How Much Does Snow Removal Cost?

snow removal costs

The average cost of snow removal is $50 to $200, but it can vary depending on several factors. Snow removal costs are an expense you can count on if you live in an area that receives annual snowfall, but you’ll never know how much you’ll have to pay until the snow flies. 

Factors in Calculating Snow Removal Costs

Snow removal costs fluctuate depending on many factors. These include the snow’s depth, what type of equipment your service provider is using, and how often you need snow removal. 

Amount and Type of Snow

Most snow removal professionals charge by the hour because there is a significant difference between light powdery snow and a heavy snowfall of several inches. 

Light flurry vs. heavy snowfall

A light snow flurry that drops less than an inch or two may not even require snow removal. However, anything over a few inches can make getting in and out of your house complex. Heavy snowfalls of 6″ to 18” can require multiple passes with a plow to stay on top of it. 

Wet snow vs. powdery snow

Dry powdery snow is easier to shovel, plow, or blow than heavy wet snow. So, removing it will take longer and cost more. 

Weather forecasts also play a role in snow removal. If the forecast calls for temperatures above freezing after a light snowfall, the snow will melt within a few hours, so paying someone to plow your driveway doesn’t make sense. 

On the other hand, if more snow is in the forecast, snow removal should be prompt.

Equipment and Labor

cost of professional snow removal

The cost of equipment and labor varies depending on the type of equipment used and the hourly labor rates. 

Type of equipment used 

cost of snow removal in yards

You can shovel small yards and driveways, while large ones require snow blowers or plows. Snowplowing and snow blowing are much faster than snow shoveling, but if you have a small yard, it might be overkill.

Here are some common costs of snow removal for various types of equipment used.

Snow removal methodPrice
Snow shoveling$25 to $65 per hour
Snow blowing$35 to $85 per hour
Snow plowing$30 to $100 per visit

Hourly labor rates

The average hourly cost for snow removal is $25 to $65 per hour. Service providers generally charge extra when they need equipment like plows and snow blowers. 

Labor rates vary depending on where you live. It’s common to see people charging higher prices after extreme snow events because there is more demand for their services. In extreme situations, people pay up to $100 per hour to have their roofs shoveled after heavy snowfalls.

Frequency of Service

How often you need snow removal service depends entirely on the weather, and it’s almost impossible to predict with accuracy. For this reason, most snow removal services use on-call or seasonal contracts.

On-call vs. seasonal contracts

Snow removal services are typically either on-call, where you call them when you need snow removal, or seasonal contracts, where they decide when to come based on how much snow there is. 

It’s common for heavy snowfalls to occur in the middle of the night. That’s why many people prefer the convenience of seasonal contracts.

Impact of frequent snowfalls

Frequent snowfalls will impact your snow removal bill, whether you have a seasonal contract or an on-call service agreement. The more often you need your driveway plowed or your walk shoveled, the higher your bill will be.

Additional Costs and Considerations

There are a lot of variables when it comes to snow removal costs. Here are a few additional costs and considerations to factor into your budget.

Ice Melt and Salting

pet-safe ice melt

Some snow removal services offer ice melt and salting services, whether that’s for de-icing your driveway or sidewalks. 

Benefits of salting

Salting helps keep your driveway and paths free of ice buildup, which can be dangerous. It’s even more critical if you’re a business owner, but slips and falls that happen at home are some of the most common causes of broken bones and emergency room visits. 

Types and costs of ice melt products

The cost of salting and de-icing is usually $20 to $50 per application, including the materials. 

Ice melts have various melting points, and you can choose from several types of products depending on your needs and climate.

Ice melt productActive ingredientCostBenefits
Green Ice Melt Sodium acetate$103.95 for 25 lbs.Pet and concrete safe
Groundworks All Natural Potassium chloride$27.90 for 10 lbs.Safe for concrete, children, and pets
Safe Step Power Blend$55.57 for 40 lbs.Temperatures down to -10°F (-23°C)
Harris Kind Melt Magnesium chloride$37.99 for 15 lbs.Pet-safe, fast-acting

Special Requests and Customization

Snow removal services usually charge more for special requests and customized plowing services. 

Early morning removal

After a heavy snowfall, snow removal professionals spend long days getting everyone plowed out, charging premium prices for priority clients. If you need early morning removal, such as for a business that opens early, you’ll have to pay more to be placed at the top of the priority list. 

Removal of snow piles after plowing

Some years have heavier snowfall, which can result in large piles of snow in parking lots, driveways, and yards. Removing snow piles requires special equipment, such as a backhoe, because the snow is usually dense and frozen. It can cost up to $1,000 in some instances.

Liability and Insurance

Insured services protect you as a home or business owner, but snow removal services that are protected by liability insurance may charge more than those that aren’t. 

The importance of insured services

Insurance provides peace of mind and protects you financially from potential damages caused by snow removal. Usually, snow removal insurance is purchased by a snow removal company, but if you own a business, it may make sense to contact your insurance company to make sure you’re protected on your end. 

Homeowner liability concerns

As a homeowner, you could be charged for damages incurred by a snow removal company when removing snow at your home. For example, if they hit a neighbor’s car, you could be liable for the damages if they aren’t covered.

