Snow and ice removal is a risky business. You need to nail down properties to plow, hire subcontractors and get your fleet ready for the season.
Then, you need to take your employees and subs to perform a site visit.
The last thing you need in all of this prep work is a shady subcontractor who increases your risk and lessens your efficiency while on the job.
How to Find a Good Subcontractor
It’s a lot of work to find reliable subcontractors who carry their own insurance, who work hard and complete the work that’s outlined in your contract.
According to an article in Lawn and Landscape, “A subcontractor is an individual whom a company pays to complete a specific job for a specified price.”
Here are three tips to help you find subs to employ:
- Word-of-Mouth: Ask your colleagues, employees and others if they know a roofer or lawn care owner desiring to push snow this winter.
- Look at job sites: Look at job sites, such as Monster.com and Indeed.com. Your local business groups are another spot to find qualified candidates.
- Put a call out: You can put an ad on Monster.com, ZipRecruiter.com and other job sites. Don’t forget to use your social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, too.
When you get some potential candidates, interview them, check their references and driving record, and make sure that they carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.
10 Tips for Hiring the Right Subcontractor for Your Snow Removal Business
You want to make sure that the subs you hire are reliable, efficient and responsible.
There are lots of fly-by-night subs out there. Even though, your job is to push snow and make money, weeding out subs who won’t do a great job for you will lessen your stress and keep your profits growing.
Here are 10 tips to help you:
- Good driving record: You want subs who have a clean driving record. So, you need to check because you don’t want someone with a poor driving record on the road in the middle of the night when it’s snowing.
- Organized: As you know, there’s a lot of paperwork to fill out on the job. However, even though you may have an app to keep your crews organized, they still need to take the time to punch in the hours they worked, take pictures of a clean parking lot and text any problems when they were at the site.
- Responsible: In addition to a clean driving record, you don’t want a subcontractor who has a criminal background, has issues with drugs and alcohol, or who’s dishonest.
- An experienced sub with one to two references: It’s not wrong to hire newbies, but you want to make sure that they have adequate experience to clean parking lots efficiently as well as handle the stress and exhaustion that’s part of snow pushing. You want your drivers to be experienced so you can put the newbie in charge of clearing sidewalks as they learn the ropes.
- Fair prices: You don’t want someone charging the least amount nor do you want to hire the sub who is overpriced. Know the average going rate for subs and use that as your pay barometer.
- Enough insurance: Your subs should be carrying their own general liability and auto liability insurances as well as worker’s compensation. Even better, you have subs who carry property, casualty and inland marine insurance.
- Seasonal subcontractors: You can expand your snow removal reach when you hire subs that are in the outer circle of your region. Plus, seasonal subs can be non-competitors such as lawn care, roofers and masons.
- Make working for you enjoyable: Do you want to keep your subcontractors coming back every year (and who doesn’t)? Then make your place a positive experience for your subcontractors. Make your subs feel they’re a part of your team even though they don’t work for you year round.
- Check out their reviews: Look up your potential subs’ reviews in the Better Business Bureau, Google and Yelp to check the person’s reliability, attitude and work ethic.
- The Employee Contract: Once you’ve picked the right subs to help your crews this winter, make sure they sign your contract. A subcontractor contract should include:
- The job description
- Chain of command
- Your expectations
- Service timing
- The penalty for not showing up for a job
- Reasons for dismissal.
SnowWolf Plows Clean Up Lots
Since there are salt shortages this year, it’s the best move to invest in snow plows, blowers and pushers that will clean parking lots quickly.
- The angle plow moves snow away from structures such as curbs, buildings, and vehicles.
- The straight plow holds vast swaths of snow by moving the “wings” straight out to the side.
- Quattro plows push snow wherever you need it by pivoting the wings all the way forward.
- Quattro plows also back drag enormous amounts of snow in one pass by moving the wings position back. You can do all of these tasks without leaving the cab of your machine.
Callahan, Mike, “Secrets to Subcontracting Success.”
Sima.org, “Snow Subcontractor Red Flags.”
Zawacki, Mike, “So, You Want to be a Subcontractor.”