Subcontracting is very common in the snow removal industry. It allows you to grow your brand, and minimize overhead while maintaining this growth. Of course, there are also risks to contracting out work; if they do a bad job, then that falls back on you. When hiring a snow removal subcontractor you need someone trustworthy and efficient. You need to know that you can rely on them to get the work done. Many factors go into picking the right subcontractor for your snow removal business. There are also many ways to ensure that they continue to do good work for you.
Why the Snow Removal Industry Uses Subcontractors
Some snow and ice services are taken care of with plows and salt spreader trucks while others focus on snowfalls in more walkable spaces such as stairs, sidewalks, ramps, etc. Those smaller jobs during the snow season likely require smaller equipment from snow removal subcontractors.
Snow contractors have to navigate the unique challenges of each season and often partner with other snow removal contractors that have specialized equipment to handle various types of snow removal during the winter season.
During the landscaping season, there are many times that commercial dealerships partner with snow removal services from a subcontractor that can take on special requests such as removing snow from businesses, and parking lots or even working with irrigation professionals for complex structures such as patios and hardscapes.
5 Things to Consider Before Hiring Snow Removal Employees
When you need to remove snow and do your due diligence to take care of your property, consider how important it is to the growth of your business. Of course, you don't want to hire employees or a snow business that you cannot afford, but if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, it means you should consider hiring snow subcontractors:
Are you growing rapidly enough to have enough work for a full-time employee?
In the case that you and your team are constantly feeling overwhelmed by more snow, there's likely benefit to hiring a snow removal contractor for help.
Do you have enough resources to onboard and train a new team member?
In addition to having enough snow equipment, you need enough resources to properly train a new hire so they are fully integrated into your team and ice removal company.
What do your clients currently think about your services?
Your existing clients might be happy with your services and sidewalk crews. This is a sign that you have the right training standards in place.
Can your business overcome a short-term profit loss?
Despite providing snow and ice removal services for your clients, you'll still need to put resources into training your new hires. This likely means that you'll lose some money during the training process and you might even have to take on fewer jobs in the meantime.
Do you have a process for how to hire snow employees?
It's important that you have a snow removal subcontractor agreement in place before bringing on new team members. Have you thought about how you'll manage your new employee, add them to the payroll, and what paperwork they need to fill out?
How to Hire Snow Employees?
Finding a reliable snow plow subcontractor is difficult, especially during the winter season. Here are some tips to keep in mind when subcontracting snow removal.
Look Before the Season Starts
The last thing you want is little to no options when choosing your snow removal subcontractors. That is why you have to start looking in September, long before the winter months start. This guarantees that you can extend offers to the best contractors in your region. You want your business to produce its best work possible. You don’t want to be stuck with someone with poor ratings.
Seek Personal Recommendations
When it comes to finding and hiring good snow removal subcontractors, the best way is word of mouth. You can ask your colleagues and employees. Look for people who have a background in snow and ice removal. You can also look for people in lawn care that are looking to go into snow removal. This way, you can guarantee that you are hiring someone outstanding for the job. While subcontracting is helpful, it’s not worth the risk of hiring someone you don’t trust.
When finding a snow removal subcontractor, there are a couple of places you can look. Shop around before you make your decision on who to hire. Use job sites like:
It is also helpful to check your local business groups. You can put advertisements out on job sites and social media, to widen your pool of applicants.
Outline Straightforward Contracts
When hiring a snow removal subcontractor, sure the signed contract is clear. Both parties need to be aware of exactly what needs to happen. Some things that need to be included and clear are:
- If the price is fixed for the season or based on snowfall
- The amount of time and the time of day you expect them to be working
- If the cost of salt is included
- Snowfall threshold
- If there is an extra charge for larger snow storms
- Any other potential charges
- How the agreement can be terminated if need be
It is important to have everything in writing so that they can be held accountable if need be. Quality control falls on the shoulders of the business owner, even with subcontractors. Be transparent and communicative with them.
