Nor’easter!

We just wanted to let everyone know, that we have snow shovelers available in most major cities in the North East to shovel snow during this major nor’easter!

We also have to thank The Penny Hoarder for writing a great feature piece about us. We were able to add a lot more snow shovelers in more suburban areas because of the article, and we are now well above 1,000 snow shovelers registered on the app!

Now we just need more orders to keep them busy!

For snow shovelers that are registered: Make sure to register your Stripe API Key in the app, or you won’t be able to accept any jobs!

Shovler Updates: Lowering Fee, Easy Job Promotion & Growing Pains

Please find below the latest email that we sent to the Shovler newsletter today.

We forgot to mention that we also just released a new version of iOS and Android – so if you are having any technical problems, please download the update.

The growth in registered users on Shovler has been very exciting to watch and we are nearing 1,000 snow shovelers nationwide, with the majority of them in large cities such as New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Boston.

We are pleased with the growth, but are the first to admit that we have been experiencing growing pains. The major complaints we’ve received are that there are not enough jobs available and that there aren’t enough snow shovelers available. These are the natural growing pains of creating a marketplace and the fact that snow shovelers can only see up to a 10 miles radius makes it even more difficult to match shovelers with jobs. We hope both sides can have patience as we continue to increase the amount of users, which will help make the logistics for both sides smoother.

If you requested snow removal and we couldn’t fulfill your order: Please try us again! We know we are asking a lot, but we have increased the amount of snow shovelers since then, and hopefully someone is now available in your area.

New updates from Shovler:
1) From now until January 1st, we will be lowering the percentage that we take from each job from 15% down to 10% to encourage more job requests and to pass along more money to snow shovelers.
2) We are going to start adding small jobs from $2-$5 in select areas, regardless of the weather. All you have to earn this money is show up at the location and take a couple of pictures. We are limiting this promotion to one per person in order to get snow shovelers more familiar with how the app works and to encourage shovelers to sign up with their Stripe account.
4) We have increased our social marketing spend to increase the awareness of the app.
3) We are no longer operating in Canada for this season. We decided that we have our hands full with just the U.S. We hope to resume operations there next winter.

We are reaching out to you for help.

How snow shovelers can help:
1) Please share Shovler with your friends and your friends on social media.

  • Please, PLEASE!, share  Shovler with your friends on the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This will increase the amount of job orders for everyone on Shovler and make the platform run smoother for everybody.

2) Don’t accept a job unless you are going to complete it ASAP.

  • There have been several cases already where a snow shoveler accepted a job and didn’t show up. It makes Shovler look bad and ruins it for everybody. We are trying to build an amazing community app that makes it easier for people that need their snow removed to find somebody that is willing to help. By ruining the reputation of the app, you are ruining this vision. If this continues to happen, we will need to create a more strenuous on-boarding process for snow shovelers, which defeats the purpose.

3) Make sure that the app is open in your background so that you receive notifications when new jobs are added.

  • Some people have complained that they don’t receive any jobs, but fail to leave Shovler open in the background. We will only let you know when a job is added within a 10 mile radius.

4) Link your Stripe account.

  • If you aren’t seeing many jobs, or you can’t accept jobs, that usually means that you haven’t setup your Stripe account. We know this can be slightly annoying, but this is what Stripe requires you to do in order to accept credit cards. (The hardest part of the setup process is coming up with a password that Stripe accepts. They require a combination of capital letters, symbols, and numbers.)

5) Have patience.

  • We are very new. We are trying to manage a marketplace and ensure that there are lots of connections throughout the entire United States. This is a very difficult task and one that requires tens of thousands of users. We are nearing 1,000 snow shovelers now, but we continue to market and expect to increase this number significantly.
  • Remember, in most places, there has not been significant snow fall yet. We expect most people will request snow shovelers only after they aren’t able to do it themselves. This will likely be around 9 inches to 1 foot of snow.

6) Send us feedback!

  • The feedback we have received so far has been priceless. Please continue to send us your suggestions and thoughts about the app so that we can improve. We may not be able to implement everything this season, but we hope to integrate a lot of the great suggestions we have received by next season.

Have a great day ahead and we really appreciate you being a user of Shovler!

