Snow can be a major challenge for retail store owners. You need to balance your maintenance budget, staffing needs, and the safety of your customers and employees when developing your snow removal plan. The following are a few considerations that can help you achieve safe snow removal.

1. Hire an After Hours Plow Team

The best time to plow your lot is when no one is onsite, which is why there tends to be a lot of plow activity overnight and in the early morning hours. You can achieve this goal by contracting with a plow service in advance of winter. The service will send out a plow immediately once a certain threshold of snowfall is reached. They will then return each night or early morning until the snow event is over. By timing the bulk of plowing outside of business hours, there will be few to no cars in the lot to interfere with a full plow.

2.  Develop a Snow Event Schedule

It's important to keep up with removal while the snow event is occurring. Since snow doesn't just fall after hours, this may mean some plowing and removal operations must occur during business hours. You can help minimize the impact on staff and customers by creating a schedule with your plow service. Make sure they are aware of shift change times and your normal peak business hours so that they can time plowing to occur before the periods of increased traffic.

3. Stock Up on Supplies Early

Some snow removal tasks must be completed by your staff. Generally, this means keeping up with sidewalk clearing and applying ice melt in areas with higher fall risk. Unfortunately, supplies of snow shovels and ice melt products tend to run low in advance of a snowstorm, so make sure you order plenty before winter arrives. Some plow and removal companies may also provide snow removal products to their clients at a low cost, so make sure you check with your service before ordering supplies from elsewhere.

4. Contract Additional Removal Tasks

There are more areas that require snow removal than just the parking lot. If you have sidewalks or outdoor sales lots, then you may need these plowed as well. For some businesses with flat roofs, rooftop snow removal may also be necessary. Although your staff may be able to handle some of these tasks, others may require professional help -- especially during heavy snowfalls. Check with your removal company to see which of these needed tasks they can provide.

Contact a snow removal service in your area like Seattle Snow for more information.