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How To Start A Snow Removal Business – Complete Guide

When winter arrives, snow-covered driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots become commonplace. Starting a snow removal business may be a profitable and satisfying seasonal venture for entrepreneurs. From residential to commercial premises, there is a significant demand for dependable snow removal services. Here in this article, we provide a list of important steps to be followed in launching a snow removal or plowing business with costs, equipment, legalities, and much more.

What is a Snow Removal Business?

A snow removal business is a service-oriented venture that specializes in clearing snow and ice from various outdoor spaces, including driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and roads. This business operates primarily during the winter months when snowfall creates hazardous conditions and impedes movement and safety.

Snow removal businesses use specialized equipment such as snow blowers, plows, shovels, and salt spreaders to efficiently clear snow and ice, ensuring safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles. These businesses may offer services to residential homeowners, commercial properties, municipal contracts, and other clients in need of snow removal assistance.

14 Steps to Start a Snow Removal Business

1. Choose the Area & Research

This is your first step. Choosing an area of your neighborhood is an easy option since you must have certain personal contacts there. However, before starting your snow removal/plowing business, you need to do some research. First of all, find out the number of residential and commercial properties in the area.

Secondly, find data about the snow plowing services offered in the area. Thirdly, get to know the demand for snow plowing services. Next, you have to know the economic profile of the people in the area. Also, get knowledge about your competitors.

2. Define the Nature of Your Service

Before starting your snow removal/plowing company, classify the type of services you are going to offer. You have to decide whether you are going for residential properties or commercial properties. Will you provide snow removal ice removal or both? To start with you should serve both sectors and provide both kinds of services. This will increase your client base.

This business has different kinds of services at varying rates. One can charge snow removal services per hour, per season, per visit, per event (like storms, etc), or per inch. Let us look at the most popular snow removal services that you can offer to customers:

  • Shoveling
  • Roof Raking
  • Blowing
  • Plowing
  • Salt Spreading
  • Commercial Complex

The types of services and charges vary according to the area as well as the extent of snowfall.

3. Write a Business Plan

After the primary homework and research, write down the business plan for your snow removal/plowing business. Put the details and each stage of the business in this plan. It should contain the following chapters:

  • Vision & Mission of the Business
  • Area of Business
  • Services you will Offer
  • Rate of Service
  • Equipment Needed
  • Funds Needed for the Business
  • Source of Funds
  • Expected Profit
  • Marketing & Publicity Plan

Be very realistic about all the points in your business plan. This will help you in doing your business structurally. Along with that, it may help you in getting funds. If you want, take the advice of a banking or financial expert in writing your business plan.

4. Choose a Business Name

Now, it’s time to find a suitable name for your snow removal company. Don’t be over-creative in naming your business. Rather, find a simple and appropriate name, enough to describe your business. Very big and complicated names are not suitable.

Also, you have to get the website domain in the name of your business. If the domain is not available, change or alter the name. Getting the domain is very important.

5. Create a Legal Entity

Register your snow removal/plowing company and give it legal status. If you are planning to start this business in the United States, explore options like Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLC, or S Corp. Choose the one that suits you and register accordingly.

6. Licenses and Permits

Getting the necessary licenses and permits are very important for your snow removal/plowing business. Different types of permits are required at the Federal as well as State levels. So, get them at the earliest for a hassle-free business.

7. Apply for Taxes

Register your snow removal/plowing company for the applicable taxes. Also, apply for the EIN or Employer Identification Number.

8. Buy Insurance

Get your snow removal/plowing business insured to protect it from all incidental damages or accidents. Apart from General Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, you will also need Commercial Auto Insurance and others. Talk to an insurance expert about the insurance and coverage you need.

9. Open a Business Bank Account

Start your snow removal/plowing business’ banking operations by opening a bank account in your business’ name. Along with that get a business credit card. It will help you in getting short-term credit facilities.

10. Buy Equipment Needed for Snow Removal Business

The success of your snow removal business relies heavily on having the right equipment. Invest in high-quality snow removals equipment. It includes snow blowers, plows, shovels, salt spreaders, and protective gear for your crew. Consider leasing equipment if purchasing outright is not feasible, and ensure regular maintenance to keep your equipment in optimal condition.

11. Arrange Fund

You will need a reasonable amount of funds to start a snow removal business. The major investment will be for leasing or purchasing trucks. If you have savings or investments, you can invest that. Otherwise, you can apply for bank loans. Getting private loans from family members or friends is another option. You can also try to get funds through crowdfunding.

12. Develop Pricing and Service Packages

Determine your pricing structure based on factors such as the size of the area to be cleared, the depth of snow, accessibility, and frequency of service. Offer various service packages tailored to meet the needs of different clients, including one-time snow removal, seasonal contracts, and emergency services. Be transparent about your pricing and clearly outline the services included in each package.

