Many landscaping businesses take snow removal services during the winter season. Whether you are plowing parking lots in your plow truck or clearing sidewalks in a Bobcat, having a snow removal business is a great way to earn some extra income.
If you are planning to offer snow removal services, now is the time to get your business ready for the winter rush to meet the needs of your customers.
Draw up a contract with your client before the winter season begins to make sure that the needs of both your business and your customers are met. Many snow removal services charge a client fee, either based on each visit or an entire season. As a business owner, it’s up to you to decide what suits you best.
It is recommended that you charge your clients for two non-refundable plowings in advance so that you can cover your overhead expenses, particularly during the months when there’s no snow.
Choosing the right equipment for snow removal depends on how large your customer base is and the types of services you plan to offer. Considering the minimum, you might want a plow that can easily fit on an existing truck. This equipment may cost you somewhere between $3,500 and $6,000. Also, if you are planning to remove snow from the sidewalks in a limited time, you might require a snow blower, which may cost up to $3,000 each.
Remember, the more services you deliver, the more snow removal equipment you’ll need to support your business.
If you are planning to expand your snow removal business this winter, you need to hire more employees. However, if you only want to serve a few residential clients, you can do the plowing all by yourself. Just keep in mind that the snow removal process is time-sensitive, and your clients won’t wait until your other jobs are done.
Hiring employees will give you more flexibility to take on more jobs and clients. But you should make sure you have a large enough customer base to ensure that if you hire more employees you can pay their wages, while at the same time remain profitable.
In the beginning, you can get customers by simply asking your neighbors or your friends if they need snow removal services. Making use of word of mouth advertising and offering a fair price will help you attract new clients over time.
Also, you can consider advertising on local job listing sites and on Google to draw more commercial as well as residential customers. The other approach is to give a referral discount to your current customers if they invite a new client to use your services.
You need to have a flexible schedule to run a successful snow removal business. Winter weather is unpredictable, you and your employees need to be on your toes throughout the season. Therefore, make sure you have ample time (at least 6 to 8 hours) in a day to provide your services.
Apart from the snow removal business, if you are working on other jobs, make sure that you have a flexible schedule to remove your customers’ snow on time.
If, for some reason, you cannot provide snow removal services to your client on time, maybe due to an equipment malfunction, illness, or injury, you need to have a backup emergency plan. This is one area you don’t want to mess with because there’s nothing worse than dealing with a frustrated snowbound client.
Once the snow melts down, it doesn’t mean your snow removal business needs to end. Use the off-season time for fixing and maintaining any broken equipment. Also, create a plan to keep the equipment in good condition until the next winter arrives.
You can even find deals on winter supplies after the season is over. And most importantly, start getting new clients for the next winter season. This will keep you occupied during the off-season.
Some people may think that seasonal work involves minimal risk, but the snow you work on can cause damage to your client’s property and put your employees in danger. With all the travel needed to get your plows and trucks at a job location, there is always a risk of accidents, injury to third-parties and employees, and loss of equipment. You can cover all these issues with the help of insurance. Here are several policies you should consider:
General Liability: This covers legal fees and medical expenses resulting from property damage or bodily injuries.
Business Owners Policy (BOP): This policy provides both General Liability and Commercial Property protection under one policy. It helps small to mid-sized businesses save money compared to buying each policy separately.
Commercial Auto: This insurance policy covers vehicles that are specifically used for commercial purposes. Also, it provides bodily injury and liability protection if you injure someone or damage property while operating a commercial vehicle.
Workers Compensation: This provides rehabilitation and medical benefits to employees who get sick or injured on the job. It also provides lost wages to employees for the time they were not able to work.
Inland Marine: This insurance provides coverage for a certain type of movable property. Unlike commercial property insurance, inland marine insurance provides coverage without considering the location of the property.
Follow this guide and put all these pieces together to get your snow removal business ready for the winter rush and put some extra cash in your pocket.
CoverWallet aims to help all small businesses thrive. The opinions and recommendations featured here are those of our editorial team alone and are meant for informational purposes only.