Winter is here! It’s time to ramp up your landscaping services for the new season with snow removal services.
Snow season offers a great opportunity to expand your business. On one hand, it can turn out to be highly profitable, on the other, it comes with a unique set of challenges of dealing with unpredictable weather patterns, demanding physical labor requirements, and equipment concerns.
Let’s have a look at all the things you need to do to plan ahead for the season.
1. Prepare the clients’ list early
Knowing when to start reaching out to customers for their snow removal needs is the first step.
When the leaves have started to fall, it’s time to get the conversation started. Start reaching out to potential customers early before the season starts. Here, timing is crucial.
Reach out to your existing client base and let them know in advance that you are planning to add snow removal services to your company. This pre-order strategy will help you get your equipment in order and plan the labor early.
Use word-of-mouth referrals to find clients. Referral marketing is one of the best ways to market your snow removal services. Offer incentives for the same as referral leads are usually high quality since they are based on trust.
If that luxury doesn’t exist, go the old-fashioned way: door-to-door advertising, direct mailing, newspaper ads, and distributing flyers in community gatherings.
Visiting the site before the season starts can make a real difference. Remember, the early bird catches the worm! Send out a simple stock email listing your services, showing the features. Covering your existing clients and the local community isn’t sufficient, it’s time to find potential leads.
2. Devise a great marketing plan
Developing a solid marketing strategy can help you get a leg up on the competition and get quality leads. Focus on marketing tactics, such as designing door hangers or flyers, and connecting with homeowners through Facebook groups, using newsletters, etc.
Use email marketing to reach out to your existing customers for snow plowing. Distribute snow removal flyers in your local neighborhood to attract more customers. You can also use the community bulletin boards in local grocery stores, gyms, libraries, public parks, etc (make sure you have permission).
Post snow removal advertisements online. Leverage the power of digital by figuring out the best medium for your business.
Your ads need to be designed for your target audience, so figure out the platform that your ideal customers use the most. For commercial it would usually be facility managers, and for residential, it will be individual homeowners.
Explore digital ads. Google Local Service Ads, and Facebook ads are among the most popular and user-friendly.
Don’t forget to claim your Google My Business listing. It’s free and is a great way to ensure your business is being accurately displayed in search results. Everything from business hours to contact info, a link to your website, and reviews are included in your business listing.
Build a new snow removal website or simply add a new page to your website only for winter services. Showcase your previous work through a photo gallery on your website and add client testimonials from existing or old customers.
3. Prepare for extreme weather conditions
Your customers invest a lot to keep their property in the best shape during the summers. Your winter services need to be a sure-shot way to care for that investment.
Snowstorms or blizzards do not happen when it’s convenient. They hit at inopportune times that could cause you to send crews out to clear roads or driveways in the middle of a holiday night. Prepare for the unpredictability. Plan your services, labor to monitor heavy snowfall, blizzard conditions, and conditions onsite.
Historical weather data is critical for your snow removal business. Keeping an eye on the weather forecast and monitoring the weather is the key here. There are multiple sources to monitor the weather just a google search away.
The sheer volume of snow removal jobs can get overwhelming. If you haven’t trained your crews on a plan of attack or if employees are unfamiliar with a property they are clearing, it could result in the job taking longer than planned, destroyed property, or damaged equipment.
It becomes rather important to plan for extremities by focusing on alternate routes and scheduling things in advance.
Survey your snow customers’ properties for obstacles and determine how many employees will be needed to get the job done, along with the amount of salt or other deicing material you’ll need. Managing your crew efficiently is the key here.
4. Get the right equipment home
Snow removal services vary across clients and jobs. For instance, residential homes may only need a snow shovel or a snowblower but HOAs (home owner associations) or commercial buildings will need a snow plower, plow blades for ATVs or trucks.
Use your service list to determine what kinds of equipment you’ll need. The common snow removal equipment and supplies you’ll need are: snow blowers, shovels, snow plow, plow guides, snow deflector, salt spreader, etc. Identify the correct equipment for your landscaping business before you buy fancy.
Pro-tip: Shop for new equipment during the off-season, preferably choosing last year’s models or excess stock that can be had at discount prices. We also suggest maintaining brand consistency to keep repair-supply expenses low.
5. Pricing your snow removal services
Price your snow and ice removal jobs for profit. Acquire more business this snow season with instant property measurement. It’s a great way to make money during the off-season.
Snowplow businesses usually charge between $50 to $200 for each snow removal visit. These rates can go as high as $500 depending on the services, the quality, the lot size, and the amount of snowfall that occurred.
The average cost of snow removal in the United States is $113 per visit. Snow removal service costs typically cover hauling the snow off of the property. Services such as snow blowing, plowing, or shoveling involve clearing the snow and piling it on one side of the property.
Get a quote that takes into account the property specifics. You should price your services higher if the job has larger areas or long driveways, steep, or hard-to-navigate lots, heavier amounts of snowfall, requires more snow removal equipment, requires additional de-icing services such as salting or sanding, etc.
We have a complete guide on how to choose the pricing strategy for landscaping jobs here.
6. Gather your learnings for the next season
Use the quiet winter months to reflect on your previous lawn care season and to plan for the next.
Late winter is a great time to start thinking about your customers’ needs for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Get a head start on your bidding, or tackle those time-consuming tasks such as hiring new crew members, working on marketing your services.
If this is your first time taking up snow removal jobs, identify if your crew members are up for the job. Hire accordingly. If a certain crew has more expertise, you know whom to send to your high-value clients.
Attentive can be a real game-changer for your snow removal business by simplifying property measurements for you. This means you’ll be able to generate faster quotes and capture more business, without any fieldwork. To talk to us, click here.