Author Topic: Could I shovel snow as an adult?  (Read 4193 times)

StealthFundip

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Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« on: March 05, 2018, 08:56:33 PM »
Pretty simple question to all my fellow Mustachians: Would you pay a 21-year old guy to shovel your sidewalk/driveway if they just came up and knocked on your door?  Has anyone done this as an adult and had success??

I really don't mind shoveling snow, especially if I could get paid for it!  I figure if I charged $10-15 per house, I could easily make $20-30/hr -- About double the hourly rate of my current day job. I'm not a very outgoing guy, which is why I'm asking the internet for permission first :)  Let me know what you think!

CupcakeGuru

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 09:06:14 PM »
My mother hires older men to shovel her sidewalk after snowstorms. She has a couple of them who will call her and ask her if she wants the sidewalk shoveled. You could do this especially if you are reliable and do a good and prompt job. I say Go For It.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 09:10:55 PM »
Where my parents live, this is common. They'll come around knocking on doors and asking if they want the driveway shoveled for a certain price. Print up some business cards and you can get some repeat customers if they're happy with your work.

terran

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 09:24:23 PM »
When we owned a house in snow country an older guy (50s?) would come knock on our door very loudly, very in early in the morning during the first snowfall every damned year to ask if I'd like to hire him. Ticked me off, but it must have worked for some people. He shoveled some neighbors driveways.

Scrapr

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 10:10:34 PM »
Last year was a once in a generation winter in Bend. We were running out of places to put it. Buildings were collapsing. Ice dams were  they word of the day and almost a mania in the press. Of course this brought in out of state storm chasers. And local neer do wells were charging $100/hr to shovel a roof. And getting it. They were quitting their $17/hr job for a company shovelling snow for a indepent contractor status to shovel snow for $100/hr

They are starving this winter. Strike while the buns are in the oven
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 10:12:34 PM by Scrapr »

JLee

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 01:59:56 AM »
Pretty simple question to all my fellow Mustachians: Would you pay a 21-year old guy to shovel your sidewalk/driveway if they just came up and knocked on your door?  Has anyone done this as an adult and had success??

I really don't mind shoveling snow, especially if I could get paid for it!  I figure if I charged $10-15 per house, I could easily make $20-30/hr -- About double the hourly rate of my current day job. I'm not a very outgoing guy, which is why I'm asking the internet for permission first :)  Let me know what you think!

Maybe it's just NJ cost of living, but my landlord pays something like $75 minimum plus $10/inch over 6" for our (small - about 1.5 car) driveway and the sidewalk / path to the front door.  There are groups of people going door to door during major snowfalls asking if we want to have them shovel, so I expect they have some success (I think we had people come by three times during one storm).

Freedomin5

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 02:14:22 AM »
In Toronto, we had a guy who would come and shovel the snow after every snowfall greater than XX number of inches. I think my parents had a contract with him, and at the end of each month, he sent an invoice with the total number of times his services were used. That way you don't have to knock on doors every time there's a snowfall, and people don't have to remember to call you.

Basically, it's just a guarantee, for example, "Your driveway at XX address will be shoveled by 7:30 AM if the snowfall on the ground exceeds XX inches, for a price of $XX per visit."

He had a pick up truck and attached a shovel attachment to the front of it. I think he had a few houses on our street and neighboring streets, and worked from around 4:30 AM to 7:30 AM, and then went to his day job. It worked out for both parties because we knew we would always be able to get our car out of the driveway, and he knew he was guaranteed work if it snowed.

Dave1442397

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 05:33:15 AM »
We had some heavy snow back in 2010, and these guys rented a Bobcat and were doing people's driveways. Good idea. They tried to get me to hire them, but I didn't bite.


Jeff K

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 05:54:05 AM »
I don't see why not.  If you know of any neighborhoods where there are a lot of seniors, I think you'd be able to find that kind of work easily.  Also, since you're planning on shoveling, do yourself a favor and get a sleigh shovel.  They make shoveling large amounts of snow incredibly easy with less chance of injury.  I have a pretty large driveway and live in Vermont but thanks to that shovel, I've only had to use my snow blower once in 2 years.  Even then it was because we got a foot and a half overnight.


hops

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 06:15:58 AM »
A few years ago I paid some enterprising college kids to shovel my extra-large driveway. I wasn't much older than them, and it's normally something I do myself, but my arthritis was flaring and it was hard to keep up with the snow. I was glad they made the offer. They went door-to-door, working very quickly and efficiently as a team. It was a one-time event for them, looking to profit from a blizzard.

slappy

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 06:16:48 AM »
If you don't want to knock on doors, you can always post on facebook or craigslist, or post fliers. I personally would not want someone knocking on my door.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 06:45:12 AM »
$10-$15?  I'd hire you.  The middle school kids want $50.  (I don't hire them.)

