MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seventeen inches of snow over the weekend. Another couple of inches on the way. If you’ve been shoveling all that stuff off your driveway, perhaps you’re looking for another option. So what’s the cheapest way to clear your snow: Buy a new snow blower or hire a private snow plow service?
Judging from the lack of snow blower inventory at Twin Cities hardware stores, a lot of people are choosing the new snow blower.
At Frattalone’s Ace Hardware in St. Paul Tuesday night, Mike bought the last $1,000 7 HP Toro snow blower.
“This weekend’s snow put my own snow blower out of commission,” he said.
But for $1,000, how many private snow plows can you get?
“The snow business is excellent,” said Deanne Fritz, co-owner of Uptown Lawn and Snow, in Osseo and St. Louis Park.
According to Fritz, for an average two-car driveway, Uptown charges $25 a plow. They’ll do an entire winter season for $533, if they plow after 1-inch of snow.
“Eighty-eight dollars per month,” she noted.
So if you’re spending $1,000 on a snow blower, you could get 40 visits from a private snowplow, which is about two years worth.
How long will that new snow blower last?
“This will last at least 10 years with proper maintenance. I’ve seen it go 15 years with guys who are really studious,” said Kent Eernisse, manager of the St. Paul Frattalone’s.
Of course, there are added costs to the snow blower.
“You have to maintain it, you have to put gas, if it breaks, you have to haul it in a truck and pay $85 an hour for a small engine mechanic,” said Fritz.
At wcco.com/jasonblog, Jeff Johnson from Edina wrote that “your best bet is to buy a snow blower and hire a neighborhood kid to use it on your driveway.”
The plow isn’t as expensive as Mike, the snow blower shopper thought it would be, but considering it’s lifetime value, “by far it’s a better deal in the long run and you’ll have a lot more fun with it,” said Eernisse.
WCCO-TV’s Jason DeRusha Reports