FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We've all been there, waking up for work early in the morning, looking out the window only to see that Mother Nature left you the gift of snow. It seems like it always happens on the days you just cannot afford to go in late, doesn't it? Naturally, you spend the next hour clearing your driveway and you go to work wet and cold! This winter, rest easy while we do the snow clearing! Here's all you need to know about our residential snow clearing services...
1. How does the Smart Snow Seasonal Contract work?
We offer you peace of mind with an affordable flat rate that has you covered no matter what happens! Once you sign up for our service, you will be covered for the entire season! Even if we come plow your driveway 30 or 40 times during a season, you won’t pay extra. Better yet, you don’t even have to call for service. We will automatically clear your driveway every time the snow exceeds 2”!
With Smart Snow, you won’t be stuck paying $50.00 one week and then $200.00 the next. An up-front flat rate means you never have to worry about getting billed throughout the season, so you can better manage your budget. In an average season, we service residential customers 13-22 times. For 20 callouts of a competitor (@ $25-$45 per plow) your neighbor who decided to pay per plow would be left paying more than $500-$900.00! Plus they would have to make 20 phone calls. Wouldn’t you rather have peace of mind?
2. How much does the seasonal contract cost?
Our winter plowing season runs from November 1st through April 15th. When you sign up, you will be billed one low flat rate for the entire season regardless of how much snow falls. Prices are based upon your location and type of driveway. See our Residential Snow Services page for pricing details, or call one of our team members for a personalized quote.
3. What other charges apply?
Our seasonal driveway clearing rates for residential driveways are all-inclusive. That means driveway staking and weather monitoring are included, so you pay one flat rate! The only thing added to your flat rate price will be sales tax.
4. Do you offer any discounts?
Yes! We offer a discount to local residents including those in Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Twp., and select areas of Berea. We also offer a pre-pay discount when you sign up and pay for your driveway clearing service by October 15th. If we also take care of your lawn mowing and/or lawn care, you can take advantage of a bundle discount too!
5. How do I sign up?
You can get started by calling our office at 440-235-SNOW (7669), filling out our online form, or by sending us an email. If you are not filling out our form, be sure to include all of the following information in your email (or have it ready when you call):
Your address for service
Your address for billing if it’s different from your service address
Your phone number
Your email address
Your contact preference (phone or email)
How many cars fit side by side in your driveway?
Is your driveway over 60’ long? (about 3-4 car lengths)
Do you have a turn-around area, additional parking space, or other additional pavement?
We will produce a snow clearing contract with all of the details. We’ll email the contract to you so you can look it over right away. (If you prefer that we send your contract in the mail, just let us know.) If you want to go ahead with the service, simply sign and return the contract to us along with your payment. You’re all done, and we’ve got you covered!
6. When is payment due?
All service agreements must be signed by November 1st to be on our schedule for the winter, and payments are due in two monthly installments - November and December. See question 8 for details of this plan. In order to receive a pre-pay discount, payment must be received in full by October 15th.
7. What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express)
8. Can I make payments?
Yes, we offer a 2 payment program. Your first payment (50% of the contract amount) will be due no later than November 11th. Your remaining balance will be due December 11th. Please note that with our 2 payment program, there are no additional fees or finance charges, however you will not be eligible to receive any of our discounts.
9. What should I expect after I sign up?
We will assign your driveway to a route for our crews to service. We will schedule your driveway along with similar/nearby driveways.
We will stake your driveway with fiberglass stakes and driveway signage so that we can find your driveway during a snow storm. (please note these must stay in place for the entire season)
We will provide you with snow plow service for the entire season
We will collect all fiberglass stakes and driveway signage at the end of the season. If you remove any stakes prior to the end of the season, we will not service your driveway.
10. What is the term of your contract?
Our contract is from November 1st through April 15th. We will automatically renew your service each year, so you don’t have to worry about it! If you choose not to renew our service, simply send us written notification prior to October 15th.
