August and September are ideal times to kick winter preparation into high gear for snow and ice management processes and equipment. Here are some tips to ensure your preseason prep goes smoothly:
1. Set a timeline. If you don’t have a schedule, set one to ensure the team stays on track. Timelines vary by market, depending on customer readiness expectations, the amount of time it takes to prep the equipment, training, and historical knowledge of when the first snowfall typically hits.
2. Order parts early. Evaluate your supply of major parts (plow pumps, spreader motors, hoses, etc.) and order early to ensure you’re not left hanging in the middle of an event.
3. Equipment prep. You should have cleaned, repaired and prepped equipment for winter storage. But now is the time to take everything out and give it a good once over and ensure it’s operational. For equipment that is used year-round, make sure it receives a checkup, too, when it’s switched over for winter use. Make sure routine preventive maintenance is up to date.
4. Tie up hiring loose ends. If you use seasonal labor, you should be finishing up hiring and any orientations. This is also a good time to make sure your subcontractor paperwork and insurance documents are in order.
5. Schedule site walk-throughs. Hopefully your contracts are signed, sealed, and delivered. Now it’s time for preseason site inspections and documentation. When possible, walk the site with the client so you can alert them to any pre-existing damage, site condition concerns, and ensure your expectations are in line with the client’s.
6. Train your team. All team members – even veterans – should receive preseason training on equipment and standard operating procedures. Review site binders, documentation requirements, etc., and make sure the team understands their role in the company’s successful winter operations.
7. Kickoff with a celebration. Winter can be grueling on the team. Show your appreciation, build camaraderie among team members, and get everyone motivated to withstand the season’s pressures. A preseason party, whether it’s a cookout, pizza party, bowling, or even a small gesture of some sort, is just the right touch to get everyone off on the right foot.
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