How to start a snow plowing business

Snow removal (including snow plowing, shoveling, and ice removal) is a seasonal business in many parts of the world. It can provide a part time or even full time income. Many contractors who work outdoors, such as roofers, masons, and lawn care professionals, have a second business involving snow plowing and removal in the colder months.

You need more than a shovel to start and run a profitable snow business. Having a successful snow removal business involves organization, knowledge, patience, perseverance, people-skills, and a number of other traits. Many business owners fail, not because they weren’t skilled in working a snow plow, but because they were not skilled in running a business.

The larger you want your snow removal company to be, the better you need to be as a business owner, as the responsibility will be greater. It is not wrong to dream big, but if you are a new business owner, it is best to start small and work your way up.

There are three basic steps to starting a snow removal company from scratch. First is planning. Second is registering with proper government institutions. Lastly, you will need to promote your business in some way to attract customers.

1. Plan Your Snow Removal Company

Develop a Business plan

Before diving in to any business, you should develop a business plan. If you want to start a snow removal business, you definitely need to start with a business plan! Snow plows, salt spreaders, and other equipment, along with vehicles can cost a lot of money. Don’t forget about insurance costs, not only for you, but for any employees. A business plan doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but is something that will help organize your goals and priorities and help you make wise decisions.

How to start a snow plowing business

Planning properly will help you decide if you are going to specialize in a specific area such as commercial snow removal, or if you will offer a variety of services including salt spreading.

  • Set short and long-term goals – Plan your business before you spend a dime.
  • Decide what services you will offer – Decide the scope of your business.
  • Find a niche – What will be your specialty? What will set you apart from the competition?
  • Choose a business name – Put some thought into deciding a name for your snow removal business. If you already have a name for an existing business, you can simply add information about your snow removal services to your marketing materials.
  • Decide what you will charge for your services
  • Financing – You may need to get a business loan

Get Organized

As soon as you start your snow removal business, you will need some sort of organizational structure so you can keep your customer communications and business-related paperwork in order. You won’t necessarily need a full office when starting out. An office desk dedicated to your business paperwork would be helpful.

Get a daily planner or use your smartphone to schedule estimates, jobs, and other work-related appointments. An easy way to lose customers is to arrive late or even forget a scheduled appointment. Snow removal is often a 24-hour, on-call job. You will need to be prepared to work at an unpredictable schedule.

  • Set up an office
  • E-mail
  • Business phone
  • Estimate forms
  • Bill Forms

Equipment needed when starting a snow removal company

Equipment will probably account for the largest portion of your startup costs. Starting out, you don’t necessarily need all brand-new tools and equipment. You will save thousands of dollars in startup costs by purchasing a used truck, used plow, used salt spreader, and any other misc. equipment you may need. If you already have a truck for your existing business, you already have one necessary piece of equipment.How to start a snow plowing business

2. Register Your New Snow Removal Business

Make it legal

Make sure you are following proper protocol in your region. This means having necessary insurance, following tax codes, getting proper licenses and permits, etc. This applies even to a part-time business.

Some steps to starting your snow removal company legally:

  • Select your business structure (sole-proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
  • Register your business name
  • Register your business entity
  • Register as a home improvement contractor with your state (US)
  • Open a business bank account
  • Taxes- either get an accountant, or do research on filing yourself
  • Liability Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • City Licenses and Permits

3. Grow Your New Snow Removal Business

In order to grow your snow removal company, you will need to work hard, have people skills, and be patient. You will also need to market your business effectively. Success and profit won’t come overnight. There is often a lot of competition to secure contracts. You may need to start out with residential customers if you are having trouble signing up commercial contracts.

Customers

Beside employees, dealing with customers can cause a great amount of stress. Learning how to communicate well with customers can help boost sales and increase word-of-mouth leads.

