You may think that shoveling a neighbor’s driveway is only a teenager’s job, you’d be surprised to know that you can get paid to shovel snow, earn big bucks from just a few hours of work each day, and turn it into a snow-shoveling business.
Although seasonal, the trick to snow-shoveling as a business is to find a market, organize your time, and choose the right tools.
And if you’re still doubting how you can turn this into a real business, check out the steps below:
Snow-shoveling Business 101
For this to work as a full-scale business, you need several things:
- Location – This is important. You need to reside in a city that gets heavy snow every year. It wouldn’t be feasible traveling to another state just to offer your snow-shoveling business.
- Good health – If you, the business owner, will also be the one shoveling snow, you’d have to be able to take the intense labor you’re going to face. This is especially true if you want to stick to traditional snow shovels, instead of going for a more advanced equipment like an electric snow shovel or snow thrower. And since you will be outdoors in winter for several hours, your body should be able to take the climate day in, day out until the season ends.
- Personality – The only thing that would give you an edge over your big snow-shoveling business competition is how many of your first customers are friends, family members and referrals. Because of this, your business will always have a personal touch, so your personality will definitely be a major factor in keeping and maintaining your clients.
- Equipment – Technically, you can launch this business even if you just borrow a friend’s snow shovel. But this business require you to work smart and better equipment (like an electric shovel or snow thrower) would make the job a lot quicker, and let you accommodate more customers.
- Time – Let’s face it, if you only have a couple of hours available each day, you couldn’t earn enough to consider snow shoveling as a business. There has to be a balance of having time to cater to several jobs and not stretching yourself too far.
Like any kind of business, you’ll need a business plan. You must identify your market and determine how you would like to approach marketing (by word-of-mouth, local ads, online, and so on).
It’s important to invest in either better equipment or additional people (either a partner or employee). You’d like to accept as much jobs as possible during heavy snowfall, but you can’t do it if you’re using only a conventional shovel. Just think of the customers you’re going to have to say “no” to if you’re still working on a job all by yourself.
How Much Can You Get Paid to Shovel Snow?
You need to be able to decide on pricing before offering your services.
In general, you can get paid to shovel snow from $25 to $75 an hour, or from $100 to as high as $500 per job. The range will depend on several factors, such as:
Hourly vs. set fees
Hourly fees are better for larger properties with bigger areas to clear, such as longer sidewalks or drives, simply because it would take longer to complete the job.
On the other hand, you can also set pricing to certain packages, such as $25 for quick snow blowing under 10 feet area and below 2-inch snow, or $150 for 5-inch snow within a 24 feet driveway.
I recommend you find out how long you can shovel a driveway, sidewalk and so on. Take note of the area size and the amount of snow when you fulfill your initial jobs, so you’ll be able to charge more appropriately in the future.
Location and Demand
The demand for snow shoveling services will depend largely on where you are. Cities that have yearly snowfall will have higher demand for shoveling snow.
In the same vein, if your area has no big companies that offer snow shoveling, you’ll have a higher chance of making it big.
It’s all about supply and demand – the more snow to clear, the higher demand is for shoveling. And with no other business to take care of this demand, you can price your services a bit higher than other areas.
When pricing your service, consider transportation cost (if you go to the client’s location by car), and maintenance of your equipment.
If you’re going to be using a snow blower, make sure to list down gas as an added expense.
Equipment and Tools
As I said earlier, you can start this business even with just you and a basic shovel in hand. Some people have ZERO investment when they began. But they worked their butts off during intense snowfall to cater to as many clients possible.
However, if you have some funds as you launch this business, consider buying:
- Additional shovel – You can buy any shovel for as low as $10 and it could last you for a good year. Adding shovels to your equipment ensure you sustain your business even if your existing set of shovel.
- Traditional shovels with advanced features – You can also go for shovels with wheels or snow pusher/plow to make the job easier. It would cost a bit more than traditional shovels, but it isn’t as labor intensive as before.
- Electric snow shovel – These cost somewhere above $50 to $200 depending on how long the cables you need and features you’d like to get. There are also battery-powered variations, if you’re not a fan of cords.
- Snow blower/thrower – Spare $100 to $1000, if you’re interested in buying a snow blower. There are corded electric models, cordless electric snow blowers, and gas-powered snow blowers.
- Snowplow for your truck – These removable snow plow kits attach to the front of your truck. They look massive, since they cater to larger spaces like outdoor commercial parking, or driveways of mansions.
Get Paid to Shovel Snow with Apps
Shovler is a cool mobile app that caters to both snow-shoveling businesses and the clients looking for these services. It is free to download, but Shovler does get a cut of your fees (15% of it) at the end of a job.
This app makes it a breeze to find people within your community who need their homes or business places shoveled.
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As a snow-shoveling business, joining Shovler allows you to accept credit card payments via the app, send you notifications whenever a new job near you is posted.
What’s great about Shovler is that the app computes rates for each jobs based on the amount of snow, size of area needed cleared, and other factors. In general, Shovler charges $2 per square foot.
The Bottom Line
What makes a shoveling business interesting is that you could start big or small.
You have total control on how much you want to expand it – you can be aggressive with promoting via local ads, hunting through Facebook groups, and a wide range of marketing techniques. Or you can keep it small and cater only to family and friends.
Living in a colder climate can sometimes be a hassle, but if you use this time each year to offer your snow shoveling business, you can add significant income to your finances even if you only open up shop during winter.