How Much Does Snow Removal Cost?

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

Every year, as falling snow replaces falling leaves, homeowners have to decide whether they want to clear their driveways and sidewalks on their own or pay for a professional service.

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 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 the course of 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.

How Much Does Snow Removal Cost?

Hiring a truck with a plow to clear a typical driveway, 10 to 20 feet wide and 10 to 20 feet long, costs around $50 to $150. But you’d better 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 their bookkeeping easier. But if your house sits fifty yards off the road, expect to pay more.

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 impact price; gravel or brick driveways are trickier to plow than concrete or blacktop.

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.

Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.