Frequently Asked Questions
What’s new for 2023/2024?
The most exciting improvements for the upcoming season include:
- Additional improvements to our tractors and blowers so that we are using the newest and best technology in the industry, including new diagnostic software that optimizes our ability to prevent breakdowns and resolve them quickly in order to minimize the effect of downtime on our customers, and
- Further investments and development of our operator training program.
And once again, customers will have the opportunity and benefit from the ease and efficiency of placing and paying for their orders entirely online.
SERVICE DETAILSWhat 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 cannot service all addresses. To determine if we can effectively service your property, please submit an Online Quote Request.
We do not provide one-time or service by the month. Instead, we offer full-season 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!
No! We offer unlimited snow removal, after 5 cm of accumulation, for the entire season.
No. Unfortunately, we cannot offer this service due to challenges in maintaining the reliable workforce needed to ensure we can consistently provide this service.
No, we do not provide any ice management services to our residential clients. In an ice storm or slippery conditions, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to apply any necessary abrasives such as salt and sand to the area we are expected to clear. We are not responsible for any slip-and-fall incidents on a customer’s property.
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 offers full-service grass-cutting, maintenance, gardening and irrigation services by the Irrigation North team.
Mosquito Hero provides guaranteed, strategically applied barrier applications to reduce mosquito populations to protect you, your family, pets and guests from itchy and potentially dangerous bites.
Quotes and PaymentWhat is the best way to obtain a quote?
The best way to obtain a quote is to use our Online Quote Request. 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 our Online Quote Request is your best bet.
We do! If we are able to service both driveways as a single driveway and you and your neighbour each place and pay for an order and sign your respective contracts, you will each be eligible for our Shared Driveway Discount.
We encourage you to check with your neighbour to see if they are interested in this opportunity and if they are, to submit an Online Quote Request. If we receive a quote request from your neighbour within a couple of days of receiving yours, we will send each of you a quote reflecting the applicable discount. If you advise that they won’t be requesting a quote, we will email your quote without the discount.
If your neighbour requests a quote but does not proceed with placing and paying for an order after you have already paid the discounted price, you will be required to return the discount (+HST) in order to receive service, since the discount would no longer apply.
You simply click on the link to your contract in the quote we’ll send you and you can place your order and pay entirely online. 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.). If you don’t pay online, you will need to make payment for the entire season (please see payment methods below). If you are an existing Snow Squad customer wanting to renew for next year, simply follow the instructions you received in our renewal email.
We accept payment by e-transfer, cheque, or by credit card (Visa or MasterCard only – not American Express) online or over the phone.
When service is cancelled before the end of the season, your current service is transferable to your new address for the remainder of the season (assuming it is serviceable by us and the new driveway is of a similar size and complexity – otherwise, a quote for price adjustment would be provided). If the service isn’t transferred, prorated refunds are provided according to our Refund Policy below:
2023/2024 Refund Policy:
Before November 30/23 – 80% Refund
Before December 3/23 – 60% Refund
Before January 3/24 – 40% Refund
Before February 15/24 – 25% Refund
From February 15/24 to March 1/24 – 15% Refund
After March 1/24 – NO Refund
Your PropertyI 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 due to the risk of damage to your property and/or our equipment. Therefore, for the first couple of snowfalls at the beginning of the season and during winter thaws, all we can do is help pack it by driving over it to provide a path for you to get out and help create a base for the winter. You should do the same by driving and parking on it to pack it. Once the base is established, our operators make every effort to be as careful as possible; however, some gravel may be blown onto your lawn as it’s impossible to avoid some gravel displacement until a suitable base is well 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com with your service address in the “Subject” line so we can collect them as scheduled.
To safely service your property, our operators are trained to clear within 12” of driveway markers and 16” of parked vehicles and/or buildings, including garage doors and building overhangs.
No, we can’t unless you provide us with written permission for us to do so, from the owner of the adjacent property. We can only blow snow on the customer’s property and our operators are trained to blow the snow toward the centre of the customer’s front yard. It is the customer’s responsibility to keep this area clear and protect any shrubs and/or trees that might be in the path of snow from our blowers.
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 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 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your service address in the “Subject” line and with photos of the damage and we will establish a plan to assess and repair it.
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, Christmas decorations/displays, outdoor furniture, flower pots/planters, downspouts, recycling bins, garbage bins/cans, basketball and/or hockey nets, children’s toys, extension cords and/or unprotected trees and shrubs near where snow must be blown (especially applicable in fully landscaped front yards with no lawn onto which snow can be blown).
Unfortunately, we also can’t be responsible for the excessive amount of sand that the city spreads on streets, which gets tracked into driveways and blown with the snow onto our customers’ front lawns.
