Side Hustle Spotlight: Snow Removal

Blog | December 31st, 2021

If you’re thinking about uncommon ways to earn money when winter comes and the snow starts to fall, why not consider giving snow removal a try? Many families, neighborhoods, businesses, and communities rely on snow removal daily to get by when the weather outside turns frightful.

If you live in a place where regular snowfall tends to cause delays in traffic or leave people stuck in their homes, you might be able to make some good money getting into this business. Nowadays there are even apps you can use to find work removing snow, such as Shovler

Whether you’ve got a truck and want to clear parking lots and roads or you just want to get paid to clear sidewalks and driveways, snow removal can be a great way to flex that side hustle game during the coldest time of the year.

How to Get Started

Unless you plan on only working a few days on the side, you’ll need to live somewhere that gets a fair amount of snow if you plan to make this a regular gig during the winter months. Keep in mind that a snow removal service isn’t just about plowing snow–you may also pretreat parking lots and streets with salt and gravel to prevent slick ice patches, deliver de-icing services, or haul away piles of snow.

The most important part of getting into the snow removal business is to have the right equipment. In this case, that means owning a truck. A four-wheel-drive pickup truck such as a Ford F250 or some other type of 3/4 ton truck is going to be best, but for lighter snow removal jobs you may be able to get away with a smaller truck.

Next is your snowplow. This will be a fairly significant investment of around $1,500-$2,000. Do your research to find out what kinds of plows are popular in your area and compatible with the truck you’ll be using.

Finally, look into what kinds of de-icing products you want to offer your customers, such as liquid salt brines or rock salt. Consider offering environmentally-friendly and pet-safe options as well.

Training and Certifications

Many people assume that operating a snowplow would require lots of training, certain licenses, complicated technical machinery, and expensive insurance. This is not the case. You’ll certainly need a valid driver’s license, but most places do not require any type of special license to operate a snowplow (check your local regulations to be sure). 

You will want to look into getting a business license to protect yourself and be ready come tax season. You will also want to look into adding commercial driving insurance and seasonal snowplow insurance to your existing policy.

Expected Return

If you’re clearing sidewalks and driveways for homeowners, the average earnings per job range between $48 and $179, depending on size and location. Plowing an entire neighborhood for one snowfall can quickly add up! 

The average reported income for snowplow drivers is $41,189. Keep in mind that this is income made only over the winter months. Many snowplow operators choose to do additional work during the rest of the year, such as construction or landscaping.

Related: Side Hustle Spotlight: Personal Shopper