It’s time for the next money making post. We hope that our list of over 100 ways to earn extra income and articles are inspiring you and your family to pick up pen and paper and jot down ideas for your own family business. We will continue to share ideas with you on how to make money on the side with the hope it will encourage you in meeting your financial goals and with the thought that maybe one day one you can transform one of these ideas into a full-time money-making venture! Please don’t forget to continue sharing with us any ideas that you have as well.
We want to now discuss running a snow removal business. We do write this with the understanding that some of you might be blessed to live in an area which may snow every few years and where the city shuts down on that one day. We will try to catch you on the next article. But for you families that know what snow is, love the first snowfall and possibly start dreading it on the second (or love it through the end!), this article is for you.
One of the things we love about this business is how many members of the family can play an integral role. Don’t forget whenever you look at a business to consider developing a family economic – each member of the family can play a role. We will discuss this more thoroughly in another article, but instilling a solid work ethic into your children will prepare them for life. Training your children to be the ant (referencing Proverbs 6:6-11) instead of the sluggard, will train your children to work hard, learn that money doesn’t grow on trees and that hard work is necessary to reap later and make it through the lean times.
Why are we talking about Snow Removal business when the snow hasn’t even fallen in most parts of the country? Because if you get started now could mean less time each day to prepare, the ability to find cheaper tools and materials, and especially more time to find committed customers!
Steps To Start A Snow Removal Business
Set a goal about what you hope to make or achieve in this money making venture.
Ask yourselves whether this business will this cover a bill (like the heating bill) or the car payment? Will it perhaps pay for your next family vacation (vacations are always much more enjoyable when everyone worked hard to meet the goal!), or even help you get closer to your financial goals.
Remember to keep that goal in front of you as you make your decisions. You don’t want to under-prepare if you are hoping to make a significant income from this, nor do you want to over-extend yourself when you were only hoping to make a few dollars. It can and will become what you make of it.
Figure out who in the family will be doing this money making venture and what roles each member would play
Do you have some in the family that are more adept at handling the snow blower? Do you need someone to handle the phone calls and all the marketing? Maybe you have some younger children that would love to be in charge of the de-icer or a snow shovel for those areas a snow-blower can’t easily reach such as the steps. Your family is unique and as such you will need to decide just how each family member can play a role in your business.
Determine your price point
Research what past snow removal businesses have charged and try to beat this. Each area will be different so ask around what a going rate is for snow removal in your area either from home owners, business owners, etc. You will also need to determine how much area you can cover per hour (obviously the level and type of snow fall will affect this). Determine if you want to charge per job or per hour. In our opinion, we suggest charging per job as the time will vary based on snowfall, and businesses will pay more per job than a homeowner would.
Decide what equipment you will need
Try to think a bit out of the box on this one. Do you need a certain number or types of shovels? What kind and how much de-icer might you need for the year? Consider the size of snow blower you might be willing to purchase. Again, this will depend on your ultimate goal and size of the business, but if you can clear a path with a larger snow blower in a fraction of a time of an entry-level snow blower it just might be more economical to purchase the larger blower. Make sure to consider whether you will need to purchase heavier coats, insulated underwear/overalls, and gloves as these are items you might not initially consider as a cost but find yourself spending money on later.
Decide how you will pay for the equipment
Do you have most of the equipment already? Do you already have funds set-aside to invest? Can you borrow the equipment from someone to get started and then buy your equipment once you are making money? We have learned the hard way how using debt to pay for a business venture can be a detriment so again, our encouragement would be to try to consider options that don’t require pulling out the credit card even if you just know its going to be a great business.
Find the equipment now when its cheaper
If you can look for a snow blower and equipment now before the snow season hits you will have more options and probably an even cheaper price. Possibly even consider finding a cheap snow blower as well if you know what you are looking for. Once the snow starts falling, this equipment will become high in demand and that means higher prices!
Advertise your business
We recommend taking advantage of free advertising services in your area like the online classifieds or the newspaper (if yours is free). Consider approaching businesses, HOA’s, apartment complexes, and homeowners before the snow season starts and getting some contracts or simple agreements to take care of their snow removal that season. You can do as much or as little as you want – you will control your commitment.
After the first snow fall, consider placing fliers on cars in parking lots advertising your service. You can also take it snow-by-snow as it is unpredictable when you will be working. Don’t forget the old trick of going door-to-door after a good snow day offering to remove the snow for a predetermine amount of money as your time allows. Very often people are thinking they are ready to clear their own snow but when someone else offers to do it for a reasonable price – it just might encourage them to not get cold and exhausted.
Offer incentives to your current customers
Consider offering an incentive to your customers if they send you a referral such as “$5 off your next service” to help your business grow. It always seems that word of mouth referrals are the best kind.
Use social media to your benefit
Start a Facebook page and/or Twitter account for your business to spread the word and to avoid costs associated with running a website – this is free and a free way of advertising your business. This is also a great way to keep past clients in contact with you. Of course, a website is a very good investment if you want to turn this into a business even more, or if you decide your first year was worth it to invest even more into it in the future!
Keep detailed records
Be organized and keep good income and expense records as you will need them for reporting on your taxes. What? Yes, this is a business so you will need to report your income, but don’t forget those receipts for all your mileage on your car, equipment and marketing supplies. Of course, we encourage you to talk to a good accountant to help you through this.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun making that extra money
We have found some of the greatest joys in working together as a family in our different ventures. And all that extra exercise and time working instead of lounging in front of the television just might help bring your family closer, make you a bit healthier, and help you achieve that goal you are trying to meet.
See our previous post Ways to Earn Extra Income: Over 100 and Counting. We would love for you to make suggestions to help us continue expanding our ever growing list of ways to make money to help your every financial goal!
Photo credit: Thank you to CityOfEvanston.org for the featured photo.