Description of Job
• Remove snow from sidewalks and driveways of private homes.
• Clear snow from parking lots and entranceways of commercial locations,
including retail stores and office complexes.
• Subcontract with local governments to plow public roads and parking lots.
Snow happens, more so in some parts of the country than others. Many people do
not have the time to clear snow, or they may not be physically able to do so.
In some parts of the country, including many rural areas, local governments
may hire subcontractors to clear snow on an as-needed basis. Owners of commercial real estate also need to arrange for snow removal at stores and office
In most parts of the country, snow removal is a seasonal job. In the Midwest and
Northeast, the snow season generally runs from late November to early April,
although storms can come earlier and later; in high mountain areas and certain
other locations, including regions in the lee of the Great Lakes, snow can occur
almost daily in an extended season.
In any case, you will need to pay off the cost of equipment during the winter
season… and watch it gather dust over the summer. You will also likely have to
pay for 12 months of insurance and licenses even if your business runs only 6
months of the year.
Snowfall, like rainfall, generally follows annual patterns that could result in
exceptionally large amounts of snow in one year and a virtual drought the next.
Don’t base your investment on last winter’s storms, which could be unusually
heavy or light. You can research typical snowfall amounts and number of storms
at area libraries and government agencies.
Know the Territory
Depending on the sort of jobs you seek, you will need equipment ranging from a
sturdy snow shovel to a mechanical snowblower to a substantial truck with a
A snow shovel is quite portable, but a snowblower is much less so and will
probably have to be delivered by truck . . . which has to be able to get through the
snow on the streets.
Will you bring your own equipment, or use whatever you find at your client’s
Using your client’s equipment simplifies your operation in many ways: You
won’t have to buy a snowblower; you will not be responsible for maintaining it
and providing gas; and you will not have to transport it from your home to your
On the other hand, the equipment you find may be of poor quality or unreliable, and some homeowners won’t have a snowblower, costing you a job.
Bringing your own equipment should guarantee you’ll have machines you
can rely on; you will, though, have to properly maintain the devices.
Investigate local ordinances about snow removal. In some areas, snow cannot
be pushed into the street. Many areas also ban disposal of snow in catch basins,
rivers, or streams because of concerns about pollution from salt and other road
Be aware that you may need to make multiple visits to a property if a storm
lasts for many hours or if high winds blow snow back onto cleared pathways.
Not all pieces of property are the same. If the property is hilly or irregularly
shaped, it will likely require more time and effort than a flat, square property. Dry
and fluffy snow is easier to clear than heavy or rain-soaked snow.
Snow removal is the sort of job that can be done by one person or by a crew.
A property that takes two hours to be cleared by one person could be done in one
hour by a crew of two. Although having a crew may allow you to sign up many more customers, you’ll also have to pay additional salaries and benefits, and
you’ll need more equipment. The principal advantage to hiring a crew is that you
may be able to step back from actually clearing the snow yourself and instead
make your income as the manager of a snow removal empire.