Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New members’ training courses added

SIMA’s membership investment comes with many benefits, including on-demand snow training courses. 

Our commitment to our members is to continuously increase the value of tangible member benefits. That’s why we recently added a new set of five courses to our existing members-only training platform.

Our goal is simple: Help members plug in to a ready-made diverse set of training tools so you don’t have to build your snow-specific training from scratch. The SIMA Training Center at is a SIMA member’s best friend. It not only houses the members-only training but also numerous best practices guides, production documents, and contracts and forms. We take our “Stronger with Support” statement to members seriously.

New courses include: 

Creating Standard Operating Procedures for Snow Operations 
• Using SOPs as training tools and teachable moments
• Documenting SOPs effectively
• Concrete examples of SOPs

Salt Purchasing and Inventory Management
• Tools to help manage salt and deicing material inventory more effectively

Injury Prevention for Snow Professionals
• Areas that may cause danger
• Walking on snow and ice/exiting vehicles in icy conditions
• Identifying site hazards that may lead to injury to an employee or patron
• Safe shoveling and snow blower use
• Tips and techniques to encourage an injury-free workplace

Disaster Response and Documentation Essentials
• Create an emergency response plan
• Protect your company from risk exposure when an accident or disaster occurs
• Documentation essentials
• Create a must-report culture and build transparency

Principles for Selling Snow as a Risk Management Service
• Defining risk management and learning to distinguish between risk avoidance, risk reduction, risk retention, risk transfer and risk sharing
• Attach greater meaning and value to risk management as a service and learn how to sell it as such

We are always interested in hearing how we can improve and strengthen our membership support. Please email any time with your ideas and suggestions.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Find allies and sounding boards through SIMA peer groups

By Phil Harwood, CSP

It’s been said there is strength in numbers. SIMA helps build that strength by harnessing the power of cooperation and engaged learning through its peer group program.

SIMA Member Peer Groups pair six to eight snow and ice management entrepreneurs to discuss snow industry best practices, labor trends, staffing/recruiting, competition, market dynamics, economic trends, technologies and more. All meetings are professionally facilitated.

Groups meet a minimum of four times per year and work together to help each other achieve business success and to learn from one another. Where one company may struggle, another may thrive. Participants come away with action items to help resolve issues affecting their business and report progress in future meetings.

Participants are ensured that their peers will be in non-competing markets and will have similar objectives, business lines, financial profiles and common interests. 

We are certain that peer groups deliver outstanding value to those who participate, but don’t just take our word for it. Following are testimonials from three current peer group participants:

Mike Kukol
Horizon Landscape Company // Wyckoff, NJ
Peer Group Member since 2015

Why a peer group? I wanted to grow my snow business and have been involved in other peer groups that I found to be a great source of information and support.

What have you learned? It is tough to think of all the little things I have learned along the way. Factory tours have been informational and inspirational. I also have learned that there are many different ways to skin the snow business. Everyone has the same issues to different degrees. Brine — what a great learning experience!

Jim Hornung Jr., CSP
Elbers Landscape // Buffalo, NY
Peer Group Member since 2014

Why a peer group? I have been a part of a number of peer groups outside of the industry over the last 10 years and have always found them to be very beneficial. When the opportunity came up for an industry-specific group, I jumped on it because it allowed me access to peers all over the country who were keyed in on the challenges of running snow businesses. 

What have you learned? The biggest takeaway that I have gotten from our group was about the structure of our operations team. The group guided me into a more productive structure to coincide with the rapid growth of our business. Being able to get feedback from people who had been there before has been very beneficial. It also is a fantastic sounding board for equipment and technology purchases.

Tom Marsan
Beverly Snow & Ice // Markham, IL
Peer Group Member since 2016

Why a peer group? I wanted to create a relationship with other professionals to find solutions to challenges we face and share what we do well to help others overcome their challenges.

What have you learned? Everyone in the group has their own twist on how they operate, whether it is management structure, equipment utilized or materials/products used. We all have the same goals, and we can each learn from each other to implement ideas and processes that can contribute to becoming more successful. Having peers that you can bounce ideas off of and reach out to when facing challenges is very beneficial.

Learn more about the SIMA Member Peer Groups, including how to join, at

Phil Harwood, CSP, is the facilitator for the SIMA peer groups. Email him at