Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Where does Green Acres operate?

We service Orleans. East side of Orleans, to be exact.

 

What is the length of your  contract?

From November 1st to April 1st

 

Minimum snowfall requirement?

Our contract covers all snowfalls of 5cm or more. Generally, one laneway clearing is scheduled for a snowfall of 10cm or less, and multiple visits if the snowfall is over that amount. However there are many instances per season where it is possible we would go out for less than 5cm simply as a training exercise or because the snowfall was heavy wet snow and the city plows were out. We always return to clear the debris left by the city plows.

 

Do you clear city plow debris?

Yes. Always. We will usually have our first pass complete before the City starts to clear the side streets. We then make as many return trips as necessary to clean up after the city plows.

 

Is your 5 cm minimum cumulative (over days or even weeks)?

No. Again, snowfalls of under 5 cms are the responsibility of the home owner unless otherwise specified..

 

Do you remove snow left in front of my garage door?

We have a separate team of shovelers that follow our tractors to remove the snow in front of the garage, around parked vehicles as well as clear the walkways (if applicable). However, there is a new option for this year in our Bronze program to only have tractor visits without any shoveling service what so ever.

 

Do you clear walkways?

Yes, if our Gold program is selected. We have a separate team of shovelers that clear the walkways by hand.

 

Do you ever use a snow plow?

No. However, on very rare occaissions unforeseen mechanical problems arise that would cause immeasurable delays therefore, there is a plow available only as a urgent last resort backup. Remember, tractor snowblowing is a much more efficient way to clear snow as they are able to disperse the snow more evenly across your property to avoid large and potentially hazardous snow banks at the end of your driveway.

 

Is there a cap on the amount of annual accumulation?

Yes, 250cm is the cap on annual accumulation. To aid with operating costs a small surcharge of $20 applies to any snowfall over 5cms that we must clear after that amount. Ottawa’s average accumulation is only 220cm. There is also an option to cancel after 250cm but must be indicated to us by phone or in writing.

 

During a storm, will there be someone to answer the phone?

Yes. In the unlikely event you do not reach one of our staff directly, we have an automated telephone system to provide detailed information as to our start and end times during a snowstorm. Most of the time this message will leave enough detail and prompt no further action however, if you must leave a message it will be returned promptly.



Will your tractors damage my driveway?

No, in fact snow blowing with a tractor is the safest method of clearing your driveway available. Although the tractor is large, the weight is evenly distributed across oversized tires that results in less force per square inch as an average car. The snow blower attached to the tractor includes a Teflon blade, stainless steel cutting knife and is safe for all driveway surfaces including interlock. The attachments are calibrated to float just above the driveway surface to avoid damages.  Also, at the beginning of the season we install laneway marking posts at the end of the driveway and around obstacles to help our operators navigate throughout the winter.

 

I have a parked car in my laneway. Will your operator knock on my door to have me move it?

In order to keep our clearing times reasonable and stay on schedule we cannot send our operators to knock on doors in order to have parked vehicles moved. Doing this would have a terrible domino effect on our routes and cause delays in getting to our all customers in an efficient and timely fashion. Our operators make every effort to keep track of laneways that have parked cars during our storms and will always return at least twice. With the slow clearing times of the City, our average day of clearing is about 14 hours which usually allows plenty of time for parked vehicles to come and go.

 

Do you have any references?

Yes, please feel free to contact us for a list of reference or contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at 613-237-4856 as we work tirelessly to maintain an “A+” rating. You will also find that as one of the largest snow removal companies in Orleans that as of November 1st each year you will see several of our laneway markers right on your street!

 

What about water valves on my driveway?

It is the responsibility of the home owner to make sure that if any water valve caps are protruding the driveway to contact the City of Ottawa and request that they send a service technician by to lower the pipe and cap to the level of the asphalt. If the cap is not flush with the level of the driveway it may very likely get picked off and blown onto the lawn and cause damage to our machine or your property! So, please make sure that the city takes care of this in advance of the first snow. Otherwise, once snow arrives and covers the surface, this issue is not apparent and the city may charge you for repairs in the Spring. Also, as a side note: Trim low overhanging branches to allow our tractors to pass and don’t forget to remove all objects from the snow clearing area inc. Downspouts, flower pots, basketball nets, garbage recepticles, extension cords etc. Green Acres assumes no responsibilities for objects left inside the snow removal area.

