Outsourcing any public works function can be an economical solution for a municipal government. Utilizing a third-party contractor such as Sweeping Corporation of America for street sweeping and jet-vac service can provide a range of cost saving options for a city.
SCA can provide single event services such as cleaning up a heavy leaf season or after a parade on an hourly or on-call basis. Having a qualified sweeping contractor on-call allows for a city to have pre-negotiated rates and service levels in the event there is a need for roadway cleanup or emergency jet-vac service. Cities may have regulatory inspections, drag out on paved surfaces from construction or a variety of other situations where it is advantageous to have a third party ready to perform the service.
Cities with existing municipally performed street sweeping programs may choose to hire SCA to augment and support their existing sweeping operations. Often times cities are growing at a pace where their current equipment cannot keep up with the required daily sweeping miles needed to remain compliant with their stormwater permits. In this instance, SCA can be regularly scheduled each month to sweep a predetermined area for the municipality. SCA can preschedule the cycles of sweeping annually or collaborate with a public works department each month to determine the specific services required.
A municipality may also choose to completely privatize and outsource an existing municipally performed services. SCA can not only provide the complete outsourcing of both street sweeping and jet-vac service, but also provide detailed reporting for their municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit in support of any national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permitting. SCA works closely with city officials to deliver a turnkey solution that includes planning, resident notification, parking-ban signage, execution of sweeping as well as storm drain and/or sanitary sewer jet-vac service.
SCA has the ability to utilize several sweepers on designated days allowing for easier on-street parking notification for residents. While it may not be feasible for a city to own multiple sweepers, SCA can mobilize its fleet of over 600 units to meet a city’s needs. For example, utilizing five SCA sweeping crews over a single week could allow a city to complete upward of 750 curb miles while causing fewer days of traffic, and parking impact within the community.
Regardless of the range of service, SCA can provide several efficiencies and benefits. Budgets and capital expenditures are frequently a topic of discussion for cities. Similar to the outsourcing of waste management services, shedding the burden of capital expenditures for street sweeping and jet-vac equipment along with their corresponding maintenance cost can free up funding for other areas of a municipality. Street sweepers and jet-vac trucks require constant maintenance and have expensive wear parts such as brooms that require periodic changing.
As most public works departments have experienced, attracting and retaining qualified CDL drivers is a challenge. Contracting with SCA to perform sweeping and jet-vac services provides significant capital savings through reduced equipment purchases, eliminates the expense associated with maintenance and removes the challenge of hiring qualified CDL drivers.
SCA currently works with over 250 municipal entities. From this experience, there are several key things a city official should consider when working with a sweeping contractor:
Bonding Requirements — Every municipal sweeping job should require their contractors to post a surety bond to guarantee the performance of their work. Not only does this ensure municipalities will be working with a financially viable contractor, but it also gives peace of mind that cities have financial protection against nonperformance.
Safety — Require the vendor to provide a copy of its safety plan that identifies the training, dedicated safety resources and job-specific safety protocol. At SCA, safety is a core value. Other companies say this, but SCA has invested heavily in providing specific resources that mitigate risk while working in a community, and its track record proves it. More specifically, the company drives its safety culture through dedicated, full-time safety professionals. This provides professional training to its operators and allows for field observations to ensure compliance with policy. Utilizing in-cab camera systems to record events allows the SCA safety team to effectively coach its operators on correcting any unsafe behavior. This also allows operators who are consistently operating safely to be rewarded.
Fleet Technology — Demanding that a vendor use technology to verify its service ensures the city is getting what it paid for and lowers the cost of inspection. Every SCA truck is tablet enabled, and SCA is the only company to offer Verified Sweeping Service (VSS). SCA can geofence all areas to be swept and storm drains to be inspected and cleaned. Once its operators are in the geofenced area, SCA can set several predetermined metrics such as speed of operation, broom engagement, number of loads dumped (for MS4 compliance) in addition to simply verifying the truck was in the area. More importantly, its VSS portal allows for a city official — both in a desktop or mobile application — to view real-time and historical inspection of SCA’s work.
Experience — Require references of a contractor proving their experience in a similar size and scope contract. Providing a quality result requires that the vendor has the knowledge of how to perform the work. SCA sweeps millions of miles annually and has the experience of starting and performing new contracts every month. While every city is different and every city official may have different requirements, SCA’s experience in providing cost-effective, consistent and field-driven results is unmatched. Many contractors are still learning the things SCA has mastered on public roadways. During the launch of a new contract, SCA deploys a team of its most experienced operators who specialize in contract startups. It refines and perfects operating plans using real-time information such as areas with tight turns, low tree canopy cover, route efficiency and other areas where SCA can improve service to the city.
Fleet Age and Quantity — Specifying that a vendor use a new or newer specific equipment type in addition to it owning more equipment than is required in the contract reduces the city’s risk that a mechanical breakdown will impair the sweeping program. SCA has the largest privately owned street sweeper fleet in the U.S. In each SCA location, there is typically a spare ratio of at least 10%. This not only allows for maximizing the uptime of equipment, but also ensures that SCA has the proper capacity to perform routine preventive maintenance by its DOT certified mechanics.
Scope of Service — Bundling sewer/catch basin inspection and jet-vac service with street sweeping can provide a cost-effective and complete solution to any stormwater management plan. Most cities sweep for aesthetics but also to ensure compliance with their MS4 permit. SCA is equipped to work with a city’s engineer to assist in this compliance by self-performing both the jet-vac service and the sweeping service as well as providing the required documentation to support the municipal permitting requirements. Its Verified Sweeping Service provides an additional level of documented proof that decreases risk of any challenges around these permits.
Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Sweeping Corporation of America is the largest power sweeping company in the United States. Through 39 locations, SCA self-performs highway, street, industrial, parking lot and construction power sweeping as well as jet-vac services. SCA delivers economical solutions to its municipal customers by having its nearly 1,000 highly trained employees, safely operating the newest fleet of equipment, which utilizes the best available technology. Contact SCA by calling 1 (888) SWEEPING or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.