Best Regards,
The Shovler Team

P.S. Please remember to share the app with your friends on Facebook!

First Snow Day!

This weekend marked the first snow day that Shovler was active and operational.

Let me start off with our favorite feedback that we received today:

“amazing . who made this app . god bless him”

To sum it up, it was truly an amazing day – and one that surpassed even our wildest expectations. Not only did we receive our first snow removal orders, we also registered over 200 new snow shovelers.

Unfortunately we were not able to complete all of the snow shoveling job orders we received, even though some snow shovelers were in locations nearby them. This was likely due to many snow shovelers not setting up their Stripe accounts in order to receive payments.

If you want to be able to accept snow shoveling jobs on Shovler, you have to add your Stripe API Key! We can’t stress that enough. We understand that this is slightly annoying, but it is important because that is how you get paid.

It looks like there is a big snow storm on the horizon, including potentially New York City, our home base. Please prepare for the storm by inputting your Stripe API Key and buying a shovel!

 

Snow Shoveling Drill

The news is reporting that New York City is holding its annual snow drill and that snow is expected as soon as next week.

“The Department of Sanitation’s fleet consists of more than 2,000 rear-loading collection trucks, 450 mechanical brooms and 689 salt and sand spreaders, housed in their 59 district garages across the city.”

I wish they had included Shovler in the snow drill. The app already has hundreds of snow shovelers ready in New York City. We will hopefully update when we reach the 1,000 mark. The goal is that anyone that needs snow shoveling will have a snow shoveler that can reach them within 15-30 minutes from ordering. I think Shovler could be a major asset for the city of New York in the future to make the logistics of snow removal easier. Sometimes human grit is better than machines.

We are starting to increase the amount of advertising we are doing so that snow shovelers will have jobs available nearby. We hope to be running ads shortly on all the major social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, Bing, and Twitter.

Please reach out if you have any suggestions or ideas!

 

Snow Season is Upon Us!

There have been lots of news reports lately about snowfall throughout North America, which is definitely good news for snow shoveling apps like Shovler.

The majority of the snowfall though has been, and is expected to be in Canada and the Midwest USA.

According to weather.com, snowfall accumulation is expected to reach nearly a foot in some places, but the majority of places will receive about 2-3 inches .

This has led us to receive many questions about where exactly are we operating this season.

The answer is, that since we have a limited marketing budget, our focus is strictly on New York City, but we have left the app open nationwide for any entrepreneurial snow shovelers that want to use the app in another location. It is a great way to coordinate snow shoveling in your area, and we hope that people that want to snow shovel spread the word.

Right now though we are focusing marketing efforts in New York City, so you will likely see less jobs in other areas outside of their. If you are a snow shoveler though outside, definitely download the app and see if there are users that have requested snow shoveling in your area. You never know!

What is the optimal way to shovel snow?

At Shovler, we are obsessed with finding out the healthiest and most efficient way to shovel snow. We have compiled below some of the best snow shoveling tips we developed through personal experience and lots of internet research.

  1. If a job is dangerous, don’t do it.
    Any job that seems dangerous for whatever reason, such as a driveway being extremely steep or just the amount of snowfall being more than you can handle, you should cancel on the Shovler app. There is no reason to risk life or injury over snow removal. You will never be penalized by Shovler for cancelling a job after realizing it is too much for you to do yourself.
  2. Get the right tools.
    Shovler does not supply snow shoveling tools to snow shovelers. Maybe in the future that will change, but for now shovelers are expected to invest in their own snow shoveling gear. That includes everything including shovels, snow brushes, and even an ice pick if needed.

    You should really think about buying your shovel as an investment. If you buy a lousy plastic shovel, it will make shoveling snow significantly harder and take a lot longer. The right shovel for the job makes shoveling snow a peaceful experience and keeps you healthy from injury.

  3. Use the right snow shoveling techniques.
    There are many articles on the internet such as this that explain proper techniques. We aren’t doctors so we don’t want to tell you which ones are correct but definitely look up on Google and Youtube what people are recommending.

Some of the best articles we found for additional tips of shoveling snow include:
How to Shovel Snow Like a Man
How to Shovel Snow
How to Dig out Your Car After a Snow Storm
Ergonomic Snow Shoveling Tips from the Experts

Remember, if you are unhealthy or over the age of 55 it can be considered unhealthy to shovel snow. Find a snow shoveler using the Shovler app instead.

