Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know to help you cope with the snow

What’s new for 2021/2022?

  1. Three more full-sized John Deere tractors for a total of 27 in our fleet (and no longer using smaller, less reliable tractors)

  2. Implementation of new fleet management software designed for the snow removal industry that helps us further compress the time it takes to provide a first pass to all customers and notifies customers by text, email or phone when the operator is 5 driveways away so you can move your vehicle(s).

What areas do you service?

Snow Squad provides service to most areas in Greater Sudbury. Unfortunately, due to the speed limitations of our equipment coupled with the travel distances across the region and given that some properties have nowhere for us to blow the snow, we are not able to service all addresses. To find out if we can effectively service your property, please email us at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line.

 

Do you offer one-time snow removal services or only for the whole season? If it’s only for the whole season when does the season start and end?

We do not provide one-time service. Instead, we offer seasonal service from November 1st to April 15th. Yes, that’s right – if it snows on April 15th to an accumulation of 5 cm or more, we will be there!

 

Do you have a seasonal snowfall limit?

No! We offer unlimited snow removal, after 5 cm of accumulation, for the entire season.

 

I have a gravel driveway. Can you still blow snow from it?

Yes, we can, however, not until the ground freezes and the gravel hardens into place. Therefore, for the first couple of snowfalls, all we can do is help pack it by driving over it to create a base. You should do the same by driving and parking on it to pack it. Once the base is established and although our operators make every effort to be as careful as possible, please be aware that some gravel may be blown onto your lawn as it’s impossible to avoid some gravel displacement until a suitable base is established.

In the rare event that this should happen, please let us know that cleanup of gravel will be required in the Spring by sending us an email at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line. We will send someone as soon as the snow has melted, the ground has thawed, and is dry enough to clean it up without damaging your lawn.

 

What is the best way to obtain a quote?

The best way to obtain a quote is to use our Online Quote Request or email us at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line and we will email you a quote. You can also call us at 705-682-9090 during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) but your best bet is email.

 

Once I have a quote, how do I reserve my spot?

You can simply send us instructions to place your order by emailing us at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line. If you prefer, you can call our office at 705-682-9090 during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). You will then need to make arrangements for payment for the season (please see methods of payment below).

 

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept payment by e-transfer, cheque, or by credit card (Visa or MasterCard only) either online or over the phone.

 

If I move mid-way through the season, can I get my money back?

When service is cancelled before the end of the season, prorated refunds are provided according to our Refund Policy. After February 1st, refunds are not provided.

 

Do you offer residential walkway shovelling services?

No. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer this service due to challenges in maintaining the reliable workforce needed to ensure we could consistently provide this service.

 

Do you spread salt or sand on the driveway if it is icy?

No, we do not provide any ice management services to our residential clients. In the event of an ice storm or slippery conditions, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to apply any necessary abrasives. We are not responsible for any slip and fall incidents on a customer’s property.

 

When are the driveway markers installed and removed?

Our driveway markers start going up in mid-October and are removed after April 15th. Please do not throw the markers away, as they can be reused. If you would like to remove them yourself before April, kindly place them beside your house or garage and notify the office by emailing us at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line so we can collect them.

 

Do you offer summer services?

Yes, we do offer summer services through our sister companies. Weed Man Sudbury’s lawn care is part of Canada’s largest lawn care franchise and can service all of your lawn care needs from fertilizer and weed control to aeration and seeding. Mowr Landscapes offers full-service grass cutting services and small landscape projects.

 

Do you use plows or snowblowers?

We only use snow blowers to clear snow from your driveway. Our tractors are equipped with 7’ wide rear-mounted blowers that give our operators more control of where to place snow on your property, which avoids large snowbanks and improved visibility at the end of your driveway. When appropriate, we can use a plow truck to clear a snowbank left at the end of your driveway by city plow trucks.

 

How many tractors with snowblowers do you have?

We have 27 full-size John Deere tractors to effectively service our residential customers and a substantial fleet of diverse equipment to handle commercial snow clearing/removal and commercial ice management services.

 

Your equipment looks big! Will it damage my driveway?