Sibley

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 07:17:13 AM »
There's a couple people who post on Next Door in my area.

Reynolds531

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 08:50:17 AM »
Save your body, go on Craigslist and find a toro 2 stroke blower. Ccr 2450 or 3650. Should be $200, will pay for itself a hundred times over.

aetheldrea

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2018, 01:36:47 PM »
Save your body, go on Craigslist and find a toro 2 stroke blower. Ccr 2450 or 3650. Should be $200, will pay for itself a hundred times over.
Whose woods these are, I think I know
Because that lazy fucker has a snowblower loud as a motorcycle
And Iím choking on the exhaust.

peeps_be_peeping

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2018, 01:46:50 PM »
Yes, I would absolutely pay you $10-$15 to shovel my driveway and sidewalks! I live in a snowy place and only once in my 9 years of home ownership has anyone knocked on my door offering to shovel. That one time it was 4 teenagers raising money for their basketball team and I paid them $40. There was at least 6 inches of hard compact snow on my driveway and they took care of it in about 20 minutes. I wish they would come back!!!

CestMoi

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2018, 02:16:44 PM »
I would definitely hire an adult to shovel my driveway and walkways.

Reynolds531

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2018, 04:36:37 PM »
Save your body, go on Craigslist and find a toro 2 stroke blower. Ccr 2450 or 3650. Should be $200, will pay for itself a hundred times over.
Whose woods these are, I think I know
Because that lazy fucker has a snowblower loud as a motorcycle
And Iím choking on the exhaust.

Huh?! I don't know what you're trying to say!

Yes they're loud, who cares. Also synthetic 2 stroke oil will cut down on smoke.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2018, 05:41:53 PM »
Save your body, go on Craigslist and find a toro 2 stroke blower. Ccr 2450 or 3650. Should be $200, will pay for itself a hundred times over.
Whose woods these are, I think I know
Because that lazy fucker has a snowblower loud as a motorcycle
And Iím choking on the exhaust.

Huh?! I don't know what you're trying to say!

Shockingly, the guy who likes loud machinery is unfamiliar with the poetry of Robert Frost... :-)

renata ricotta

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2018, 06:11:21 PM »
If you don't want to knock on doors, you can always post on facebook or craigslist, or post fliers. I personally would not want someone knocking on my door.

Yes, I'd get a little freaked out and think someone is trying to scam me if someone knocked on my door and asked for money to do a task, especially if it was currently snowy.  I'd rather get a flyer.  I also agree posting on your neighborhood social media (Next Door, neighborhood facebook page, etc.) is another less-intrusive way of getting the word out. 

And to answer your original question, plenty of people hire adults for things like this (same with lawn mowing in the summertime) and many prefer it to hiring children, who are flaky and can get hurt and cause big headaches. 

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2018, 06:24:46 PM »
Just beware when you set your price you're ready for the job. Nothing more annoying that someone who says, "yeah for $20 I'll do X" then half way through goes, "man this is harder than I thought I need 40!" -- nope, you get 20 or 0, your choice. Finish the job, or no dice. Kids we're more lenient on, but adults should know better.

Beard N Bones

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2018, 06:47:10 PM »
Pretty simple question to all my fellow Mustachians: Would you pay a 21-year old guy to shovel your sidewalk/driveway if they just came up and knocked on your door?  Has anyone done this as an adult and had success??

I really don't mind shoveling snow, especially if I could get paid for it!  I figure if I charged $10-15 per house, I could easily make $20-30/hr -- About double the hourly rate of my current day job. I'm not a very outgoing guy, which is why I'm asking the internet for permission first :)  Let me know what you think!

$10-15 only?! Make it worth your while and charge at least double that! People are lazy and will lots of money for someone to take care of a task like that. We got about 16 inches of snow in the last two days and took about 2 hours of my life to take care of it using a snowblower.

Be professional and do a good job and you'll do well with it.
Good luck with the venture!

HipGnosis

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2018, 07:39:10 PM »
+1 that you sure can.

But, I wouldn't knock on doors (and I wouldn't hire someone that knocks on my door).
Find out what locale social media / connections are popular in your area.  I'm on NextDoor and OfferUp (in SE WI).   There are probably others.
Before you post there, browse around and see what the going rate is in your area.  I'd suggest that you undercut it by 25% (to start).
Communicate well and keep your word.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2018, 04:35:46 AM »
When you get older, a 21yo is still basically a kid. Go for it.