Snow Shoveling App Competitors

We have put together a list of the competitors in the snow shoveling app industry.

Snow removal apps included are Shovler, Plowz & Mowz, TaskEasy, Eden App, and Lawn Guru. We have excluded apps that are only in Canada such as TouchPlow, SnowMowr and MowSnowPros. We also did not include any apps that have not been released or are not functional based on app store reviews.

What you will notice, is that Shovler has 3 major competitive advantages relative to the other apps:

  1. Pricing. On most of the other apps, you have to wait until someone bids your job and gives you a price. On Shovler we offer a one-tier price for all cars and homes. We do this because it is simply the easiest way to hire a snow shoveler.

    No need to negotiate prices. No need to wait until you receive a price bid. Yes, this means that in some cases you will pay $5-10 more than you would have if we measured everything to the square foot. We believe that our customers care more about the simplicity of ordering rather than saving a small amount of money.

  2. Method snow removal. Most other apps offer plows on demand. Shovler offers snow shovelers on demand.Although plows can definitely do a job quicker than a snow shoveler, the fact that there are fewer than them means that the time to get a plow to your house is usually significantly slower than ordering a snow shoveler. There just aren’t that many plows around so the wait time for them to get to your house can take a long time. Anyone who has had a service contract with a plow company can attest to the frequent complaint of customers only having a plow reach them 24 hours after the snow fall.

     

    Snow shovelers on the Shovler are asked to only accept jobs once they are ready to do them and that they should arrive to the job within 15-30 minutes. It may take them longer to do the job, but in the end, the job will usually be done before a snow plow would even have reached your home.

    Other negatives of plows relative to snow shovelers is that it also increases the possibility of damage to your driveway, some plow companies don’t offer sidewalk and walkway clearing, and if your car is parked in the driveway many plow companies will just skip that whole area.

  3. Car shoveling. One of the most unique features Shovler offers is the ability to hire a snow shoveler to dig out your car even if you parked on a city street. You simply show on the map where you parked with your car model and license plate and a snow shoveler will remove enough snow to allow you to exit the parking spot. Try to do that with a plow!

 

How to Become a Snow Shoveler on Shovler

Thank you for your interest in becoming a snow shoveler on the Shovler platform! Below outlines the steps required and it should take less than 10-15 minutes complete.

While signed in as a shoveler, go to Settings –> My Info & Settings, and then hit the Connect with Stripe button.

You need to sign up to Stripe so that payments can be made straight to you from the user’s credit card. Stripe is the same platform that many other similar services like Lyft use to process their payments. (Please note that Stripe requires a very complex password for account security. We have found that sometimes only a very complex password such as 5Blue2Gr$$n!! works.)

If you already have a Stripe account, you can sign into your account to link it with Shovler. If you don’t yet have an account, you can sign up by filling out the forms shown below.

Please note: The Connect with Stripe button can be slow due to connecting with Stripe’s servers. If you see a white screen after clicking Connect with Stripe, please wait up to 30 seconds for the page to load.

Signing up is extremely straightforward and you’ll be able to start accepting jobs immediately.

IMPORTANT: For your website address, if you are a snow removal company you can use your website address. If not, use shovler.com. For your business mention that this will be for snow removal using the Shovler App. For your business name – use Shovler.com or Shovler Inc.

If you do not fill out your account correctly there is a chance Stripe will flag your account and delay or prevent payments to you.

Please make sure to answer and respond to any emails that Stripe sends you and fulfill any verifications that they require.

If you have any questions or issues please feel free to email us at admin at shovler.com or reach out to Stripe directly (support@stripe.com) if you have any questions about their platform. Transferring money from Stripe may take longer on the first time that you transfer money than usual.

Now that you are officially a snow shoveler on the platform you should also consider buying a new snow shovel and some salt!

Size of Snow Removal Industry

One of the most frequent questions we get is why does Shovler only focus on snow removal and not diversify into other businesses such as lawn care like other mobile apps have done.

The main reason is that we believe you have to stay focused on one problem if you want to be successful. Once you start trying to do lawn care too you lose focus on snow removal.