  • Learn how to sell a snow removal job/contract to a potential customer
  • Estimate a job properly
  • Communicate regularly and clearly with the customer
  • Be fair and honest- take responsibility for your mistakes

Marketing

After you start a snow removal business, you need to market it. Some low-cost advertising to get started can include a basic 1 or 2 page website, setting up a free business listing for your snow removal company on Google and other online directories, social media accounts, business cards and a few yard signs.

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How to start a snow plowing business

Setting up a snow plowing business is a great opportunity for outdoor contractors to expand their business this winter season. And, it’s easier than you might think; anyone with a plow hitch on a pickup truck can easily stay busy this winter season by picking up snow plowing jobs. With the right strategy in place, you’re sure to see some extra cash rolling in.

Snow plowing is a booming business

Snow plowing is a very scalable business. In fact, research from IBIS World found that the snow plowing industry raked in about $19 billion in revenue last year. And, the industry continues to grow by 0.7% every year. Small business owners who work in landscaping, likely already have most of the equipment necessary to start snow plowing, such as a pickup truck. This makes it easy to acquire residential clients. From there, you can start working your way up to bigger, commercial clients, like shopping malls.

So what’s the best way to start a snow plowing business? We put together these 10, easy-to-follow tips that will help you get started.

1. Determine Your Expenses

Snow plowing equipment can be very expensive, so it’s very important to make sure you’ll be able to pick up enough clients to cover these startup costs. From the very start, it’s vital that you manage your small business expenses. You can also consider options like a business credit card or a loan to help you get started.

2. Choose Your Target Market

Once you have some basic equipment it’ll be easy to start picking up residential clients. To get started, all you need are plow-ready trucks, some shovels and a healthy budget for rock salt and ice melt. Snow contractor companies with more industrial equipment can handle bigger jobs like clearing the parking lots of shopping centers and office complexes. They’re usually awarded these jobs before the start of the snowy season. So, if you’ve already missed out on nabbing these clients focus on building up your portfolio with smaller clients. That way you’ll have more experience to show larger prospective clients next year.

3. Make Sure You’re Licensed

Do your research about the license requirements for snow plow operators in your area. Some states may have state-level requirements, while other areas may have different qualifications at the municipal level. Obtaining the right licenses is vital before starting any project, you don’t want to face heavy fines or penalties later on.

4. Compile an Equipment Checklist

Before starting any jobs make sure that you take stock of your current equipment and supplies. Find out what you will need to carry out a job in one residential driveway or one storefront or a small store parking lot. Have a look at your truck; is it in proper working condition? If not, consider taking it to a mechanic for maintenance. Also, put together a backup plan, and determine how much money should be set aside for repairs. After each job it’s also a good idea to do a status check on all your equipment and supplies in order to prepare for the next job.

5. Have a Plan B

It’s always important to have a plan B. Nothing can sink your businesses faster than negative customer reviews, so make sure you’re always able to follow-through on your delivery. Remember, your customers are relying on your services during severe weather, you don’t want to leave them stranded. Have a backup crew on standby in cases any employees get sick and prepare all your equipment ahead of time to avoid breakdowns.

6. Advertise Locally, and For Free

There’s no need to invest a major budget for advertising. Instead, take advantage of local advertising opportunities, after all this is where the bulk of your clientele will come from. Use SEO techniques to optimize your site for “near me” searches online. Set up a Google My Business account, and create similar accounts on websites like Yext, Facebook and Craigslist.

Word of mouth referrals are another great, and free, marketing opportunity for your snow plowing business. Send out customer feedback surveys and encourage happy clients to write positive reviews online and social media.

7. Charge the Right Price

Inasmuch as you need to find a good target market, you also need to charge the right price. Determine the cost of all the materials, equipment and supplies needed for your business. Find out where you can get the best deals buying them in bulk. Charging competitively will help you stand out from the competition. In addition, have a clear pricing structure so that customers know what to expect from your services.

8. Offer Payment Choices

Of course, as a small business owner, you want to get paid for the work you do. Most people want flexible payment choices, so be open to offering cash, mobile, and credit card transactions.

