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Canajun Finances Home » Snow: Shovel? Snowblower? Service?

Snow: Shovel? Snowblower? Service?

For those of you in warmer climates, this posting may have very little interest for you, but if you live in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto or Vancouver today, this is quite topical. Ottawa is getting pounded with about 40 cm of snow.

There are 4 ways for the snow to be cleared from my driveway:

  1. Manual Labor, heaving snow with a shovel or scoop and getting the physical exercise benefits from this. For older folks like me, there is also a real issue with having a heart attack while heaving snow, so I have not chosen that option.
  2. Clearing services: typically someone with a pick up truck and a plow on the front of it will contract with you to clear your snow, and you can either “pay as you go” or pay a flat rate for the season. I am not sure how much this is, my guess is around $200 or so possibly maybe less.
  3. Buy a snow blower (the option I chose some 10 years ago) and have the fun of owning a large piece of motorized machinery and knowing the snow gets cleared without you having a heart attack
  4. Wait for the snow to melt in the spring (you’d be surprised how many houses use this option too).

I weighed the economics of the situation and my own inherent laziness and I chose a snow blower about 10 years ago, and it’s costs have been:

  • Purchase price of $1100.00 or so (if you are a smart guy you could tell me how much money that is worth in today’s money).
  • A “tune up” done about 4 years ago for about $150.00 which actually made the machine work better than previous.
  • About $10 a year in gasoline
  • Whatever charge I can make up for it taking up enough space in my garage that I can’t park my car in it (I have a two car garage, my wife’s car should be parked in there right now).

I’d say the snow blower is now only costing me about $15.00 per snowfall, which isn’t bad, and if it means I don’t stroke out on the driveway, I’m sure my wife is happy about that too.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I bought a well-maintained, second hand snowblower about five years ago and other than a $150.00 tuneup, it hasn’t cost me anything beyond minor maintenance (oil change/filter which I change myself)and gasoline since. This year’s heavy snowfall definitely makes it seem like a “need” rather than a “want” kind of item. Snow removal services are all well and good, but can be pricey and will often charge extra for snowstorms beyond April 1st.

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