11. How are you able to offer dependable service with a low flat rate in our local area?
We plow many driveways in our local city of Olmsted Falls and the neighboring Berea community. This allows us to dedicate one piece of equipment and a regular driver to each route so that we can clear many driveways in a short period of time. By having multiple clients in the same area, each driver spends less time driving and more time clearing snow. As a result of this increase in efficiency, our clients are able to enjoy a lower snow plowing bill! Plus, without the hassle of constantly setting up daily, last minute snow clearing appointments, we can focus on keeping our clients’ driveways snow free. It’s a win-win for us and our clients!
12. If I move mid-way through the season, can I get my money back on the contract?
No, however if you move mid-season, we can transfer the service agreement to the new owners of the property for the remainder of the season. We will not issue a refund if they do not wish to use our services.
13. Do you offer a refund for a light snow winter?
No, we have fixed overhead expenses that include pre and post season expenses that need to be covered by our budgeted income. We are like an emergency service, always on call, while consistently providing the ability to service your driveway when the snow falls.
14. Why shouldn’t I just use my snow blower?
Every year you have to get your snow blower out of storage from your garage or shed. You must give it a tune up, oil change, belt check/change, and possibly other maintenance which typically costs $125-$200. After this, you can expect to spend up to $50.00 in gas throughout the season. So right now you are all in for $175-$250.00 and have not even removed any snow! Now your time is worth something, as well as your ability to just get in the car and drive away! We will let you do the math, but our service is very affordable when you look at all the costs and inconveniences involved in using your own piece of equipment.
15. What areas do you service?
We have residential and commercial routes all over the Western Suburbs of Cleveland. For a complete list of cities that we service, see our snow services page. Our routes generally fill-up early, so don't wait to call!
16. Are you insured?
Yes! We carry a General Liability policy, as well as Commercial Auto. We also have OH Workers Compensation and pay all applicable taxes required of a company with employees. We strongly suggest you only hire a fully insured company with the appropriate credentials.
17. I have an interlocking stone or stamped/colored concrete driveway, can you still provide service?
No. We cannot provide service to driveways with colored concrete because we do not want to scratch the surface. Interlocking stone (paver) driveways could get caught in the cutting edge, so we are not able to service them without the risk of damage.
18. What about a gravel driveway or a split concrete driveway with a grass center?
No. We cannot provide service to driveways of these types without the risk of damage to the driveway/turf or our equipment.
19. What is the minimum snowfall amount before you provide service?
Our minimum snowfall amount is 2” for residential service. Anytime it snows 2” or more at once, we will automatically provide service. We monitor snow fall throughout the night with weather data provided by weather service technology. There may be times that windy and drifting conditions force the need for service even if we have not received 2” of accumulation; we will provide service as these conditions dictate.
20. How many driveway clearings come with a seasonal agreement?
Seasonal contracts come with unlimited driveway clearings from November 1st to April 15th.
21. Do you have a seasonal snow fall limit?
There is no limit on our residential seasonal contract. We will provide unlimited service on all snowfalls that exceed 2”, all winter no matter how much or how often it snows.
22. How close do you clean to the garage door?
We stay approximately 2-3’ away from the garage door, buildings and cars.
23. Is it a problem if one or more cars are parked in my driveway?
No, our drivers are trained to work around them. However, we will not clear the areas inaccessible because of the car(s), and we stay approximately 2-3’ away from them. If you cannot park your car(s) in the street, then we recommend that you park as close to the top and side of the driveway as possible to allow the driver maximum accessibility. If we can safely get past them, then we will gladly try to clear all the areas around the car(s). This enables us to clear the unoccupied side rather than nothing at all. Because our routes are often cleared in the middle of the night, we will not disturb the occupants of the house to request removal of their cars.
***Please note, for the sake of efficiency, our drivers do not get out of their vehicles and knock on your door to get you to move parked vehicle(s). Also, our drivers cannot wait for you to move your vehicle(s) if you try to run out while we are there!***
24. What about garbage cans and garbage day?
It is your responsibility to place the garbage cans on the tree lawn and out of the driveway, as our drivers will not move garbage cans in order to clear your driveway.
If snowfall dictates that we make a return trip, and the garbage cans have been moved, we will gladly clear the driveway. However, if you request a return trip when our crews are not already out plowing, there will be an additional cost.
