There’s more to planning a snow and ice management attack than looking out the window.

Although, that’s part of it.

snow event types

“All that weather out there is different,” says Level Green Landscaping account manager Jonathan Friend, “and it comes at us in different ways.

“We might get rain that turns to ice. Two inches of snow might fall, but the first inch doesn’t stick. And two years ago, we got a storm that dropped 30 inches of snow.”

That’s why Level Green’s snow management plan isn’t one size fits all. If you’re a property manager, it helps to keep that in mind.

Friend walks us through the different snow event types and how crews attack them.

Ice, Ice Baby

“Here in the Maryland and DC area, we have lots of ice events,” Friend says. “It could rain, then the temperature drops and turns it all into ice.”

Pre-treatment options differ, based both on the nature of the weather and the individual wishes of the client.

While there’s a standard “trigger depth” for snowfall — crews arrive once two inches of snow falls — there’s not a standard situation for ice, Friend says.

“Ice treatment has to be approved by the customer,” he says. Some customers want pre-treatment if an ice storm is looming, while others want to wait and see if it sticks, he says.

Ice Is Not Nice

“Ice is tricky,” Friend says. “Ice might be in the forecast, but then it turns out to be just rain. If we pre-treated for ice, the rain would just wash the treatment away. These products aren’t cheap. You don't want to waste them.”

Timing’s a factor, too.

“If the storm hits midday, it might warm up and melt the ice,” he says.  “But most people are extra cautious and want it treated. Ice means liability. You have to keep the people walking your property safe.”

Level Green staff are constantly checking multiple weather forecasts, he says, to stay ahead of the weather.

icy road

Constant Communication

Whatever snow event types Mother Nature dishes out, Level Green pros let you know what looms.

“Five days before a predicted weather event, we send an email about the impending weather,” Friend says. “Then, 48 hours before, we call or email with an update. Do they want us to pre-treat?”

Another call goes out 24 hours ahead.

“We tell the customer our plan of attack,” he says. “Do they want us to do anything different? Then, we keep them updated throughout the storm.”

Crews take photos of their progress with their cell phone cameras that account managers can forward to clients to keep them posted.

“They’re not out there patrolling like we are.”

Watching For Refreeze

An ice storm may be over, but that doesn’t mean the ice is over.

“Here in the DC and Maryland area, we get a lot of refreeze,” Friend says. “It might warm up to 50 degrees after lunch, so everything melts. But then the temperature drops down to the 20s or low 30s at night, and all those puddles freeze.”

Treating that new ice is essential to keep people from slipping, he says.

The Snow Plan

Dealing with a typical 2 to 4 inch snowfall is a lot more straightforward than dealing with ice, Friend says.

Clients sign contracts ahead of time detailing their snow removal plan. The standard “trigger depth” is 2 inches, he says. So once two inches of snow falls, crews head out to clear driveways, parking lots and walkways.

“Customers have already communicated to us their priority areas,” he says. “Supervisors have job maps, so they know where manhole covers are, and where drains are, so we can push the snow piles close to drains.”

Crews know what customers are open 24 hours a day and which ones open at 6 or 8 a.m., and plan their work accordingly, Friend says.

It should all run like a well-oiled machine.


When A Blizzard Hits

“We don’t get many blizzards here,” Friend says. But a whopper struck two years ago, dumping 30 inches of snow.

“Then, it’s a matter of teamwork,” he says. If properties in one Level Green branch’s territory get more snow than another, the less-busy crews head over to assist.

“We’re all one team,” he says. “We help each other out.

“If it’s a multi-day event, we put crews up in hotel rooms so they can get the rest they need.”

But the work still looms.

“Once the snow stops, we’re still working — detailing shopping centers and pushing the piles of snow where they need to be,” Friend says. Sometimes a sheet of ice is hiding under all that snow, he says — so that needs treating, too.

Plan Ahead

“The most important thing is that we understand each other’s expectations, through all snow event types,” Friend says. “There needs to be a concrete plan ahead of time so we know what a customer expects in the middle of a storm.

“If there’s a stockpile of snow, where do they want it?  How much of the sidewalk needs to be cleared? How soon do they need it clear? Do they want us to patrol the property through the night?  Or come at the beginning of a storm and again at the end?”

While some customers think they’ll save money if they  have crews show up just once, at the end of a snowstorm, they’re wrong, Friend says.

“It’s easier for us to plow continuously as soon as two inches fall, than to come back when there are several inches of snow," he says. “Then we have to bring in bigger machinery, which ends up costing the client more.”

tire tracks in snow

Tell Us How To Reach You

Sometimes it isn’t just the property manager who has to approve service, but HOA board members, too, Friend says. He copies those board members on all his emails to HOA property managers, so everybody’s in the loop.  

“Should we try to reach you by phone? Is email best?” he asks. “Let us know.

“Weather doesn’t work on a 8 to 5 time frame,” he says with a laugh. "It might be 2 a.m. and we have some questions. We want to get the responses we need as soon as possible.”

Level Green Landscaping: On Top Of The Snow

At Level Green Landscaping, we’re weather hawks, keeping a keen eye on all the snow event types and responding quickly and expertly.

We provide snow and ice management services for our commercial maintenance customers throughout Washington DC, Maryland and parts of Virginia.

Do you currently have two different providers for your landscaping services and your snow removal? We’d love to tell you more about the value of hiring us to take care of both those needs.

Contact us for a free property assessment and consultation. We'll give you an honest evaluation of your best options.

Call us at 202-544-0968 or complete our contact form online to ensure you have the best snow removal company for your commercial property — before the snow piles up.

Request a Consultation