Last updated Mar. 18, 2023 by Peter Jakes
If you need extra cash, shoveling snow is a great side hustle. Living in a region where it frequently snows throughout the winter, such as the upper Midwest or the East Coast, you can even make shoveling snow a full-time, seasonal job.
However, starting your own snow shoveling service can be intimidating. You might not know where to begin! It is also a flexible job to take during the winter period.
If you’re considering starting a snow shoveling business, here are tips to help you make profits.
Good Read: How to Make Money with Car Sharing (Insight from a Successful Car Share Host)
Why Shovel Snow For Money?
Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to work whenever they wanted? Unlike a 9 to 5 job, being self-employed makes you extremely flexible.
You make your schedule and pencil in customers when you’re available. Do you have a doctor’s appointment at 3:00? Plan your day around it.
Even if you only want to start a side business and keep your day job, self-employment’s flexibility will benefit you.
You can shovel snow before and after work, in the mornings and evenings.
Alternatively, use your weekends to earn some extra cash. Because you’re the boss, you get to make the decision!
- Low-cost Startup
Shoveling snow is one of the cheapest small business ventures to start.
The only thing you’ll need to buy right away is a snow shovel.
Other items, such as ice salt and a heavy-duty jacket, gloves, and hat, can be added later as your business grows.
A professional shovel is a good investment for a good snow shovel that will last for several seasons.
In most cases, the wider the shovel, the better, as it will help you clear more of a sidewalk or driveway in one swoop.
A professional shovel will cost you around $50 on average. So congratulations, you’ve just started a $50 business!
- Easy To Find Customers
Finding customers for your company in this industry couldn’t be easier.
Your ideal clientele is right around the corner.
Check with your neighbors, friends, and family to see if anyone needs your help.
You can even ask around your neighborhood for local businesses that might be interested in setting up a contract with you for recurring work over the winter.
You won’t have to do much more marketing for yourself than post your services on bulletin boards around town, advertise in local Facebook groups, or place an ad in the paper.
The Cons of Shoveling Snow for Money
- If you do not live in an area that receives consistent snowfall, this business will not be profitable for you. And, if you live in a snowy area, you may find yourself with more work than you can handle on your own.
- However, hiring people to work for you reduces your profits.
- Finding a good balance between consistent work and too much work can be difficult.
- Snow shoveling can also be strenuous work. However, if you have a back problem, this is probably not the best option for you because you risk further injury.
- Before beginning this business, consult your doctor about your health.
Tips to Help You Make Money Shoveling Snow
1. Get the Right Hand Shoveling Equipment
When shoveling snow, you need a handheld shovel. This is the most important tool you need as it helps you to gather snow. Before starting a snow shoveling business, buy a quality handheld shovel.
The right equipment makes shoveling easier for you.
With a shovel, you can remove snow from walkways and driveways.
A quality handheld shovel must have a sturdy aluminum adjustable shaft and a fairly decently sized scoop of approximately 18 inches in diameter.
You’ll also need to purchase salts as this helps quickly remove snow. However, you’ll need to ask the driveway owner about using salt to remove their snow, as most salt causes damage to most concrete.
2. Determine Your Charge Rate
Snow shoveling pricing is determined by supply and demand. The greater the supply (the volume of snow), the greater the demand for shoveling.
What you will charge using a snow shovel, a snow blower, and a snow plower is different, but we will cover every aspect of charging fees for your snow shoveling side hustle as we go further.
Most people will happily shovel themselves or wait for it to melt if the snow is light and only an inch or two deep.
On the other hand, deep snow that is 3+ inches thick is more difficult to shovel, so you are more likely to get customers.
The more snow there is, the more charges you can make. When snowfall exceeds 10 inches, you should charge around $25/hour at the low end and $75+ at the high end.
You can adjust this rate as you learn how long it takes you to shovel a specific size driveway or sidewalk. Just keep in mind that the more snow there is, the more you can charge – and the more people will pay for it.
When fixing a rate to charge clients, it is important to conduct market research.
Also, research what rates other snow shovelers charge in your area. Setting your price above theirs can leave you with no clients.
However, setting your rate lower than theirs will enable you to increase your customer base.
Your charge rate can also be determined by the area to be shoveled. For example, a bigger driveway or sidewalk demands bigger payments.
