I wish I could start this article with, “We’ve all had to do it…”
But, fortunately, I’m a Floridian, and I’ve never had to shovel snow.
From what I’ve heard, some people find it real pain — a job happily pawned off to any willing being.
On the other hand, what if you’re that willing being? You might be able to make some good money from a hearty dusting.
Even 50 Cent has shoveled snow.
I’m going out to shovel snow and see if I can make me a few extra dollars today. I’m charging more if they want to take pictures
— 50cent (@50cent) December 27, 2010
And so has Daniel Miller, CEO of a new app called Shovler.
It’s kind of like Uber — but for snow shoveling — and since its release at the beginning of this month, more than 1,000 people have registered, according to Miller.
How Did Shovler Get Started?
Miller shoveled snow as a teenager and always thought it was the perfect gig: People are appreciative, you get a good workout in, and it’s actually kind of fun.
Plus: Pay ain’t too shabby.
He didn’t come up with the idea of Shovler until last winter, though, when his parents were hanging out in Florida and wanted a clear driveway upon returning home to New Jersey. A full-on plow service wasn’t necessary, and, other than that, they had a hard time finding someone.
“It just dawned on me that there are lots of people in similar situations, especially the elderly, that just want to hire a snow shoveler on demand for the days they need one or want to take a break from shoveling themselves,” Miller writes in an email.
He’d always seen those apps about solving what he calls “minor problems” — like delivering food a few blocks away. “But nobody has fixed this major logistical nightmare that people have every year,” he says.
For him, the app seemed obvious. Why hadn’t it been invented years ago?
How Much Money Can I Make Shoveling Snow?
The app went live for iOS and Android at the beginning of this month, and, so far, approximately 1,000 snow shovelers have registered with the app across the U.S. to pick up gigs, according to Miller.
Those who are in need shoveling services enter their requests into the app. The registered shovelers get pinged when a job’s available nearby.
Pay varies by snow accumulation, temperature and demographics, but here are the typical rates:
- $20 to $35 for a car parked on a city street
- $30 to $75 for up to a two-car driveway that fits three cars in length, an average walkway and an average sidewalk in front of a house
- 50 cents to $2 per square feet for a city sidewalk or small parking lots (for businesses)
The Shovler app takes 15% of each job, and the human shoveler gets the rest.
In context, a woman in Chicago shoveled a sidewalk and walkway for $45 and earned a $5 tip a few days ago. Thus, in 1.5 hours — from job acceptance to completion — she earned $50.
How You Can Sign Up For Shovler
The app has been released nationally. However, so far it’s mostly been used in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia and Boston — plus the suburbs of these areas.
Signing up is easy — a lot easier than awkwardly knocking on your neighbors’ doors or giving them a ring.
So why not make some money off the most recent dumping of the devil’s dandruff?
Your Turn: Have you made money from shoveling snow before? Would you try Shovler?
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.