For some, the winter season is the perfect time for outside play. For others, winter welcomes nothing but warming up by the fireplace. Then there’s the rest of you — those with a high tolerance for low temperatures and an entrepreneurial spirit. Sound like you? See the section below to find out what you should charge to shovel snow. More of a “warming up by the fireplace” type? In this article, we also cover how much you should pay someone to shovel snow. Below, we have the details of how much to charge for snow removal — shoveling, snow blowing, or plowing — as well as how much to pay.
How Much to Charge for Shoveling Snow or Plowing It
Whether you’re a kid looking to make some spending money, an adult picking up a side hustle, or are thinking of starting a snow removal business, deciding how much to charge for your services can be tricky. You want to receive the compensation you deserve for your time and effort, of course, but you also don’t want to deter customers by charging too much.
Snow blowing and shoveling services usually charge between $25 and $75 per hour. With a snow plow, you may be able to set your price at anywhere from $30 to about $100 for a single visit, or $350 to $450 for seasonal snow plow services to one customer (with a maximum number of visits in the seasonal contract). Most single visits will take far less than an hour using a snow plow, so plowing offers the highest earning potential. There are several factors to consider when setting your price, which we’ve detailed below.
As with anything, the more experience you have, the more you’ll be able to charge. Your expertise will allow you to get jobs completed quicker and cleaner — something your clients will be willing to pay more for (if they have the cash to do so). If you can demonstrate that you have experience, either through referrals, knowledge, networking, or other methods, you’ll be able to charge more.
Do you live in an area where it snows a lot? Instead of charging per visit, you may be able to charge per season, as many professional snow removal companies do. Doing so would lock in several months worth of making money and gaining experience! Note that if you charge per season, you may make less per snowfall, though that depends on how many times it snows in your area throughout the season and the limits you set for your contract.
Amount of Snowfall
The more snow on the ground, the more time you’ll have to spend shoveling. For example, shoveling three inches of snow may take an hour or two, while shoveling six inches may take twice as long. For very heavy snowfalls, you might need special equipment, like a snowblower or even a plow, to get the job done.
The size of driveways and length of sidewalks you shovel may vary considerably. Take into account the ground you’ll have to cover before setting your rate. A residential driveway for a two car garage can be about 25 by 50 feet. If you’re charging by the visit, you should consider increasing your rate to above the average for driveways much larger than a standard residential driveway. If you’re charging by the hour, your time will take into account the extra size.
Using a simple shovel takes longer than other methods of snow removal, not to mention being the most laborious method. That said, you probably have a shovel lying around, and if not, you can purchase one for under $20.
Snow blowers will speed up snow removal, but such machines will cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. If you’re starting up a legitimate snow shoveling side hustle, it may be worth it to invest in a snowblower because it will help you complete large jobs. Since using a snow blower is faster than shoveling, you’ll also be able to work with a larger number of customers each snow day.
If you foresee much larger jobs in your future, a snow plow attachment for your vehicle may your answer. The attachment will likely cost you at least $1,000. This option is most suitable for professional use, so consider buying a plow attachment if you own a compatible truck and want to form a legitimate business or work as a plowing contractor.
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How Much Should You Pay Someone to Shovel Snow or Plowing It?
Deciding how much to pay someone for shoveling your sidewalk or driveway can be tricky, as prices vary widely based on the amount of snow, the property size, where you live, and whether you’re hiring a snow remover for a single visit or a seasonal contract. Below are some factors to keep in mind when hiring a snow removal service and deciding what to pay.
As with most things, the more experience some has shoveling snow, the more compensation they’ll expect to receive. Keep in mind, someone with more experience may not only do the job better but also remove the snow more quickly. Additionally, with a more experienced snow remover, you won’t have to worry about any accidental damage to your property (such as damaged landscaping).
If you live in an area where it snows a lot, it might be worth contracting a snow removal service for an entire season. If you have the money up front, it may save you some money and the trouble of booking someone at the last minute. Consider the average number of snow events in your area and the standard rate for a yearly contract (between $350 and $450). If your area gets has enough snow days for the average per-job rate (on average, $ 75 to $95) to eclipse the seasonal rate after a few visits, paying for a seasonal contract will save you money in the long run.
Amount of Snowfall
The more snow on the ground, the longer the job will take. For example, shoveling three inches of snow may take an hour, while shoveling six inches may take nearly twice as long. Take this into consideration when setting your price, and when choosing which type of snow removal to use. For a heavy snowfall, it may be better to hire a professional than to hire a teen from the neighborhood to shovel. If you’re worried about price fluctuation and want to be able to plan your budget better, pay your snow remover by the job instead of by the hour.
How large is your sidewalk? Do you need your driveway shoveled or plowed as well? Take into account the time it might take to shovel the snow from your property before deciding how you can compensate. If you have a very long, uneven, or winding driveway, you can expect to pay more. A residential driveway for a two car garage can be about 25 by 50 feet. If you’re paying by the visit, expect to be asked to pay more if your driveway is significantly larger than the standard driveway — up to around double the average price.
Learn what equipment your contractor will use to rid of your snow. A shovel, while a simple and inexpensive solution, will make for a long, laborious job. You might end up paying more for shoveling than you would for snow blowing or plowing if you’re paying hourly.
A contractor with a snow blower will do the job with more speed, but keep in mind that equipment isn’t cheap. Most snow blowers cost at least a few hundred dollars, and the contractor might charge a bit more to account for that cost. That said, snow removal with a snowblower will be faster, meaning you’ll be able to begin using your driveway more quickly.
If you have a much larger lot, you may need the services of a snow plow. Plowing is a quick option and simple for the operator. However, since snow plows can cost thousands of dollars and come with gas and maintenance costs, the price you will have to pay will likely be higher.
If you live somewhere snowy, shoveling can be a seasonal fix for side income. Prices for snow removal vary, but the national average is $75 to $95 per removal. Several factors, from experience to what equipment the snow-remover uses, affect that price. Consider these factors before you decide how much to charge or pay, and be sure to keep the contours of the specific job in mind. Most importantly, when working as or hiring a contractor, be sure to communicate your expectations up front; it’ll save you headaches and disagreements when it comes time to pay or be paid.