 

What is your repair policy?

In the unlikely event of accidental damage to property caused by driver or equipment error our operators are required to report it to the office. It is however recommended that our customers call in order to verify the report. Green Acres will typically make any non urgent repairs in the spring. More urgent repairs will be resolved immediately. Green Acres has an excellent reputation for fixing any of our rare mistakes.

 

If it is icy do you spread salt or any traction increasing materials?

No, salt has been proven to be destructive to grass and landscaping. It is also quite costly to provide for a residential contract and the liability insurance premiums does not make it a very cost effective option.

 

When will the laneway markers be set up and removed?

We typically install the markers 2 weeks before the start of the season and remove them within 2 weeks after as long as the weather cooperates. We ask that if our customers remove the markers themselves that they put them on the side of the house or garage so that we may retrieve them. Please do not throw them out or store them inside.

 

If I am at the end of the route does this mean that I will receive poor service?

No. We plan our routes in accordance with the cities snow removal service. Ideally we arrive soon after the city plow so you are not stuck coming or going. We also do not overfill our routes. You will find that even at the end of our route you will be done faster than being in the middle of many of our competitors routes.

 

What time will you clear my driveway?

This is by far the most popular question asked.We operate 24 hours a day. Our start times are based solely on the snow fall. On average we will start a 10cm or less snowfall after it has fallen. A larger snowfall closer to 15cm requires multiple passes. With this system we cannot guarantee a particular time day or night. As a general rule, if it snows under 10 cms overnight we would start at 5am and are usually done the first pass before noon. If the city is plowing all the residential streets over night we will also work over night to try to remove it before you leave for work. Exceptional storms (over 25 cms) require many visits and a lot of patience. In this rare instance, and not unlike the City's own street clearing, delays are possible.



What if there is an emergency and the city plow has blocked me in?

In the event of an emergency please call our office at 613-835-3581 and we will dispatch someone to your location. With our fleet (including the one plow) there is always help within 15 minutes from your house.

Will my laneway be cleared before 6:30 am?

Although it would be great to guarantee such an early morning clearing time it would be false advertising to do so. Clearing times are determined by many factors such as when the snow actually starts to fall. The later the snow starts the later we start. In order to predict the time your laneway will be cleared, assume the following: we will wait at least 3-4 hours for enough snow to fall (at least 5 cms) before we will send our tractors out. You can then add roughly another 5 hours onto this time (if you are at the very end of a route) and this will be the latest you can realistically expect to see us for your first clearing. Generally, we will dispatch our tractors towards the tail-end of a snowfall under 10 cms. In the case of a MAJOR STORM (over 15 cms) our tractors are dispatched as required to keep up with the rate of accumulation. In this instance a rough pass will take place initially to open the laneway and at least allow access. Our final pass will ensure all snow is cleared (including any snow deposited from the City plows) after the storm has passed. EXCEPTIONAL STORMS (over 30 cms) require many visits and a lot of patience. In this rare instance, and not unlike the City’s own street clearing, delays are possible.

Will i always be at the end of your route?

No. We try to reverse our routes every couple of storms to allow all customers a chance at earlier clearings. Although it would be great to have all customers first on the list, it just is not realistic. There will always be a beginning and an end to a route. Our secret is to not overcrowd our routes. We make every effort to make our routes manageable in size.

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

We perform repeat clean-ups after the city plows. For instance, if your laneway has just been cleared and the city plow has yet to clear your street we will return after running though our route again. In other words, expect a return in about 5 hours. If there is an emergency and you must exit earlier, please call our office and we will dispatch a tractor directly to your location as soon as possible. Otherwise, please be patient. We will naturally get back to your laneway within the timeframe described.

If i call during a snowstorm, will there be someone in the office to answer the phone?

Generally we have people in the office during snowstorms and offer 24/7 customer care. On the chance that you receive an answering machine when you call it will explain in detail exactly what our intentions are and offer a timeline for route clean-ups. Of course you can always leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Is there a delay between your tractor and the crew that comes to shovel?

Yes. Generally the shoveling crew takes care of tight spots, in front of garage doors, around cars, and walkways (should this option be selected). Due to the unique and changing conditions involving areas to be shoveled, the crew can at times be ahead or behind the tractor. It is not uncommon for the tractor and shovel crew to be separated by as much as an hour or more.

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