25. Do you shovel sidewalks or in front of the garage door?
No, at this time we do not provide residential sidewalk shoveling service, nor do we shovel in front of the garage door due to potential scraping damage that can occur to the door from metal and or plastic snow shovels. We have learned that most customers are OK with doing some shoveling themselves, especially since we have already done the majority of the work with cleaning the driveway and the city plow ridge.
26. Do you spread salt in the driveway?
No. In the event of freezing rain or ice, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to apply any necessary abrasives or de-icers.
27. Will my driveway be cleared before 7 a.m. or by the time I need to leave for work?
Obviously the later the snow starts, the later we start. For instance, if it snows 2” before midnight, then we will start at midnight so that all driveways are cleared once before 7 a.m. When we do not receive more than 2” of snow until 4-5 a.m. then we don’t start until that time and will not be able to complete the entire route until a later time in the morning. Usually when this happens, there isn’t enough snow to prevent anyone from exiting their driveway. So even if you leave early in the morning before we can get there, you can be assured that by the time you get home from work, your driveway will have been cleared. In the event that it keeps snowing another 2” after we clear your driveway, then we will return to do it again. There are circumstances that occur in a lake effect areas that dump large amounts of snow in a short period of time and we ultimately have no control over this type of snowfall. We pride ourselves in on-time service and we will do our best to provide that for you!
28. What time of day do you clear the snow?
We prefer to run our snow removal routes between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. because that is the safest time for our operators and equipment due to minimal traffic on the roads. Typically, we’ll service your property once in the morning and then come back to clean up in the afternoon. Keep in mind that we can’t always predict how Mother Nature is going to give us the snow. This means we are unable to tell you exactly what time of day or night we are going to remove your snow.
29. Once 2” of snow have accumulated, how long will it take you to get here to clear my driveway?
We typically schedule a snow clearing route that takes our drivers 4-6 hours to complete from start to finish, so it will depend on where your driveway falls within the route. Your driveway will be scheduled for service based upon its location in relation to other driveways on your route. Based upon a 4-6 hour route, you can expect 2-3 snow clearings to occur within a 24-hour period, as needed. This allows for dedicated service to you as well as some time for our drivers to rest.
30. My driveway is scheduled at the end of the route; does this mean that I will receive poor service?
No, the service is the same for every one of our customers; only the timing is different. Our routes are logistically organized to be able to deliver service as efficiently as possible based upon your geographic location. No preference is given or favoritism exercised. Everyone has equal priority. One issue that most people do not think of is when and how fast the snow falls, as this can have a disadvantage or advantage to where your driveway is scheduled on our route. Mother Nature always throws a curve ball and we never seem to get the edge!
31. Will my driveway always be snow free?
If Mother Nature would give us the snow the way we want it, then snow would fall for short periods of time, followed by long breaks in the weather. With a Smart Snow clearing seasonal contract, you are guaranteed at least 1-2 service visits (possibly 3 depending on traffic and snow conditions) after 2 inches or more of snowfall, every 24 hours, until your driveway is clear of snow.
32. Do you offer 24/7 service?
We typically work as many as 18-20 hours during a snow event. If the snow continually falls, we need to schedule several hours out of each day to refuel our equipment and bodies so that we can continue to service your needs in a safe fashion. Many times, we shut down from approximately 9 or 10 p.m. until around 1-2 a.m. in order to get some much needed rest.
33. What if the city plows come by after you’ve already cleared my driveway?
If the city plows leave a ridge of snow in your apron at the end of your driveway, we ask that you please let us know and we will gladly take care of clearing the snow ridge. Many times we will automatically do this without you calling.
34. Does your equipment make a lot of noise?
Believe it or not, our equipment makes less noise than a traditional walk-behind snow blower. Plus, we are in and out of your driveway in less than 5-10 minutes, minimizing the amount of disturbance caused to both you and your neighbors. In all likelihood you probably won’t even realize that we are there.
35. Your equipment looks big; will it damage my driveway or grass?
No, although it looks large, the weight of the equipment is evenly distributed over the extra-large surface area of its tires. Our drivers are also trained to lower the equipment in a controlled fashion so that unnecessary jolts to the pavement are minimized during the snow clearing process. Furthermore, driveway markers are installed on the edges of your driveway to identify the boundaries of the driveway so that the drivers do not drive on your grass.
