No matter what the weather is like where you are right now, the truth is that someone in the next six months is going to hire someone to shovel their snow. And if you live somewhere where it snows, you could shovel snow for money. In this in-depth guide, I will go over how to shovel snow for money, from start to finish. I’m going to go over:
- How to make sure you can shovel snow for money
- Equipment needed to get started for snow removal services
- How to find work with snow shoveling services
- Getting paid for your work snow shoveling
- Protecting yourself if you’re a kid shoveling snow
Before I dive into this, though, let me tell you about my story. And why I know so much about snow shoveling jobs to begin with.
I grew up in Michigan, where there was at least one big snowstorm every year. We had an old hand-me-down snowblower that broke down all the time because Dad thought he could fix it himself instead of calling someone who knew what they were doing.
So after every storm, there was always at least 2000 lbs of heavy wet snow that needed to be moved to the end of the driveway… one wheelbarrow full at a time. The shoveling took a while to complete and was done by my dad.
This happened every winter for 11 years. And then, one day when I was 15, he asked me if I wanted to start helping him with it so that he could head inside sooner. He said that since I didn’t have homework anymore at the time, I might as well chip in.
At first it started out being just once per week… but eventually turned into every single snowfall of the year. This meant there were months when I was shoveling snow up to 10 hours each week – even on weekends.
Over those two years, not only did I get really good at shoveling snow as an honest worker, but my dad taught me how to price out estimates for someone who wanted to shovel their snow. We also learned what equipment people needed (and didn’t need). Plus, I watched countless other neighbors get hired by the people who lived on our street – and if they were kids, how much they got paid compared to adults.
And any time there was an adult job instead of a kid job, my dad would tell me all about why it happened. So even though I was just 15 at the time. I had no idea that this kind of knowledge could be so valuable someday, espeically starting my own snow shoveling business.
Fast forward ten years later, and here I am living in Colorado where we have some majorly heavy snowfall every year. And since moving here 10 years ago, not once has my driveway ever been plowed by anyone. We’ve always had to shovel our own snow, and sometimes even hire snow shovelers to help us do it.
Knowing what I know now about how to make money shoveling snow – and the equipment you need, plus all the other details that go with this kind of job. If I didn’t take advantage of it myself when I was still in high school, I would be kicking myself for not thinking of doing so. So let me stop rambling on here, and get into it. Here’s my guide for getting started making money from shoveling snow.
Before you get started shoveling snow for money, ask yourself these questions first:
#1 – Do you live somewhere where there is usually snow?
#2 – Are you at least 16 years old?
If you answered “Yes” to both of those questions, then you shouldn’t have any problem making extra money shoveling snow. And the good news is that if you’re wondering how to get started shoveling snow for money, it’s not hard.
However, if you live somewhere where it doesn’t usually snow or are under 16 years old, then this job probably isn’t for you, which means that I’m sorry about wasting your time by reading this far down in the article.
Because even though there are still ways to make money during certain parts of the year without knowing how to do something like shovel snow. It won’t be nearly as profitable knowing how to do what you’re reading about here.
That being said, let’s get into this guide for how to shovel snow and have it pay you back big time during the winter season.
How To Shovel Snow & Make Money Doing It: 20 Steps That Will Show You How
To get started making money from shoveling snow, you want to follow step-by-step instructions for everything. As long as you do what’s suggested here, you should be able to get started making hundreds of dollars every time there is a major snowfall.
#1 – Check Craigslist Daily for local jobs
This is a great place to start because the people who post their job ads on Craigslist don’t know much about what they need or don’t need in terms of equipment.
So if they’re looking for someone to remove snow from their two-car driveway, walkways, steps, carport, etc., then that means YOU can offer them something different that they might not know exists. In other words, YOU can take advantage of this by selling them on why hiring you would be a good idea for them to do this time around.
And because the job postings on Craigslist are always changing, that means that there is always going to be new jobs popping up every single day. So if one ad gets deleted, another one will go up in its place. And trust me, it’s worth checking back daily because the more often you check, the more work you’ll get from it with your snow shoveling service.