3. Learn Snow Shoveling Technique
Shoveling snow may seem easy, but it isn’t! Before shoveling snow for the money, you must learn some stretching exercise that warms up your muscles.
You should also learn how to handle a shovel expertly, the right clothes to wear, and the best position to shovel.
Learning body-warming exercises will prevent you from getting injuries in your joints or muscles. However, this body-warming exercise must be performed before you begin any snow shoveling activity.
Make sure to take breaks as needed and to drink plenty of water while shoveling.
You should also use the proper shoveling technique. Never pile more than 6 inches of snow on your shovel at one time, and never lift the shovel higher than your waist.
Pile snow in areas where it will not fall back onto walkways. On slanted driveways, you should also work from top to bottom. This method reduces your chances of injuring yourself due to overexertion.
4. Get Assistance
Before starting a snow shoveling business, it is important that you enlist the help of a friend, family member, or neighbor.
Then, both of you can set out for shoveling. Snow shoveling is actually more fun doing it with someone. Getting assistance will make the process of shoveling easy for you.
With the help of a friend, you can complete more snow shoveling orders in no time. This will enable you to have time to build a large customer base.
If you have many clients and are struggling to keep up, you may want to consider collaborating with someone you know or hiring another employee to help you handle the increased workload.
You can serve more customers if you have more shovelers!
5. Find Clients
To find clients who’ll patronize your snow Shoveling business, you need to go door to door to make enquires. For example, you need to ask people in your neighborhood if they’ll like sidewalks cleaned up of snow.
You can choose to distribute a card or flyer that tells people about your services.
It is critical to market your snow shoveling business. Marketing your snow shoveling side hustle can be accomplished in various ways.
You can talk to family and friends, offer to shovel a little of your neighbor’s walkway, and let them know you do that for money. But, of course, you can also market your services online.
For example, Facebook groups of people living in a particular location. You can talk to people you meet at the supermarket.
Knock on the door of older adults whose fragile bones can’t withstand the cold, and you have many more clients than you can handle.
Additionally, flyers about your services and reasonable rates can be distributed throughout your community.
Magnetic signs that attach to the side of your vehicle and advertise your company and phone number can also be made.
Advertise Your Snow Shoveling Business Online
You can promote your snow shoveling business in several ways without spending money on advertising.
Some of the most effective ways to advertise a snow shoveling business are through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, and Reddit.
Word of mouth is an extremely effective form of advertising.
If one business owner has used your services, you can request they recommend you to other businesses.
As a bonus, if they recommend your service to someone else and you receive a job opportunity; as a result, you can offer the referring company a discount on the next needed snow removal job.
Another advertising method is placing flyers and posters in shopping centers, grocery stores, or strip malls.
Be Open to Having Private Contractors
This advanced aspect of your snow shoveling business would be used by business owners who want to keep their parking lots snow-free.
There have also been instances where snow emergencies have necessitated using private contractors with this type of equipment. Making more money shoveling snore entails allowing yourself to turn this flexible hustle into something big.
How to Use a Snow Blower
Select the Appropriate Snow Blower Equipment
Using a snowblower is a less strenuous way of shoveling snow. What’s more? You can achieve more within a shorter period.
The operator pushes this gas-powered equipment into snowy areas, and the snowblower’s operation is to capture the snow and force it out of a chute above the machine.
The snow chute can be adjusted to direct the snow where you want it to go.
A good snow blower will cost you around $300, but it will be well worth the investment as you build your customer base and reputation as a dependable, hard worker to clear snow.
You can transport the snow blower from one customer’s location to another using transportation and a small trailer hitched to the back of your vehicle.
Wheelchair scooter trailers are some of the more commonly used trailers.
Get Backup Snowblower
As your business grows, some of the money earned must be reinvested back into the company.
Some of that money can be reinvested to buy a backup snowblower if the first one is damaged due to maintenance issues or hitting something hidden beneath the slow.
6. Purchase Insurance
A practical suggestion is that you and your snow shoveling company obtain liability insurance when you buy a snow blower and make snow shoveling an entire business.
Accidents happen, and you want to ensure that your assets are protected in the event of property damage or other unforeseen events.
