- by Trish
Okay, so your grass cutting business has been put on hold until next summer. So, what are you supposed to do for funds in the meantime? Well, I’m here to let you know that residential snow removal services make good money.
It is all well and good for those living closer to the equator, and it is easier to make money cutting grass when the sun is shinning and temperatures are well above the freezing point. However, that won’t pay the bills anymore for those of us who live in the snow belts once the snow starts to fall.
As homeowners, most of us have bylaws to live up to, or find ourselves sued for leaving icy walkways for pedestrians. And, what about our elderly family and friends? We also need to make sure they don’t feel locked in due to our cold, snowy winters.
Here is where you can help out by offering your snow removal services, using a shovel to start with, if that is all that your budget will afford you. Besides, dragging a snow blower around would cost you even more money in which you would need to recover that cost from your customers.
If you want to work alone, it would make a lot more sense to simply shovel entrance ways, walkways (sidewalks) and driveways. Not only will this be a great way to get exercise in the winter but it would be the most efficient (cost wise) to start your residential snow removal services business.
Did you know that a snow removal business could generate you anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 in one season? Well, it can.
No More Aching Back Shoveling Snow
This type of business could even be started by a high school student, providing you are ambitious and reliable.
It is not impossible to do 20 residential properties every time it snows, and yes, shoveling by hand, alone. Though, some snow falls could have you working long and late hours completing your customer’s snow removal.
As a new person starting out in your very own snow removal business, you will find that going door to door in your neighbourhood, and actually speaking with your potential customers whenever possible WILL work for you, where it most likely would not for a major snow removal company.
And you could even hand out a photocopied flyer of your services with full details and how you can be reached. You could even leave your photocopied flyer in the mailboxes of those neighbours who do not answer their door.
By going door to door as a young entrepreneur, you will find this strategy works wonders for gaining customers confidence in you because many will see you as being young and ambitious. Simply posting your services online is NOT the method you want to use if you want to make this into a profitable business.
Easy Way to Shovel Light Powdery Snow
Though going door to door can be limiting, given that you would need to perhaps cover 100 homes in order to gain your first few customers, there are other methods that you can use to get the word out about your services.
Given the number of homeowners now that own cell phones, the Nextdoor app is one such method. It is a social networking platform that helps to connect communities and neighourhoods. Neighbours can literally discuss their community news, as well as recommend local services that they like.
Facebook ads are another option for spreading the word about your snow removal business. This is because you can target your Facebook ads to appear to homeowners only… and within your area. Your ad could state to “Text Me” to make it as simple to contact you as possible. This is a proven method to gain more snow removal customers, so be prepared.
Snow Caster Shovel Demo
TIPS for residential snow removal business
Should you decide to take on snow removal services in your areas, make sure you always:
- ) get back to those enquiring about your services (having your own website would help answer more than half of these calls).
- ) makes sure your telephone is answered during business hours. Hire a answering service or pay a family member to field those calls for you.
- ) treat your customers as you would want to be treated, and though they are your only customer. This way you are more apt to have them hire you again and again in the future.
- ) remember to do your scheduled snow removal jobs, once you are hired.
- ) shovel the snow to make the driveway as wide as possible so that your customers will have as much use of the driveway as is possible.
- ) make sure to widen the apron area of a driveway off a street, making it easier to back into a driveway.
- ) clear one walkway to the door used most often. No one likes walking through snow to get to their door. Be sure to clear this walkway wide enough too.
What Equipment You Need to Start – A good quality metal snow shovel and maybe even a snow brush which you will use to brush the snow off your customer’s vehicles that are outside in the driveway.
It is always wise to start out in any business small and then build your business as you can afford to… like purchasing equipment to make your services completed even quicker.
However, if you already own a pickup truck (or a vehicle with a trailer), and a snow blower, then you are a few steps ahead of others when starting out in your own residential snow removal services business.
Every residence is different and will require different snow removal maintenance, so be prepared to price your jobs accordingly.
How Much Should You Charge for Snow Removal? – A good place to start your pricing for a regular driveway would be $30, and if the driveway is a lot bigger than perhaps $50 would be fair.
