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4 Tips to Start a Snow Removal Business

You may have several reasons for wanting to start a snow removal business. Maybe you own a landscaping business and want to expand your operation. Perhaps you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to build a new company. Or possibly you need extra income during the winter. Regardless of your motives, you'll soon see snow as an opportunity, not just precipitation.

Keep in mind that every snow removal outfit faces challenges as it begins. If you follow these tips, you can navigate the early stages and establish a strong business.

Tip #1: Know Your Goal

Before you begin, have a clear objective for your snow removal business. This determines your approach to snow removal.

Here are some goals you could have and what they would mean for your business.

  • You Want to Start from Scratch: Starting from scratch means high initial expenses. You'll need to purchase necessary equipment and advertise to clients.
  • You Want to Run a One-Man Business: If it's just you, your truck, and your snow plow, your business will need to stay small so you can handle your clients with efficiency. Focus on clients who need snow removal but might not be a priority for other companies. Homes or small complexes might offer you the most business.
  • You Want to Expand Your Street-sweeping or Landscaping Business: Since you already have the equipment, you won't have to spend as much money as if you were starting from scratch. However, you may need to pull money from your current business to cover advertising for your new services.

Assess your individual needs and keep your goal in mind as you build your new business.

Tip #2: Know Your Area

Now that you know what you have to accomplish, you need to establish a client base. Here are some ways to attract new customers:

  • If you have the budget, start an advertising campaign. Local ads and internet marketing can lead to many potential clients.
  • If you don't have resources for a full advertising campaign, post flyers in local stores and neighborhoods. Research your area to find businesses or homeowner associations who might look for cheaper prices or better service.
  • Research your competition. Find out how many other snow removal businesses are in your area. Look up their prices and find ways to charge less.

Tip #3: Know Your Equipment

Once you have established the need for your business, purchase the equipment to fill that need. Focus on the basics, then buy more advanced tools as you gain more capital.

Here are quick facts you should know about snow removal equipment.  

  • Make sure your truck can handle the job. Your truck needs to carry a plow, so your engine needs to deliver a lot of power. Your truck also needs strong towing power and a suspension to handle the added weight.
  • Be careful with your plow designs. The straight plow, the most iconic, does most of the work by clearing snow. The v-plow cuts into hardened snow or ice, so you can clear the snow later. Box plows pick up snow but require more attachments to be effective.
  • Choose the right plow size. Use commercial plows for larger jobs, though residential plows work for most jobs. ATV, or All-terrain vehicle, plows are smaller, but they work for light snow or small jobs.
  • Don't forget a snow blower. Snow blowers are best for sidewalks and driveway jobs. They save you energy from shoveling and allow you to move on to more clients
  •  Salt and sand spreaders keep ice at bay.  Many spreaders fit on pickup trucks with no extra equipment, making them an easy and worthwhile investment.

Tip #4: Know Best Snow Removal Practices

Once you are on the job, know what you need to do to work quickly and impress your client. If you treat your clients well, you will maintain and gain more business. Use the following tips to earn your client's trust.  

  • Always show up on time. Individuals and businesses need snow gone as soon as it arrives or they lose income. The quickest way to lose a client is to show up late.
  • Communicate with your clients. Email them alerts for storms and notify them when you intend to remove snow from their property. Establish expectations so they have your respect.
  • Upgrade your equipment. Larger plows can halve the time it takes for you to complete a job. You can do more work but charge each client less overall. This will keep you and your customers happy.
  • Pay attention to detail. If you care for your customer's property, they will reward you with more business and referrals.

Winter doesn't have to be downtime for you—use it to your advantage. Snow removal can boost an individual's and a company's income. With our tips, you can start your own snow removal business without the fuss.

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