How Much Does Snow Removal Cost?

Updated: Jan. 22, 2024

The cost of residential snow removal depends on a number of factors. Here are some ballpark costs to expect.

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Every year, as falling snow replaces falling leaves, homeowners have to decide on how they’ll be removing it. Price is only one consideration when deciding whether to hire a snow removal service. But for most of us, it’s the most pressing one! Snow removal cost determines whether we do it ourselves with a snow blower or opt for an expert.

“About four years back, we added snow clearing services to GreenPal, and since then, we’ve handled thousands of snow removal jobs,” says Bryan Clayton, CEO and Co-Founder at GreenPal. “Some pros offer extras like roof snow removal or applying ice melt products on walkways and driveways.”

According to Clayton, the cost depends on the size of the area, the amount of snow and the type of service (hand clearing vs. plowing). Every job is a bit different, so these factors help snow removal services give a fair price. Below are some other factors that affect the cost.

Snow Removal vs. Snow Plowing

To some, the terms “snow plowing” and “snow removal” mean different things. For the pros, “plowing” refers to pushing snow to the side of a driveway or sidewalk, while “removal” means hauling it completely off your property.

Snow removal is popular in places where a lot of snow accumulates over a long, deep-freeze winter, and shoveled snow banks rise high enough to obscure traffic sightlines.

Here, we’ll use the more common meaning of snow removal: clearing driveways and walkways with plows, shovels or snow blowers.

When should I call a snow removal company?

Sign a contract with someone before the snow starts flying. It’s extremely hard to find a snow removal service that can help once it’s started snowing. Removal companies almost always prioritize their pre-contracted customers. To ensure your snow will be removed promptly, hire the contractor before winter starts.

How is snow removal cost calculated?

We’ve rounded up the most common ways to charge for snow removal. Keep in mind that this information can vary greatly based on things like local snowfall accumulation and the size of your driveway and sidewalks. Contractors generally have standard charges regardless of slight variations in driveway size. This makes bookkeeping easier. But if your house sits 50 yards off the road, expect to pay more. Clayton also suggests keeping the following in mind:

  • Understand the Service: Know what you’re getting. Is it just snow plowing, or does it include sidewalks and applying ice melt?
  • Clear Expectations: Make sure you and the contractor are on the same page about what areas need clearing and any obstacles to watch out for.
  • Safety First: Ensure the contractor is insured. Snow removal can be risky, and you want to make sure everyone’s covered in case something goes wrong.

Finally, be sure to read the contract carefully. Some contractors impose limits on trips or definitions of a storm that can impact the final price.

Per Inch

Some contractors charge per inch of snowfall. There’s often a minimum charge for snowfall “X inches or less” with additional charges for additional accumulation.

The value of “X inches” and the threshold for additional accumulation varies by market. In general, expect to pay $50 to $150 for the minimum, with additional snow adding another $20 to $40.

Per Event

A single charge for each storm, regardless of how many or few trips are required. Prices range from $50 to $200.

Per Season

Some charge a flat fee for the entire season. Going this route can be a money-saving opportunity, but if there’s little snowfall in a year you’ll have paid full price for minimal work. Prices range from $300 to $600.

Per Trip (or Per Push)

In this model, the contractor charges for each trip (also known as a “push”) they are required to make. A trip is typically tied to a minimum amount of snow accumulation, so you’ll save money in years when there’s less snowfall. The downside? The contractor may make several trips during a single storm, running up your bill. Prices range from $45 to $100.

Per Hour

Some snow removal services charge by the hour, which is less common. These are often tied to hand-shoveling or snow blower work. Prices range from $25 to $65.

Factors Affecting Snow Removal Cost

Factors that may affect a snow removal price include:

  • True “removal” service: Physically removing snow rather than pushing it to the side requires more equipment and more cost.
  • Priority service: If you want to be the first driveway cleared, you’ll likely have to pay more.
  • Walkways: Once workers get out of the truck and start shoveling, additional charges kick in.
  • Roofs: Roof snow clearing isn’t offered by all contractors. The ones who do normally charge separately.
  • De-icing: Some pros will apply de-icer to the driveway and walkways.
  • Driveway size and surface: Driveway size will only be a factor if it’s exceptionally large. The surface can also impact price. For example, gravel or brick driveways are trickier to plow than concrete or blacktop.
  • Region: “Some contractors charge based on the inch of snow accumulation. It’s not as common, but it does happen, especially in areas with variable snowfall,” says Clayton. Because of this, where you are in the States will sometimes impact the cost. Those in areas with more snow will often see a higher charge.

How much does snow removal cost?

“GreenPal operates across several regions in the U.S., giving us a pretty good view of how things change from one area to another,” says Clayton. “In parts of the country where snow is more frequent such as Buffalo, New York, you can expect a 20-30% discount,” he notes. “In Southern Markets like Nashville or Atlanta, where it might snow one time per year, you can expect to pay 40-50% more.”

“Typically, contractors charge around $100 per hour for hand-clearing sidewalks. This is a common approach for residential areas where plows can’t reach. For plowing driveways and larger areas, the going rate is about $275 per hour with a one-hour minimum. This makes sense for bigger jobs where a plow can get the work done faster.”

Snow Removal Cost Savings

Here are three ways to bring down your snow removal price:

  • Shovel it yourself: If you’re physically able or know an enterprising neighborhood teenager, this is a great way to cut costs.
  • Avoid “per trip” rates: Although per trip contracts can make sense in some instances, it can be painful watching the contractor makes multiple trips during a single storm, dinging your bank account.
  • Bundle with lawn care: Many lawn care services offer snow removal in the winter. You may get a discount bundling mowing, leaf collection and snow removal.

Why You Should Trust Us

I’m an Ohio-based freelance writer and author and a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. I’ve worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more.

Emily Way is an Associate Shopping Editor for Family Handyman with experience researching products and recommending the best designs to consumers. She researched and updated this piece. Way consulted Bryan Clayton, CEO and co-founder at GreenPal, for information on the costs associated with snow removal.