Cold Weather Service – Auto Vs On Call – Triggers

Two weeks of the thermometer flirting with 0 degrees centigrade has left many managers thinking about their Cold Weather services for Snow Removal and De-icing this winter. The most critical issue of discussion with your provider is what triggers a service, when you select Automatic versus On Call.

Broadly speaking, Automatic callouts means the contractor triggers the delivery of the service based on weather forecasts and conditions. On Call meaning the contractor only responds when requested by the site.

Buildings often select the “On Call” with the view that it provides greater control over contracts. This is likely a misguided assumption. When Snow and freezing temperatures arrive, contractors are always going to prioritize customers who are on an automatic contract, as that is a contractual relationship.
On call clients are usually bumped to the back of the line, because there is no real guarantee that the customers will call in future.
Furthermore, if a contractor only offers on-call services, they tend to charge higher costs (to offset the uncertainty they face).

Then its a game of first come first serve: call too late and the building may not see the service show up until the afternoon, or even days later during severe events. There’s also pressure to finish the work as fast as possible and move on – its a feast or famine business model. Consequently the care level is not there, which could become a practical and legal headache if areas are not cleaned for hours or days.

Automatic callouts are not a carte blanche; its is based on trust that is verified through good communication between the parties. It allows a contractor to effectively plan and manage a site cold weather service, ensuring that all of the agreed upon tasks are completed to the satisfaction of the client.

They are really in the business of weather monitoring, ensuring that the building gets the right service at the right time. Automatic callouts also makes it easier to manage their overall operations, so they don’t overbook themselves. To ensure accountability, the service can be monitored with field reports that include photos and time logs. Really they are invested in a buildings’ success.

At ServiceMaster Clean we deploy our field management system to keep our site contacts and Property managers in the loop. They receive Emails in advance we have scheduled a service, and issue reports when they are completed.