9. Find the Right Insurance

Every business, even seasonal work comes with risks. Working on snow and ice exposes you, your workers, and your clients’ properties to danger, such as:

Accidents: An essential part of your business are your trucks. If they’re damaged as the result of an accident you could be left paying out-of-pocket without Commercial Auto insurance.

Injuries: Working with snow and ice means your employees are at risk of being injured on the job. Workers Compensation insurance is an essential policy that will pay for the medical and rehabilitation costs in case an employee is injured.

Having the right insurance for snow plowing services is an essential part of keeping your operations going in case of an unfortunate accident.

10. Have an Off-Season Plan

The end of winter doesn’t need to mean the end of your business. Now is the time to create an off-season plan for next year’s success. Check all your equipment, look out for off-season deals on supplies, and starting looking for prospective clients for next season.

With these simple tips in mind, you’ll be on the road to success in no time!

Related Articles:

  • Should Your Landscaping Business Offer Winter Services?
  • Winter Roofing Tips for Small Business Owners
  • How to Get your Snow Removal Business Ready for the Winter Rush

More than 85% of US companies are overpaying or are underinsured. Discover how much you can save on your business insurance

How to start a snow plowing business

How to start a snow plowing business

In our annual Snow Industry Benchmark Report, we survey close to 150 snow industry businesses. Their responses help uncover some of the overarching business issues and the opportunities that they face. When the right pieces are in place, a snow removal business can be a very profitable operation.

One of the key findings in our report was that only 4% of those we surveyed were snow removal only as a business. About 60% of the respondents said that snow removal was less than 30% of their annual revenue. So where are they making the other ⅔ of their money? Most are in the green industry and irrigation, some are landscapers and excavators, and a few others are in pest control or arbor care.

How to start a snow plowing business

For most of these professionals, snow is not their biggest stream of income. Twenty-five percent of respondents said that snow removal was only 1-10% of their annual income. In one of our blog posts, we covered some of the reasons that you might NOT want to get into the plowing business. All of the reasons factor into the question, are you ready to take the steps required in order to make your “side business” into a profitable portion of your annual income? So if you’re a green industry professional or a landscaper considering making the jump into snow removal, what are some of the things that you need to keep in mind? Here are 4 things that you should consider before putting a plow on your truck and hitting the pavement:

1. Your Market

You service a great chunk of the market in your area for lawn maintenance in the warmer months, but who are you going to go after as customers for snow management? Are you going to try marketing to residential clients or are you going to try gaining a few larger, commercial accounts? What do your landscaping, lawn maintenance, or irrigation customers look like? They might be a good place to start.

TotalLandscapeCare.com had an excellent blog post called How to Run a Successful Snow-Removal Business . In it, they cover the importance of knowing your market. If you’re trying to go up against well-oiled operations with multiple trucks, a lot of equipment, weather tracking equipment, and even snow removal software , it might not be worth even stepping into the ring. And if you’re thinking about working just with the residential side, can you get enough customers in a certain area to make sure your truck is running and moving snow without having to drive way across town to get to your next customer? You need to have a firm grasp of what your goals are.

2. Equipment

It would be tough to give an exact cost to start a snow removal business since there are so many different factors. There are snow professionals that turn a profit with just one plow truck and others that have multiple trucks, skid steers, and front loaders; the fact is, it depends on quite a few things.

What kind of equipment are you using in your primary business? Do you own a truck that you would be willing to plow with? Do you have a Bobcat that you use for landscaping? Also factored into the equipment that you already own, are you able to pay for any repairs that might occur because of your secondary operation? How about insurance for your equipment, too?

After thinking about what you have, you need to figure out what is still a need. While there are thousands of different products, you need to figure out what is going to be the best fit for you and the size jobs you plan on tackling. There are plenty of resources that you can find online that give product reviews, but here are just a few:


3. Unusual hours

Unlike other field service businesses, there isn’t a set schedule for plowing. Snow events happen all hours of the day and night. You could go weeks without any work and then a larger snow event might hit and you could be working for two days straight. It can be difficult to plan your routes to make the most efficient use of your time.