13. Have a Marketing Plan

Plan your marketing and publicity strategies very well to get maximum earnings from your snow removal/plowing business. You have to follow several strategies covering the maximum number of people in your campaign.

⇒ Create a Mobile App

People in this digital age prefer to use apps to get services. Hence, hire an app developer and make an app for your snow removal/plowing business. Publicize this app through digital ads and affiliate marketing to get a better response.

⇒ Create a Website

Use your website as your marketing and publicity medium. Attractively design the website. Carry articles about snowfall, difficulties faced during snowfall, the importance of snow removal/plowing, etc. Along with that, specify the types of services you offer and the respective rates.

⇒ Advertisement

Put up ads in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV as per your budget. This will let many people know about your business.

⇒ Posters, Banners, Hoardings

Print attractive posters, banners, and hoardings and use them in various prominent places. Also, do not forget to create a catchy logo for your snow-plowing business.

⇒ Flyers, Pamphlets, and Brochures

Distribute flyers, pamphlets, and brochures at various strategic places along with your prospective clients. All of these must-have your website link.

⇒ Personal Visits

Personal visits to different houses and commercial centers will generate more interest in your snow removal/plowing business. Distribute brochures to them.

⇒ Get Listed

Enlist your snow removal/plowing business name in local service directories and yellow pages. This will get you many clients looking for such a service.

⇒ Digital Ads and Social Media

Give ads in digital publications as well as audio-visual media. Use the social media handles for advertising and publicity of your snow removal/plowing business. Create pages in the name of your business with the latest updates, pictures, and links to your website.

⇒ Referrals and Word-of-Mouth Publicity

Satisfied clients will give you a lot of contacts as referrals. They will also spread your name adding to the publicity of your snow removal/plowing business. Therefore, try to satisfy the existing clients to get more clients.

14. Provide Exceptional Service

Deliver exceptional service to your clients by being reliable, responsive, and efficient. Respond promptly to service inquiries and requests, especially during snowstorms or inclement weather. Ensure your crew is well-trained in safe snow removal practices to minimize property damage and ensure customer satisfaction. Communicate proactively with clients about service schedules, weather updates, and any potential delays.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much is the Cost to Start a Snow removal or plowing business?

You will need approximately $70000-75000 to start your snow removal/plowing business. This includes the fixed cost as well as the variable costs for a year. The price of a truck will cost between $40000 and $45000. The cost of the plow, snow blower, salt sprayer, and salt will be approximately $7000-$10000. Along with that, you have to add taxes, license and permit fees, insurance premiums, the salary of staff, fuel, and maintenance.

Instead of buying a truck, you can take it on lease. In that case, your start-up costs will be lower. However, it is better to buy a truck for long-term benefits.

Is Snow Removal/Plowing Business Profitable?

Your snow removal/plowing business is very profitable. Per-hour rate of your service may start from $25 and can go high up to $150 or $200! Therefore, if you have a good client base and operate in a heavy snowfall area, you can earn between $50,000 and $ 150,000 annually. This is a good income and even after all the expenses and payments, you have a good profit. Within a year or two, your income will increase further with the addition of more clients.

The snow removal/plowing business area is vast and money-making. According to IBISWorld, the market valuation of this business in the USA is $20.8 billion and is expected to rise in the coming years.

What safety precautions should I take when operating a snow removal business?

Safety should be a top priority. Ensure that your equipment is properly maintained, and your employees are trained in safe operating practices. Additionally, use caution when working in icy conditions and be mindful of potential hazards such as hidden obstacles under the snow.

How do I handle liability issues associated with snow removal?

It’s essential to have appropriate insurance coverage to protect your business from liability claims related to property damage or injuries that may occur during snow removal operations. Consult with an insurance provider experienced in commercial snow removal to ensure you have adequate coverage.

What are the peak seasons for a snow removal business?

The peak season typically coincides with winter months when snowfall is common. However, the exact timing can vary based on geographic location and weather patterns.

How can I expand my snow removal business beyond residential clients?

Consider targeting commercial clients such as businesses, shopping centers, apartment complexes, and municipal contracts. These clients often require more extensive snow removal services and can provide consistent revenue streams.

What are the startup costs associated with a snow removal business?

Startup costs can vary depending on factors such as equipment purchases or rentals, vehicle expenses, insurance, marketing materials, and business registration fees. Creating a detailed business plan can help you estimate your initial investment accurately.

Are there any environmental regulations or restrictions related to snow removal operations?

Depending on your location, there may be regulations regarding the disposal of snow containing salt or other chemicals. It’s crucial to understand and comply with any environmental regulations applicable to your area.