Snow RFP Best Practices: Quality & Price Through Service Triggers
When creating a scope of work for snow removal at your properties, it’s important to identify a service trigger that aligns with the level of service you expect.
A service trigger should clearly define the amount of snow and ice accumulation that will prompt your service partners to automatically dispatch local plowing and salting services during a winter weather event.
So the question is, when should the local crews show up to begin service at your properties?
The industry standard for snow removal triggers typically ranges between 1-inch, 2-inch, and 3-inch triggers. Let’s discuss the differences.
1-inch: Aggressive Benchmark
A 1-inch trigger is the most aggressive benchmark for service delivery, which means it can also be the most costly to your budget. Requiring crews to arrive when an inch of snow accumulates and continuing service at one-inch intervals throughout an event can be optimal for some contracts, but does it make sense for your properties?
A 1-inch trigger is the most aggressive
benchmark for service delivery, which means it can also be the most costly to your budget. Requiring crews to arrive when an inch of snow accumulates and continuing service at one-inch intervals throughout an event can be optimal for some contracts, but does it make sense for your properties?
For small-box locations such as banks, convenience stores, or properties sized
less than 40,000 square feet, services are
typically route-based. Route-based services at one-inch intervals are nearly impossible
since the time it takes to cycle through even a small route of locations will prevent a crew from meeting that expectation during a moderate or heavy snow event.
However, for big-box locations staged with crews and equipment, it’s more realistic to
achieve this aggressive trigger. Maintaining this level often requires several pieces of large equipment, which does come at a cost.
For example, where a standard 200,000 square foot lot might require three pieces of
equipment to maintain a property at two inches, maintaining one inch might require
additional machinery to meet the trigger’s demand.
Certain suppliers might take advantage
and decide to price that “one-inch trigger” under the guise of delivering service at two inches to win the work and hope the client doesn’t hold accountability for that expectation.
That is why setting expectations regarding the service levels is critical during the RFP process.
2-inch: Industry Standard
A 2-inch trigger for snow removal is an industry-standard. It provides a consistent level of service that’s achievable for both big and small box properties.
Most local service providers have the experience managing route-based services that adhere to a 2-inch trigger. Many companies choose this trigger as it most closely balances service-level expectations and cost.
3-inch: Budget Saver
Referred to as a “budget saver,” a 3-inch trigger ironically comes at a price. For example, as a property’s conditions become hazardous from snow accumulation, there’s a higher risk of accidents or slip and fall incidents onsite. Delayed operations due to high triggers not being met can cause an increased risk and liability for your company.
Bare pavement can be challenging to achieve with a 3-inch trigger, and post storm conditions are often less than favorable due to packed down snow and ice. These problems occur from excessive pedestrian and vehicle traffic on unplowed sites while there are still several inches of accumulation.
Although you may receive lower bids
during an RFP by setting a 3-inch trigger, you could risk negative customer experiences, impact your brand, and increase liability. It’s important to understand if your properties are a good fit for a higher trigger, or you could cost your company more in the long run.
It’s important that your stakeholders fully understand each service trigger’s ramifications related to cost and service levels. Be sure to take the time to weigh the impact between brand, cost, and liability to determine the trigger that best fits your needs.
If you need help determining the right trigger to meet your expectations, connect with your national contractor to gain better insight, and avoid settling for less than your portfolio deserves.
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