How To Start a Snow Removal Business
Compared to other businesses in the field service industry, the snow removal business is considerably unique. On the one hand, this will mean you’ll likely have fewer competitors, but on the other hand, your resources can be much more limited compared to other industries.
So, while the industry itself is very promising and starting a new snow removal business can be so lucrative, it can be hard for beginners to start a brand new snow removal business due to the lack of resources and help.
But don’t worry! We are here to help. Here, we will discuss all you need to know about starting a snow removal business.
Legal Requirements: Starting a Snow Removal Business
Depending on your location, you might be legally required to be a certified professional before you can start shoveling snow in other people’s backyards.
In such locations, if you are planning to start your own snow removal business, you will need to be certified or hire/partner up with a certified professional before you can register your business.
To acquire the certifications, you must pass an exam that is accredited by associations that monitors the standards in the snow removal industry. Important certifications in the US include:
- SN 9001
- Certified Snow Professional (CSP) certification
- SIMA certification
- ASCA certification
- Accredited ASM Program Certificate
Also, check your town, county, or city’s clerk office whether you will need additional local permits and licenses. You might also be able to get help from the local snow removal business association in your area.
Similar to certifications, in certain states, you might be legally required to be insured before you can start your snow removal business. Check the local rules and regulations in your area, but some of the required insurance policies typically include:
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- General Liability Insurance
- BOP insurance
- Commercial vehicle policy
However, even when you are not legally required to be insured, it’s always a good idea to protect your business with these insurance policies. Thus, when unfortunate accidents happen during your work, you don’t have to use your own money.
Plan Your Business Carefully
Before anything else, decide on what types of snow removal services you are going to offer. There are generally three main types you can consider: snow plowing, shoveling, and ice removal.
It’s best to do a little bit of research about your service location and check how much ice and snow you get every year. If your area typically has more ice and snow, then you might want to focus on ice removal.
Once you’ve decided on a service (or services), you can start choosing a business name and developing your branding. Choose a business name that is obvious (that is, people know immediately about what service you offer) and easy to remember.
Deciding on Your Pricing
One of the toughest decisions in starting a field service business is figuring out how much you should charge your clients for a specific job.
There are various pricing models you can use in your snow removal business:
- Per job
- Per inch/feet
- Seasonal contracts (or multi-season contracts with the same principle)
- By the hour
You can choose any model depending on your preferences (and your client’s) but in general, you should consider:
- Supplies costs (i.e. bulk salt for snow removal)
- How long it’s going to take to complete the job
- Labor costs
- Gas/mileage costs
- Insurance and certification costs
- Software expenses
- Other costs that might apply
Once you’ve figured out the total costs, then you can check your competitor’s prices and decide on a profit margin.
For example, if your total cost is $100 for a given job and your competitor charges $200/job, then you can either ask for the same price or undercut it (i.e. $180/job for a $80 profit margin).
Getting The Right Software Infrastructure
A field service software is now very important not only for a snow removal business but for any field service business in general. This software will ensure every aspect of your business to run smoothly, including:
- More efficient and condensed routes, ensuring you can show up and finish the job on time
- Assigning the right people to the right job every time
- Ensuring clients pay on time with automatic billing
- Ensuring your clients can easily review your jobs via automatic reporting
- Automatic quotes/estimates and invoices
- Payroll reports generation
We’d recommend fieldd software for your snow removal business with key features like:
- Smart scheduling, easily scheduling jobs based on priority and assigning the right staff for the job
- Scheduling recurring jobs with ease
- View and update your calendar from both mobile and desktop devices
- Auto-charge clients and automatically send out billing and quotes
If you are just thinking of starting your own snow removal industry, the tips we have shared above can help you in planning and starting a successful snow removal business. It’s best to first identify your target market, and start custom-tailoring your business to suit this target audience’s needs.
While starting your own snow removal business can seem a little intimidating at first, if you follow the tips we’ve shared above, you’ll have the required resources to start building and growing your business.