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:
- 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).
- The size of the public snow removal market is estimated to be $3-4 billion.
- Residential accounts for 34% of the private snow removal industry.
- 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%.
- New York is 13% of the market itself. (If we do the math, New York represents about $3 billion).
- 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!
- 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.
- Operators only spend 4% of their revenue on marketing.
- 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!