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Shovel Snow for Money With The Shovler App

Updated: Jul 18

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure

College students and those with student loan debt are willing to do a variety of projects to make some extra money and make ends easier to meet. Many times, the gig economy is a great way to bridge this gap.

After all, it feels like there is an app for just about everything these days. But would you believe it if I told you that there is even an app to connect those wanting their snow shoveled with those willing to do the shoveling?

It's true, thanks to a GPS-enabled smartphone app called Shovler.

What is Shovler?

Shovler is a smartphone application, available for both iPhone and Android, that pairs workers and requesters together similar to ridesharing and delivery services such as Uber, GrubHub, or DoorDash.

Here's how it works:

After it snows outside, people presumably have snow removal needs, depending on where they live. This may be shoveling out a car in cities, a driveway to your house, or a sidewalk in your suburban neighborhood.

Instead of removing their own snow, you decide to pay someone else to do it. The Shovler app then connects requesters with workers in the same area.

Shovler app review

These snowstorms are a golden opportunity for those looking to make a little (or a lot!) of extra money. As (or after it snows), you’ll want to keep an eye on the app in your area as jobs arise. Once jobs arise, the process can be a little bit competitive to accept work for you to complete.

Basically, you’ll just need to accept work as it comes up. If there is a larger storm on your hands with the potential to lead to more work than you can handle at the moment, there is also an option for you to “go on duty,” which will prompt the Shovler app to send you notifications as work pops up in your defined radius.

The Shovler app has a maximum radius of up to 20 miles, though you’ll want to find work as close to you as possible.

Then, it becomes all about the customer experience. People requesting their shoveling to be completed likely want or need to be on their way again as soon as humanly possible, so it is best practice to show up as soon as you can after accepting work. Typically, within an hour is encouraged.

After you show up, you’ll want to complete the job as quickly as possible. Be sure to do a good job and remove all snow and ice from the agreed-upon surface area. Then, once you’re done, you’ll just need to upload a picture of the final result through the app for the requester to see.

It’s that easy!

Getting paid is also a breeze! The app processes payments through a processor called Stripe. As part of the signup process, you’ll need to create and link a Stripe account, a process that shouldn’t take you more than five minutes or so at the most!`

Shovler pay rates

The amount of money you can make through Shovler depends on several variables, mainly:

  • The size of the surface you’re shoveling

  • How fast you can complete jobs (again, with high quality)

In my area, I’ve seen a variety of offered rates for different services, but I’d say that the following ranges would be considered typical:

1. Driveways: $30-$100, though this depends largely on the size of the area

2. Sidewalks: $30-$100, for the same reasons

3. Cars: $25-$40 if parked on a city street, a little less if parked elsewhere

One final tip here as you consider what jobs may be worth your time and effort – remember that you are being paid by the job, not by the hour. Therefore, it does you no good to drag out a project for any longer than you need to.

Luckily for workers, though, you very well may earn more per project than the advertised rate. The Shovler app does offer the potential to earn tips for exceptional work, meaning that you may be rewarded for going above and beyond for your customers.

In my past snow shoveling experience, I’ve found that the little things, such as shoveling out a mailbox along with a driveway, really leave a good impression on your customer. Plus, Shovler prides itself on passing on 100% of all tips to its workers, so the sky really can be the limit for you.

Working snow shoveling jobs

While clearing snow can be a lucrative side hustle, for at least part of the year, you should not assume that it will be easy work. Sure, there will be times when you will find a job to pay you $40 for fifteen minutes of your time, but this is more of an exception than a rule.

To maximize your earnings in as short a time as possible, consider using these helpful tips:

  • Dress warmer than you think you need to: It will be much easier to cool down than it will be to warm up, and the last thing you want to do is waste precious time having to go home to grab more layers.

  • Think through the order of your jobs: Generally, it is a best practice to shovel snow in the order that you accepted your jobs. But, if you have a job in your queue that is well out of your way, consider shoveling all the driveways in the same area first. Just be transparent and communicate with the house or car owner.

