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The Total Guide to Hiring Snow Removal Employees

Published on December 6, 2018

Since it's difficult to find qualified candidates who are the right fit, hiring snow removal employees for your business can be challenging.

After all, you need certified candidates who are:

  • Willing to put in the work
  • Capable of challenging manual labor
  • Able to work odd and extensive hours
  • Trustworthy around expensive equipment
  • Eager to keep up with the latest snow industry trainings

In this total guide to hiring snow removal employees, you'll discover how to find, hire, and keep the best industry professionals in your area.

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The Insurance Every Snow Removal Team NEEDS

Since snow removal is a higher risk industry with increased liabilities, you'll need to choose an insurance plan for your business.

However, keep in mind, even if you already have a business insurance, you'll need to call your insurance provider to ensure your snow business is covered.

For example, many traditional liability insurance policies used for lawn care businesses do not automatically transfer to your snow removal business.

After all, the snow removal industry is considered a high-loss group at a greater risk of claim filing.

Before hiring snow removal employees, talk with your provider to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for your snow business.

Plus, in addition to protecting the business, worker's compensation and disability insurance coverage serve as great incentives to keep amazing snow professionals feeling happy and secure in your business.

When It’s Time to Begin Hiring Snow Removal Employees

Knowing when it’s the right time to begin hiring snow removal employees is vital to the growth of your business.

While you don't want to risk hiring employees you can't afford, answering "yes" to all of these questions means you should consider hiring:

1. Are you growing fast enough to put a full-time employee to work?

If you and/or your team feel constantly overloaded with work, then it's time to consider adding more people to the team.

2. Do you have enough resources to properly train a new team member?

If you don't have enough time and money to properly train a new hire, then consider delaying any new hires until you have the proper resources.

3. Are clients happy with your services?

If clients are happy with your services, then you know you have proper training in place that's teaching high-quality standards.

4. Can you handle a short-term profit loss?

Even with years of snow industry experience, you'll still need to train new employees the ropes of your business.

Unfortunately, you're going to lose some money during this training process. Plus, you might even be forced to cut back on jobs in the meantime.

However, once an employee is properly trained your profits will likely be even higher than before you started.

5. Do you have a new hire process in place?

Before hiring any new employees, you need basic procedures in place.

For example, you'll need to have plans to:

  • Manage your new employee
  • Put your new hire on the payroll
  • Obtain an EIN in the United States (i.e. Employer Identification Number) or SIN in Canada (i.e. Social Insurance Number)

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Where to Find the Best Snow Industry Professionals

Oftentimes, businesses struggling to find new snow removal experts think they're looking in the right places for candidates. However, they're not going about it in the right way.

In reality, just like you have to leverage marketing strategies to attract new clients, you have to do the same to attract great candidates.

For instance, you can begin marketing for new hires by:

In turn, these marketing campaigns have the power to transform lukewarm applicants into eager ones.

Here's how to take advantage of these top strategies:

Flyers, Door Hangers, and Print Ads

Despite the internet and technology, flyers, door hangers, business cards, and print ads still remain effective. In fact, 82% of consumers trust print ads the most.

Plus, print marketing is cost-effective, convenient, and easy to implement.

For instance, if you have residential snow accounts, then your team can conduct 9-arounds by distributing flyers to the nearest 9 houses where they're working.

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Organic and Paid Social Media

Social media is an incredibly valuable resource for capturing the interest of great snow expert candidates.

In addition, both organic and paid social media alike are effective in finding snow professionals to hire.

Although, you can target ideal candidates using organic and paid social media, paid ads (e.g. Facebook Ads, Promoted Tweets, etc.) will typically generate better, faster results.

Also, since Facebook Ads has a customizable daily ads spend budget, it's an effective low-cost way to market your business on a limited budget.

Even better, you only pay for the CPC (i.e. Cost Per Click). Which means, even if your ads reach 10,000 people, you'll only pay for the number of ad clicks you get.

Plus, with Facebook's 2.85 billion active monthly users, it's expansive reach makes it perfect for generating lucrative ads.

Additionally, Facebook's ability to target specific audiences makes it an even more powerful way to capture the right attention.

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Online Ads

There are countless various options with online ads. For example, based on your business needs and budget, you can place ads in newspapers, websites, and job recruiter sites.

Take a look at a few different sites where you can place ads online:

Plus, since these audiences are actively job seeking, these ads can provide some of the biggest results.

However, the narrower reach in audience may cause results to take longer. Though, the candidates you do reach likely will be more ideal.

In addition, Google Ads are another effective way to start marketing for new hires who are actively seeking snow removal jobs online.

Although, Google Ads are higher cost than other online ad types, they can be more powerful due to their larger reach in audience.

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The Process for Hiring Snow Removal Candidates

After receiving a few ideal applicants, it's time to begin the interview process.

