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 a 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 an app called Shovler.
It’s kind of like Uber — but for snow shoveling — and since its release in December 2016, more than 15,000 people have registered to become snow shovelers, according to Miller.
How Did the Shovler App 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: The pay ain’t too shabby.
Miller came up with the idea for Shovler in the winter of 2015 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 You Make Shoveling Snow?
The app went live for iOS and Android at the beginning of December 2016, and approximately 15,000 snow shovelers have registered with it across the U.S. and parts of Canada, according to Miller.
Those who are in need of shoveling services enter their requests into the app. The registered shovelers get pinged when a job’s available nearby.
Pay is calculated by an algorithm that takes the depth of snow and the size of the property, as well as other factors, into consideration. In general, though, typical rates range from:
- $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 20% of each job (though there are promo codes out there for 10% off), and the human shoveler gets the rest.
Miller says shovelers have made up to $200 per gig and says the app also hosts customers who tip generously, some tacking on a 50% tip.
“Shovelers love the app because they get paid by the job, not the hour,” Miller says. “That really gives them the ability to earn $50 in an hour if they are quick.”
Shovelers get paid after the user rates the job or within 24 hours — whichever is faster.
How You Can Sign Up For Shovler
The app is available across the U.S. and in parts of Canada, but its most popular cities are Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and New York.
Signing up is easy — and a lot easier than awkwardly knocking on your neighbors’ doors or giving them a ring. Plus, the app is currently running a promotion for new shovelers – if you sign up by December 21, you’ll be reimbursed up to $30 for snow shoveling tools or receive a $10 credit if you already have your own tools.
So why not make some money off the most recent dumping of the devil’s dandruff?
Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.
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