#2 – Start doing some word-of-mouth advertising ASAP
If an emergency hits and someone who lives near you needs help before they can get their hands on a Craigslist ad posted, then start telling everyone you know about what you do – including your friends and family.
Because believe it or not, when they need help with snow removal, they will start asking around. So if you’re the first person they come across who does this for a living, then it’s only natural for them to contact you – especially since they already know (or think) that you do.
And just like checking Craigslist daily for job postings, don’t stop telling everyone about what you do until someone hires you for their snow removal needs or at least until next winter is over. 🙂
#3 – Offer your services on sites like Facebook & Nextdoor
Offering your services on social media outlets like Facebook and Nextdoor is another great way to get more clients. But instead of waiting until someone requests your help specifically, post things every often about how beneficial it is to get snow removed as soon as it starts falling.
And if you can, try including a few reviews from your clients so they know what kind of work you do and how much they can trust you with a snow shoveling job.
Now with that said, don’t just post once and think that’s enough to get a job as a snow shoveler. Because the more regularly you post things like this on social media outlets, the more likely it is for people to notice and remember what you’re offering them. As a matter of fact, posting something regularly about shoveling snow will most likely become one of your best marketing strategies – especially if you do it correctly with all your energy. 😉
#4 – Use every single form of advertising possible
From flyers on telephone poles to door hangers, you should make it your goal to get your name out there in as many places as possible. And while you don’t have to spend any money to do this, I would suggest that you try spending a few bucks on at least one of these marketing techniques to best make money shoveling snow.
Because even though they might not work for everyone the first time around, if someone does notice them then chances are they will remember your business when they need help shoveling snow again.
#5 – Don’t forget about local churches and schools
Here’s a news flash: Just because most kids and adults alike go back to school or attend church once the snow starts falling, that doesn’t mean that their paths with cross yours. In other words, people either walk directly past (and sometimes through) your place of business when they go to these places, or at least that’s what would happen in a perfect world.
So if you’re serious about making a little extra money or extra cash, then why not try doing some advertising at these locations? For example, while people are going inside for services and events, simply offer them a flier (or whatever else it is you might use).
Or if you can afford it, make an arrangement with the school/church to do something like post signs or even lower your price for their members. And trust me, once word starts getting around about you offering a snow removal service because of where YOU advertise, then more and more people will be lining up to pay you for all your hard work removing snow in a colder climate.
#6 – Hire help if necessary
Make sure that you hire someone to help you get the job done if things start getting a little crazy with your snow removal business. And while hiring a shoveling subcontractor might cost you to pay money, it’s worth every penny when there’s too much snow to handle on your own. In fact, I would even suggest posting an ad looking for help on Craigslist or another website before you end up completely overwhelmed by all of this work during snow emergencies.
#7 – Invest in the right equipment
Like anything else in life, investing the right equipment will most likely pay off in the end. So before you start taking on clients, make sure that you have all of the tools necessary for this job (you can find most in hardware stores). And don’t worry about saving money by not buying brand new items either – because used tools are still better than no tools at all.
Some basic equipment you should start out with includes:
- Snow blower
- Branded shovel
- Snow scoops
- Ice scraper
And a little advice: be prepared to spend a few bucks here and there as you might need to replace some of your equipment after a particularly tough job or the more customers you have. But hey, it’s better than having nothing at all. 😊
#8 – Save the best for last (if possible)
Yes, this is totally possible because depending on how much snow falls throughout the day or night, there could easily be too much work completed before you have to worry about going home.
And because this scenario will probably happen more often than not, always try saving the hardest part for last. In other words, do all of the walking paths first and then move on to driveways and sidewalks. Then, finish off with the center of large yards – just don’t forget that these areas are probably going to be your biggest money-makers because people usually pay a pretty penny for this type of work.
#9 – Charge extra if necessary
In case you didn’t already know, most homeowners will probably expect you to charge more during certain times of the year. For example, while one client might only want you to shovel snow from their driveway next summer, another client might start asking for your hourly rate during the winter months on a new job.
