Snow and ice management on medical facilities can be lucrative. However, you need to understand the details that go into keeping these facilities’ sidewalks and parking lots clean.
Beefing Up Your Crews & Preparation
Keeping walkways, roads, parking lots, parking garages, helipads and ambulance bays clear of snow and ice isn’t for the lone subcontractor. Indeed, you’ll experience success and happy facility managers when you’re over-prepared and over-staffed.
Hospitals, stand-alone emergency rooms, urgent care, and outpatient surgical facilities have people coming and going 24/7.
This consistent cycle of people and cars means that you won’t be able to clear parking lots like you would if you were in a retail center where no one is around. It takes longer to clean the lots as well as all of the other places where there are vehicles and people.
You also need a dedicated team keeping sidewalks and entrances to the medical facilities super-clean. There’s no room for any slick spots.
This is excellent news for your proposal because you can add the expense of hiring extra staff and keeping equipment on-site. You also may need smaller equipment to maneuver tight spaces, such as a parking garage with cars in it.
Preparing Your Proposal
Preparing your bid for a medical facility is similar to bidding for a commercial job. The medical facility has acres of parking lots, miles of sidewalks, and many entrances that need to be free of snow and ice.
The design layout is the same regarding traffic patterns, front and back lots, and size.
And yet, there are six differences between typical commercial properties and healthcare facilities:
- The 24/7 nature of medical facilities.
- The cycling between lots, facilities and sidewalks takes longer to finish and maybe a continuous cycle if there are multiple storms in one week.
- You still need to pay your crews even if they’re waiting to clean a lot. Downtime is expected with these types of facilities, and managers don’t mind paying for the extra idle time.
- Depending on the storm, you may need someone staying on site to inspect for snow, refreezing and hauling snow away from the facility.
- You need to consider how much ice melt you’re allowed to apply based on the facility’s environmental regulations.
- You’ll need to use pre-treatment, such as brine, to keep lots and sidewalks clean.
Facility managers are busy people. Plus, they may not realize all the details that go into keeping a medical facility’s lots, sidewalks and entrances clean.
So, your job is to teach them the details. You start with the standard pricing, staffing and job routine of clearing off parking lots, walkways and entrances.
Then, you show them the extra staff, equipment, and deicing materials needed to keep everything free of ice and snow during the storm as well as during refreezing cycle.
You might need to keep one snow pusher to a whole crew on site inspecting for refreezing depending on the season, the number of storms hitting your area in a set amount of time, as well as drainage patterns.
You should include the following in your bid:
- Consider start and stop times (including travel times to the site)
- Cycle times cleaning the same areas
- Your crews’ experience working with low snow tolerant facilities
- The other areas that need to stay clear of snow and ice, such as helipads, restricted parking, valet parking, entrances and exits as well as emergency bays
- Your experience and references for the property manager to contact
- Other services including snow hauling, inspections and ice monitoring.
Property managers of medical facilities know that they will need to pay a premium for excellent service. As long as you can justify each service, you don’t have to worry about the manager rejecting your asking price.
As you can see, contracting with a medical facility takes experience, manpower and money to keep all the parts moving and reducing liability.
You can start gaining experience by subcontracting with one of these larger outfits or by starting small such as a doctor or dentist office.
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Facilitiesnet.com, “A Clear Path to Snow Removal.”
Facilitiesnet.com, “Developing a Plan for Snow and Ice Removal.”
Higley, Cheryl, “Niche Markets: Hospitals.”
SIMA, “Consistent Snow Management Estimating,” pdf.