The Tedious Task of Snow Removal; Insight and Helpful Tips

Snow removal

The thought of jingling bells and fat flakes of snow falling from star-lit skies might overwhelm some persons with nostalgic memories of white Christmases past. But once cold weather sets in, reality usually follows close behind.

For many regions, long winter months mean a battle with the bulge of snow drifts and ice. And back-breaking snow removal efforts to keep “the white stuff” from accumulating on highways, driveways, and roof tops.

Whether you shovel snow, use a snow plow mount on your lawn tractor, or some other type of snow removal equipment, effective snow removal is important to home and business owners alike. Not only to make mobility possible, and traveling easier and safer. But to protect structures from damage; roof collapse caused by excessive snow and ice.

Excessive Snowfall; a Life-threatening Emergency

An average snowfall doesn't usually represent a life-threatening situation. Unless combined with extenuating circumstances, like sub zero temperatures and a raging blizzard.

Take the recent Colorado snow storm in the United States, for instance. A horrific winter snow storm represented by a series of smaller storms state wide. With freezing winds up to 60 mph that blasted through the mountainous state, dumping snow in drifts over 3 feet high.

Or consider the snow emergency caused by the frigid storm that descended upon eastern Canada the winter of 2000. Immobilizing 50-percent of Toronto's Air Canada flight schedule, and dumping a record 11.8 inches of snow overnight in Ottawa. Far exceeding the expected yearly average of snowfall; making the need for prompt snow and ice removal critical.

Snow Removal - Types and Services Available

Effective ground and roof snow removal can be initiated by individual households, businesses, or government agencies.

For residential communities in light snow areas, a broom to whisk snow off walkways and a light-weight folding shovel to tidy up the driveway may suffice as snow removal tools. In colder regions with a medium to heavy annual snowfall forecast a heavy-duty snow shovel, snow blower, homemade snow plow, snow scoop, mini tractor, or pickup snow plow might be required.

Manually shoveling snow is a cumbersome job; strenuous on the heart as well as the back. A number of middle aged persons and senior citizens die from heart attacks each year while shoveling snow. One reason why some areas offer free snow removal for the elderly and other persons in need.

Some homeowners and many businesses opt for a professional snow removal service; such as those provided by a snow plow contractor. Annual snow removal cost can run in access of $1000 for residential services in areas with high total snowfall.

Business owners in urban areas who possess their own heavy-duty snow removal equipment, such as a plow truck or snow removal tractor, sometimes cruise the neighborhood and offer one-time snowplow services for pay.

City Snow Removal Truck Services; the Big Boys!

City officials make provision for large scale snow removal with a fleet of trucks and other snow clearing vehicles always on standby.

The first to be dispatched might be “gritters,” arriving on the scene while it is still snowing. They do some plowing, but also lay salt or sand to help improve vehicle traction; to decrease the risk of accidents and number of stranded motorists.

Front end loaders usually show up once it stops snowing. They use snowplow attachments and “graders,” and go up and down streets pushing snow off to the side of the road. Large faster-moving trucks follow that deal with remaining ice and snow, and give the road a dusting of dirt or salt.

In cities such as Montreal and Ottawa where annual snowfall is very high, the piles of snow known as “windrows” that build up along the sides of roads must also be dealt with.

Snow removal prices can run as high as $60 million each year for large cities like Toronto. Overall, it is estimated that Canada snow removal costs around $1 billion annually.

Hiring a Reliable Snow Removal Contractor

Finding the right contractor to handle excessive snow fall and keep your driveway, walkway, and roof free from ice and snow is easy at

Homeowners with a Calgary snow removal job, or someone requiring Toronto snow removal services can find a local service provider quickly and easily; without cost or obligation.

Simply post your project online with our user-friendly tools, and then sit back and let the contractors shovel their way to you. Member service providers view project details online, and compete with each other for the job. Providing you with competitive bids in days - even hours - after project posting.

Visit's company profile pages to critique each contractor. View portfolio, licensing and insurance information, references, and gallery of photos with pictures of recently completed projects. And then connect with the contractor of choice - or no one at all. Remember, there is no obligation whatsoever!

When hiring, follow these handy tips:

  • Request bids as quotes, instead of estimates - which are subject to change.
  • Get several quotes, but remember; the least expensive is not always the best. Consider types of snow removal services offered (shoveling, snow blowing, etc.), as well as frequency, and whether price quote is for area size, per inch of snow, etc.
  • Ask the contractor whether there would be any additional charges to those quoted. For instance, is there an extra charge for the use of sand or salt?  Is there an extra charge for clearing during a storm?
  • If the price seems too high but you would like to pursue the chance of hiring a particular service provider, ask if there are other price options or package deals.
  • Visit the contractor's company profile pages online at; don't forget the customer feedback section.
  • Check out references, licensing/certification/insurance, and other credentials to ensure they are still valid.
  • Request a “business reliability report” from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) on the contractor of choice.
  • Get everything in writing; verbal agreements are worthless.

Above all else, keep expectations reasonable. Remember - Canada's winter snow accumulation can be significant. Due to increased snow fall, traveling is made more difficult. It may take the contractor longer to get to you. And once there, snow removal efforts may take longer.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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