No. The tractor and blower will not crack your asphalt or interlocking stone. Although it looks big and heavy, the weight of the machine is evenly distributed over the extra-large surface area of its tires. There’s actually more weight per square inch being applied by your own car than by our big tractors! And of all equipment available on the market today, the snowblower is the more “interlock friendly”.

If your interlock is uneven, minor scratching or discolouration may occur, however, by equipping our blowers with Teflon blades, we have further reduced the risk of this happening.

 

Does your equipment scrape the snow right down to the interlock or other hard surface of my driveway?

No. The Teflon edge on our blades pulls most of the snow off the surface of your driveway but will not necessarily clear it right to the bare surface. Unlike a heavier plow truck that pushes the snow with a significant downward force, our lighter tractors pull and blow the snow. Depending on the surface and the nature of the snow, there may be times when our blade can get very close to the hard surface, but for the most part, your driveway will have a thin layer of snow on it, much like our city side streets do after they’ve been plowed.

 

Does your equipment make a lot of noise?

Our residential snow removal equipment is actually less noisy than a walk-behind snowblower! We are typically in and out of your driveway in under 2 minutes, minimizing the disturbance to you and your neighbours.

What training do your drivers receive?

The most thorough in the business! Every October, each operator is trained on the navigation of their route, familiarized with the operation of the equipment (tractors, blowers and tablets) and thoroughly briefed on the safety issues affecting both the public and the operator. They are also made aware of the city by-laws affecting snow removal in Sudbury. As soon as there is snow on the ground, they undergo extensive hands-on training with the tractors and blowers. And in order to continuously improve our services based on customer feedback and our knowledge of best practices, ongoing training is also provided to all operators throughout the season.

 

How can we contact you during a storm?

Service issues during a storm, including emergencies, should be communicated via email to info@snowsquad.ca, always with your service address in the “Subject” line. Your message will instantly appear on our dispatcher’s screen and facilitates a timely response. Please do not call the office during a service launch unless you don’t have access to email. Even outside of service launches, email is the best way to communicate with us, always with your service address in the “Subject” line. You can also call us at 705-682-9090 during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

 

Why is email communication preferred and why do I need to include my service address in the “Subject” line of all my emails?

Email communication ensures the quickest response as we monitor emails 24/7 during a storm. During a service launch, it is critical for us to keep our phone lines open for emergencies and communication with customers who don’t have access to email.

Including your service address in the “Subject” line of your email enables us to provide the quickest possible response to your inquiry and communicate with our operators, because of how our systems function. In fact, if all you put in the “Subject” line is your service address, that alone saves our office team an incredible amount of time, which adds up during a service launch, and enables us to serve you faster and better!

 

Will my driveway be cleared before 7:00 a.m.?

We would love to be able to guarantee that your driveway will be cleared by 7:00 a.m. but we cannot, in good faith, promise this. There are too many factors beyond our control that affect our launch time and when our operator will arrive at your address.

These include:

  • when the snow starts
  • the nature of the snow (heavy and wet versus light and dry versus blowing and drifting)
  • the projected rate of accumulation (we wait for there to be close to 5 cm of accumulation before launching)
  • whether or not a prolonged snowfall is in the forecast
  • the requirement for a daytime launch (which is affected by traffic) or a weekend or holiday launch (which is affected by vehicles parked in driveways) etc.

Typically, you can expect service within 8 hours of our launch, depending on where you are on the operator’s route. In an ideal overnight snowfall with a 2 AM launch time, all customers should have received their first service within 6-8 hours, with the exact time of service at your address depending on where you are on your operator’s run. The start time varies and typically affects the total time to service all customers, with nighttime launches generally being faster due to the relative absence of traffic.

What we can guarantee is that we will always keep you informed of our plans and send you an email notification when we are dispatching our tractors, so that you know what to expect. We’ll also send service updates throughout a prolonged storm. AND we now have the ability to send your choice of a text, email or phone alert when appropriate (i.e. not in the middle of the night when you are sleeping!) to let you know that your operator is approximately 5 driveways away. That way, you can move your vehicle(s) before your operator arrives if you’d like to.
Unfortunately, our operators are unable to wait for you to move your vehicle if it is parked in the driveway when they arrive, due to the delay that would cause for other customers awaiting service.