36. What about water valves, catch basins, or sewer lids in my driveway?
It is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure that if any caps are protruding in the driveway to contact the appropriate supplier or contractor to have them lowered. You will need to request that they send a service technician to lower the pipe and cap to the level of the driveway. If the cap is not flush with the level of the driveway, it will likely get damaged. So please make sure that the supplier or contractor takes care of this in advance of the first snow. Otherwise, once snow arrives and covers the surface, this issue may not be apparent and you may be charged for repairs to the supplier’s equipment and/or our equipment.
37. What is your repair or damages policy?
Our drivers are required to report any damages caused to your property on their route sheets at the time of the incident. This information is then logged from the route sheet at the end of the shift and scheduled for repair in the spring, unless it is of a more urgent nature. Exclusions to this rule include any and all items left in the immediate work area of our equipment. Examples would be the newspaper, flower pots/planters, downspouts, downspout splash blocks, recycling bins, trash cans, basketball nets, low hanging limbs and branches, children’s toys and extension cords, (Please note this list is not all inclusive). Although our office or driver will usually report damage directly to you or our office at the time of the incident, we encourage you to verify with the office the day after the snow storm if you have any concerns. We are not responsible for superficial gouges and marks resulting from normal snow clearing operations. We will not repair or pay for the repair of driveways that crush or deteriorate due to water saturation or thin asphalt.
38. Why do you have to install those driveway markers and signs?
The driveway markers help us determine where your driveway is located when snow is totally covering the ground. The markers also help prevent potential damage to your property. As for the signs, they also assist us in identifying your driveway during storm conditions. Many times your address is not visible or it is snow covered, so these items allow us to easily find your driveway for service, especially in the dark.
39. When are the driveway markers installed and removed?
All of our driveway markers are installed around October 15th – November 15th and are removed around April 1st – 15th depending on weather conditions. Please do not remove or throw away the markers and signs. If you remove them prior to the end of the season, you will not receive service if it snows. These markers are very important to us in order to provide service to your property. Please also note that there will be a charge to your account if we do not receive them back at the end of the season.
40. What if one of my snow-stakes get knocked down?
If you are unable to repair the snow stake yourself, give us a call and we will fix it. Please call us if you have any questions at 440-235-SNOW (7669)
41. Your driver is placing snow on my neighbor’s property. What can be done about this?
We train our drivers to place as much snow as possible on your property, however there are times that limit our ability to do so. Please notify our office the day after the snow storm when you see this happen. We will bring it to the attention of the driver and make sure that it does not happen again. Do not hesitate to let us know about this. Please also understand that the tree lawn is city property; only snow from Mother Nature and the street plowing can legally be placed on the tree lawn.
42. What training do your drivers receive?
Some of the most thorough training in the business! We are members of SIMA “Snow and Ice Management Association” and have certified CSP’s “Certified Snow Professionals” and ASM’s “Advanced Snow Managers” employed within our company. Every year, our team attends many hours of training through SIMA. We also use training videos that are produced by the association. In September and October of every year, each new recruit is trained on the navigation of his or her route, familiarized with the technical aspects of their equipment, provided with hours of practical exercises, and thoroughly briefed on safety issues surrounding both the public and themselves. They are also supplied with literature, written tests and hands-on training.
So, don’t be surprised if you see us driving around on the road pre-snow, as this helps in our training and familiarizes everyone with their job and route. We believe that preparedness reduces stress, the potential for damage, and the loss of time which ultimately translates into the delivery of better service to our customers.
43. What can I do to receive the best service results possible?
Remove all vehicles from your driveway
If vehicles cannot be removed, park as close to the top and to one side of the driveway as possible
Shovel in front of the garage door (at least 24-36 inches out from the door)
Trim all trees and shrubs to give us 10-12 feet of clearance in height and width
Remove all obstacles from the driveway
Do not place garbage cans on the driveway; be sure to keep them on the tree lawn
Leave all snow markers in place