Is the snow removal industry large enough to be worthwhile to solely focus on? We believe so!

In May 2016, the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) released a report that the commissioned on the size of the private snow and ice removal market across the U.S.

Below are some of the most interesting parts of the report:

  1. The size of the private snow removal market in North America is estimated to be $22.7 billion ($18 billion U.S. / $4.7 billion Canada).
  2. The size of the public snow removal market is estimated to be $3-4 billion.
  3. Residential accounts for 34% of the private snow removal industry.
  4. The North East (New York and up) is the largest market in the U.S. accounting for 27% of the industry, followed by the Great Lakes area 25% and then the Mid Atlantic 15%.
  5. New York is 13% of the market itself. (If we do the math, New York represents about $3 billion).
  6. Snow removal industry is VERY fragment – the top 50 operators account for just 1/12 of the industry’s total revenue. 80% of industry operators are sole prorpietors!
  7. Operators’ most commonly used pricing model is variable, as just 1 in 5 contracts are seasonal. Specific types of variable price models used vary widely: 29% of contracts are per-push, while 23% are per-hour, 17% per-season, 14% per event and 14% per inch.
  8. Operators only spend 4% of their revenue on marketing.
  9. The best news for SIMA and the S&I field is that the industry is growing by about 3.5% annually, and that it is on target for continued growth through 2019.

When you take into account that only 85% of households have plow contracts (I heard that number somewhere but could not find a place to verify it yet…), a good portion of those people are paying their local neighborhood snow shovelers.

This report didn’t take into account this underground economy but I don’t think it would be crazy to estimate it was above $10 billion itself.

So when you take all these factors into account, snow removal is a pretty gigantic business. It just suffers from major logistical inefficiencies that were trying to improve at Shovler.

The vision is that the mobile app Shovler becomes THE place for people to put on their snow removal requests and that all operators and neighbors can log on and accept whatever jobs are closest to them on-demand.

We need your help growing this business so please tell your friends about us this upcoming winter!

Dangers of Shoveling Snow

Before you try to shovel snow by yourself, remember that the dangers of shoveling snow are real especially for anyone over the age of 55.

A study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy looked at data from 1990 to 2006 and found that there were 1,647 fatalities from cardiac-related injuries associated with shoveling snow.

Cardiologist Barry Franklin, director of preventative cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital, Michigan and an expert in the hazardous effects of snow removal, considers snow shoveling to be so dangerous that he advises anyone over the age of 55 not to do it.

Weather.com reported that during this last winter storm Jonas : “at least 17 of the 48 deaths from Winter Storm Jonas have been attributed to snow shoveling – most of which were due to cardiac arrest. Several other deaths occurred while residents were operating snow blowers or plows.”

Metrohealth offers several suggestions on how to protect your heart when snow shoveling:

Before You Shovel Snow

  • Talk to your doctor before you take on the task of snow shoveling
  • Avoid shoveling immediately after you awaken as most heart attacks occur early in the morning when blood is more prone to clotting. Wait for at least 30 minutes and warm up
  • Do not eat a heavy meal before shoveling: blood gets diverted form the heart to the stomach
  • Warm up your muscles before starting by walking for a few minutes or marching in place
  • Do not drink coffee or smoke for at least one hour before or one hour after shoveling or during breaks. These are stimulants and elevate your blood pressure and heart rate

While Shoveling Snow

  • Use a small shovel: shovel many small loads instead of fewer heavy ones
  • Begin slowly and take frequent, 15-minute breaks
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • Dress in layers, to avoid hypothermia (low body temperature) or overheating
  • Cover your head and neck (50% body heat lost thru head and neck)
  • Cover your mouth (breathing cold air can cause angina or trigger breathing problems)
  • Watch for warning signs of a heart attack, lightheadedness, dizziness, being short of breath, or if you have tightness or burning in chest, neck, arms or back. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911.

One of the reasons Shovler was created was to keep people safe and healthy. Please use the Shovler app instead of potentially risking your life trying to do it yourself.

Shovelers that signup to Shovler should make sure to take health precautions and ensure with their doctors that they are healthy enough to shovel snow and be careful of cold temperatures. Take a break for hot cocoa or tea every once in awhile!