How to Use Light Truck Snow Plows
Make Use of the Proper Snow Plow
The next logical step in growing your snow shoveling business is to attach a snowplow suited for the front of the truck to the front of your truck if you have one.
This smaller version of one of the larger highway snowplows would cost around $1500 to purchase. If you grow your shoveling business to this extent, it could be one way to increase your net worth by $100,000.
Take care of the Fees
Fees The cost of snowplowing and clearing a parking lot could range between $50 and $150 per hour.
At that rate, one could recoup their investment in a snowplow that costs around $1500 or slightly more.
Furthermore, municipal governments may require the services of a private contractor to remove snow in various emergencies. A private contractor using the snow removal system could earn between $20 and $30 per hour.
8. Use the Right Snow App
Shovler is a great option if you want to start a snow shoveling business as quickly as possible.
Shovler is a useful mobile app that allows you to create a profile and find people in your area who need their homes or businesses shoveled.
Individuals offering snow shoveling services can register on the Shovler site and will be notified when a snow removal job is posted.
The beauty of this Shovler app is that a mathematical formula is used to calculate the fee for the snow removal job.
The algorithm takes into account the depth of the snow, the size of the property, and other factors.
As a result, a snow removal company, for example, can earn $35-$75 for a two-car driveway measured in car lengths for the length of the driveway using this app.
You can configure the Shovler to notify you when a job near you is posted, and you can sign in to view jobs whenever you’re available to work.
You might even find long-term customers if you start with Shovler! Shovler even accepts credit card payments through the app.
Shovler determines job rates, which vary depending on the amount of snow, the size of the area, and other factors.
On the other hand, large sidewalks and driveways can pay around $75, and business lots can pay around $2 per square foot.
Shoveler deducts a 15% fee from your earnings, so keep that in mind before you use it.
Even with the fee, the prices are very reasonable and competitive. In addition, the app is compatible with iOS and Android devices. So it’s worth a look if you want to get started quickly!
This snow app is available in select cities throughout the United States and Canada. Boston, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee are among them.
9. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard.
It’s tempting to shovel all day and keep earning money, but shoveling is physically and mentally taxing.
You’ll typically only be able to serve about 6 clients at a time. Add an hour per job for an average of 6 hours.
Working more than this puts you at risk of injuring yourself due to exhaustion and over-exertion. Don’t expect to be able to shovel two dozen driveways and sidewalks every day because you’re only human! So don’t overwork yourself so you will have the strength to move another day.
How Much Should You Charge for Shoveling Snow?
Begin with an hourly OF 20% higher than what you are paid at work. For example, if you make $15 per hour at work, charge at least $18 per hour for your first snow shoveling gigs. Otherwise, it is simply not worth it.
Many people will tell you that as a contractor (which you are – you’re a freelance snow removal contractor here), you should avoid hourly rates.
But this is not advisable for one reason: when you start out, you have no idea how much to charge or how long gigs will take. So you’ll either overbid and lose the job, or you’ll underbid and end up working for free, which is even worse.
I learned this when I first started landscaping, similar to snow removal – snow removal is simply cold-season landscaping.
Tips to Market Your Snow Shoveling Business
Create an Online profile: Create a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook business page, and an Instagram account. In addition, make sure you’re active on any other social media channels where your ideal clients hang out.
Plan what your prospective customers should know before contacting you for snow removal services.
Remember to consider your services in terms of your client’s needs and desires. Then explain how you plan to solve their snow and ice problems.
Consider adding games and contests to your Facebook business page. If that’s not your thing, give people a discount if they sign up with you before November 1.
Door hangers are a low-cost way to attract the attention of new prospects. Purchase them from Vistaprint or other online printing services.
Newsletters: Send out a newsletter reminding people that winter is just around the corner and that it’s time to start thinking about snow and ice removal. Provide specials or coupons.
Word of mouth: This option is best if you already have a company that works with homeowners annually.
However, you can also notify your family and friends (including your Facebook friends) that you will be providing snow removal services this winter.
Junk Mailers: There are numerous types of mailers available. Examine your junk mail and note why you continue to use some of these services. Then, write your ad in language that will entice homeowners to call.
Should I Use A Snow Blower Or Shovel?
As previously stated, purchasing a snow blower is something to think about. But, of course, this will be a much larger initial investment than a snow shovel. You could start with a snow shovel and gradually get a snow blower when you can afford it.
