OH SNOW! How Much Does Snow Removal Really Cost?

January 14, 2021

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It’s that time of the year again.  You know, when it’s getting cold outside and the weather forecasters are anticipating the first major arctic blast of the year.  You tune in to the news only to discover that the forecast no longer only predicts that it will be cold but there would be snow and lots of it – more than 15 inches to be exact. You keep watching the news report and see that the snowplows and the salt trucks are already on the move anticipating clearing the highways and major streets.  The way the weather reports are talking about the overnight snowfall accumulation, your driveway is going to be a complete disaster zone shortly. Therefore, it looks like you will be calling a snow plowing business to get rid of the snow on your driveway and walkway.

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What's the COST of Snow Removal?

The average cost of snow removal (up to 6 inches) is between $75 and $100. If you have more than 6 inches, snow plowers typically charge $30 in addition for every half-foot of snow. So, if you have a foot of snow, your cost may be closer to $105 to $130. However, if you only have a few inches, a contractor may also charge lower fees for removal. The range for typical snow removal is from $50 to $200. Commercial properties and businesses can expect more as their parking lots require clearing, which is a greater surface area.

Impacts on Snow Plowing & Removal Costs

But, how much does snow plowing cost anyway? As you research the costs of snow removal in your local area, you come across several articles and videos on the topic of starting your own snow plowing business.  To get down to the bottom of how much snow plowers make, it would help to understand that:

  • Seasonality: Since this is a seasonal business, there will only be a specific time of the year that this business can be lucrative unless you live in a location that gets more snowfall like Alaska or Denver, CO.
  • Amount of Snow Accumulation: The accumulation of snow for the season could significantly impact how much snow removal services cost. Typically, if a homeowner has over six inches, removal will cost more.
  • Driveway Surface Area: How large is your driveway? This will directly impact the time and therefore, the cost it takes an expert to remove your snow.
  • Equipment & Material Costs: Equipment to consider could be a snowblower, a large shovel, salt, and a snowplow.  As time goes on, the initial investment in equipment will no longer be a big deal. Still, the cost of fixing them or replacing them may be something to consider in future costs, thereby impacting what a snow plower charges for service.  

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Paying Per Hour for Snow Removal

To narrow this down further, one would have to determine if the snow plowing business will focus on residential work, commercial work, or a combination of both. For residential services, some contractors charge by the hour while others charge by the visit.  The range per hour can typically be $25 - $150.  If you charge per visit, then it’s a pretty good chance that you would factor in things other than just the cost of your labor when deciding to charge a flat rate for services. These things could include drive time, fuel, insurance, and most importantly, profit. 

The charges may be substantially different for commercial services because the amount of snow to plow will significantly increase.  One could charge by the hour for commercial services, which usually range from $90 - $175 per hour.  Again, suppose one decides to charge by the job. In that case, other factors should be included in the flat rate, including things like the amount of snow, the size of the job, fuel, and amount of salt needed.  Another consideration could be whether snow will have to be removed from the premises or pushed to the side.  With commercial snow removal, some parking lot areas don’t have the space to have snow moved into another place. Therefore, the plower must remove it.  This could be an additional charge included in the flat rate.

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Do You Own a Snow Removal Business? Consider This.

Charging a flat rate may seem like it could work well in residential areas.  However, what if you are clearing snow in communities that have colossal driveways? Deciding to charge a flat rate could undercut your earnings.  Instead of choosing to charge either hourly or a flat rate, it may be wise to gather preliminary information about a job and then determine how to charge the client. In this case, offering free inspections would allow a snow plower to survey the area and decide on a case by case basis how to charge a client for snow plowing services.  

Interested in Starting Your Snow Removal Business?

Is plowing snow worthwhile?  Some who are in this profession believe that different factors determine whether this could be a lucrative business.  They insist that if one has the right combination of residential and commercial clientele that this could mean big bucks.  Others insist that the way one sets up payments can make a massive difference in the revenue and profits that one can earn in this business.  Still, others insist that it all depends on how much snowfall a particular town may get annually.  Suppose there is minimal snowfall and the competition for residential and commercial contracts is fierce. In that case, there is a chance that one won't make much money in that town with their snow plowing business.  

How lucrative a snow plowing business is almost the same as one would determine beauty – it's in the eye of the beholder.  While a well-established company may find that snow plowing is a profession where you can make "average" money, a neighborhood teen may think differently.  With little investment in a shovel and perhaps hiring a friend's help, a neighborhood youth could charge $20 per hour and make a killing shoveling snow off of neighbors' driveways.  Considering they have no overhead and no financial responsibilities, their snow plowing business could prove to be a very lucrative venture.  This could be a great side hustle for teens. Still, problems may arise with people not taking them seriously because they aren't professional. Therefore, they may not be able to demand what they are worth.  On the other hand, the teen that can establish a business and assert himself as a professional could make thousands of dollars in a short period.   

A Word from Our Team

You are now the expert on the snow plowing business. Not only do you know what types of tasks they perform, but you have a pretty good idea of how much they are likely to charge you for their plowing services. This information has been provided by the experts at Denver Snow Removal. When you require snow removal services, we're the team to call in if you're in our Colorado region!

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