Hiring a professional to handle snow removal makes your life easier. If you're willing to pay for the service, you can sit inside and sip hot chocolate while your driveway and walkways are cleared in a matter of minutes. For many people, the decision comes down to time versus money - which is more important?
The cost of hiring a snowplow company depends on the size and grade of your driveway and your geographic location. Prices also vary from service to service.
In most cases, budget about $50 to $100 for the first six inches of snow. Smaller driveways fall on the lower end of that price range; long, sloped or gravel driveways fall on the high end. However, in some regions of the country you can spend as little as $30 or as much as $150.
Keep in mind that some companies have a surcharge for storms with more than six inches of snow. On average, you might pay an extra $25 per additional six inches. It's also helpful to know that you can save money by signing a contract with a plow company before the season starts, rather than waiting for the first storm.
- Safer - Hiring a professional is much safer than removing the snow yourself. You could slip on the ice or bend over the wrong way and throw out your back. Snow removal injuries are fairly common in the winter months.
- Saves time/effort - Hiring a plow company saves you hours worth of hard work and frees up time to do more important or fun things. It also comes in handy if you leave for work early in the morning. You can arrange to have the driveway plowed overnight so that it's clear when you wake up.
- More expensive - Hiring a snowplow company will cost you. It is significantly more expensive in the long run than DIY snow removal.
If you live in a cold climate, snow removal is a necessary evil. If you're an avid do-it-yourselfer, chances are you're lugging out the shovel or snowblower each time a winter storm passes through. Snow removal may not be a fun task, but it's certainly doable for the strong and able-bodied.
The only cost associated with DIY snow removal is the equipment. That's the beauty of DIY work - the labor is free. You can pick up a basic snow shovel at the local hardware store for $30 or less, or a wheeled shovel that is easier to use for about $50 to $150.
If you have a large driveway, you'll probably want to invest in a snowblower. Prices range from about $300 to more than $3,000, but you can find a decent quality machine in the $500 to $800 range.
- Less expensive - DIY snow removal will save you a lot of money in the long term, even if you invest in a fancy snowblower.
- Good exercise - If you're looking for an excuse to get off the couch and get some exercise in the winter months, DIY snow removal is the way to go. Shoveling snow is a major calorie burn.
- Hard work - Shoveling snow can be back-breaking work, particularly if you have medical issues or you're not in peak physical shape. Even if you're strong, it's physically demanding.
- Time consuming - Shoveling even a small driveway can take hours. Snow removal is faster if you have a snowblower, but you should plan on spending at least half an hour for a small driveway.
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