Dragonswan

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2018, 05:56:20 AM »
Absolutely.  Knocking on doors to drum up business is fine.  The first winter I went online and found a snow removal service (basically a lawn service that did snow in winter).  Then then closed up shop.  The next winter it snowed, I wasn't prepared with another company (caring for a family member who had surgery) and a kid (young adults your age are kids to me) knocked on the door and offered to shovel for $40 (HCOL).  I said yes.  He said he'd be back every time it snowed enough to shovel. Been fairly happy ever since.  So go for it!

sokoloff

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2018, 07:26:18 AM »
I figure if I charged $10-15 per house, I could easily make $20-30/hr -- About double the hourly rate of my current day job. I'm not a very outgoing guy, which is why I'm asking the internet for permission first :)  Let me know what you think!
Most anyone who is going to say yes to $15 would have also said yes to $20. The hardest part is getting off of $0. Once you have someone off of $0, it's easier to move them to a higher number than you think.
Don't undercut yourself needlessly.

I think you need to target around $40/hour spent actually shoveling, so that you get to $20/hour overall.

Also, have a plan for variable amounts of snow. You don't want to get the same for 9" of heavy slush as 3" of popcorn snow.

We did this in my family when I was kid. Dad was a schoolteacher in MD (so we had the school day off anytime there was plowable snow). He'd go around in the plow truck and drop me off with the shovels for the sidewalks and spots the truck couldn't get. While I was shoveling different businesses on the route, he was driving around plowing. (Some jobs were more truck; others more shovel.) It was a pretty good gig for us, and I was able to convert several of the businesses to be my grass cutting customers as well during the summer. We found that we couldn't really bill people more for 6" of heavy snow than 6" of light snow. Customer mindset seemed to be "I'll pay more for higher snow; that's fair" but many couldn't wrap their head around 3" of heavy being harder than 8" of light, so we billed only on height and number of visits needed; if we had to go back twice, we'd charge 1x for the last visit and 0.5x for the others. For homeowners, that's usually not a factor, but businesses that wanted to stay open were often happy to pay more for a large storm if we could keep them operating. I think we billed a set amount for 3" and then an increment for every 3" above that, but it's been a very long time and you'll need to figure out for yourself anyway. For sidewalks and homeowners, you want a simple to understand and fair-sounding price model. Probably don't want to whip out any y = mx + b on them, but something simple and fair.

Your mindset isn't to convert every penny-pincher, but rather to convert the people who will value the convenience of not dealing with it. Those people are buying convenience, not cubic feet of snow removed or minutes of shoveling avoided. Price according to the value they get, not your costs/efforts.

ChickenStash

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2018, 07:36:55 AM »
I see people post up on NextDoor quite often offering show shoveling/blowing and they get a lot of responses. I also get flyers stuck in my door in fall quite often - not sure how much response people get from those. In a snowy area there's always a market for snow removal services. Can't say I've ever checked on their prices, though.

JanetJackson

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2018, 06:36:57 AM »
I would like to back up the "don't knock on the door" opinions here.
When I lived more in the city, if someone knocked on my door I immediately ducked and turned the lights off.  Why are you knocking in my door?  Who are you?  If I know you, you'd call or text before knocking, so I KNOW that you're a stranger.  Are you here to hurt us?  Go away, that's weird.  Etc. Etc.
Out more rurally it may be more acceptable.  I'm in the country-ish now and if anyone knocks I at least look out the window to see who it is (100% it's just my neighbor offering me eggs from the chickens) instead of hiding or feeling defensive.
The world is weird and whether it's more dangerous than ever or perceived as more dangerous than ever - I don't know... but I do know that people hate knocking.
NextDoor, Facebook, Flyering, Median advertising signs, Craigslist, etc.  Just keep your hands off my door.  Ha.


+1 that you sure can.

But, I wouldn't knock on doors (and I wouldn't hire someone that knocks on my door).
Find out what locale social media / connections are popular in your area.  I'm on NextDoor and OfferUp (in SE WI).   There are probably others.
Before you post there, browse around and see what the going rate is in your area.  I'd suggest that you undercut it by 25% (to start).
Communicate well and keep your word.

Jouer

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2018, 08:28:13 AM »
I would not hire you because I am able bodied and think about where I spend my money. But I know many who would. In my Ottawa suburban neighbourhood, only me and one other couple shovel our own driveways. A few have snowblowers but most use a plow service for $250-400 or so for the season.

I think posting on local social media sites, flyers at the grocery store etc would be worthwhile marketing. But I also see no issue with knocking on doors during a storm - strike while the customer needs the service the most.

mavendrill

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Re: Could I shovel snow as an adult?
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2018, 01:34:25 PM »
When in College at CU Boulder (Colorado), my church group regularly shoveled snow as a fundraiser.  It is a BLAST to do with friends (and 3 of you can make quick work of any driveway - while the 3rd person barely needs to have physical ability to do work as you shovel double wide with a trailing person in between). 

Not sure if it was because we were raising money for mission trips, but we stayed busy all day.  We would go in teams of 5 (two to introduce themselves and scout/find houses to shovel and collect cash, 3 to shovel).  We could normally clear $1,000 from 8 to noon.  (granted only $200 each, but thats still decent money)