FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

About our Snow Clearing Service

1. What equipment do you use?

We primarily use 'Bobcat'-type skid steer loaders to clear residential and commercial drives and parking lots. The skid-steers have a bucket on the front that is used for clearing snow and stacking it into piles. The bucket is 6'2" in width; this allows us to clear the many narrow lanes and awkward areas in Ottawa's older neighbourhoods.

Walk behind snow blowers are used for clearing downhill sloping driveways, as we cannot send our 'Bobcats' as they would pose too much of a risk if they should slip.

We use plastic snow shovels and walk behind snow blowers to clear our clients' walkways if they subscribe to this extra service.

Plow trucks are used on larger commercial lots and to provide back up assistance to our skid-steers. All of our equipment is geared to keep your property as clean as possible while maintaining safety for our staff and reducing the risk of damage.

2. Are you able to hand-shovel my front entrance?

Yes, we are one of the few companies in Ottawa to offer this service. Our dedicated snow shoveling crews help many of our clients with their front walks/entrances, and also access to their side or rear doors as well.

Our shovelling crews are often dispatched at a separate time from our 'Bobcat' skid-steers. Therefore, your walkway will be done at a different time than the driveway clearing. We only shovel residential walks once the storm is completely over.

3. Do you use sub-contractors?

We do not sub-contract other firms to do work for us. Furthermore, we no longer accept contracts from other snow removal companies. We are only dedicated to our clients!

We own a small fleet of Bobcats, snow blowers, several dump trucks, and plow trucks. We do rent additional equipment for the winter season to compliment our fleet.

4. How much snow must fall to trigger your service? When do you typically start clearing snow?

We typically clear snow for any storm that realizes 5 cm or more of accumulation. If we receive several small 'flurry-type' events we will often clear our clients' drives and parking lots.

While we sometimes send our Bobcat tractors to scrape down drives after smaller snow events we only send our walkway shovelling crews for storms resulting in 5cm or more.

We do have a 2-3cm snow clearing package. This program usually costs only about 25% more than our regular contracts. For example, a $1200.00 contract would increase to $1500.00. Many of our commercial, condominium and multi residential clients prefer this extra service.

During smaller snowfalls our vehicles are sent out once the snow has stopped or is about to stop. This usually occurs when 5-12 cm of total snowfall is expected. However, when we consider the timing of our commencement we also consider the City's street cleaning operation timing, and the likelihood that our clients will have their vehicles removed from their driveways.

When a heavier storm is predicted, we dispatch the crews once considerable snow has fallen. After the first pass, the drivers will start over again and do a final pass. Once the city has plowed your street, we will provide a final visit to clear the 'city ridge' at the bottom of the laneway. Please understand that when we have back-to-back blizzards, or extremely heavy snowfalls, delays will occur. However, your driveway will typically be cleared before most residential streets are cleared by the city!

5. What if we have a lot of snow during the season? Is there an upper limit for your contracts?

Our standard contract covers winters that see a total accumulation of up to 250 cm. At this point in time extra charges may apply and the rates are calculated based on the value of your original contract. As an example, a $500.00 contract would then be charged $2.00 per additional centimeter.

6. What month does the service begin and end?

The contract begins on November 15th and ends on April 1st. However, if we had a snow event that inconvenienced our customers outside of these dates, we would certainly try to help them!

7. Do you clear downhill sloping driveways?

We have many clients with downhill drives. We typically clear these drives and downhill ramps with walk-behind snow blowers.

If you have a downhill sloping driveway please apply liberal amounts of de-icing materials after freezing rain events. We also recommend you use de-icers prior to a snowfall. Our employee safety is paramount.

8. Where do you put the snow?

The snow from your driveway should be deposited somewhere on your property. Should the pile become too large we can remove the snow and take it to an authorized snow dump.

The 'city ridge' snow will be piled on the street beside your drive's entrance. We will attempt to keep the opening of your driveway as wide as possible to facilitate your entry and exit from the laneway.

9. Do I need to call after the city plows my street?

No, you should not have to call.

After our skid-steer tractors have finished their routes, we will automatically revisit after the city plow has finished clearing your street. Keep in mind that we are not responsible if they re-clear your street a second time, or for the pile of snow that is left by the sidewalk plow. However, we try to keep an eye on your street. We want your drive to be the best looking one on the block!

10. Will I be able to get out of my driveway in the morning?

This is a difficult question to answer!

Generally speaking it is the 'city snow plow ridge', that will stop a vehicle from exiting a drive. We are very aware of this reality and attempt to open up the base of our clients' drives before they need to leave for work. However, if the city plows your street shortly before you were hoping to leave, it would be very difficult for us to get there in time.

Be assured we do not overbook our employees and equipment. We are very strict about capping the total amount of work any one of our crews must do. There is a juggling act that we must do to balance the number of customers on a route, and the price we must charge to cover our costs. We feel our ratio is acceptable to most people, and hopefully it will be to you as well!

We will continue to lobby the City of Ottawa for their cooperation in advising snow removal contractors when they might decide to clear Ottawa's residential streets!

Please also see information under Other Services.

11. Does Precision Snow Removal use driveway markers?

Absolutely. We have used them from the beginning as they help our staff find your property, and also provide you with re-assurance that you are on our route!

We begin installing them in early November and generally remove them during the first week of April.

12. What happens if my car is in my drive?

After our operators initially clear their route they will have to re-visit their properties to clear the city snow ridge once the city has plowed your street. Furthermore, we often send our staff out the following day to re-inspect all of their sites. We have found that our clients' cars will have been moved at some point during this multiple visit process.

If there are vehicles in the way we will clear the remaining portion of the driveway so that you can drive out to the street. Please also remember, that our 'Bobcats' are more suited for clearing around parked cars than plow trucks or larger loaders.

We are also able to add you to our calling and emailing list so that you will have a better idea of when our staff might be visiting your property. We also 'tweet' our updates on http://twitter.com/precisionsnow!

More Precision Snow FAQS

About our Snow Clearing Service

Tips on Hiring a Snow Removal Contractor

Emergency, Vacation, and One-Time Service

Salt/Grit Applications, Snow Cartage & Ice Removal

 

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