1. n y snow pros

    n y snow pros LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    What do you think about having a program that would improve the snow plow contractors image? Think about,if you could show your customers that you truly are a profesional and are a step above the compitition would it be worth it.Could you use this certification as another sales tool and increase your business.Something like the landscape trade has.You landscapers on here would know more about this than me.I think they call it ALCA.I thought this was an aluminum company but thats ALCOA (little humor there).Anyway i believe ALCA has a program where you can be a certified landscaper or technician for Walk installations,hardscapes,plantings etc.My piont is why cant the snow plow industry have the same.What are your thoughts?
     
  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 992

    I think this is a good idea - another example of this is the Canadian Welding Bureau which oversees standards and welder qualifications here in Canada. It is not mandatory to be a CWB member to operate a legitimate welding business here, but for some jobs (examples: structural steel supply/erection, repair welding on hoisting or elevating devices) CWB certification IS required - I have done numerous jobs where I had to show proof of qualification and write down my welding ticket number on the work order. Among other things, the CWB administers welder tests, approves welding procedures and establishes standards for welding products.

    I feel that actually making the idea of certification for snow removal contractors reality may be difficult - mainly for the following reason:

    Administration: Someone (meaning an organization - SIMA are you listening?!) will have to be in charge of all this - which will involve $$$. CWB certification is a fairly involved process, and there are several different levels your company can be certified to, depending on size. Since snow removal contractors range from one person operations (that will be me next season!) to l-a-r-g-e companies, there will likely need to be different levels of snow removal certification.

    Another reason that certification may be complex is geographical differences - snow & ice control in my part of Canada is different from out in the prairie provinces, and different again from the US midwest. I think to be relevant, the certification process will need to be tailored for different areas/requirements.

    This in turn creates the need for more administration = cost. Ultimately, it will cost money to be certified - the question is how much?

    I'm not sure how insurance companies work/think, but if they could be brought "on side" I wonder if the benefit of lower insurance rates for certified snow removal contractors could be realized?

    Education of the customer will also be required - being a certified company will cost some $$$ and should command a higher premium as a result.

    As I said, I think it's a good idea, the process of putting it into practice could become pretty involved, but in the long term the benefits could be worthwhile.

    Just a couple of thoughts from me - I'm looking forward to hearing input from other members.
     
  3. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    Isn't that what SIMA does, seperate the joe blow from the pro.

    Up my way many people higher there snowplowing contractor based on one thing price. With the amount of snow we had this year, it taught a few a lesson. Many now know cheap price= crap service, more expensive price= better service.

    Geoff
     
  4. plowking35

    plowking35 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S.E. CT
    Posts: 1,687

    Just one more item for Big Brother to watch me with.
    Less goverment please.
    Dino
     
  5. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 992

    Good point regarding "Less Government!" Dino - in the case of the CWB, it isn't government related. So it would be possible for a non-government body to oversee things. Of course, that brings up the problem I was referring to: more administration = more overhead = more cost!
     
  6. Rob

    Rob LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    I think there are several good points brought out here. But, I'd have to ask myself what's to be gained by having this type of 'certification'. I think that in order for this certification to be meaningful, there would have to be some testing prcedure to see if the plower meets the qualifications, then some enforcement to be sure that they actual follow what they were 'tested' on. Another point would be if you have multiple plow trucks would all of the drivers have to be certified or would you like to see the certification on the company level. Unless you go down to the driver level, there can still potentially be yahoos driving the trucks for a certified company. Seems to me that it would be difficult to manage and impossible to enforce. Something else I'd ask myself prior to going for a certification like this is, do my customers really look for something like this / do they really care, or are they only concerned with the price (as Geoff mentioned).
    Right now, my gut feel is to agree with Dino and say less government / supervision.

    Just my .02
     
  7. diggerman

    diggerman LawnSite Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 702

    Which is why SIMA has its place and importance but not as a true judge of the performance or capability of a particular member.The yearly fee is only to serve as a acknowlagement of intrest and willingness to learn not as a "qualification" for someone who has cheated there customer out of an extra $130.00.I do not think that SIMA was ever intended to be a organization which qualified its members but rather a place where its members could become more quailfied.I do not think that a certification from an orginization which is only known to those who are certified will do much good,I would much rather provide refrences to anyone who feels that the quality of my service is in question.
     
  8. Alan

    Alan Member
    Posts: 1,185

    In the lawn maintenance field there are advantages to a certifiction process. There are disease and insect problems to be recognized, fertilization and seed criteria to be dealt with. In that situation there is a lot more to know than in snow and ice work. I'm certainly not trying to minimize the snow removal field, but I'm not really sure just what you would test for to get the certification. What would you establish as standards? Forgive me for being a wiseass here, but I can see a sample question being "How do you know if it's snowing?"
     
  9. plowking35

    plowking35 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S.E. CT
    Posts: 1,687

    Policeing such a cert. process would be very time consuming and difficult. But since digger is against it, I am all for it. LOL just a joke.
    Dino
     
  10. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    Dino...
    I thought you two had made up......
     

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