 

Do you provide a second pass on every launch?

We provide a second pass whenever one is required, which isn’t always the case with every launch. It depends on the nature of the storm and the conditions when our operator arrives at your driveway. If the city plow has already been by and there are no vehicles in the driveway, we may be able to provide a thorough clearing at the time of the first pass and if it’s possible, we will. During prolonged snowfalls, we will provide multiple passes, as required. Sometimes after a very heavy, prolonged snowfall during which our operators require rest breaks, a cleanup may be necessary even a day or two after the snowfall ends.

As a general practice, final cleanups are not done during the night. We can provide the best results during the day when vehicles have been moved and the entire driveway is accessible.

 

How close do you get to my house/garage doors/parked car?

In order to safely service your property, our operators are trained to clear within 16” of parked vehicles and/or buildings including garage doors and building overhangs.

The aim of our first pass is to enable each of our customers to get out of their driveways as soon as possible. To facilitate this and provide maximum access to our operators, please park your vehicle(s) in your garage if you have one or park as close as possible to the top and side of your driveway. When a second pass is required and it is possible to move your vehicle onto the street, please do so to provide our operator with maximum access to the area to be cleared. The City by-law permits winter parking on the street, where permitted, between 7:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m..

 

Can I leave a car parked in my driveway?

Absolutely! Our operators are trained to get as close as they safely can during the first pass to make sure you have no trouble getting out of your driveway in the morning. We encourage you to park as close to your house or garage as you can.

 

What if the city plow comes by after you’ve already cleared my driveway?

During a launch, depending on the timing of your first pass and relative to when the city plow has passed, we will return to complete a cleanup and clear your driveway end once everyone has received a first pass. If you need to urgently get out of your driveway before we can return to complete another pass and you have a bank at the end of your driveway that you can’t drive through, please email us at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line and we will dispatch a tractor or plow truck to clear the end as soon as we can.

 

What about in between major snowfalls? Will you clear the end after the city plow has gone by and is there an extra charge for this service?

In between snowfalls and there hasn’t been a 5 cm accumulation of snow, it is not in our scope of services to attend solely to remove banks left by city plows at the end of driveways. Since it is impossible to know when and where city plows are clearing streets, we cannot maintain a crew on standby for this purpose. If, however, the city plow passes between snowfalls and leaves a snowbank at the end of your driveway that you cannot drive through, please email us at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line and we will send our next available operator. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee a time.

 

If I am at the end of a route, does that mean I will always be serviced last?

No. The service is the same for all of our residential customers. With some runs, we do try to reverse the order of our routes so that if you were at the end of the route for one storm, you might be at the beginning the next time. Our routes are strategically established to deliver service as efficiently as possible to all customers based on your location. No preference is given. If you have a concern about the timing of your service, please email us at info@snowsquad.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line and we’ll figure it out together.

 

What happens if your operator damages my property?

As soon as they are aware of it, our operators are required to document any damage and report it to our office. We immediately advise you of the damage and establish a plan to assess and repair it. Repairs are typically completed in the Spring unless the repair is urgent in nature and it can be effectively carried out under winter conditions. In the event of damage that our operator is not aware of or hasn’t reported, please advise our office the day after the snowstorm (ideally by email to info@snowsqaud.ca with your service address in the “Subject” line and with photos of the damage) and we will establish a plan to assess and repair the damage.

Exclusions: We cannot be responsible for damage to property or items left on the driveway or in the immediate work area of our tractors. Such items include but aren’t limited to newspapers, flower pots/planters, downspouts, recycling bins, garbage bins/cans, basketball and/or hockey nets, children’s toys or extension cords.

 

What if I have a protruding water valve in my driveway?

You are responsible for contacting the City to request that they lower and cap any protruding water valves in the area to be cleared, flush with the surface. This needs to be done prior to November 1st to avoid having it inadvertently broken off and blown onto the lawn. Otherwise, once the snow arrives and covers the surface, this condition is not apparent to us and the City may charge you for repairs in the Spring.