Snow can damage parking lots and fences, create hazardous icy patches, and cause accidents as the result of an obstructed view due to piling. While snow plowing will clear the path for drivers and pedestrians, the snow will remain on the property until it either melts or is removed. Snow removal, on the other hand, is the process of physically removing the snow from the property.
Sometimes a business orders snow removal because they’ve run out of space on the property to store any more snow. In some cases, if there is a snowfall which hasn't been removed, it can partially melt, and the resulting water refreezes. The newly frozen ice can then be an imminent danger to both pedestrians and vehicles. For this reason, some businesses choose to have a seasonal snow removal contract.
One of the challenges of owning a business in the winter is trying to keep the parking lot and sidewalks clear of snow. There are various ways to do this, depending on the size of the lot and the amount of snowfall.
In the residential sector, at least 100 people in the U.S. die each year while shoveling snow. Over 1,000 more are hospitalized due to a mixture of cardiac issues, reactions to the cold, and other simple injuries. For people with heart issues and other physical limitations, avoiding this winter chore should be a top priority.
But just because avoiding the chore is imperative, doesn’t make the snow go away. Various places advertise snow plowing and snow removal. Are these terms interchangeable? And if they are different, what is that difference? Which one is a better option?
Plowing is merely pushing the snow out of the way. It’s not removing the snow from the property, just piling it up out of the way so pedestrians and vehicles can pass through without incident.
Most places charge for snow-plowing “by the push” which refers to one sweep of the plow against the snow up into the new snow pile, and the cost “per push” is going to change depending on the size of the lot and the strength of the vehicle.
Snow removal comes into play when plowing isn’t an option anymore, and won’t affect residential areas or customers. For more extensive parking lots and commercial areas, especially in times of heavier snowfall, it’s very likely that there won’t be any space to store the snow after a certain point. Then, the trick is to find someone to do an excellent snow-removal job, which includes not only clearing, but also physically removing the snow from the property.
Snow removal is very rarely the first option that people choose, as it’s more expensive than merely plowing, and requires multiple pieces of equipment to shovel the snow and haul it away. But when it is deemed necessary, it’s the optimal choice.
Which do I need?
Excess snow can create substantial damage to property, either by the excessive weight of it, or the freezing or in the spring, the flooding which it will cause as the result of a massive snow pile. Most situations can be solved with a car plow, or even a pusher plow by hand, depending on the size of the area.
For a residential snow service, it’s very likely going to be a plow, and more than likely, just a professional with a snow-blower, which will create a clear sidewalk and driveway with little to no problems.
For bigger areas, like parking lots, the snow plow vs snow removal issue is less clear. But a good rule of thumb is to assume the first snow will result in a plow, and after that it will depend on the size of the parking lot, how heavy the snow is, and where the snow is being stored. If the property has a history of snow build-up, and snow storage is a problem, it may be wise to plan for removal in the budget.