Many homeowners, when asked "How much do you pay for snow removal?," are quick to answer, "We don't pay anything for snow removal because we do it all ourselves." Yet, in reality, there are costs, both financial and otherwise, that come into play when you shovel your own snow.
Whether or not the costs of removing your own snow and ice are high enough to merit hiring a professional snow removal service will vary from person to person, but some of the factors that make do-it-yourself snow removal "less than free" include the following:
The Cost of Tools and Deicer: A good shovel or two can be had for only about $50 (approximately $67.03 CAD), but add in the price of a quality snow blower, stockpiles of rock salt or calcium chloride, and a plow attachment and truck-mountable salt spreader if you have a long driveway, and you can easily spend over $2,000 (approximately $2,681 CAD). On top of that, you will eventually pay for replacement parts on the snow blower, and using your pickup as a snow-removal truck can shorten its lifespan considerably.
The Risk of Injuries and Lawsuits: Snow shoveling, especially when the snow is compacted or wet, puts a major strain on the body. Slips and falls on ice patches, heart attacks, and strokes connected with shoveling endeavors are extremely common, and hypothermia also takes its toll in sub-freezing temperatures. Hiring out the job to unskilled labor, other than family, can also be risky in this day of out-of-control lawsuits. You could "pay" for snow removal with your health and a hospital bill or with legal damages and court costs.
The Required Time Investment: For many homeowners, it just isn't practical to spend hours outside clearing away the snow every time a winter storm hits. In the course of a snowy, northern winter, you could easily see 15 or 20 snowfalls that merit attention with the shovel. When handling the early morning shoveling makes you late to work, or has you arriving worn out and tired, that’s no small investment.
Environmental Issues: When rock salt, engine oil, antifreeze spills, and other chemicals from your driveway mix in with snow and melt into local freshwater eco-systems, plants and wildlife can suffer. City ordinances may even prohibit snow from being piled in certain locations to avoid undesirable drainage patterns. You should either take the tedious time to learn the local codes and which de-icers to use to minimize the environmental impact, or find a different snow removal solution.
When things like health, time savings, legal issues, and environmental concerns are factored in, it is clear that no matter which snow removal method you choose this winter, it’s going to cost you something. Decide which costs you’re willing to pay--health, environment, or dollars and cents--to determine which snow removal method is right for you.