Unless you’re an avid skier or snowboarder, nobody wants to think about snow when we’re still enjoying the beautiful late-summer weather. But if you’re a property manager, it might be something you have to think about sooner rather than later. Why? Because, as you probably know, if not managed correctly, snow can be bad for business. No one wants their parking lot to look like the Arctic, preventing clients and customers from parking. More importantly, no one wants an accident.

Snow and ice management is serious business — both for us and for anyone out there who owns or manages a property. My friends often ask me how we do it, so I thought I would share a bit about our approach.

These are the things we consider:

Temperature & weather

If we know snow is coming and an average snowfall is expected, we’ll apply salt or de-icers to minimize the snow accumulation, reduce slipping hazards and prevent snow and ice from latching to the surface. Lighter snowfalls (under two inches) will require only salt or de-icer. For average snowfalls, we’ll go out again with these after plowing and shoveling so that walkways, driveways and parking lots to prevent slippery conditions. However, if it’s frigid (-10 Celsius and below), salt won’t have an effect, so we have to de-ice or manually remove the ice in high-traffic areas.

Salt and de-icers

If we know snow is coming and an average snowfall is expected, we’ll apply salt or de-icers to minimize the snow accumulation, reduce slipping hazards and prevent snow and ice from latching to the surface. Lighter snowfalls (under two inches) will require only salt or de-icer. For average snowfalls, we’ll go out again with these after plowing and shoveling so that walkways, driveways and parking lots to prevent slippery conditions. However, if it’s especially cold (-10 Celsius and below), salt won’t have an effect, so we have to de-ice or manually remove the ice in high traffic areas.

Timing

When snow starts to pile up, we’ll bring out our plows and shovels. For high-traffic properties like malls, we always try to get out early with our heavy machinery and avoid peak times, before stores open, so that the snow is clear for shoppers. Plus, starting too late or not clearing the snow often enough can create slipping hazards and make removal more difficult and time-consuming.

Prioritization

We always go in with a customized strategy and prioritize certain areas to clear first, like entrances and other high-traffic areas. Weather patterns are also used when prioritizing where to clear first. Our crews try to follow the path of the snowfall.

Size of the storm

In the case of a large snowstorm, we need to plan somewhat differently. Pre-salting won’t help much in this case, so we avoid it and go straight to plowing and shoveling. If you’re in an area that traditionally gets a lot of snowfall, like Ottawa, we’ll ensure snow is removed from the property within 24 hours of a snowfall.

I spend most my days thinking about how to keep properties both safe and beautiful. Snowy situations have become near and dear to my heart. Hopefully, we can help you with your snow removal when the weather eventually cools down.