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5 Snow & Ice Management Tips for Shopping Centers

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2017-03-14_04_30_06_Parking_lot_at_night_coated_in_snow_and_ice_pellets_in_the_Franklin_Farm_Village_Shopping_Center_in_the_Franklin_Farm_section_of_Oak_Hill,_Fairfax_County,_Virginia.jpgNothing has the ability to shut down your business or generate liability concerns faster than snow. And when it’s not properly managed, snow can have an even bigger impact than necessary by wreaking havoc and causing you big headaches. That’s why you want to find a snow and ice management service in Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA that will take away that stress and manage the snow in your shopping center properly.

The best company will take into account important details, even when they are seemingly minor, that will save you from bigger problems in the long run. Here are five critical tips for managing snow in shopping centers that should not be forgotten.  


1. Melting Piles Can be a Hazard

It’s so important that your snow and ice management company is being cautious about where they move snow. So often, snow is piled up in spots where it is only going to melt and then refreeze back over the parking lot. In high traffic areas, these slick spots can create a dangerous liability.

But a great commercial snow and ice management company will give plenty of forethought to where they are moving snow and creating piles so that melting and refreezing doesn’t become problematic.


2. Piled Snow Can Block Vital Structures and Signage

In addition to melting and refreezing, unthoughtful snow piles can create other problems as well. Snow should not be piled in a way that it blocks signage, emergency exits, fire hydrants, handicap parking spots, or storm drains. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. No attention is given to where snow is going and it is piled up in a poor location. Once it’s there, it’s not so easy to move.

Simply put, you want a company that is putting thought into where the snow they move is ultimately going to go. All it takes is a little bit of forethought and planning, but this is often skipped in lieu of getting the job done quickly and moving on to the next one.   


3. Excessive Ice Melt Material Can Cause Interior Damage

Special considerations for snow and ice management at retail shopping centers.It’s not uncommon for people to believe that the more material that’s put down, the better it will perform. But the truth is, putting down excessive material does not improve performance. Of course, there is a minimum level that must be applied in order to be effective but you don’t want more put down than is necessary to get the job done.

Besides being wasteful, putting down too much melt material can increase the likelihood of it being tracked into your facility. This not only creates a big mess but can be destructive as well. Melt material tracked inside can stain carpets and furniture or even rot wood flooring.

Unfortunately, even snow and ice management companies can be misinformed about how much melt material to put down. It’s important to find a company that practices smart application methods. They don’t put down too little (making the product ineffective). But they also don’t put down too much, making the tracked material even more of a concern than it has to be.


4. Melt Material Can Cause Damage to Plants and Concrete

When melt material is applied without much care, it can wind up on parking lot islands or walkways, or in nearby plant beds. This can cause damage to trees, shrubs, and grass by burning them. Salt can also cause concrete in your parking lot islands or walkways to deteriorate. While there are specially formulated ice melt products made specifically for concrete, snow removal companies that are careless will overspread salt onto to these concrete areas causing damage.

All it takes is some extra care to avoid plant beds and a separate spreader for concrete-safe products. Unfortunately, a lot of commercial snow and ice management companies employ people that just want to get the job done quickly and move on. This can lead to careless work such as tossing down melt material haphazardly and not taking care to use a concrete-safe material in areas where it’s needed.


5. Snow and Ice Management Services Should Be Well-Timed

Special considerations for snow and ice management at retail shopping centers.The timing of snow and ice management in Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA is important as well. A company that works through the night is going to be able to be a lot more efficient in getting your lot cleared than one that doesn’t have that capability.

Some companies also have the ability to pre-treat with specialized materials that can keep ice and snow from accumulating too quickly in some cases. This is definitely a benefit for shopping centers.

You also want a company that is focused on getting you open on time and doing what it takes to achieve that. Sometimes a large company with an extensive list of clients simply doesn’t have the capacity to do that as they have too many places to serve. You might also get a company that doesn’t have the staffing or enough trucks to get to jobs in a timely manner. Also beware of companies that will be traveling a long distance to your site, as it’s going to take them longer to mobilize.

Undoubtedly, choosing a company that is going to be able to meet your needs as quickly as possible is essential. As a retail location, you don’t have the luxury of being closed. A medium-sized company that doesn’t overbook their client list, that isn’t located far out of town, and that has the proper amount of trucks and people to meet your needs is going to be most capable of managing your site in a timely fashion.


Let Rock Water Farm Put Your Mind at Ease

One of the key reasons why Rock Water Farm stands out from the crowd when it comes to our commercial snow and ice management services is due to the fact that we think of all the little details. The “little stuff” that may not seem like it’s that important, can actually make a big difference.

Special considerations for snow and ice management at retail shopping centers.So, when it comes to applying melt material cautiously, how much material we use, or even where we pile snow, we’re putting thought into all of those details. We’re thinking about how it will impact your customers, as well. We provide “curb to curb” snow management in that we’re thinking about how your customers can park, get out of their car, and come into contact with as little to no snow as possible. We want the curbs and walkways clear and we want as clear a path as possible from their car to the store entranceway.

We also pre-treat when applicable in shopping centers and other commercial lots. This can help snow and ice from accumulating too quickly. We’ll be watching the weather in order to know when this might be beneficial. For instance, if a snow event is going to be starting right as the shopping day comes to a close, and people are scrambling to leave, we’ll pre-treat to keep the area safe as shoppers clear out. Then we’ll come through at night to haul snow. If you’re going to be opening at 9 am, we can also be there a couple hours early to pre-treat again and ensure nothing re-froze.

Our customers also appreciate that they can communicate with us at any point of the night. We work through the night and are available at any point that you may need us.

However, the reason people hire us is so that they don’t have to worry throughout the night. When we are in control of your property, you can go home and go to sleep knowing that it will be open and ready to go when you wake up. In other words, when you choose to let us handle your snow and ice management, you can relax with your mind at ease, knowing we’ve got it covered.

If you’d like to talk more about our commercial snow plowing service in Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at 703-327-1636 so we can answer any questions you may have.


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Todd Thomasson

Written by Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.