By Dale Oberg, Regional Sales Manager
Photo Credit: Winter Nurseries Landscaping
You’ve decided to move forward with your seasonal snow removal business. Now, you need to do your homework to prep for the upcoming winter season.
The next steps involve deciding on who your clients will be, the tools you’ll need to complete the jobs and how to sell your services.
Who Will You Be Servicing?
While a lot of business owners want to get the big clients, you need to be realistic when you’re first setting out on your own.
It’s usually wise to start out small—especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow. Bigger snow pushing companies have the cream of the crop contracts—shopping malls, hospitals, banks, HOAs and government spots.
Still, your first contracts can include smaller residential neighborhoods, smaller municipalities and even non-profits such as libraries and community centers.
Equipping Yourself to Push Snow
A lot of times, new business owners want to go all out and get all the gadgets imaginable to succeed in their companies. However, adding snow equipment and trucks cost a lot of money.
Depending on your existing cash flow and whether you run a green industry service during the growing season, you need to be smart about the equipment you buy for your snow removal gigs.
If you’re a lawn care owner/operator or a landscaper during the growing season, concentrate on getting equipment that you can use in both your white and green businesses.
If you’re hoping to pick up a few driveways and a few parking lots, then adding a plow to your truck may be all you need.
Here are some must-haves you need for your snow pushing jobs:
- Add a snow plow attachment to your truck to move snow
- Get a snow blower to push snow off of sidewalks
- Invest in heavy winter clothing—to protect yourself from the elements
- Buy a top trailer if you plan to remove snow from the premises.
Photo Credit: Jason Truax
Selling Your Snow Pushing Services
It’s great to have all of the right equipment, but without customers, you won’t be making money. Here are some tried and true methods to sign up new customers:
- Door-to-door selling is still the best way to sign up residential clients. If you live in a snow belt, August and September are never too early to start this—because it’s still light outside and people can see you when you come to their door. Plus, you’ll be able to cover more doors during the early evening hours. Other direct selling ideas include door hangers, fliers, newspaper ads, and Facebook.
- For commercial clients, start locally. Mom and Pop’s, your local township, community centers and other small establishments are your best bets when you’re first starting out in the snow business.
- Consider sub-contracting. Sub-contracting is a great way to cut your teeth on your business. Your overhead will be lower since most companies only require that you have a truck with a snow plow attachment. It’s also a great way to build experience, your reputation and to learn what sets you apart from your competitors.
Also, you may want to sub-contract with your local government if they provide snow removal services to city-owned properties. If you live in a low snow area—where a snowstorm over 10” is considered catastrophic, you may come out the hero.
For example, one low snow city couldn’t adequately handle a 3’ snowstorm. The local library, municipal sidewalks and back streets stayed unpassable for almost a week after the storm moved away from the area.
Indeed, a snow removal business is a profitable way to make some extra cash. The hours may be long, and you could go a day or two without sleep, but for a short season, it’s very profitable. Use the above ideas to start slow and make money at the same time so that you can grow your seasonal snow removal business.