Certain jobs might have different snow depth triggers as well, so you might have to make changes to your routes on the fly. Some people will want their property plowed if there is any snow and others might want you to come out only after a few inches have fallen. This is difficult to manage unless you are using snow and ice management software .


4. Is sub-contracting an option?

Plenty of larger snow removal businesses utilize subcontractors. In some cases, it might make sense to reach out to these businesses and see if they are in need of extra drivers. This might make sense to someone who isn’t employing anyone else during the winter. This way, you aren’t going up against the giant outfits in your area and you’re using their established routes to make yourself some money during the winter.

Here is a thread on the PlowSite.com forum about subcontracting. There is some helpful advice from people who have gone this route and made it profitable. Check on job sites like Monster.com or Indeed.com and see if anyone in your area is looking for extra drivers. From our 2016 Snow Industry Benchmark Report , the contractors we surveyed stated that their top issue with subcontractors is finding quality workers, maybe you could be one of them!

Weigh the pro’s and con’s. Do your homework before you attach a plow to the front of your landscaping truck and hit the icy streets. Make sure you are insured properly for the job. If you know your market well enough, then start making those connections with potential customers. Right-size your equipment for the type of operation you’re planning to run. If you’re going to go with the subcontracting route, you might be able to get away with not spending too much on equipment. And remember, winter weather doesn’t care if you had plans over the holidays, be prepared to put in those sporadic long hours!

How to start a snow plowing business

In the right areas of the U.S., someone with a plow hitch on the front of their pickup truck or tractor is a busy person these days and if they’ve done their planning right, sitting on a lot of extra cash right now.

A snow plowing business in the right location can give seasonal outdoor contractors a way of expanding their brand and keeping busy during the winter.

And it’s a scalable business, too. It can be just a means of adding a few extra bucks to the coffers or something much bigger than that. Entrepreneurs with a pickup and snow plow on the front can pick up residential clients and stay busy the day of or after a storm. Other contractors could chase bigger plow contracts, like at a shopping center.

Guide to Starting a Snow Plowing Business

Here’s a plan outline for starting a snow plowing business.

Determine the Viability

If you’re not in an area where a lot of snow falls annually, it may be best to leave this notion on the table. Plows and equipment are not cheap, so you’d need to live in an area with enough snow to pay for the equipment.

Decide Whether to Go Big or Go Home(s)

No matter how ambitious you are, if you’ve only got one or two capable plow trucks, you should stick to securing work in residential neighborhoods. Plow-ready trucks, some shovels and a healthy budget for rock salt and ice melt are all you need to get started.

Contractor companies with multiple trucks are likely to be more ready to handle jobs like clearing the parking lots of shopping centers and office complexes. These jobs are typically awarded by contract ahead of the snowy season.

Get The Right License

Finding out about the licensing and regulations you’ll need to follow is critical. Normally these businesses are licensed. You can check with your city or town or even follow this link to the SBA’s local assistance page.

Compile an Equipment Checklist

Before you start looking for plow work, take stock of your current equipment and supplies. Determine what you’ll need to complete just one residential driveway or one storefront or small store parking lot.

Then take a look at the truck. If it’s not equipped for plowing, you’ll need to make an investment. Find out what the cost of backup equipment will be.

Then do a status check on all equipment and supplies after every job to ensure you’re ready for the next snowfall.

Find an Emergency Backup

This is one area where you don’t want to anger your customer. Nothing is worse than dealing with irate snowbound customers suffering from cabin fever.

If for any reason you’re unable to commit to a customer you acquire — due to equipment malfunction, injury or illness — you need to be able to deliver your services. Fail to show up to plow out one person’s house and you’ll never work there again.

Advertise Locally — For Free

Before you develop any sort of advertising budget, take advantage of all the free local ads and online services. Consider the rise in popularity of “near me” searches. Set up a Google My Business account for your snow plow business. Do the same on sites like Yext, too. Don’t forget about Facebook and Craigslist, especially for local businesses.