Here's how to begin the process for hiring snow removal candidates fit for your business:

1. Pre-Screen Applicants by Phone

Before interviewing applicants in-person, it's important to pre-screen them over the phone. This is simply a brief phone call asking high-level questions to filter out any obvious, unqualified applicants.

In other words, this quick 15-minute phone call should let you know if they have the experience you're looking for to qualify them for the position.

Keep in mind, the primary goal of this call is to gather information about their general background and industry experience.

Plus, you can even capture a glimpse into their raw, unfiltered personality by throwing in one or two curveball questions (e.g. hobbies, interests, etc.).

Take a look at a few basic phone screening questions:

  1. What kind of experience do you have in the snow removal industry?
  2. Do you have any snow removal licensing or certifications?
  3. What types of snow jobs have you previously done?
  4. Why do you believe you're a good fit for this industry?
  5. What would you bring to our snow removal business?

As you're talking with the applicant on the phone, don't be afraid to listen to your gut feeling. For instance, if something doesn't feel quite right, then it likely isn't. Which means, it's time to move on.

Remember, even if you gut reaction is wrong, you're still only losing a candidate you couldn't trust.

If the applicant passes the phone screening, then it's time to move onto the in-person interview.

2. Conduct an In-Person Interview

In-person interviews offer an excellent opportunity to catch any potential inconsistencies in answers between the application, phone screening, and in-person interview.

For this reason, it's important to repeat some of the same questions you ask - even if they've already previously answered them.

Also, you'll want to ask more in-depth questions as well as a few additional ones you might have about their specific experience or background.

These are a few questions you can ask during your in-person interview:

  1. Why do you want to leave your current position?
  2. What types of snow removal equipment have you worked with and for how long?
  3. Why are you eager to work for our business?
  4. What would you bring to our business?
  5. In the past, how have you handled a situation where a client was wrong or upset you?
  6. What makes you different than the other applicants for this position?
  7. Can you drive a manual transmission?
  8. Pitch me an upsell on a snow removal job.
  9. Are you legal to work in the United States, or do you have/need a Visa?
  10. Give me 4 recent references - 2 professional and 2 personal.

Additional Non-Verbal Cues

In addition to what the candidate is saying, it's equally important to be attentive to their nonverbal cues as well.

For instance, you'll want to pay attention to things like:

  • Were they punctual to the interview?
  • Are they dressed appropriately and presentable?
  • Do they have a professional, respectful attitude?
  • Do they have the experience in snow removal you need?
  • Are they visibly excited or uninterested in working for you?

Plus, pay attention to the red flags you spot in candidates you should NOT hire:

  • Are they looking to make a quick buck?
  • Have you spotted any inconsistencies in their answers?
  • Are you considering hiring them because you feel bad for them?
  • Are they a family member or friend you should be cautious in hiring?
  • Do they adjust their responses to meet the answer they think you want?
  • Has the candidate lied or embellished the truth in any of their responses?
  • Is this person too eager to provide you with the answer you're looking for?

Qualifications to Look for When Hiring Snow Removal Employees

Due to the dangerous, high-risk, higher liability nature of the snow industry, it's important to look for the right qualifications when hiring snow removal employees.

In order to ensure you’re hiring the right candidate, you should look for:

  1. A CSP (i.e. Certified Snow Professional)
  2. Has 2 to 3 professional references (preferred, but not required)
  3. Is punctual
  4. Has snow equipment experience
  5. Passes with a clean background check
  6. Can easily be trained

These qualifications are vital to ensuring you’re hiring the right person for your snow removal business.

Also, it's important to consider the difference between a snow employee and a snow plow driver. 

  • A snow removal employee is someone who does NOT operate machinery for snow removal. For example, their tasks may include shoveling, deicing, and salting driveways or sidewalks.
  • A snow plow driver operates machinery — in addition to the traditional snow employee tasks. For example, their tasks may include operating a snow plow truck or skid steer, and they also may shovel, deice, and salt driveways or sidewalks.

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How to Know if They’re the Right Fit for the Business

When a candidate has met all of the necessary requirements so far, then it's time to explore whether they're the right fit for your business.

To do this, take a look at the 7 C's for ensuring you're hiring the best fit for your snow removal business:

  1. Competent
  2. Capable
  3. Compatible
  4. Commitment
  5. Character
  6. Culture
  7. Compensation

Once the candidate has met all of the necessary qualifications discussed so far, and they meet the 7 C's, then you’ve likely found yourself the right team member!

When to Fire a Snow Removal Employee

Similar to knowing how to hire the right team members, it's also important to know when to fire them.

For example, employees who consistently:

  • Call in sick
  • Show up late
  • Upset clients
  • Upset coworkers
  • Produce low-quality work

Bad employees can cost you clients, great employees, money, and time. While it's never fun to fire someone, it's important to know when is the right time to do so.

