Greater Chicago winters are never very predictable. Old Man Winter likes to shake things up each year.

A harsh and heavy winter can especially wreak havoc on a commercial property that needs to clear ice and snow from its entryways to ensure seamless traffic flow on its property throughout the day and night.

For instance, commercial sites like industrial facilities and healthcare facilities have to be extra careful because they have high traffic from regular deliveries or people coming and going.

On most commercial sites, sidewalks and parking lots need to be open and accessible to keep employees, customers, tenants, and visitors safe throughout the winter season. A retail outlet can’t lose business during the prime holiday shopping season, for instance, because snowfall caused impassable entryways.

In fact, when a snow or ice storm hits in the middle of the night, you want to know you did everything you could while planning in advance to ensure the property is functioning smoothly come morning rush hour.

And while you might be prepared for winter, are you prepared for all the different types of winter weather types? There are so many ways winter can hit Greater Chicago.

Let’s look at the different snow removal events you must prepare for on your commercial property.

Learning About Commercial Snow Removal Basics

Every snow and ice storm is different, and your professional will use various techniques and tactics to ensure the job is done efficiently.

That’s why hiring a commercial snow removal service company with educated personnel who know snow and ice management best practices can make a big difference in how your winter progresses.

commercial snow removal team shoveling the sidewalk at an industrial facility at night

Typically, there are two types of snow removal contracts you’ll see: a per-occurrence contract or a seasonal contract.

A per-occurrence contract means you pay each time your snow removal company plows or salts your property. The contract can also deem how high that snow needs to be for plowing to happen: two inches or more, for instance. But if you are particularly worried about the safety hazards that snow and ice can cause, you can discuss 1-inch snow heights with your provider.

An all-inclusive or seasonal contract means you pay a monthly rate for four months, and you are covered no matter how many snow and ice events occur or how intense the snow removal event is.

Here are some of the most common winter storms we encounter.

Light Snow Removal Events

A light dusting of snow or ice – particularly when they happen early in the season when the ground is still warm – may warrant no action.

By morning the temperatures could be warmer and the ground may just be wet.


But colder temperatures could result in ice formation, so your commercial snow removal provider must be prepared to handle various types of light events to ensure your property can function well.

Having a company with experience in understanding and watching weather forecasts and temperatures can give you the peace of mind in knowing that you are covered no matter how light this event is and what kind of temperatures come with it.

Snow Removal Events That Last Multiple Days

Sometimes once the snow removal event starts, it never seems to stop. This doesn’t give the snow a chance to melt and it also doesn’t give the ice a chance to melt.

This means your commercial snow removal professional must be prepared in advance with deicing and salting capabilities, as well as have a plan of attack for moving massive amounts of snow on your site.

During these storms, snow piles can get especially high. For such instances, your commercial snow removal agreement should include a stipulation that dictates an hourly rate for these above-and-beyond services.

commercial snow removal plow loader moving a large pile of snow at an industrial warehouse parking lot

These services require extra equipment, such as skid-steer loaders or a front end loader, and a dump truck, to actually get that heavy snow off of your property.

Your contract may also list an hourly rate for hand-chipping ice on your property; this would be necessary if the ice gets so thick that it can’t be melted using other methods.

Emergency Snow Removal Events

Sometimes Old Man Winter comes fast and furious and dumps heavy snow in a short amount of time, shocking everyone who thought the next few days were supposed to be mild and manageable.

Since commercial snow removal is considered an emergency service, it needs to be performed with a sense of urgency and always considering safety of not only the team members performing the work, but also everyone on your property.

commercial snow loader plowing a warehouse parking lot at night

This is because snow and ice has a tendency to cause liability issues if not taken care of correctly.

Hire a snow and ice removal company that is prepared to tackle last-minute snow storms, as well as not overcommit to too much work meaning they can’t handle the load. You need a company you can count on; not one that will cause business delays when emergency events strike.

When Large Snow Storms Hit Large Properties

When snow hits a larger commercial property, it requires larger equipment like skid-steers, loaders, and sidewalk snow removal units  to handle snow and ice. You’ll also need a lot of salt and other deicing products.

This is why you must search for a commercial snow removal company that has enough equipment and resources to service a property of your scope and size and the experience to operate this larger equipment. They also need a good supplier to ensure they can get the amount of salt necessary for use on your site.

commercial snow removal equipment loading salt in preparation for a snow storm

If your site is big enough, you may even want to ask about storing larger equipment on site to streamline snow and ice removal. In your contract, this might be referred to as a monthly “ready fee” that ensures equipment is ready to use when necessary.

Middle of the Night Snow Storms

Sometimes snow removal events happen in the middle of the night – when no one, including you, are awake.

The last thing you want at 3 a.m. is to not be able to sleep because you’re concerned about the weather or that your commercial facility will be impassable due to middle-of-the-night storms.

When you’re a facility manager juggling multiple areas of your property or even multiple sites, you want to know you can count on your service professionals to get winter work done – even in the middle of the night.

snow removal team member plowing a parking lot with a small loader at night

Finding a commercial snow removal company that can handle late night storms and keep you in the loop with proper communication is essential when handling these storms.

Communication also includes continually watching the weather. Weather reports for upcoming storms allow your commercial snow removal contractor to plan for the predicted weather and communicate a proactive plan to employees and customers.

Snow Removal Events That Arrive Out of Season

In Greater Chicago, commercial snow removal contracts typically run from December 1st through March 31st every year. But remember Snow-tober? There have been times when snow removal events happen outside of the traditional window.

But once you have a signed contract in place, your service provider should be able to accommodate you during storms that fall outside of this window because it’s part of the season and part of creating a long-lasting partnership with you.

KD Landscape Offers Commercial Snow Removal You Can Rely On

No matter what type of snow removal event comes your way, you want to make sure you have a service provider that can handle it.

Communication and partnership are very important with winter services for Greater Chicago commercial properties.

We know you have a lot of options. We hope this information helps you make a better decision. If you need help sorting out the specifics of snow and ice management for your site, give KD Landscape a call. We can help you navigate this unpredictable season.

KD Landscape would be happy to discuss some specific ideas that can ensure safety on your site this winter in Greater Chicago. Request a proposal today. We’ll review your options together so you can make the best choice.

Guide to Hiring the Right Commercial Landscaping Company