Some people find shoveling snow a real pain — a job happily pawned off to any willing being.
On the other hand, what if you’re that willing being? You might be able to make some good money from a hearty dusting.
That’s where Daniel Miller, CEO of an app called Shovler, comes in.
Shovler is kind of like Uber — but for snow shoveling — and since its release in December 2016, more than 125,000 people have registered to become snow shovelers, according to Miller.
How Did the Shovler App Get Started?
Miller shoveled snow as a teenager and always thought it was the perfect gig: People are appreciative, you get a good workout, and it’s actually kind of fun.
Plus: The pay ain’t too shabby.
Miller came up with the idea for Shovler in the winter of 2015 when his parents were hanging out in Florida and wanted a clear driveway upon returning home to New Jersey. A full-on plow service wasn’t necessary, but they had a hard time finding someone with a little hustle and a shovel.
“It just dawned on me that there are lots of people in similar situations, especially the elderly, that just want to hire a snow shoveler on demand for the days they need one or want to take a break from shoveling themselves,” Miller writes in an email.
He’d always seen those apps about solving what he calls “minor problems” — like delivering food a few blocks away. “But nobody has fixed this major logistical nightmare that people have every year,” he says.
For him, the app seemed obvious. Why hadn’t it been invented years ago?
How Much Money Can You Make Using the Shoveler App?
Those in need of shoveling services enter their requests into the app. The registered shovelers get pinged when a job’s available nearby.
Pay is calculated by an algorithm that takes the depth of snow and the size of the property, as well as other factors, into consideration. In general, though, typical rates range from:
- $30 to $40 for a car parked on a city street.
- $35 to $75 for up to a two-car driveway that fits three cars in length, an average walkway and an average sidewalk in front of a house
- 50 cents to $2 per square foot on a city sidewalk or small parking lots (for businesses)
The Shovler app takes 20% of each job, and the human shoveler gets the rest. Miller says the company does not take any fee on the tips that the Shovlers earn.
Miller says Shovelers have made up to $200 per gig and “up to several thousand dollars during snow storms.” He says the app also hosts customers who tip generously, some tacking on a 50% tip (the average tip is $10 to $20).
“Shovelers love the app because they get paid by the job, not the hour,” Miller says. “That really gives them the ability to earn $50 in an hour if they are quick.”
Shovelers get paid after the user rates the job or within 13 hours — whichever is faster.
The app is available across the U.S. and Canada. Miller says it’s most popular in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Toronto, Minneapolis and New York,as well as their surrounding suburbs.
Signing up is easy — and a lot easier than awkwardly knocking on your neighbors’ doors to offer your services.
Carson Kohler is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.