Snow Removal: D.O.T. vs. Snow Removal Professionals
We told you to brace yourself, and now look what happened: Winter has come — and with it, snow!
When it comes to the most wonderful time of the year, it’s no secret that snow can sometimes make the winter more like the most laborious time of the year. Between shoveling after every snowstorm and having to navigate a vehicle through a polar vortex of fresh powder, Jack Frost can really push our limits in the winter months. Thankfully, snow removal professionals and the Department of Transportation both offer snow removal services — but what’s the difference? Following some aspects of snow removal that separate the D.O.T from snow removal professionals.
It almost goes without saying, but it’s worth explaining that the Department of Transportation is the federal agency in charge of all forms of transportation. Considering it’s a federal agency, it therefore makes sense that almost all cases, D.O.T will focus entirely on removing snow from the highways in order to ensure the safety of interstate travelers, and (probably more importantly) the flow commerce during extreme weather conditions. When it comes to removing snow in residential areas, the D.O.T. won’t break out their plows unless ordered by the federal government, which typically has bigger things to worry about.
On the other hand, private contractors will plow just about anything, as long as they receive a fat stack of greenbacks at the end of the day. For instance, if someone needs to have their lot cleared, they will have to hire a private contractor. Also, county officials will sometimes hire local contractors to remove snow in residential areas that are not within city limits. Often times, private contractors will just be arborists or other seasonal workers that work as snow plowmen in the winter, so you may want to consider asking your local arborist if he does snow removal (and if he’d be willing to give you a discount!) Who knows — if you just need your driveway plowed over once, you may be able to wave down a passing plow.
A Note On Insurance
As an individual though, it’s important to make sure that anyone that doing any type of work on your property is adequately covered with insurance. It doesn’t matter if it is the kid cutting your lawn, the arborist taking care of your 100-year-old Oak tree, the plumber or the electrician, all of these professionals must have both liability insurance and worker’s comp insurance. If that individual doesn’t have insurance, all of the liability falls back on you, the homeowner. In fact, sometimes homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the damage or the injury and at that point, the homeowner has to pay out of his or her own pocket. Proof of insurance is only worth as much as the paper upon which it is written; so if someone hands you proof of insurance, you must call and verify that there is more than just ink behind the policy. Some unscrupulous contractors will purchase insurance and then cancel the policy once they have the piece of paper.
Stewart Scott is the owner of Cevet, a tree service company in Columbia, Mo. For over 15 years, Cevet has provided tree service needs to people all across mid-Missouri.