Deicing Strategies to Fit Every Budget

Deicing is the item that many clients feel most negatively impacts their budgets, and they struggle year after year to level-set and manage the costs.

The good news: if you choose a seasonal format as a pricing model, you could tell your providers to deice away with no worry to your bottom line. For everyone else, the question becomes how to manage risk versus cost.

Conversation About Expectations

To begin with, let’s discuss expectations. We all have a common goal which is to keep the sites as safe as possible.

No one wants to pay for deicing services every three hours, and you shouldn’t have to. However, to put limits on when your vendor can deice (say once every 24 hours) has the potential to remove the liability burden from your supplier and move it back to your own company.

However, putting in controls to regulate the number of deicing services can work with the right structure.

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Lower the Spend, Higher the Risk


Limiting the number of deicing services to every six to eight hours requires your providers to continue monitoring conditions regardless of restriction and requires them to contact you and request additional deicing services if they feel conditions warrant it.

By doing so, you can limit over-servicing but still leaving the burden on your providers to monitor site conditions. Doing both in tandem can protect your budget and the safety of your properties. Quality is important, especially when it comes to your deicing services. So, take caution when limiting the number of services and ensure you are putting in the proper controls to deliver the safest possible environment.

Product Choices & Pretreating

Regarding product type, there are truly only a handful of industry standards. Traditional salt or a combination of a salt/sand mix is used on parking lots and is the most effective solution for that service.

For sidewalks, a choice of calcium chloride, which is an industry-standard, or magnesium chloride, which has become more prevalent over the last four to five years, is a less corrosive and more common product type.

While manufacturers will undoubtedly approach you about their “magic salt” and other uniquely named products, selecting a commonly used and effective product like salt and calcium chloride will meet your service needs while not inflating your costs.


Another question that comes up is pretreating. Without engaging the merits of proactively treating lots and sidewalks, and there is value, it ultimately comes down to current conditions and, more importantly, what conditions will be like during an event.

We recommend this type of service be a critical discussion point within the scope of work where the burden is on the supplier to request this approval before an event.

This allows you to review on a storm-by-storm basis, and more importantly, on a market-by-market basis as to whether or not you want or need the service performed.

If you need help defining the terms of deicing services at your properties, connect with your national contractor to gain better insight and achieve what you need for your portfolio.


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