and unexpected expenses like snow removal can quickly put a strain on finances.
The best way to manage snow removal costs is to plan as much as possible. Start by getting quotes from several different vendors in advance of the winter season so you can compare prices and services. Once you’ve selected a vendor, sign a contract that clearly outlines the scope of work and sets expectations for pricing. Finally, make sure you communicate with your vendor regularly throughout the season.
Tips for Effective Winter Snow Removal
To ensure your HOA is prepared for winter weather, follow these tips –
Create a Plan
Before the first flakes fall, sit down with your HOA board of directors or property management company to develop a plan for winter snow removal and an HOA snow removal policy. This plan should include which surfaces will be cleared (e.g., sidewalks, parking lots, driveways), how often they will be cleared (e.g., after every inch of accumulation), and who will be responsible for clearing them (e.g., employees, homeowners, contractors). Having a plan in place can help ensure your community is prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws its way during the winter season.
Make sure you have enough salt, shovels, and other supplies on hand to clear all of the surfaces in your community. If possible, try to purchase these supplies in bulk – you may be able to receive discounts from suppliers. You may also want to consider investing in new equipment, such as snow blowers or plow trucks, to make clearing large areas easier.
Watch the Forecast
Those accustomed to winter weather know just how unpredictable winter weather can be. That’s why it’s so important to stay up-to-date on the forecast in your area. This way, you’ll know when to expect inclement weather and can make sure your community is prepared accordingly. Checking the forecast regularly will also help you know when snow removal services will be required and determine whether you need to hire extra staff or bring in outside contractors to help.
Communicate with Residents
Keep residents informed about your HOA’s winter weather preparations by sending out updates via email or social media. Let them know about any changes to your snow removal plan and offer tips so to help them be as prepared as possible. It can be a good idea to also let residents know when they can expect common areas to be cleared after a storm has passed. This will allow them to plan activities accordingly and avoid any hazardous situations.
What to Look for When Hiring a Snow Removal Company
Many HOAs hire a professional snow removal service or purchase an HOA snow removal contract. But with so many snow removal companies to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is right for your community. Here are a few things to look for when finding a snow removal company.
Make sure to ask how long the organization has been in business and if they have experience working with HOAs specifically. You’ll want to ensure they are familiar with handling any unique landscaping, slopes, or other features presented by your property that may be difficult for an unseasoned snow removal service. Having a company that has experience can not only help to protect the property within the community, but ensure plowing, salting, and shoveling is done quickly and effectively.
A good snow removal company has all of the necessary tools and equipment to get the job done quickly and efficiently. This includes everything from plows and snow shovels to salt spreaders and ice melt, or anything else required to do a thorough and professional job. If you’re considering the impact of snow removal and would like to protect the environment, you may even wish to ask if they offer environmentally friendly alternatives to harsh ice treatment chemicals.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider pricing when choosing a snow removal service. Get quotes from several companies and compare their rates. Be sure to ask about any additional fees or charges that might apply in specific situations. You should also find out if the company offers discounts for advance payments or recurring service contracts.
Accidents happen, even when professional companies are taking every precaution possible. That’s why it’s important your chosen snow removal service is licensed, bonded, and has liability insurance in case something does go wrong. This is especially true for homeowners’ associations, as significant property damage or a lawsuit can put the community at risk.
Don’t just take the company’s word they’re the best—get some references from past clients and give them a call. This will give you an idea of what it’s really like to work with them and if they’re likely to meet (or exceed) your expectations. There are also several places online where you can find reviews for a business.
When winter weather hits, you’ll want to make sure your snow removal company is available on short notice. Find out what their policy is for inclement weather and emergency callouts. You’ll also want to make sure they have enough staff and equipment to handle your property promptly. The last thing you want to do is be at the tail end of a long line of clients and wait several days to have the common areas cleared.
Tips for HOA Residents to Assist with Snow Removal
As a homeowner, there are some things you can do as a resident to assist with snow removal and make the job easier for your HOA.
- DIY snow removal is a great way to help, so shovel your sidewalks and driveways as soon as possible after it snows. This will prevent the snow from turning into ice, which is much more difficult to remove. It will also make it safer for pedestrians walking by your home.
- Put rock salt or sand on any icy areas on your property, such as steps or walkways to help prevent anyone from slipping and falling.
- For homes with a mailbox, make sure it is clear of snow so the mail carrier can easily get to it.
- Trim back any trees or bushes you are responsible for so they don’t block the path of the snowplow.
- Be sure to move your car out of the street if you see the snow plow coming so it’s not in the way.
- Store outdoor furniture and/or decorations to prevent damaged by snow and ice.
- Finally, be patient! Removing snow is a time-consuming process and it may take a little while for the HOA or the snow plow to get to your property.
Ready to Hire a Professional?
Winter snow removal is an important responsibility for homeowners’ associations and tenants. Not only does it help prevent slip and fall accidents and property damage, but it also helps improve curb appeal and accessibility for residents with mobility issues. If your HOA isn’t already doing winter snow removal, now is the time to start planning.
The first snowfall of the season can be a beautiful thing—but it can also be stressful if you’re in charge of an HOA. One way to ease that stress is by hiring a professional snow removal service and signing an HOA snow removal contract. When looking for the right company, be sure to consider their experience, equipment, insurance, and references.
Tenants and residents can also help their homeowners’ association with snow removal by shoveling snow and keeping snow removal areas clear to make winter a little easier for everyone involved.
For additional insight or to schedule your snow removal services, contact the professionals at All Metro Service Companies and we’re happy to help.
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