Snow Removal Cost by Yard and Driveway Size

Before hiring a snow removal company, ask them what method they use. Snow removal cost per square foot averages about $0.08 to $0.10.

Snow removal methods also vary depending on the size of the yard or driveway. Take a look at the factors that influence the average driveway snow removal cost.

Small Yards/Driveways (up to 1,000 sq. ft.)

snow blower driveway size

Small yards can usually be shoveled in 30 minutes to 2 hours, for an average cost of $25 per visit, depending on how much snow there is.

Medium Yards/Driveways (1,000 – 5,000 sq. ft.)

The average driveway is about 640 square feet. Medium yards and driveways may require a snow blower or snow plow, with the average driveway snow removal cost for this size yard ranging from $50 to $65 per visit.

Large Yards/Driveways (Over 5,000 sq. ft.)

The average driveway snow removal cost for large yards and driveways over 5,000 square feet is $85 to $270. It depends on the snow conditions and the length of your driveway.

When Do I Need Snow Removal Services?

How do you know when to call for snow removal services? Take safety concerns and local laws and regulations into consideration. You may also want to consider the aesthetics and functionality of your property. 

Safety Concerns

Slippery sidewalks and driveways are a significant safety concern. Slips and falls are one of the most common causes of accidents at home, and the chances of falling are much higher in the winter when snow and ice cover your walkways.

Blocked access routes can also present risks in case of emergencies. It’s critical to keep your home accessible in case you have a house fire or need to call an ambulance.

Local Laws and Regulations

Your municipality may regulate snow removal and provide clearance timelines for common areas such as sidewalks. 

Sidewalks, driveways, and approaches are the most commonly regulated areas, and you could be subject to fines and penalties if these areas aren’t cleared in a timely manner.

Property Aesthetics and Functionality

Clearing your driveway and pathways makes your home more functional, and for many, it’s a source of pride to have snow promptly removed. Proper winter maintenance and snow removal can also add to your home’s resale value and curb appeal.

DIY Snow Removal Costs vs. Hiring a Professional

DIY snow removal is strenuous, back-breaking work, but it doesn’t require a lot of skill. For many people, it’s a good source of exercise during the winter. However, if you don’t have the physical capabilities, it can be impossible to remove your own snow.

Equipment Costs and Maintenance for DIY

toro snow blower

Having the right equipment for snow removal is essential if you live in a northern climate that gets a lot of snow. At the very least, you need a snow shovel or pusher. 

Here are costs for common types of snow removal equipment:

Snow removal equipmentCost
24” True Temper snow shovel $22.98
Snow Joe snow shovel/pusher $29.97
Sleigh shovel $68.97
Ryobi cordless electric snow shovel $119.00
Toro gas walk-behind snow blower $749.00
Toro Power Max snow blower $1,599.00

The Pros of Professional Snow Removal

There are many benefits of professional snow removal. Hiring a reputable professional takes all the hassle and worry out of snow removal. 

Professionals operate with speed and efficiency, and you don’t have to worry about the physical strain of snow removal. You can also rest assured that your home is safe.

How to Save Money on Snow Removal Costs

snow blower attachment for lawn tractor

Here are a few ideas to save money on snow removal costs.

Seasonal contracts and pre-booking–Snow removal companies charge less for customers with seasonal contracts because it is less hassle and a good way for them to maintain a steady income. 

Group or neighborhood deals–Neighborhood rates and group deals can save you money on snow removal because you can split the cost of travel expenses.

Investing in quality DIY equipment–You can save money DIYing snow removal if you have the right equipment, such as a small tractor, riding lawn mower, snowplow attachment, or snow blower.

Optimal snow clearing techniques to reduce effort–Staying on top of snow removal makes it easier to remove snow after heavy snowfalls, saving you money in the long run.

FAQs About Snow Removal Costs

How are commercial snow removal costs different from residential?

Commercial snow removal costs are typically about twice as much as residential services. The cost to remove snow in a parking lot ranges from $50 to $200 per hour, but it’s critical for conducting safe business. Commercial snow removal also requires a contract and often includes de-icing services.

How do unforeseen snowstorms impact the cost of snow removal services?

Unforeseen snowstorms with heavy snowfall can increase demand for snow removal services and drive up the cost. Since there is more snow, removal takes longer, increasing the overall cost.

Are there eco-friendly de-icing options, and do they cost more?

There are environmentally friendly de-icing options, but they cost more. One of the most eco-friendly alternatives is Safe Paw Ice Melt , which is safe for pets and concrete surfaces. 

Can I save by combining snow removal with other winter services?

It’s common for lawn care companies to offer various winter services so that they can stay busy all year, and you may be able to save money by combining some services. Winter services include Christmas light installations, tree, shrub, and garden winterization, and gutter cleaning.

What’s the cost implication of heated driveways and walkways for snow melting?

Heated driveways can melt about two inches of snow per hour, reducing snow removal costs and making your home safer. However, they are expensive, with the average heated driveway cost ranging from $20 to $50 per square foot.

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