How to Start Your Own Snow Shoveling Service
Posted by Tim Smith in Business Continuity on March 8, 2018
Shoveling snow is a great side hustle if you need some extra money. And if you live in an area where it snows regularly throughout the winter – such as the upper Midwest or the East Coast, you can even turn it into a full-time, seasonal gig.
But it may be a bit intimidating to start a snow shoveling service on your own. You may not know where to start!
You’re in luck. In this article, DialMyCalls will help you understand how to start – and scale – a snow shoveling service. Let’s get started now.
1. Get the Tools You’ll Need
Lucky for you, the basic tools you need to start your business are incredibly inexpensive.
The primary thing you’ll need is a snow shovel. Don’t skimp out on quality, here – you’ll be using this shovel every day for hours at a time. You want a grooved, deeply scooped snow shovel with a slightly curved handle. Heavy-duty plastic is usually the best choice. Metal is heavier, but can be more effective at scraping.
You can also invest in some road/sidewalk salt. You can get 40lbs for about $25, and offer salting as an additional service on top of shoveling snow.
That’s pretty much all you need! Make sure you have warm clothing, gloves, and non-slip shoes, and you’re ready to go.
2. Decide on a Pricing Plan
Pricing for snow shoveling is based on supply and demand. The higher the supply (the volume of snow), the higher demand is for shoveling.
If snow is light, and only an inch or two deep, most people will happily shovel themselves, or just wait for it to melt.
However, deep snow that’s 3+ inches thick is harder to shovel – so you’re more likely to get customers. The more snow there is, the more you can charge. You should be charging around $25/hour at the low end, and $75+ at the high end, when snowfall reaches 10+ inches.
You can adjust this rate as you learn how long it takes you to shovel driveways and sidewalks of a certain size. Just remember that the more snow there is, the more you can charge – and the more people will pay.
3. Prepare Yourself – and Use Proper Shoveling Technique
Snow shoveling is hard work. Before you start working, warm up your muscles with some stretches. Make sure that you take breaks when you need them, and drink plenty of water while shoveling.
You’ll also want to use proper shoveling technique. Avoid piling up more than 6 inches of snow on your shovel at a time, and never lift the shovel above your waist.
Pile snow up in areas where it won’t drift back onto walkways. In addition, you should work from the top to bottom on slanted driveways. This minimizes your risk of hurting yourself due to overexertion.
4. Start Knocking on Doors
This is the best way to start getting work as a snow shoveler. Knock on doors when it snows, and ask if the homeowner needs shoveling service. Come armed with some flyers and business cards – that way, even if they don’t want your services now, they may keep you in mind when the next blizzard comes around.
You can also offer first-time discounts in exchange for email addresses or phone numbers. This is a great way to build up a list of potential customers.
5. Use SMS Marketing to Your Advantage
If you’ve been building a list of phone numbers, you can use DialMyCalls for SMS marketing – which is highly effective for snow shoveling companies. The night before a big snowstorm, you can send a message out to all of your customers, and ask them if they will need shoveling services.
Using DialMyCalls will help you get a list of people who need your services, and allow you to prioritize your shoveling accordingly.
6. Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Far
It’s tempting to shovel all day and keep making money, but shoveling is very demanding. You’re usually only going to be able to serve about 6 clients at a time. Figure in an average of 1 hour per job, and that’s 6 hours of labor.
If you work more than this, you risk hurting yourself due to exhaustion and over-exertion. You’re only human – so don’t expect to be able to shovel two dozen driveways and sidewalks every day!
7. Invest in Better Tools – or More Employees – as You Grow
If you have a lot of clients and you’re unable to keep up, you may want to consider partnering with someone else you know, or hiring another employee to help you deal with the increased workload. The more shovelers you have, the more customers you can serve!
You can also think about buying a snowblower. A good snowblower will cost you around $300, but if you have enough customers, it’s well-worth the investment. With a snowblower, you can clear a driveway or a sidewalk in minutes – while still charging the same fee you did for shoveling.
If you are serious about your business, you could even invest in a snowplow. You would need a truck that’s powerful enough and compatible with the plow. Usually, plows cost around $1,500.
If you get a plow, you can make money clearing parking lots for businesses, and you can even apply with your local municipal government to provide plowing services during snow emergencies, which usually nets you more than $20-$30 per hour.
Start Your Snow Shoveling Business Now – and Use These Tips to Your Advantage!
Snow shoveling is not easy work – but that’s why so many people turn to snow shoveling companies to do it for them, so that’s a good thing.
With these tips, you can build a successful snow shoveling business quickly – and even expand your business to include snowblowing and snowplowing.