When most people get ready for winter, they dig around in a drawer for warm gloves and move the snowblower to the front of the garage where the lawn mower used to be.
Here at Level Green Landscaping, there’s a lot more to it than that.
You know that scene in the holiday movie, “Elf,“ where as soon as Santa returns from his Christmas Eve journey, the elves get to work on toys for next Christmas?
It’s like that.
Once winter officially ends in March, we’re back at it, getting ready for the next snow season.
“We’re not doing a driveway here or there,” says Level Green Snow Manager Greg Stacho. “We service big shopping centers and business parks, really big sites that take a lot of preparation.“
Stacho walks us through what it takes to get ready for snow season, month by month:
March, April, May
Snow season doesn’t really end here in the mid-Atlantic until March.
“We’ve had snow on St. Patrick’s Day,” Stacho says. That’s when preparation for the next winter begins.
- Crews gather up snow stakes they placed at the start of the
season. Snow stakes help us keep track of fire hydrants, retaining walls, and curb lines along roadways, so our plow drivers can avoid hitting them in deep snow.
- Crews retrieve equipment from other sites, from pusher boxes to big sea containers we use to store snow equipment and supplies.
- We clean all winter equipment and stow it safely away.
Summer starts out slow for winter prep, highlighted by industry education conferences, talking to vendors about new equipment and “looking at the big picture,” Stacho says, including ways to improve our snow and ice management operations.
Winter preparation starts to pick up:
- We start bidding on new jobs and renewing with current customers.
- We put out the call for reliable subcontractors to work with us for the upcoming season.
- Things heat up in the shop, with organizational meetings and equipment checks.
- Mechanics start working on equipment, inspecting the rubber on pusher boxes for wear and tear; checking the plows’ hydraulic lines and greasing them; lubricating salt spreaders and repainting equipment as needed.
- We order new equipment.
- Branch managers review their customers’ snow plans. Each Level Green customer has a custom snow removal plan that fits their property’s unique needs.
We start customer site visits, a crucial part of snow season preparation.
We meet with customers on site, so we know all their expectations, from where to pile the snow to noting priority areas.
What happens on a site visit? A lot.
- Survey the ground. Manhole covers, water meter covers, utility hardware — all of these things stick up out of the ground an inch or so. That’s enough to catch the edge of a snow plow blade, snow blower or shovel. If we know about them, we can avoid them.
- Any pavers? Paver areas need a rubber-edged plow blade — a regular blade can pull pavers up or damage them.
- Site maps. These overhead maps of your property show us exactly where to plow, shovel, and de-ice. They indicate where to pile the snow — and where not to pile it.
October: There’s More
- Managers and crew members each have snow-specific training, on issues from liability to safe equipment operation to mixing brine.
- We create snow binders for each truck that include the detailed snow plan for each customer.
- Rental equipment is reserved for the season.
- Customer contracts are signed.
- Snow maps are ready.
- Equipment is prepped.
- Job sites are marked with snow stakes.
- Liquid brine is mixed and stored in big tanks.
- A half day “station training“ takes place, where our crews rotate through training stations learning about walkway clearing, plow safety, and other winter skills.
- Subcontractors meet with us to train and prepare for the season.
December: Ready to Roll
Our goal is to be snow-ready by December 1, Stacho says. The first few flakes usually fall around here in early December. Training continues for our crews right through January and February.
Meanwhile, preparation happens on your property, too.
- Perennials are cut back, and shrubs trimmed if they overhang pavement.
- Dead or dying tree branches are pruned so they don’t crash down under the weight of snow and ice.
- And those comprehensive site visits we mentioned ensure our crews know all your property’s unique winter needs.
Ready for Winter? We Are. Trust your Snow and Ice Management to Level Green
Nobody knows exactly how much snow we’ll get this season.
“Whether it’s 70 inches or two inches, we still have to prepare,” Stacho says.“With a company our size, there are so many moving pieces that have to fall in line to be sure we’re ready. Our subcontractor meeting is held at our facility to review safety, paperwork, and client expectations.”
We’re ready so you’ll be ready — and can rest easy about the liability issues that come from parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks that can quickly turn slick and treacherous.
“We give ourselves enough time so when we’re on site, and time is of the essence, we can keep moving through,” Stacho says. “We focus on that, so our clients don’t have to worry.”
Level Green Landscaping provides customized snow removal and ice management services to our clients that we already service throughout the year.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.
Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you — before the snow piles up.