You might want to put off purchasing a snow blower until later in the season once you’ve established a customer base.
After all, because it moves snow much faster than shoveling, it may eventually make your work more efficient.
However, keep in mind that you will also need to spend money on gas for the snow blower, which is an additional cost.
A shovel should suffice if you intend to keep your business small, with only a few customers.
However, a snow blower could be an excellent investment if you want to expand your snow shoveling business by attracting local businesses and many residential customers.
How Much Money Can You Make Shoveling Driveways?
It all depends on how much you charge per driveway, how many customers you have, how quickly you work, etc. But first, let me give you a few examples to give you an idea of how much you can actually make.
Assume you charge $20 per driveway. It takes me less than 20 minutes, but for the sake of skeptics, let’s assume it takes you an hour.
You are currently earning more than the minimum wage. A rate of $25 per hour is very reasonable. Assume you can find five neighbors who will let you shovel their driveway.
You would need 5 hours to earn $120. And that is money. That is significantly more than millions of people earn working an eight-hour shift.
So there’s a lot of potentials here, and the best part is that all you really need is a shovel, which you can get for less than $20 at Home Depot.
Is Snow Shoveling For Me?
As long as winters and climate change do not worsen, there will certainly be snow to shovel.
In our litigious society, business owners and residents are always concerned with keeping their sidewalks clear and free of snow and ice to avoid hazards for pedestrians and vehicles.
If you are hardworking, brave the elements, and don’t mind working hard, you can make good money clearing snow from sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots during the winter months.
Good Read: 20 Ways to Make Money from Your Hobby
You can make a lot of money shoveling snow because snow shoveling is one thing people dislike. Winter residents frequently look forward to the first snowfall of the season, especially if it is light. Winter, on the other hand, has the potential to disrupt business operations and people’s lives.
When you factor in the possibility of a severe snowstorm, you have a perfect opportunity to provide a service that will be in high demand. Remember to go out early because you may have competitors, and do warm exercises to keep your body in good shape.
Snow shoveling is seasonal. So hopefully, you don’t get to break your back every season for it. But, if you are hardworking, you can save enough money to care for yourself during the summer, spring, and fall.
Hopefully, your snow shoveling company is fantasizing about a white winter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I make the most money shoveling snow?
When it snows, go out early and knock on your neighbors’ doors, offering to help them hourly. Begin with an hourly rate 20% higher than you are paid at work. For example, if you make $15 per hour at work, charge at least $18 per hour for your first snow shoveling gigs. Otherwise, it is simply not worth it.
Q: How much should I charge for shoveling snow?
For example, when children are reluctant to set a fee for their services, adults frequently overpay or underpay. Therefore, it is preferable to agree on both the fee and the job ahead of time. For most snow shoveling jobs, $10 to $20 is a good starting point for shoveling snow. You can charge higher when snow fall is severe.
Q: How Do You Start a Snow Shoveling Side Hustle?
Signing up for a snow shoveling app like Shovler is a great way to connect with locals who require shoveling snow services. You’ll also need appropriate warm clothing, snow shovels, and additional supplies such as ice salt and car-cleaning tools.
Q: Is shoveling snow a profitable side hustle?
If you need extra cash, shoveling snow is a great side hustle. And with constant work, your body gets acclimatized to it. You can even make it a full-time, seasonal job if you live in a region where it snows frequently throughout the winter, such as the upper Midwest or the East Coast.
Q: Can you make money with a snow blower?
Starting a snow-blowing business is a simple way to supplement your income during the winter months. You do not need a lot of experience. Obtaining the necessary approvals will be relatively simple. The equipment is reasonably priced, and there is a good chance of more profit because you cover more at a lesser time.
Q: How do I get snow shoveling clients?
Make use of social media: Create a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook business page, and an Instagram account. Ensure you’re active on other social media channels where your ideal clients hang out. Plan what your prospective customers should know before contacting you for snow removal services.
Q: How Much Does a Snow Removal Contract Cost on Average?
Most contract generally states that no matter how frequently it snows, the snow will be cleared for a set price. A contract of this type can cost between $300 and $450 per winter season. This fixed price is a great way for a company or private individual who lives in an area where snow is common to benefit from entering into such a contract.