And although it may have some sort of an effect on how often they hire you in the future, I would still say that charging more is totally fine as long as it’s within reason.
#10 – Use social media (if you’re into that sort of thing)
So while most people probably won’t end up searching for this job on Facebook or Twitter, social media is still a great way to get the word out there. In other words, you never know who might be reading your posts and based on what’s stated in their replies, they could become your next potential client. And if not them, then another person on their friends list might see it too.
Not sure where to start? Think about posting an advertisement online that offers something like: “If we meet our quota before Friday & it doesn’t interfere with any other plans,” then I’ll pay $X per hour. (Or maybe you offer a certain service for the first day, but double it for days 2-5. That sort of thing.)
#11 – Be safe during every job
As long as your brain is still working and not frozen over, always remember to be safe when doing any type of work outdoors. And even though shoveling snow might not require safety goggles or earplugs like construction jobs would, there are still risks that come with this line of work.
So just to be on the safe side, make sure you have all of the necessities covered including: cold-weather gear, proper shoes, boots, cell phone, etc. And if it’s at all possible to take someone with you, then do so. 😊
#12 – Make a checklist
I understand that not everyone might be into this idea, but making a quick list of the essentials before you start is a great way to stay more productive. And if nothing else, it will at least help you organize your thoughts so that there aren’t any gaps in between jobs. But anyway, if you do decide to use one, just make sure it includes things like: shovels, ice scrapers, salt, sandbags, etc.
#13 – Stay hydrated & carry snacks with you
Even though shoveling snow doesn’t require too much physical exertion, it’s still important to carry something along with you as you’re working.
Because even though there might be some sort of an outlet nearby, I can guarantee that you won’t be able to reach it when you’re in the middle of doing something. So in case you get hungry or thirsty, always make sure to carry something like a water bottle (or two) with you wherever you go.
As for snacks, I recommend things like granola bars; because not only are they healthy, they also taste good and fill your stomach up pretty fast. And last but definitely not least, this is especially important if it gets dark early. So just keep in mind that drinking enough fluids throughout the day is important for everyone – even more so if the winter months are around.
#14 – Stay safe at night
This is probably one of the most underrated aspects of shoveling snow, but staying safe is still important nonetheless. And if you’ve done this sort of thing before, then you probably already know what I’m talking about.
But for those who don’t, the reason why staying safe at night is so crucial is because it can be very hard to see things clearly. Therefore, not only should you always stay off of slippery surfaces, but always make sure to carry a flashlight with you as well.
#15 – Use an app to help track your earnings
Even though using something like Excel or Google Docs might be more convenient, apps are definitely faster and easier when it comes to tracking your income. So whether you have multiple clients or just one, updating this information on a daily basis will save you tons of time in comparison and get more than minimum wage and eventually more income.
Multiple clients: In the event that you have multiple clients who pay you on a regular basis, then using an app to track your earnings is definitely a good idea which will help out in so many ways. Such as being able to keep track of all of your expenses, what type of good equipment is needed, etc.
One client: If this is something new and you only have one customer, then I still recommend using an app for a few reasons. For starters, there might be some confusion when it comes to payment for services rendered & whether or not the total was calculated correctly.
And secondly, this allows you to access any sort of records that were made at any time from anywhere which can save tons of time compared to grabbing physical files and such.
#16 – Make a list of all expenses
Just like with any other line of work, it’s important to keep track of all the things that you spend money on. So instead of waiting until the end of the night or week and trying to remember everything, try doing this before anything else.
For example: if you think it might be good to purchase some sort of marker so customers can see where your driveway is, go ahead and write this down. This way when people ask what they owe you for services rendered, your answer will be quick and accurate.
#17 – Remember: insurance isn’t just limited to cars.
Even though shoveling snow doesn’t fall under the category of an everyday task, it still has its risks. And when it comes to protecting yourself, having the proper insurance in place is essential for this very reason. Here are some of the most common types that homeowners should consider:
- Homeowners Insurance – This type of policy not only covers your home against damages, but also has coverage which you can use to recover stolen property along with liability protection.