Obtain Snowplow Insurance
Always check with your subcontractor about insurance. You need to find out if they have it BEFORE they start working. If they do not, this will leave your business fully open for liability, and that is not a risk you want to take. They should provide you with a current certificate of coverage to guarantee your protection. As shown in the article above, your business should have snow plow insurance on all your vehicles. If a subcontractor is using their own vehicle, they will need to provide their own. They will also need to provide their own if they are not under employee contract and insurance with your business. This is best to protect your business and your customers from any incidents.
Collect Data Quickly
Finding a way to collect data while your subcontractors are out in the field is very important. It is how your business will make money. For the majority of snow removal businesses, the time it takes to get data from their subcontractors significantly slows down their billing process. If you’re not billing, then you’re not getting paid. Having software that tracks your subcontractors will help a lot. Your business should have a system like this in place for your full-time employees. Adding your subcontractors to it won’t be difficult. When you can gather their information in real-time through routes, you will be able to get paid much quicker.
Pay Subcontractors Faster
While you should never pay your subcontractors upfront or in cash, you should pay them as fast as you can. Your subcontractors should be paid just like regular employees. This ensures they work to a high standard. If you need to, have your subcontractors validate their work and send it to you. This way, you won’t forget to pay them on time. To ensure your subcontractors are representing your business well, treat them well.
Don't Hire Based on Price
Any industry requires that wages are kept at a competitive rate to make sure you can bring on the right employees to your team. Even though you might be tempted to find snow subcontractors who are very cheap to hire, there's a risk that you might get what you pay for. This isn't ideal when the reputation of your business is on the line. Even though there isn't any harm in capitalizing on a good deal, always factor in your reputation, insurance, capabilities, and equipment. As you're the one with the contract, you'll want to adjust it to your specifications.
Manage Your Snow Subcontractors with Software
Did you know that you can also use snow removal software to help find the right people for your snow business? It's easy to overlook the specific schedule of your snow contractors or miss dispatching a fleet of trucks across various job sites. Instead of being in charge of this on your own, you can instead rely on software that does the heavy lifting for you. These digital tools help your snow business coordinate estimates, invoices, subcontractors, and more. They allow for job site updates such as images or comments that help keep your company productive.
How to Write the Perfect Job Description to Find Snow Professionals
When writing your job description, make sure to think about the specific language that you're using to attract candidates. For example, it's rare that someone in this field will go online and search for something such as a "snow removal driver". You'll want to make sure that candidates are finding your postings so you'll want to cast a wider net in terms of the descriptions that you use. For example, if you're hiring a driver, make sure to describe the individual as a contractor, laborer, technician, operator, etc. You'll also want to include any other job functionalities such as bookkeeping, manual labor, data entry, etc.
You'll also want to be transparent about the number of hours that you'll need the employee as it will impact pay and benefits. Don't waste your time or your candidate's time by being vague about the role.
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How Much Should Snow Removal Subcontractors Be Paid?
There are many ways to attract quality snow contractors, one of which is by making sure that they're paid fairly. To determine the wages, you can use the internet for a quick search. Doing so will also give you job listing information from other companies so you can determine their pay rates. As a snow business is seasonal, you'll likely be paying an hourly rate rather than a salary. The pay likely depends on whether the worker is providing services during the day or the night. Other factors include on-call schedules, the size of the job, and whether there are additional equipment needs that a subcontractor needs to factor in.
Whether you're having the individual perform dangerous work should also be considered. If they need to get on a ladder, for example, you can consider giving them a higher hourly rate. As a ballpark number, $30 per hour seems to be typical, but it depends on many factors that you'll want to research beforehand.
Find Your Rock Salt & De-icers Supplier
Subcontracting is an ideal idea for many snow removal businesses and it gives them the peace of mind that they'll be able to keep up with the demand during peak season. No matter who is dispatched to do the work, you'll know that they're a positive representation of your company and your business.
Snow removal companies and subcontractors across the country trust Ninja De-Icer as their go-to salt suppliers. With winter still going strong, we encourage you to get a quote from us today.