Looking to Rake in Extra Dough? This App Will Pay You for Shoveling Snow

A man holds up a snow shovel in a blizzard.
Getty Images

If you’re seeking to earn extra income during the colder months, consider shoveling snow.

Many folks are unable to or just don’t want to shovel snow off their driveways and walkways.

Being in the 21st century, you don’t need to worry about going door to door and soliciting your services. Thanks to the smartphone app Shovler, you can see those in your immediate area looking to hire someone just like you.

The 2023 winter season has already seen a few powerful storms, especially in the South. Now’s the time to sign up for a service such as Shovler and be prepared to rake in the dough during the next blizzard.

What Is Shovler?

The Shovler app uses GPS to connect people in need of snow removal with nearby users willing to do the shoveling.

Registered snow shovelers can use the app to quickly view and accept jobs within 20 miles of their current location — no haggling or in-person contact required.

There are about 150,000 snow shovelers available for hire on the Shovler app, according to the company’s founder, Daniel Miller.

Miller, who lives in New York City, created Shovler in 2016 after a winter storm buried his car in snow — and he didn’t own a shovel.

He spoke to others in the same situation and came up with the idea for the snow shoveling app.

“I used to shovel snow as a kid in the ’90s,” Miller said. “I always had a great sense of satisfaction after completing a large driveway for a neighbor.”

Shovler’s on-demand remote ordering also means business didn’t slow down during the pandemic.

“There is no need for in-person contact, so COVID safety isn’t a major issue,” Miller said.

How Do You Get Started On Shovler?

Before you can put your snow shoveling skills to the test, you’ll need about 10-15 minutes to sign up (including connecting the required payment platform).

Download the Shovler app, select “Become a Shoveler” and fill out your information to get started. You will also need to connect a Stripe payment system account to get paid.

After creating your account, the app makes it super easy to find snow shoveling jobs in your area.

You can search for nearby jobs within the Shovler app or select “go on duty” to be notified when new snow shoveling jobs are added.

There are different types of snow removal jobs to choose from. You can make money shoveling driveways and walkways, or digging out cars parked on a city street.

Business owners can also hire shovelers to clear the snow in front of their businesses or small parking lots.

What You Can Expect as a Snow Shoveler

Nathan Simondet, a Shovler user in Minneapolis, joined the app in 2019 to make some extra cash.

“The main problem is there is only work when it snows, and there is competition with other shovelers to accept jobs before they do,” Simondet said. “But the work is usually pretty easy.”

According to Simondet, a typical snow removal job takes 20 to 30 minutes, more if there’s a lot of snow.

“My last job only took five minutes,” Simondet said. “There was only an inch of snow, and all I had to do was the front sidewalks.” And since you get paid by the job, not the time it takes, a quicker job is really worth more money.

Snow shovelers bring their own equipment, including a shovel, brush, salt and any other tools they might need to remove snow.

Investing in the right snow removal gear and equipment can also help boost profits.

“Last year I did 70 jobs and made about $3,000,” Simondet said. “I already had a snow shovel and a snowblower, but I ended up investing in a bigger shovel to do jobs faster.”

You should arrive at a job within 45 minutes of accepting it. Once you’re done, you’ll upload a picture of your work to the Shovler app for evaluation.

How Much Money Can You Make as a Shoveler?

A Shovler shoveler can expect to make between $35 and $75 for small jobs, while bigger gigs like clearing small business parking lots bring in more cash.

The Shovler app factors in the size of the job, the type of area to be shoveled and current weather conditions to determine the price.

For example, you’ll make more money during a snowstorm than after a light snowfall. If demand is surging, the price increases.

The person creating the job also has the option to increase the price.


Shovler Pay Rate

Situation Amount Details

Parked car

$30 to $40

On a city street

Driveway

$35 to $75

Two-car driveway

Sidewalk in front of house

$35 to $75

Average length

Parking lot

50c to $2 per sq foot

For businesses

Sidewalk

50c to $2 per sq foot

Public or private

Like many side gig apps, Shovler takes a cut from each completed job, and in this case, it’s 20%. However, that won’t impact your expected earnings. The fee is taken out before the job is listed as available.

You’ll need to bring your A game too. If a job is rated lower than four stars, the Shovler app reduces your pay. You’ll get docked 5% for each missing star, so a two-star rating equals a 10% reduction in your pay.

A Holiday Side Gig

Jayson Abro, a Northeast shoveler, said the app makes it easy to earn extra money around the holidays.

“I made more on Shovler in two days than I did trying to do Uber for a month,” Abro told The Penny Hoarder.

Abro said he can quickly find jobs by simply opening the app after a big snowfall.

“We get a few big snowstorms a year so I just log on during those days and see hundreds of jobs and work through the ones that are close,” he said.

Like Simondet, Abro said he made about $3,000 during winter 2020-21 using Shovler.

Another cool perk: Snow shovelers get to keep all the tips they receive. Shovler noted that “over 75% of users tipped their shoveler and the tip amount to shoveler’s pay was an average over 30%!” — that’s quite a hefty bit of extra change coming from tips.

During a 2020 winter snowstorm, Shovler reported that users tipped their shovelers an average of 44%.

All Shovler transactions are completed through the app using credit card information. Shovelers receive payment once the job is reviewed by the customer or 13 hours later, whichever is sooner.

Stripe will transfer money into your account every two to three business days.

Shoveling snow is just one available side hustle. Check out our 29 picks to help you make more money.

How Busy Will You Be Shoveling Snow?

If you’re looking to make Shovler a lucrative job, it’s wise to keep an eye on the local weather forecast.

The app is available everywhere in the United States and parts of Canada, but snowier parts of the country draw more business.

In 2020, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Michigan were the busiest states on Shovler, due to record snowfall in the Northeast. During a typical year, Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin and Illinois take the top spots, according to Miller.

“In order to fill every job on the platform we need shovelers everywhere in North America — at least the places that get snow,” Miller said.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Does the Shovler App Work?

The Shovler app connects independent snow shovelers with those looking to purchase their services. The entire process works within the company's Android and iOS smartphone apps. Rates (and shoveler payments) are set based on the specifics of the job requested.

How Much Do You Make on the Shovler App?

An independent contractor can expect to make between $35 and $75 for small jobs. Larger jobs, such as clearing small business parking lots, bring in more cash.

How Do You Start a Snow Shoveling Side Hustle?

Signing up for an app like Shovler is a great way to connect yourself with locals who need snow shoveling services. You'll also need to be equipped with the proper warm attire, snow shovels and additional supplies, such as ice salt and car-cleaning tools.

Contributor Jenna Limbach writes on financial literacy and lifestyle topics for The Penny Hoarder. Michael Archambault is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

Information from former Penny Hoarder writer Carson Kohler is included in this report.