Thursday, September 19, 2013

Industry questions, industry answers

'Through this program, all SIMA members have the option to make contact with available advisors for best practices and information sharing.'

By Heather Carew
Whether you have been involved in the snow & ice industry for two months or 20 years, everyone has questions. In an effort to answer these questions and to link industry professionals together based on specific areas of interest, SIMA and its Outreach Committee have created SIMA Advisors.

What is a SIMA Advisor?
A SIMA Advisor is and industry professional (and fellow SIMA member) who is available to answer questions and be a resource and conduit for information sharing.

How did this program come about?
SIMA Advisors is a spinoff of SIMA's Buddy Program, which had limitations related to who could participate and the length of the pairing. Over the past year, the Outreach Committee decided to change and expand the program. The Advisor Program is open to all members, and it is up to the member (advisee) to make contact with his or her advisor as needed.

Who can take advantage of this program?
If you're a SIMA member, you're in! Visit to submit an Advisor Request.

What are the program goals?
SIMA prides itself on being "the resource that raises awareness through networking and education." The programs main goal is to educate the member requesting assistance, but the long-term goal is that these two people can create a lasting relationship.

Heather Carew is SIMA's meetings and membership manager. Contact her at 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Professional estimating, simplified

'SIMA works to create useful, real-world resources for snow & ice management professionals.'

By Brian Birch, CAE
Over the past five years, SIMA has trained hundreds of snow professionals on better snow estimating and sales techniques through its popular Build a Bid program. SIMA engaged more than a dozen industry professionals during the program's development, which took more than a full year. This initiative included a team of five highly experienced professionals who created the in-person Build a Bid program. After achieving success with the program, SIMA wanted to make it more accessible to the industry. Late last fall, we launched the self-study version of Build a Bid online at SIMA's Resource 24/7 Training Center.

The Build a Bid Snow Estimating Package was produced by SIMA and Phil Harwood, CSP, of Pro-Motion Consulting, and is a streamlined version of the in-person training program. The online version teaches all of the major elements of a professional snow & ice management bid, including:
  • Understanding the true costs of the work
  • How to calculate production numbers
  • Methods for creating multiple bid types
  • Tips for sales and qualifying prospects
Each of these areas is supported by video tutorials and a comprehensive workbook that walks through a bid from start to finish.

The most powerful part of the online training program, and one not included in the original Build a Bid in-person events, is the inclusion of a customized Excel-formatted bidding tool. It provides a step-by-step path to calculating the square footage of a site, estimating equipment capacity, applying specific weather data, calculating overhead and other costs, inserting production numbers, and finalizing quotes in various formats. A video tutorial is also included for this comprehensive workbook. 

SIMA works to create useful, real-world resources for snow & ice management professionals. If you are seeking more and better ways to create professionals, fair quotes based on accurate numbers, visit

Build a Bid by the numbers
  • 500+ Snow professionals have trained in SIMA's Build a Bid program
  • 12 useful tabs in the Build a Bid online spreadsheet estimating tool
  • 4 sections in the Build a Bid online program
  • 6 exercises included in the Build a Bid online workbook to build skill and knowledge
  • 24/7 access via SIMA's Resource 24/7 Training Center
Brian Birch, CAE is chief operating officer of SIMA. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Snow Safety Week returns in 2013

'I have been a part of this association for 9 years, and I am excited that we are finally in a place where we can consistently deliver snow-specific safety training to the industry.'

By Brian K. Birch, CAE
In March of 2013 SIMA launched the first-ever Snow Safety Week for our industry...the goal was simple, to identify one formal week each year to talk safety and snow removal. But we liked it so much, we are going to again in 2013! Save the dates of October 28-31, 2013...

Why is SIMA doing two Snow Safety Weeks in one year? Because we can...

I have been a part of this association for 9 years this September, and I am so excited that we are finally in a place where we can consistently deliver quality, snow-specific safety training and information to the industry. Even 5 years ago we were not what I would consider a safety-focused association. As we've matured as an association, our focus on safety best practices has increased and we are hopeful it will have a long term, positive impact on the industry.

But we need your help...what safety-related topics and issues do you face in your business or operations? How can we use Snow Safety Week to help you highlight the importance of safety to your employees and to your customers? 

Please share thoughts in the comments below, or email 

We look forward to working with you to create a more safety-focused industry in snow and ice. 

Brian Birch, CAE is the Chief Operating Officer for the Snow & Ice Management Association and can be reached at

Monday, September 9, 2013

Safety matters

'When we decided to add a seventh issue this year, the editorial team decided that September would be a great time to really focus on a topic that is crucial in the snow & ice management industry—safety.'

By Cheryl Higley
In the next few weeks, subscribers to Snow Business magazine will be receiving their first September issue. When we decided to add a seventh issue this year, the editorial team decided that September would be a great time to really focus on a topic that is crucial in the snow & ice management industry—safety. 

As we began planning, the results from our annual State of the Industry survey reinforced the importance. A startling statistic from our survey was that 60% of the respondents don’t have a formal safety training program in their company. 

Our goal was to look at different aspects of safety and training to get a feel for the stories, insights and solutions we could give to our readers to help make their businesses—and the properties they service—safer for their employees and their clients.

As we started brainstorming, we quickly realized there are so many safety touch points for a snow company that we couldn’t possibly do all of them justice. So we decided to focus on key points from three aspects for this first-ever Safety Issue: employee safety, operations safety and selling safety. The topics we chose cover many aspects and still barely scratch the surface, but I’m certain that the stories we’re presenting will provide solutions and get snow & ice contractors thinking about safety. Special thanks go to our Editorial Advisory Committee and our outstanding peer contributors for helping us get our safety issue off the ground. 

We’re going to follow up the September issue with a Snow Safety Week Oct. 28-31 with additional stories on, videos and webinars. 

I am very excited for everyone to read the September issue and, as always, would love your feedback. As winter begins to creep in on us, my virtual door is always open and I welcome comments and story suggestions—on safety or any other topic in snow & ice management. 

Cheryl Higley is editorial director for Snow Business magazine. Contact her at