Offer your first few customers a break if they help spread the word about your new venture. This is one service where someone asks someone they know who does it for them.

Business cards can be tacked up on community bulletin boards, too.

Price It Right

Not only do you need to find a good target market, you need to charge the right price.

Consider that list of materials, equipment and supplies and what they cost. Shop around for bulk pricing and where you can get the best deals on everything.

Establish Clear Service Offers

Your business can range from shoveling a sidewalk to plowing an entire parking lot. Be clear in your pricing structure what customers can expect and when they can expect them.

Find Good Insurance

Like most other businesses, whether you’re big or small, it’s a good idea to have some kind of insurance to cover liability. Reducing the premiums you’ll pay can often mean getting extra safety features like rear mounted cameras and extra backup lights.

Experts agree you can’t get away from having liability coverage to cover you for things like accidental falls in a parking lot.

Arrange for Payments and Offer Choices

The most important part of your snow plow business will be getting paid for your work. Have a process in place for accepting cash payments. You’ll likely get a lot of those.

Look into accepting credit cards and mobile payments, too. It offers a convenience to your customers and helps you keep track of payments without worry of misplacing cash payments you get while you’re busy plowing.

Develop an Off-Season Plan

Once snow is out of the forecast doesn’t mean your plowing business should end. Use the down time to maintain and fix any broken equipment. Have a plan for keeping good equipment in that same condition until the next winter rolls around.

Look for deals on winter supplies after the season is over. And most importantly, start securing work for the first snow of the next winter season.

How to start a snow plowing business

How to start a snow plowing business

In our annual Snow Industry Benchmark Report, we survey close to 150 snow industry businesses. Their responses help uncover some of the overarching business issues and the opportunities that they face. When the right pieces are in place, a snow removal business can be a very profitable operation.

One of the key findings in our report was that only 4% of those we surveyed were snow removal only as a business. About 60% of the respondents said that snow removal was less than 30% of their annual revenue. So where are they making the other ⅔ of their money? Most are in the green industry and irrigation, some are landscapers and excavators, and a few others are in pest control or arbor care.

How to start a snow plowing business

For most of these professionals, snow is not their biggest stream of income. Twenty-five percent of respondents said that snow removal was only 1-10% of their annual income. In one of our blog posts, we covered some of the reasons that you might NOT want to get into the plowing business. All of the reasons factor into the question, are you ready to take the steps required in order to make your “side business” into a profitable portion of your annual income? So if you’re a green industry professional or a landscaper considering making the jump into snow removal, what are some of the things that you need to keep in mind? Here are 4 things that you should consider before putting a plow on your truck and hitting the pavement:

1. Your Market

You service a great chunk of the market in your area for lawn maintenance in the warmer months, but who are you going to go after as customers for snow management? Are you going to try marketing to residential clients or are you going to try gaining a few larger, commercial accounts? What do your landscaping, lawn maintenance, or irrigation customers look like? They might be a good place to start.

TotalLandscapeCare.com had an excellent blog post called How to Run a Successful Snow-Removal Business . In it, they cover the importance of knowing your market. If you’re trying to go up against well-oiled operations with multiple trucks, a lot of equipment, weather tracking equipment, and even snow removal software , it might not be worth even stepping into the ring. And if you’re thinking about working just with the residential side, can you get enough customers in a certain area to make sure your truck is running and moving snow without having to drive way across town to get to your next customer? You need to have a firm grasp of what your goals are.

2. Equipment

It would be tough to give an exact cost to start a snow removal business since there are so many different factors. There are snow professionals that turn a profit with just one plow truck and others that have multiple trucks, skid steers, and front loaders; the fact is, it depends on quite a few things.

What kind of equipment are you using in your primary business? Do you own a truck that you would be willing to plow with? Do you have a Bobcat that you use for landscaping? Also factored into the equipment that you already own, are you able to pay for any repairs that might occur because of your secondary operation? How about insurance for your equipment, too?