- Auto Insurance – Even though your car might be safe & sound within your garage, it’s still important to have this type of insurance because there may be some sort of damage done while you’re out and about doing jobs. So just keep in mind that good policies cover anything from collisions, vandalism, etc.
- General Liability Insurance – If you’re doing this professionally, then it’s crucial that you have some sort of insurance specifically designed for general contractors. Otherwise, any sort of bodily harm or property damage may fall onto your shoulders.
- Workers Compensation – While working outside in inclement weather can be dangerous enough on its own, the fact that children are often around increases the risks significantly. So to avoid getting sued or having to pay out of pocket expenses, make sure you have a good policy which covers this area.
#18 – Be smart about when & where you work
Just like with anything else in life, considering things ahead of time is always good practice. For example, planning your route before the first fall will determine whether or not you should purchase a snowblower or not.
And as far as where you go, remember that there may be (and probably is) other people who will need to hire someone like you, and this means that the demand will likely increase around this time. So if you’re able to do multiple jobs each day then great. However, if you only have one client, then another option would be selling supplies such as salt along with shovels (if needed).
#19 – Acceptable forms of payment
Before getting started, make sure to ask what form of payment your client prefers. If they pay by check, cash or even credit card, it’s up to you which way is preferred. But whatever the choice up being, just keep in mind that a check can bounce if the account is dry. So prior to accepting a check, there’s a quick way to make sure whether or not it will be honored:
- Cross out the preprinted number which shows the check number.
- In its place, write down your client’s name & account information.
- Next, draw a line through any of the open fields (such as “amount”).
This will allow you to know whether or not it is going to be accepted. If there is no problem with the payment then it should clear just fine. And if any sort of stop payment takes place then you will usually be notified within a couple weeks after this happens.
However, if you’ve paid with cash then there are no fees attached to this type of transaction. So just remember that the best way to protect your money is by working smart.
#20 – Tips for making even more money during winter
If you want to make some easy extra income just by shoveling snow, here are a couple suggestions which can help along the way:
- Assist local police & fire departments. To do this, offer your services during school closings or whenever they need it most. This will not only work as a public service, but also give you an easy way to network with various employees throughout town. Also, be sure to mention that you do this all year long ( just during winter) because they may need you to clear out fire hydrants or whatever else they might need throughout the other seasons.
- Offer snow blower clearing after storm cycles. Just be sure that this is safe & legal before getting started so you don’t risk hurting anything.
- Keep an eye on social media because there are dozens of ways to advertise your services for free. These include local newspapers, Craigslist, Facebook groups, etc. Plus, just think about how much easier it will be to get paid if someone contacts you directly. So take advantage of all the available tools which come with modern technology.
By using these suggestions, you should now have a better idea about how to go about shoveling snow for pay. But the main thing is just to remember that even if it’s back-breaking work, seeing all of those dollar bills come in each week will make it all worthwhile.
And as long as you use some common sense, protect yourself from harm & keep an optimistic attitude, then there’s no reason why this won’t turn into a lifelong way to make money during the winter as a small business.
FAQ – How to Shovel Snow for Money
Here are some common questions which people ask when it comes to how to make money shoveling snow:
Do you need a permit to shovel snow?
Depends on the state/city you’re in (I wouldn’t risk getting one). If unsure, then don’t take any chances and just do your research.
How much money can I make per hour?
It really depends on how fast you work, whether or not there’s heavy traffic, etc. But as far as averages go, $20-30 is pretty normal. Again though, this will be completely based off of personal experience so keep that in mind.
What else can I do with my spare time all winter long?
Use this extra time to take on side jobs like shoveling snow, trimming trees, pressure washing, etc. Plus it’s a great way to build your resume while making some quick cash.
How can I advertise that I’m willing to do snow shoveling?
If you don’t want to spend any money then try using sites like Craigslist or putting up flyers around town (the key is to find out where the main traffic hubs are). But if you really want to get the best results possible (i.e., make more money), then look into buying targeted online ads. And be sure not to overlook local publications because they usually target the right kind of people.