Shoveling snow can make you a little extra pocket money.
It’s one of those side gigs that you can use during the few months of winter to make $50 or more a day.
And one big attraction about it lies in its flexibility, you can do this on either side of regular work hours, as well as during the weekends.
You can also turn snow shoveling into a small business as you can help others who are not ready or able to do this themselves, or those who are discouraged by the exorbitant charges from removal companies.
Winter is coming!
In many parts of the country snowfall has already begun, not to mention some folks are already dealing with snowstorms.
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At the same time, Christmas is just a few months away and many of us are dealing with the stress of holiday shopping.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
If you have the work ethic, you can take advantage of winter and snow and earn extra money before Christmas or even afterward for that matter.
What will I learn?
A Very Low-Cost Business to Start
To start your snow removal business, you really don’t need much.
The most fundamental tool is, of course, the snow shovel.
There is a good variety to choose from, but the one that works particularly well for me comes with a slightly bent design.
If you walk into any hardware store, it is easy to spot because of its slight bend.
You can also keep some salt handy.
It’s very useful to distinguish your work from the competitors who simply shovel but never apply the salt when they are done.
You can find your rock salt supplies from the neighborhood hardware stores or major retail stores like the Home Depot.
Salt laying is often considered as an additional service to the shoveling, as the general competitions often do not include salt as part of their service.
For this reason alone, you can charge a premium for your service.
Doing It Correctly
The reality about the snow shoveling job is that it is physically demanding. It is so tough that some people would just put off snow shoveling altogether.
And according to Harvard Health shoveling snow can be hard on the heart.
The same publication (Harvard Health) also gives some good tip on how to protect yourself.
- Warm up your muscles before you start.
- Try to shovel many light loads instead of fewer heavy ones.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Drink lots of water.
- If your chest starts hurting, go inside for a while and warm up.
Also, there is a right and wrong ways to shovel snow.
The right way is always to go from top to the bottom.
It is less imposing on your back and there is also less chance of over-exerting yourself.
For years, I was one of the people who got it all wrong until I figured out snow shoveling could be less of a strenuous job when I started right at the top and worked my way down.
When you do it in the reverse direction, starting right from the bottom and going up, you are bound to get tired pretty soon.
If you have not been careful, you risk hurting your back as well.
In my old line of work (home remodeling), I have seen people inadvertently get hurt due to bad technique and there have been reports of people dropping dead due to snow shoveling incidents.
So exercise caution!
If you have not been doing regular snow shoveling for one reason or another, it is better to engage outside help even though this will come at a cost.
Shovel or Snow Blower?
Do you choose the shovel or the snow blower?
My humble opinion is that if there is a snow blower, don’t waste it! It allows you to do more with less time and you need less manpower as a result.
The only shortcoming is you need gasoline to continuously power the snow blower.
A shovel is a more or less proven tool for its purpose in the long run.
It helps also that shovel is cheap, portable, and very durable without any maintenance, which is a necessary feature of a snow blower as the weather turns warm.
Instead, you just get the shovel out during winter and once you are done with whatever you need it for, it goes right back to the garage, waiting to be of service again next winter. No special care and no maintenance are needed.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a money-making tool that is always at your disposal and one that does not cost you a single maintenance dollar!
How Much to Charge for Shoveling Snow?
What would be a reasonable fee for your snow shoveling service?…
For me, the size of the area that I need to work on usually provides a good indicator for me to work out my service cost.
To give you an idea of how much I normally charge, here are a few numbers:
- $10 – If I need to shovel just the front section of the house.
- $15 – If it happens to be a corner lot, $5 extra because of the side of the property needs to be shoveled as well.
- $20 – A more comprehensive job that includes front, driveway and sides.
But as in any other business, don’t ever price your service out. Competitors are out there and waiting to pounce. They would settle even for much less as this helps them get more business.
My advice is to hold open negotiations with the owners and try your best to get them to a price that would leave some reasonable profit behind after the work.
Now, I am not saying to do it for cheap. Snow shoveling is hard work.
So charge an amount that is fair and worth your time and efforts.
How Much Money Can You Make Shoveling Driveways?
Well, it really depends on how much you charge per driveway, how many clients you have, how fast you work, and so on.
But, let me give you a few examples so you can get an idea of how much you can really make.
Let’s say you charge $20 per driveway.
It takes me less than 20 min to do it, but for the sake of naysayers let’s assume it takes you an hour to do it.
Right then and there, you are making more than the minimum wage.
$20 an hour is a very good rate.
Now, let’s assume you can find 5 neighbors who agree to let you shovel their driveway.
It would take you 5 hours to make $100.
And that’s cash money.
That’s way more than what millions of people earn working an 8-hour shift.
So, there is a lot of potential here, and the best part is that the only thing you really need is a shovel that may cost you less than $20 at the Home Depot.
The Bottom Line
Shoveling snow is no way to get you rich quick.
Granted, you can and will make some money for that extra pocket allowance.
Sure, it’s not an easy job by any means, it is back-breaking work and takes a toll on your body.
But as they say, no pain no gain!