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Snow shoveling rates
Old 10-16-2011, 10:00 AM   #1
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Snow shoveling rates

Now that we are retired, we will not be home at times when it snows. We would like to hire a neighborhood kid the job, and mom says he is interested.

So what do you pay a kid that shovels? By the hour? By the depth? Our driveway is about 75' long and 3 car widths wide. We live in MN and he would be shoveling by hand. Suggestions?
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:36 AM   #2
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We don't have snow here (well, maybe a few flakes every few years but nothing that needs shoveling). Still, if I was in your situation I'd ask the kid what he charges per shoveling, and look on bulletin boards, Craig's list, and so on, to get some idea as to whether his fees are in the ballpark.

I'd pay by the job, not by the hour. Since the frequency of snowfall might be hard to predict, the kid can just bill you for the number of times he shovels.

The analogy that comes to my mind, is how I pay my lawn guy. He charges a flat $35/mow, and he mows when it needs it. So, the amount that I pay is more in, say, August than it is in February. I checked around and the usual fee here is usually $25-$35 per mow for a standard city lot. If I had a lot twice as big I'd expect to pay twice as much. My lawn guy is a good, trustworthy man and does a great job so I don't feel bad about paying $35.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:05 PM   #3
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That's a pretty big driveway to shovel by hand. Do others in the neighborhood use the local kids to shovel? If so, you could ask what they pay, and if he shovels elsewhere, you can ask him how much he charges. Then adjust for the size of your driveway vs the others.

Shoveling is paid by the job. If you want him to shovel regularly you could have one rate for lighter jobs and another for tougher ones.

If he has no experience charging and there are no other references in the neighborhood I would check the fee with his mom to make sure nobody feels unfairly treated. Letting neighborhood kids help with the chores is a great way for them to earn spending money and learn some work ethic and it also contributes to a stronger neighborhood network. Hope it works out for all involved.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:32 PM   #4
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Where I am, when people ring the bell and ask if they can shovel, they all want $20. I can't say for sure if they saw how long the driveway is, or how wide in the back, because you have to go up to the gate and look.

I'd ask the kid what people usually pay him.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:42 PM   #5
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He'll get a great workout if shoveling by hand. Last year MN got close to 100" of snow.

I've paid $25 per snowfall (4" or more), about same size, that was by plow, no walk way, that would be extra.

I hope he has access to a snowthrower.
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
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When(not if) you get a double-digit inch snow fall and he has to shovel that huge driveway by hand, you'll have to pay him based on the length of stay in the ER. For a driveway that size i'd pay the extra money and have a professional clear the driveway with the appropriate equipment.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:25 PM   #7
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I have a driveway that is about 1/3 as long and only two car widths wide, plus maybe 50' of standard sidewalk. I shovel it myself and it takes me maybe 1/2 hour with about 2"-3" on the ground. I'd gladly pay $10-$15 to a kid to shovel it, and I'm, by the sounds of things, a cheap curmudgeon. Doing some simple math, I'd expect to pay maybe $75 per occurrence if I were in your shoes.

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Old 10-16-2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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Some great ideas! We will hire someone with a truck to do the heavier snows- say 4" plus. Just do not want that "no one is home" look. Everyone in our neightborhood pretty much does their own driveway, so nothing to compare. Lots of snow sometimes! Aoround an inch or so lots of times...
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:59 AM   #9
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Wish it would be easy to hire someone where I live(or will live shortly). But with an uphill drive way that faces north, and is 20 feet by 65 feet, and when those blizzards come rolling in, with drifts 3-5 feet deep, this isn't even a job for a pickup truck with a snow plow. I need to get the snow a good distance away or it will simply pile up too high to push. I bought this Toro 2 stage SNOW THROWER, which with light snow will toss it 65 feet away. Awesome!
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:19 AM   #10
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Wish it would be easy to hire someone where I live(or will live shortly). But with an uphill drive way that faces north, and is 20 feet by 65 feet, and when those blizzards come rolling in, with drifts 3-5 feet deep, this isn't even a job for a pickup truck with a snow plow. I need to get the snow a good distance away or it will simply pile up too high to push. I bought this Toro 2 stage SNOW THROWER, which with light snow will toss it 65 feet away. Awesome!