After thinking about what you have, you need to figure out what is still a need. While there are thousands of different products, you need to figure out what is going to be the best fit for you and the size jobs you plan on tackling. There are plenty of resources that you can find online that give product reviews, but here are just a few:


3. Unusual hours

Unlike other field service businesses, there isn’t a set schedule for plowing. Snow events happen all hours of the day and night. You could go weeks without any work and then a larger snow event might hit and you could be working for two days straight. It can be difficult to plan your routes to make the most efficient use of your time.

Certain jobs might have different snow depth triggers as well, so you might have to make changes to your routes on the fly. Some people will want their property plowed if there is any snow and others might want you to come out only after a few inches have fallen. This is difficult to manage unless you are using snow and ice management software .


4. Is sub-contracting an option?

Plenty of larger snow removal businesses utilize subcontractors. In some cases, it might make sense to reach out to these businesses and see if they are in need of extra drivers. This might make sense to someone who isn’t employing anyone else during the winter. This way, you aren’t going up against the giant outfits in your area and you’re using their established routes to make yourself some money during the winter.

Here is a thread on the PlowSite.com forum about subcontracting. There is some helpful advice from people who have gone this route and made it profitable. Check on job sites like Monster.com or Indeed.com and see if anyone in your area is looking for extra drivers. From our 2016 Snow Industry Benchmark Report , the contractors we surveyed stated that their top issue with subcontractors is finding quality workers, maybe you could be one of them!

Weigh the pro’s and con’s. Do your homework before you attach a plow to the front of your landscaping truck and hit the icy streets. Make sure you are insured properly for the job. If you know your market well enough, then start making those connections with potential customers. Right-size your equipment for the type of operation you’re planning to run. If you’re going to go with the subcontracting route, you might be able to get away with not spending too much on equipment. And remember, winter weather doesn’t care if you had plans over the holidays, be prepared to put in those sporadic long hours!

How to start a snow plowing business

Snow plowing is one of the most rewarding businesses especially if you live in a region where there is plenty of snowfall during the winter season. If you are not afraid of hard work and are patient then you should consider taking advantage of this excellent money making opportunity. The best part about this business is the fact you do not need a huge investment to get going. Just purchase a truck and a plow to start making decent returns from this venture. While you may not become a millionaire overnight, you can certainly improve your income considerably by following some simple tips to help you start a snow plowing business.

Things Required:

– Snow Plow
– Marketing Plan
– Advertising Plan

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Instructions

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The first and obvious step is to purchase a decent snow plow so that you can perform the job in an efficient manner. Having the right equipment is crucial for running a successful snow plowing business. You can look into purchasing either new or used snow plowing equipment. Depending on your budget, you can even modify an ordinary truck to effectively plow snow from various roads throughout your area. The most important factor when deciding on which snow plowing equipment to purchase is to check how much snow it can effectively move. You want to be able to clear the road in one trip and not have to keep going back and forth. Also, it is important to remember that harsh winter conditions can wreak havoc on your equipment so make sure you buy the best quality possible and always get the maintenance done regularly.

Find out what are the market rates for snow plowing jobs in your business. You must know the prices offered by your competitors to have any chance of starting your business successfully. New businesses should always charge less than their rivals to attract customers. If possible, work out the average figure and use that value to monitor your prices.

As we all know it is almost impossible to start a new business successfully without developing an effective and working marketing strategy. Take your time to develop an advertisement plan that will give your competitor a run for their money. Every penny you spend in marketing is likely to bring huge returns and therefore you must not be afraid of initial marketing capital. Depending on the size of your business, you can either hire an individual or a team to perform marketing tasks for you.

Home » Business » How to Start a Snow Plowing Business

How to start a snow plowing business

If you want to start a small, part-time business, try getting into the snow blowing business this winter. Removing snow is a seasonal work, which gives a great profit in return. Here is a guide on how you can start this business:

Step 1: Gather you finances as a snow removal business will have upfront costs. Budget and anticipate the costs for this business. You will need money to purchase snow removal equipment like a snowplow, snow blower, shovel, salt, salt sprayer, and good heavy boots. You will also need a means for transportation, insurance, and personal weather gadgets.

