Growing your snow removal business can be a challenging and stressful task to undertake. From snow removal insurance to more equipment, there’s much to consider. However, growth is a necessity to keep your company moving forward.
The key to success is a system of operations that keeps you organized and maximizes profits. It can be beneficial to seek out advice from experts with experience in snow business management.
With that said, here are some helpful tips for growing your snow plowing business and providing better services for your target market.
1. Check Out the Necessary Legal Information You Need When Running a Snow Removal Business
Things like payroll, health insurance, and liability insurance are complicated matters especially if you’re out there trying to plow properties alongside your newly-hired employees. If you’re faced with moonlighting as human resources for your own business while still doing everything else you’ve always done, then you might want to consider hiring someone that already has that expertise.
2. Invest in High-Quality Tools & Equipment
The right tools are a requirement if you’re wondering, “how to grow my snow business?”. Buying more equipment of high quality right off the bat will ensure that you're a one-stop shop with a long-lasting, effective strategy to start promoting your services.
Here are just a few most basic tools you should make sure to invest in:
- Snow Plow: A detachable plow can be fastened to a vehicle and used to move large amounts of snow or ice off of roads and pathways.
- Snow Blower: Perfect for clearing walkways and paths, snow blowers are battery-operated and easy to use. They suck in and remove snow much like a vacuum. There are two types to choose from, the walk-behind blower and the ride-on blower.
- Snow Shovels: These are generally manual use tools, but they consistently deliver when you need to move ice and packed snow the traditional way. Some automatic shovels are also available.
3. Learn from Your Competitors
A wise business owner knows that there is so much competition in the snow removal business and learns from it. Whether it’s ways to connect with potential customers or to start marketing better, it helps to keep tabs on your competitors’ successes and failures. You may want to adjust your business plan to emulate that of competitors or to heed their mistakes.
4. Make Sure You Are Not Buying Salt from Your Competitor
Many suppliers of de-icing products also operate their own snow removal businesses. Unfortunately, when shortages occur, these companies scale back on their deliveries of de-icing products to their snow removal competitors to make sure they can supply their accounts first. Your competitor is also likely to be contacting your customers and asking them if they are happy with their current snow removal company.
If that is not bad enough, by continuing to purchase your de-icing products from your competitor, you are giving them buying power. This means that they get to purchase their de-icing products for a lot less. They then get to pass these savings along to their customers when bidding for snow removal jobs. They could potentially win an account over your company because they bid a cheaper salting price, and you helped them get that cheaper price by buying your salt from them.
5. Set Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual Goals
It’s always important to set a combination of short and long-term goals for your company, as these will motivate you and your team as you move forward in the snow removal industry.
Monitoring your business’ progress on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis will ensure that you are on track to meeting your targets. Use quantifiable data to determine how you are doing throughout the year, allowing yourself to replicate your successes in the future and grow your business over time.
6. Be Prepared for the Season
The snow industry is seasonal, picking up around mid September. Whether it be a long-lasting snow event or just a quick dusting of snow, you must be able to offer your best service at that moment.
Planning ahead and being fully stocked with winter products, like de-icers, is one of the secrets to success in snow plowing business operations. If you’re delayed because your supplier is out of stock, you will be forced to look elsewhere for those same supplies. This is where you can run into real issues, as you run the risk of higher costs, not to mention delaying more services.
7. Stay on Top of Equipment Maintenance
We recommend that you create a maintenance checklist for all of your equipment. Things like putting air in truck tires should happen regularly. Changing the oil should happen regularly, too, if not as frequently. Even things like washing trucks and state inspections should be scheduled so they aren’t forgotten in the daily hustle of the business.
Even implementing software like UpKeep could be a sound investment. Digitizing your maintenance requirements ensures a more efficient process and means you’ll never be out of commission due to a lack of functional equipment and that’s priceless.
8. Find New Clients
Are you too busy rolling your sleeves up in the field to do your own marketing? At the very least, be polite, courteous, and extremely reliable to your clients; word of mouth is perhaps the most effective advertising you can have. Best of all, it’s free!
However, if you are beginning to scale up, whether it’s a residential snow plowing business or commercial snow removal contracts, then it might be time to hire a sales staff to help land new accounts. Let them stay in the office, answer customer questions, process paperwork, and do any of the other stuff you might not have time for.
Most of all, ensure you hire someone with a knack for sales. While you and your team are out clearing snow let them be your voice. Make sure they market your company through as many channels as possible. We suggest, at the very least, direct mail, social media, and flyers.
Don’t be afraid to have your team pound the pavement and go knocking on the doors or cold calling the businesses in your area that look like they’d benefit from your services as well. With persistence, your list of existing customers will have no choice but to grow from these efforts.
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9. Price Your Snow & Ice Removal Services Correctly
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to pricing. However, there are ways to better understand your business, which makes pricing your services that much easier. The rule of thumb? Figure out how much you want to be paid and how much you want to pay your employees, then work back from there.
Calculate the cost of paying you and your workforce, the cumulative cost of overhead, the cost of your consumable inventory (things like bulk rock salt), and the cost of your fleet (regular maintenance and repairs). Once you’ve crunched those numbers, choose a service rate that will accommodate those expenses. Just bear in mind that your prices should be competitive within your region.
10. Produce a Better Snow Removal Contract
The best snow business advice for producing a good contract is to make it as specific and clear as possible. Don’t worry about being too wordy — the more information the better.
Never assume that something is implied. Your potential customers and clients may have no knowledge of this industry whatsoever, and it is your job to inform them in detail of all the snow removal services you are providing for them (and also what you are not providing them).
Not only should you explicitly state everything included in your client’s purchase, but you should also provide them with any additional information they may find necessary or helpful. This can include site maps or snow piling locations.
11. Hire Help When Needed
Most snow removal enterprises can go pretty far with just the owner at the wheel. However, there’s only so much you can do on your own before consistency and quality suffer. When you start to see the first signs of overwork it’s time to bring in employees. However, how do you make sure that the process isn’t just smooth but that it doesn’t change the quality of service you’ve worked so hard to establish?
Train your employees in a way that teaches them how to work like you do while preserving the spirit of your business.
Lastly, get workers’ compensation and liability insurance: it’s not just you anymore. There are legal requirements when hiring a crew. At the very least, you need to be paying into workers’ compensation as well as liability insurance should something go wrong on the job.
12. Build a Relationship with a Local Rock Salt Supplier
Salt shortages are not unusual in the snow removal industry, especially when everyone requires the same products at the same time. Factors like salt mines closing, increased tariffs, or low water levels for transporting the product can all play a role in salt supply from year to year. A shortage can breed price gouging, which will cost your company greatly as the prices climb.
This is why partnering with a trusted local supplier that offers a fixed price is so important. Ninja De-Icer is a reliable go-to Nationwide Salt & De-Icer Supplier to help you grow your snow removal company.
Ninja Deicer Can Help You with the Snow Removal Business
Ninja De-Icer is an expert Rock Salt Supplier and Snow Removal Business Consultation provider. With our experience in this industry, we understand the challenges your business faces and are here to help arm you with the right tools and snow marketing tips to move your business forward.
Ninja De-Icer is here to make sure you’re on your way to success. Contact us today for our Snow Removal Business and Ice Management Consulting services!