Does that mean you are tossing it into your neighbors yard
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:33 AM   #11
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Does that mean you are tossing it into your neighbors yard
Of course, its a hazard of having neighbors!
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by thoreau View Post
Wish it would be easy to hire someone where I live(or will live shortly). But with an uphill drive way that faces north, and is 20 feet by 65 feet, and when those blizzards come rolling in, with drifts 3-5 feet deep, this isn't even a job for a pickup truck with a snow plow. I need to get the snow a good distance away or it will simply pile up too high to push. I bought this Toro 2 stage SNOW THROWER, which with light snow will toss it 65 feet away. Awesome!
I live SE of Lake Ontario in upstate NY. The lake effect bands can drop several feet at a time over a 48 hr period. My driveway is a double wide with a turnaround, over 90 feet in length. I own a HD snowthrower, but I am no longer able to operate it (to clear heavy snow) without straining my hands. My BF has a heart condition.
I used to think the same about plowing. The guy I hired keeps the blade raised high enough to avoid skimming the grass off the front lawn. He pushes the snow to the boundaries of the yard at the beginning of the season, and fills in the rest of the yard as the snow accumulates over the season. He drops the plow lower to clean off the asphalt driveway down to about 1 inch of snow (or less). Piece of cake!
Mr B or I will go out to do snowthrowing if we get a lighter layer of snow and the plow guy has already been through for the day. He runs an auto repair business full time. When we had heavy snow, he was right here on the spot to clear it all out.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bizlady View Post
Some great ideas! We will hire someone with a truck to do the heavier snows- say 4" plus. Just do not want that "no one is home" look. Everyone in our neightborhood pretty much does their own driveway, so nothing to compare. Lots of snow sometimes! Aoround an inch or so lots of times...
get a couple of bids......I had a 300% difference between low and high bid...low bid is now known in the neighborhood for doing the best job. I used to hire kids......but they have school, football games......music lessons etc, etc, etc. and they never did the job over even a single winter. And, since the pro's have better equipment, they are usually faster and cheaper.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:54 PM   #14
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I spent just one winter in Wisconsin...08-09, and I never even considered that I might want to shovel my 3 car driveway lol. I'm a southerner, and on top of that, I'm LAZY . I went to Home Depot immediately after finding us a house to rent, and bought a nice Toro snowblower. I did some research on the net about brands and types. Being from down south, I'd never even considered learning about them before. So...I picked it up and it was the greatest invention known to mankind, as far as I was concerned! Once the snow went away and spring turned into summer, I was able to get a transfer back to TEXAS....and fortunately found a guy willing to pay me about 90% of what I spent on the blower, therefore got my money back. Woohoo! I was so happy I threw in my 2 snow shovels and 3 bags of salt at no extra charge!!!
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:09 PM   #15
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Does that mean you are tossing it into your neighbors yard
There is 100 feet pine forest and 50 feet of yard between me and one of my neighbors. There is 50 feet + of yard and 250 feet of pine forest from the other. Across the street is national park land.

I don't think so... We have neighbors, but we can't see them and they can't see us. In fact, we can't see anyone but us.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:51 PM   #16
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One issue you may find a pain is that the kid may do it on his or his school/homework/activity timetable. Very few kids don't have regular activities (sports, clubs, etc).

I have a plow on my truck and I do my elderly in-laws. Their elderly neighbor friends have had a different kid do it every year and its been a pain every year. Last winter I had to go out and do a few times as the kid didn't show up. One of the times, they were hospitalized and the ambulance could not get to them It was about the same length driveway as yours, but not as wide.

Also, the kid is not going to look forward to doing a 75'x25' driveway if there is more than a couple of inches. It's gonna be long, hard, cold and boring...

I'd skip the kid...buy a snowblower or get a service to do it.
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:41 PM   #17
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It probably won't work in the real North, here in NOVA the snow melts between storms. My question is- if you are not in the home -why does the drive way need to be shoveled out.? Would a path to entry and clean sidewalks do as well?
I hate the snow mountains that happen when snow is piled up from several storms and is plowed into a wall. That never clears away.

Oh and when I once hired a kid to mow the lawn on a vacant property "as needed" she mowed it 4 times a week. Make sure you are clear on what and when you want work done.
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Old 10-21-2011, 05:10 AM   #18
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Just to let you know, GregLee, Nords, Koolau, and myself are busily conducting field experiments, with a variety of different types of shovels, snow blowers etc. and have been soliciting bids from the neighborhood kids. Just as soon as hell freezes over we will get back you with our results.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:28 AM   #19
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Old 10-22-2011, 05:24 AM   #20
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I don't know what the going rate is, but I should near the break even point with this in a few years. And its a lot of fun.

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