Step 2: Do a little research on the other competition around you. Check online for any other local snow plowing businesses and how much their charges are. You can then fix your charges and prices accordingly.

Step 3: Prepare a budget plan, and if your finances are low, take a bank loan.How to start a snow plowing business

Step 4: if you are taking a loan, weigh the benefits to pay off these costs. You may need to add extra hours to your labor when you plan for this.

Step 5: Choose your business type. Will it be a sole proprietorship? Or will you have partners?

­Step 6: Pick a business name that is unique.How to start a snow plowing business

Step 8: Get a business license or a permit by the local government.

Step 9: Create your website and target your clients online. You can market by word or advertisements too. Place ads in newspapers and flyers.

Mark Holman August 28, 2017

By Dale Oberg, Regional Sales Manager

Photo Credit: Winter Nurseries Landscaping

You’ve decided to move forward with your seasonal snow removal business. Now, you need to do your homework to prep for the upcoming winter season.

The next steps involve deciding on who your clients will be, the tools you’ll need to complete the jobs and how to sell your services.

How to start a snow plowing business

Who Will You Be Servicing?

While a lot of business owners want to get the big clients, you need to be realistic when you’re first setting out on your own.

It’s usually wise to start out small—especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. Bigger snow pushing companies have the cream of the crop contracts—shopping malls, hospitals, banks, HOAs and government spots.

Still, your first contracts can include smaller residential neighborhoods, smaller municipalities and even non-profits such as libraries and community centers.

Equipping Yourself to Push Snow

A lot of times, new business owners want to go all out and get all the gadgets imaginable to succeed in their companies. However, adding snow equipment and trucks cost a lot of money.

Depending on your existing cash flow and whether you run a green industry service during the growing season, you need to be smart about the equipment you buy for your snow removal gigs.

If you’re a lawn care owner/operator or a landscaper during the growing season, concentrate on getting equipment that you can use in both your white and green businesses.

If you’re hoping to pick up a few driveways and a few parking lots, then adding a plow to your truck may be all you need.

Here are some must-haves you need for your snow pushing jobs:

  • Add a snow plow attachment to your truck to move snow
  • Get a snow blower to push snow off of sidewalks
  • Invest in heavy winter clothing—to protect yourself from the elements
  • Buy a top trailer if you plan to remove snow from the premises.

How to start a snow plowing business

Photo Credit: Jason Truax

Selling Your Snow Pushing Services

It’s great to have all of the right equipment, but without customers, you won’t be making money. Here are some tried and true methods to sign up new customers:

  • Door-to-door selling is still the best way to sign up residential clients. If you live in a snow belt, August and September are never too early to start this—because it’s still light outside and people can see you when you come to their door. Plus, you’ll be able to cover more doors during the early evening hours. Other direct selling ideas include door hangers, fliers, newspaper ads, and Facebook.
  • For commercial clients, start locally. Mom and Pop’s, your local township, community centers and other small establishments are your best bets when you’re first starting out in the snow business.
  • Consider sub-contracting. Sub-contracting is a great way to cut your teeth on your business. Your overhead will be lower since most companies only require that you have a truck with a snow plow attachment. It’s also a great way to build experience, your reputation and to learn what sets you apart from your competitors.

Also, you may want to sub-contract with your local government if they provide snow removal services to city-owned properties. If you live in a low snow area—where a snowstorm over 10” is considered catastrophic, you may come out the hero.

For example, one low snow city couldn’t adequately handle a 3’ snowstorm. The local library, municipal sidewalks and back streets stayed unpassable for almost a week after the storm moved away from the area.

Indeed, a snow removal business is a profitable way to make some extra cash. The hours may be long, and you could go a day or two without sleep, but for a short season, it’s very profitable. Use the above ideas to start slow and make money at the same time so that you can grow your seasonal snow removal business.