Don’t let summer cool off your snow and ice season preparation

July 19, 2023 -  By
Summer is the perfect time to prep for snow season according to experts. (Photo: Crystal Greens)

Summer is the perfect time to prep for snow season according to experts. (Photo: Crystal Greens)

While the days are longer and the weather favors warmer temperatures, snow and ice management contractors must not lose sight of winter. There are some key steps snow professionals must do to prepare their operations to be more effective in the field and to provide improved customer service to clients when the snow flies.

The debrief

Like an after-action report following a snow and ice event, snow contractors must debrief employees at the close of the winter season.

“With your team, you want to learn what they thought went well during the season and what the big wins were,” says Lee Durdahl, vice president of operations at Crystal Greens Landscape, Clackamas, Ore. “You also want to ask them what didn’t go well, what caused the most stress, and what needs improvement upon heading into next winter.”

Crystal Greens is a full-service company with a service profile of landscape maintenance, enhancement services and snow and ice management. Durdahl advises conducting a similar debrief with customers to gather feedback and review the previous winter’s pain points.

“You want to gauge (customers’) overall satisfaction with your performance, as well as look for improvements for the next season,” he says.

Once you understand these fine improvement points, Durdahl suggests compiling them into a list and periodically review it throughout the offseason.

“You’re always revisiting that list and working on those issues that will better prepare you for winter,” he adds. “The goal is to improve and provide better services.”


Once you’ve debriefed, do not overlook postseason equipment maintenance. Most importantly, properly wash all snow and ice management items to remove salt residue. Failing to do so may lead to rust and corrosion over the summer months, potentially causing costly repairs.

“We wash everything, including every plow, truck, salter, heavy equipment — we even wash the shovels,” says Doug O’Bryan, president of O’Bryan Grounds Maintenance, Stow, Ohio. The company offers snow and ice management and landscape work. The majority of its clients are commercial property owners and managers.

“Our process involves hot water and soap,” he says. “Then we treat everything with a salt neutralizer and wash them all over again with water and soap. Finally, we use a power washer to get into the nooks and crannies, but only on the lightest setting.”


A common misconception among snow professionals is that clients are reluctant to discuss contract renewals after the winter season. However, many pros say this is the best time to seek new contracts, especially if customers are happy with their service.

“We turn around and renew our contracts right now, and we try to get as many of them out of the way immediately at the end of the season,” O’Bryan says. “It gives me a better idea of what capacity I could expect when fall comes.”

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