Here's how to know when to fire an employee:

When They Cost More Money Than They Make

Regardless of the reason, an employee who's bad-mouthing, scaring, or upsetting clients and other team members needs to be addressed.

Before you begin losing valuable assets to your business, these types of employees need to either shape up or exit the business.

Sometimes, employees either quit caring about their job, or they were never the right fit from the start.

What To Do Next

If an employee is either showing signs like the the ones listed above, or they're producing low-quality work, then here's what to do next:

  1. Talk to them, and find out what's wrong. You might be able to save them.
  2. Find out if it's a training problem. Even some of the worst employees can make a complete turnaround after proper retraining.
  3. Give them clear, achievable goals with deadlines. Then, hold regular performance evaluations before the deadline to provide real-time feedback. Be sure to adequately document everything. In turn, you've set mutually understood expectations.

As always, track the employee's performance before, during, and after each meeting. Maintain an ongoing record of your meetings as proof of rightful termination, if you should need it later.

Alternatively, this documentation serves as performance tracking to help you determine whether you want to keep the employee.

If after these interventions, the employee's performance remains the same or gets worse, then it's time to consider firing them.

Remember, it's important to be firm yet respectful when firing them. Even though firing them may not be easy, it's what's best for the business in the long-term.

What To Do if Your Entire Team Is Bad

If it feels like you've tried everything, and your entire team is bad, then there could be something systematically wrong with your snow business.

Keep in mind, it's not financially viable to fire all of your employees at once. Plus, there's a good chance it's not your employees at all, and it has something to do with the systems you have in place.

Here's how to re-evaluate the systematic elements in your business:

  1. Re-evaluate your hiring practices. Do you have the right expectations? Are you asking the right interview questions? Have you required the proper credentials?
  2. Re-evaluate your training practices. Are you giving employees enough time for training? Do employees have enough time to adapt to your company culture and work ethic? Are you providing your team with the right resources to become eager team players?

These are just a few of the many systematic elements you can examine in your business to discover how to handle an underperforming team.

Regardless of whether your team is underperforming or performing exceptionally well, it's important to consistently re-evaluate your hiring and training practices.

As a result, these re-evaluations ensure continued seamless operations with happy employees.

BONUS: How to Keep Great Snow Employees

Remember, even though hiring snow removal employees is an important task, it's equally important to keep the employees you already have in the business.

Keep in mind, knowing how to hire the best professionals is useless if you can't keep them aboard and have to continue hiring.

To start, building a positive culture is one of the main factors in keeping your best employees on the team.

For instance, a solid company culture means your team:

  • Takes pride in the business
  • Remains eager to help their teammates
  • Stays truthful and communicates clearly
  • Exceeds client expectations the first time
  • Encourages others and maintains a positive attitude
  • Has a kind and respectful attitude with clients and the team

Also, your team should also be acknowledged for outstanding work and accomplishments.

In addition to a healthy company culture, you'll have to provide your team with reasons to stay at the business in order to increase your retention rate.

  • Give incentives for bringing in new clients or upselling services.
  • Provide valuable benefits, such as:
    • 401K
    • Gift cards
    • Comp time
    • Health insurance
    • Flexible schedule
    • Disability insurance
    • PTO (i.e. paid time off)
    • Annual pay raises and bonuses
    • Incentive program (make it simple and public)
    • Company events (e.g. cookouts, parties, etc.)
    • Clear career paths with career development opportunities

Plus, it's important to offer a competitive wage. After all, your team is more likely to leave for the competition if there's better pay.

Especially during a labor shortage, where finding quality candidates is a daily struggle, it's crucial to provide your team with the compensation they deserve.

Inevitably, you'll eventually lose great employees for a variety reasons. However, there are several ways to reduce the likelihood of it happening. In turn, you won't have to hire as often.

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Every lead after an estimate is completed
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Pro Tip: Use the #1 Snow Removal Software to Keep Great Employees

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  • Client account management from anywhere

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Start Hiring Snow Removal Employees and Keep Them for Years to Come

Even though hiring snow removal employees and keeping them may feel like an impossible challenge, this total guide has given you everything you need to:

  • Start hiring snow removal employees with confidence
  • Keep your top professionals from leaving the business
  • Fire your worst professionals who are costing your money

Now, you're equipped with everything needed to begin hiring snow removal employees today!


Related: Hiring Snow Removal Employees During a Labor Shortage


Originally published Dec 6, 2018 4:07 PM, updated Jan 25, 2022 3:23 PM

Alyssa Sanders

Alyssa is a Content Marketing Specialist II at Service Autopilot. Her bookworming began after she discovered the Harry Potter series. Her love of books evolved into writing and creating content. When she's not writing, you can find her watching a new sci-fi series or shoving her nose into a book.
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