Ballpark estimate: $30 to $75+ per visit or $300-$450+for a seasonal contract
You may love the glistening look of snow blanketing your yard, but when a snow storm causes you to be stranded at home, you’ll probably be eager to hire a snow plow to clear your driveway so you’ll be able to get your car out.
Variables Affecting Plowing Costs
For people who live in regions where heavy snow is a common occurrence, investing in having your driveway professionally plowed can be preferable to standing out in the freezing cold and wind and shoveling, or using a snow blower, to clear it yourself.
The cost for having your driveway professionally plowed depends on a number of variables. For instance, some companies will charge you one flat rate for the entire season, regardless of how many times they need to come throughout the winter and how high the snow fall is. This set price will make it easy to budget for snow plowing in advance. Just keep in mind that many snow plow companies who offer annual contracts do put a cap on how many visits they are willing to include per year. Typically, any extra visits beyond this number will be charged as an extra expense, so you’ll need to have some extra money set aside, just in case it’s an especially snowy winter.
If you prefer to pay-as-you-go, you can also opt to have the plowing company just charge you a flat rate for each visit to your home. (Remember that some storms may require multiple visits, so this can also add up to more than you might expect.) Further, some snow plows will charge you a set amount for every visit, while others will determine their pricing depending on the amount of work that needs to be done each time they come. This means that clearing away six inches of snow from your driveway will cost you less than clearing away two feet of snow. Therefore, you may not know in advance what the expense will be when the plow comes.
Other Factors to Consider
Details like the length of your driveway and the grade will also impact the cost. (Steep, winding, or hilly driveways will likely cost more than a straight, even driveway.) Other variables to ask any companies you’re considering include what constitutes a plowable storm (3 inches or more is typical), how wide a path they will clear, what they will do with the snow they remove, and how thick a covering of snow will remain on the driveway when they are done.
In addition to plowing, some companies will include sanding or salting the end of your driveway to prevent you from having trouble getting your car out and to avoid slipping or skidding. Be sure to ask if this is included in the price you get because if this is charged as an extra fee, it can really pad the bill. You’ll also want to know if the price includes clearing your pathways and ensuring access to your garage.
Finally, some companies may charge extra for the fuel they use and extra workers who help, so make sure you know these details up front so you plan accordingly.
How to Find a Snow Removal Service
To find a snow plow company, you can do a search online for snow removal companies in your area or look for ads for individuals offering this service. Another option is to look for online directories of service providers. Angies List, Home Advisor, and Plowz and Mowz. You can also find out who your neighbors use, since you might be able to negotiate a better deal from a plow that is already in your area each storm. By selecting someone who does other homes on your street, you’ll also be able to see how thorough a job they do and find out how reliable they are. With anyone you’re considering, it’s always wise to ask for references. And before you sign a contract with a snow removal service, check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure that the company is reputable. This is important, especially when you select an annual contract, since you are paying the company up front, so you need to be sure once they have your money that they’ll really come and do the work.
Cost for Snow Plowing
The cost for snow plowing is usually less expensive per visit when you commit to a seasonal contract, which means you pay one price up front, rather than just hiring someone by the visit and paying as you go along. For a standard, straight driveway (this is usually for one to four cars), you can figure that a professional plow can clear up 10 to 12 inches of snow in one visit. If you pay by the job, this could cost you between $30 to $75 for a visit, depending on the size of your driveway and what’s involved in clearing it. Many experts say that going with a contract, though, can cut your costs considerably in a winter with average snowfall, which is what companies usually use to base their pricing arrangements. An annual contract can start at about $300 and go up to as much as $450+ and usually runs from November through April. At the low end of the scale, it only takes 10 visits to break even and after that, you come out ahead (up until you reach the maximum inches or number of visits included, before overage charges kick in).
If you want to have your walkways or steps cleared, some plowing companies will be willing to add this service for a small fee, which can start at $10 to $25 and go on up, depending on what’s involved.
If you work from home or are retired and are in no rush to get out of your house right away in a storm, you may be able to get a better deal on having your driveway plowed if the snow removal company can do at the end of the day or even wait until the day after a storm.