Revenue figures melted down for the snow and ice removal industry last winter, according to a survey by HindSite Software, which has just published its 2016 Snow Industry Benchmark Report.
HindSite says nearly 40 percent of the companies responding to the survey saw a decline in “snow events” of more than 20 percent during the winter of 2015-2016. Consequently, 22 percent of those companies reported that snow revenues declined more than 20 percent compared with the previous winter.
HindSite Software says more than 100 companies that provide snow removal responded to the survey.
While warm weather cut heavily into revenues, 27 percent of companies responding to the survey said their profit margin on snow removal exceeded 30 percent.
HindSite also found that some two-thirds of the companies surveyed expect to increase spending on equipment and software in the coming year – up 11 percent compared with the previous year’s survey.
A rise in litigation related to slip-and-fall claims during the 2015-2016 winter season also is frustrating snow removal businesses, according to HindSite. About 65 percent of respondents in the most recent survey faced no claims during the season; however, that number was 81 percent during the previous winter. The software firm said the number of claims filed against “the typical contractor” also was up during the 2015-2016 season.
Here’s a few more highlights from the 2016 Snow Industry Benchmark Report:
- Of the snow removal companies responding to this year’s survey, 14 percent indicated that government regulation was the biggest threat to their businesses. That’s up from only 3 percent the previous year.
- The use of GPS tracking “has exploded in the past three years.” Fifty percent of respondents said they use GPS tracking software, almost twice the percentage in 2014. Among businesses with 10 or more employees, 70 percent now use GPS software.
- Labor shortages are forcing more contractors to hire subcontractors, HindSite reports, with 60 percent of this year’s respondents using subcontractors. In fact, more than a third of the companies using subcontractors said they used more than five subcontractors during a typical snow event.
- Although word of mouth is still the primary source of new customers for the typical snow removal business, digital marketing is starting to drive results, according to the report. HindSite says 23 percent of respondents selected either their website, email marketing, social media or their blog as the primary source for new business.
HindSite Software provides a wide variety of applications for field services companies, including scheduling, tracking and communication software for landscapers.