You are responsible for contacting the City of Greater Sudbury to request that they lower and cap any protruding water valves in the area to be cleared, and flush with the surface. This needs to be done before 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.
Equipment and TrainingDo 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 improves 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.
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.
No. The tractor and blower will not crack your asphalt or interlocking stone. Although it looks big and heavy, the machine’s weight is evenly distributed over the extra-large surface area of its tires. More weight per square inch is being applied by your own car than our big tractors! And of all equipment available on the market today, the snowblower is the more “interlock-friendly”. If your interlocking stone has an uneven surface, minor scratching or discolouration may occur; however, equipping our blowers with Teflon blades has further reduced the risk of this happening.
Not necessarily. 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 relatively lightweight tractors back into your driveway, 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.
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.
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 the snow is on the ground, they undergo extensive hands-on training in supervised simulation exercises 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 entire season.
CommunicationIf there’s a storm coming, how do we know if you’re going to provide service?
When there is a significant storm approaching, we will always inform you of our service plans by sending you an email with the details of our plan (including the planned launch time and if our alert system will be turned on), so that you know what to expect. We’ll also send service updates throughout a prolonged storm.
We can 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 a half-hour away. That way, you can move your vehicle(s) before your operator arrives if you’d like to. Unfortunately, our operators cannot wait for you to move your vehicle if it is parked in the driveway when they arrive due to the delay that would cause other customers who have already received an alert and are awaiting service.
To improve service times, we might re-assign multiple available operators to work concurrently in the same area. When this happens, we will notify affected customers by email that they can expect an alert and service within a limited time frame so that they can move their vehicles and leave them on the street until after service has been provided.
Service issues during a storm, including emergencies, should be communicated via email to email@example.com, 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.).
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!
What to Expect During Tractor LaunchWill 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. Too many factors beyond our control affect our launch time and when our operator will arrive at your address.
- 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 (affected by traffic) or a weekend or holiday launch (affected by vehicles parked in driveways) etc.
Typically, you can expect service within 8 hours of our launch start, depending on where you are on the operator’s route. Obviously, we can’t be in every driveway at the same time, when our service launch starts. In our most common scenario with a 6:00 AM launch start time, our goal is to provide all customers with a first service by 2:00 PM (in typical snow and weather conditions and barring any unforeseen circumstances such as a tractor breakdown). The exact time of service at your address depends 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. They are also less common, and daytime launches allow us to use the alert system and provide the best possible service to the greatest number of customers. We can guarantee that we will always keep you informed of our plans and do so via email updates that we also reflect in our voicemail greeting.
In icy conditions on driveways that slope downwards to a garage door, we reserve the right to not provide service all the way to the garage doors until after customers have applied sand and salt and we determine that we can safely provide service without the risk of sliding into and potentially damaging a garage door.
We provide a cleanup service whenever one is required, which isn’t always the case with every launch. It depends on the nature of the storm, the timing of our service launch 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 service, 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 the entire driveway is accessible and vehicles have been parked on the street (the City by-law permits winter parking on the street, where permitted, between 7:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.).
During heavy, prolonged snowfalls, and we determine a quick first pass is required to enable each of our customers to get out of their driveways as soon as possible, please park your vehicle(s) in your garage if you have one. Alternatively, please park as close as possible to the top and side of your driveway. This will provide maximum access to our operators and enable them to go as quickly as possible. When a cleanup 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.
Absolutely! Our operators are trained to get as close as they safely can to make sure you have no trouble getting out of your driveway in the morning. We encourage you to park as close as possible to your house or garage. We also ask that you avoid parking too close to the end of the driveway so that our operator can safely provide service without the risk of damage to your vehicle. Otherwise, service will be deferred until we have been advised that we have the required access, at which time we will have your operator return once the route has been completed.
During a launch, depending on the timing of your first service and relative to when the city plow has passed, we will return to provide a thorough cleanup and clear your driveway end once everyone has received their first service. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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, you need to let us know. So please email us at email@example.com with your service address in the “Subject” line, and we will send our next available operator at no extra cost. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee a time.
No. The service is the same for all of our residential customers. Our routes are strategically established to deliver service as efficiently as possible to all customers based on your location. No preference is given.
With some runs, we do try to reverse the order of our routes (subject to actual conditions and operator assignments) to ensure that the same customers aren’t always receiving service last. This primarily affects customers at either end of the route (but not so much in the middle), so if you typically receive service later, when advised that your route is being reversed, you will receive service earlier in the day (and vice versa). There are some runs that can’t be reversed without compromising safety (typically on routes with high-traffic streets) or overall service times to our entire customer base.
If you would like to address the timing of your service, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your service address in the “Subject” line, and we’ll do our best to figure it out together.