It is advisable for you to include brushing off any vehicles outside in the driveway and also any trash or recycle bins that need regular tending to.
You could charge extra for an additional walkway if you want.
Billing your customers on a regular basis, be it after each snow fall or on a monthly basis, you should find a convenient time of day (or method) to approach your customers for your payment. Reason I am suggesting this is that if you arrive to their property late at night, you do not want to be waking them up to collect your payment.
Trusting your customers will have them feeling more comfortable in becoming a return customer too, as trust works two ways.
How Much Can You Earn at Snow Removal?
As a person working alone, handling 15 snow storms in a season for 10 residential properties at $30 dollars each, then at the end of the season, you will have earned $4,500.
You will most likely be working 8 to 10 hours clearing snow from those 10 properties, making it possible for you to earn $34 per hour.
Do You Need to Hire Helpers?
If you hire helpers, you can make even more money.
Should you find your residential snow removal services business in demand and you need help with your list of customers you have gained that you literally cannot handle your business alone anymore, then you may want to hire someone to help you.
It is recommended that when paying a helper, you pay a 60:40 pay split. For one employee you would pay them 40% of your total revenue. The reason 50:50 is not advised is that as the business owner, you are bringing a lot more to the table.
You’re the one doing the marketing, getting the customers, etc. This all requires more work so therefore you should be paid more.
So now, let’s look at how much you can make with one employee… and let’s say there are still 15 snow falls per season. Now you should be able to double the number of residential properties you can tend to with each snow fall, making it 20.
You will still only be paid $30 per driveway, but you will only be making 60% for those 20 driveways because you will be paying your employee 40%. This makes your profits $18 for every driveway… but remember now, you are tending to 20 driveways, not just 10.
Now you will have earned $5,400 in one season just by having one employee!
That is $900 more than simply working by yourself, and basically you are doing the same amount of work.
Now let’s explore your hiring two employees. And, now you need to change your payment model, of course. Paying your employees a flat rate of $20 per hour would be the better way.
You will have the same 15 snow falls per season, but now you will be tending to snow removal for 30 residential properties for every single snow fall.
With your paying 2 employees $20 per hour, you would then earn $16.70 for 30 driveways, making your earnings $7,500.
That is a total increase of $2,100 just for adding another employee!
Though you do need to understand that hiring help does come with risks. So, you will need to make sure that whomever you decide to hire that they will work as hard as they should and be reliable too. They need to be relied on to show up on time every time, no excuses.
For those of you who are still not convinced, check out an efficient way to shovel a driveway in record time… including the windrow caused by snow plows.
Ways You Can Expand Residential Snow Removal Services
Provide your potential customers with a written agreement as to what all you will do for them and what you will supply. Example: salt. Spreading salt would be an extra cost as that too would cost you extra to supply.
Be prepared to provide a written contract if the residential job is complicated. This way, there should be no surprises for you and/or your customers.
Because snow falls are unpredictable, you need to be prepared all winter long, which means that you cannot be going off to, say, Florida for 2 weeks at Christmas… or any other time during winters… unless, of course that you have a reliable replacement who can service your customers while you are away, should there be more need of snow removal during your time away.
Remember, this is your business… and word does get around. So be sure to always fulfill your duties for the snow removal you have agreed to handle.
It might also be a good idea to insure yourself and any employees you may hire, against falls and accidents, and DO let your customers know that you are insured. You may be surprised at how quickly you can change a potential customer’s mind once they know that you have made sure to protect them too. This way they should feel more comfortable should you slip and fall during snow removal on their property.
Once you have serviced customers for a few months, you may want to ask them to provide you with a review on websites like Homestars.com. Once you have a few raving reviews posted, then look out the following year, as gaining new customers will slowly become easier and easier.
Plus, once you gain regular snow removal customers, you may discover that you can afford a snow blower and maybe even a trailer or truck to haul it around in. This would then make it even easier for you to service even more customers, making you even more money.
You could slowly develop your residential snow removal services business the same way as is recommended to start and operate a grass cutting business.
NOTE: Bending your knees instead of your back works for snow removal too folks!
Should you have any questions regarding residential snow removal services, please do leave me a comment below.