  • Check for satisfaction: Though the app is designed to help requesters get their snow removed without any need to interact with a worker or anybody else, guaranteeing client satisfaction can be a great way to build repeat customers (and earn tips!). Who knows, maybe you will become a job’s permanent snow shoveler?

Pros and cons to Shovler

Like any other freelancing gig, there are some positives and negatives to Shovler. Among my favorite perks are that you get to keep 100% of the tips you earn. It sounds like a given, but some apps actually skim a portion of your tips for themselves to keep.

Another notable perk is that there is no in-person contact or haggling over price required. You have the option to see what a job will pay, and then can go and decide whether it is worth your time to accept and complete.

In the “needs improvement” column, I’d like to see Shovler find a path to growth that makes it easier for workers to find more consistent work. Of course, a lot of this depends on the snowfall in a place at any given time, but we’ve also heard stories of intense competition to get work at times, particularly in or around major city centers.

Other snow removal apps

In a more recent development, you may also consider working for other snow removal apps beyond Shovler, including:

  1. Plowz and Mowz

  2. TaskEasy

You may also consider shoveling snow on sites such as TaskRabbit to help grow your business a little more quickly. Which snow removal app is the best? It depends on where you live and what type of freelancing you are trying to do. Similar to how drivers often work for Uber and Lyft, sometimes synonymously, you may complete jobs through multiple apps and TaskRabbit.

Make money on snow shoveling jobs

There is no shortage of snow shoveling jobs or ways you can make some extra cash pushing around some of that white stuff. Of course, freelancing for Shovler is far from the only way that you can do this. You also may consider:

  1. Going door to door in your neighborhood or town

  2. Sending out mailers

1. Door-to-door service

If you live in a suburban setting, you may find it more lucrative to go door-by-door in your neighborhood both during and in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Not only may you reach potential customers before they even have the opportunity to list work through an app like Shovler, but you may also find neighbors refreshed by the idea that they don’t have to go brave the elements outside.

2. Sending out mailers

You may also opt to send out mailers, especially if you live in a tight-knit community where people know who you are. Letting them know that you are offering shoveling services can help you win business off sentimentality, as many are happy to use someone they know over some unknown company.

You may also specifically target areas near you where there are high percentages of seniors living.

Bid snow shoveling jobs

If you don’t use Shovler or another app to get work, you’ll likely need to price your own jobs. Don’t fret, though! Pricing your snow shoveling services is quite easy to do.

In most instances, you’ll want to consider the square footage of an area and then layer in the snowfall from a given storm. For example, in my shoveling days, I priced many driveways between $0.05 and $0.20 per square foot.

So if I had a driveway that was 20 feet by 40 feet (800 square feet in total), I’d charge between $40 and $160 for the job. Then, I’d consider both the snowfall as well as the snow consistency to come up with a final price. Higher accumulation or heavier water content leads to pricer jobs since they would take me longer to complete.

Of course, in time, you’ll learn to fine-tune your formula too.

Materials to get started

One of the best parts of a snow removal side hustle is that you’ll need really limited materials and supplies to get started. In fact, for many jobs, you’ll only need a shovel, which you can buy for next to nothing at stores like Lowes or Home Depot.

Additionally, you may consider upgrading your equipment, but only if you think it has the potential to help you increase your earnings. If you live in a neighborhood where you may be able to handle multiple houses in quick succession, you may opt to buy a wider shovel, or potentially even a snowblower. You’ll just want to make sure that there is a noticeable return on your investment, though.

You may also decide to invest in a rock salt product to melt any ice you come across. It can be a nice value-added service to provide to your clients, but be sure to ask them for permission first. Many salts can be harmful to different pavement types, and your clients may not want them on their driveways, walkways, or sidewalks.

The bottom line

Snow shoveling jobs can be a great side hustle for the strong to generate some extra income. And while it is not easy work, apps like Shovler can handle client acquisition for you, leaving you to focus on the actual snow clearing process.

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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