By Jason DeRusha

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

As you may or may not know about me, I own a shovel. That’s it. No plow on an ATV, no snowblower, nothing. Oh, actually I have an ice scraper. The Ultimate Ice Scraper. It’s pretty awesome.

But after the 30 inches of snow we’ve had this winter, I’m cashing in my chips. I’m out. I’m getting too old for this stuff. So I need to make a decision.

And whenever I need to make a decision, I believe, it’s a Good Question. Which is a better deal: a brand new snowblower or a plowing service? And how many plows would it take to equal the cost of a good snowblower?

We’re going to run the numbers for you tonight. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you use a plow service? Are you happy with it? Or do you refuse to spend the money, and prefer rocking your own snowblower? Or are you a luddite like me, and shovel?

Share your thoughts, we’ll use them on TV tonight at 10!

Comments (14)
  1. david evans says:

    i picked up a snow blower for free and do my own driveway would love a new one. i snow blow this one ladies driveway who said the old snow plow company took out her retaining wall because they don’t know her driveway so using a company you risk your plants statues yard and anything else i prefer my own blower and hands cause i enjoy it too. but older people should get a plow your back and heart are worth More then a plow

  2. Tom Scheuzger says:

    I have both a 32″ snowblower ($3200) AND a plow on a Polaris UTV ($4000 for just the plow). I love them. My driveway is on a hill and is about 350′ long. It takes me anywhere from 2-5 hrs. to complete, and I also have shovels to clean up the areas missed. I have never used a plow service after seeing what they did to my parent’s landscaping.

  3. Jeffrey P Johnson / Edina says:

    I would say your best bet is to buy a snowblower and hire a neighberhood kid to use it on your driveway.

    1. Jason DeRusha says:

      Ha! Brilliant!

  4. Ned says:

    Jason, get a 5 horse Honda and never look back. I’ve had mine for 25 years and it always starts on the first pull. I have a 100 foot driveway and nothing stops it. My driveway is clear before the plow shows up at my neighbors house.

  5. Paul B/Eden Prairie says:

    After our gnarly wet snowfall last year I decided to trade in my 16+ year old snowblower on a new one. I got the biggest one I could buy, with a headlight and heated handgrips. (Very nice) The only problem is that I cannot get it into my backyard to snowblow a path for my dog to do his business–it won’t fit through the door.

    Jason, call me. You can give mine a try on your driveway. 🙂

  6. Judy Odegaard says:

    We have a 26 year old snowblower the my husband has kept up and works great. I think that this is another use for Duct tape. It is really big too!
    It is kinda of a joke around our house. For many years we have put new gas in in the fall and it lasts all winter. Tonight as my husband was plowing out the fire hydrant in the neighborhood, he ran out of gas. Too much snow!!!

  7. Cathy says:

    No brainer. Buy the snowblower (a good one) and work it out. I hate coming home after work to the task too, but better than having a service come by (noisily) at 2,3,4 a.m. only to do property damage that you have to wrangle with in the spring. I’ve been using a 2 stage Toro for 15 years (love it!), I’m a petite 51 y/o woman.
    p.s. Judging by the clean edge behind you in the video piece, you were cleared by a snowblower, too!

  8. Laz says:

    I ought to introduce my plow service co. that does a great job and on time for me to get out the door at 7 am wih no excuses. WE love it and spent all that extra time we have with our young kids and of course the winter sports.

  9. Richard K says:

    I have MS, so now I only clear off the deck over the garage, so it won’t leak when melting later. About 25 years ago, living in another state, I made the best investment in a 5 hp Toro. The one I got also had a multi-tine tiller attachment. Simply loosen 4 bolts and tip the head forward so it detached from the belt drive. Put on the other attachment and plow away. Because I lived in a single family house, the tiller made it easy to have a big garden. I later moved to Minna-snow-ta and had a big garden and a double width driveway. That put it to use year round. Motor problems a couple of years ago, made me sell it. I wish I hadn’t, as this past weekend, we couldn’t got out of our garage until the Bobcat cleared it about Sunday evening.
    I actually had fun using it. I recall every snowfall as a kid. We had long sidewalks and a long double drive, with a 2 foot strip between our drive and our elderly neighbors double drive, which I also took care of. Add to that the neighbor with a very long corner lot, my aunts drive and grandmothers sidewalk, 8 blocks away, and I was very tired even before school started. I did our drive and sidewalks, because that was one of the ways I earned my allowance. I did all the mowing, in the summer. I got paid a whopping $ 1 per time.
    Maybe that’s why I liked the snow blower so much!

  10. Jon says:

    MY dad is still using the same snow blower he bought some 35 years ago. in 2005 when we left Fargo, I needed a blower. I searched high and low for an 8 hp/24″ wide blower. Finally had an old buddy from Fargo call me with an old Toro blower. I wanted the high power but narrow wide for the wet and heavy snow we do and have gotten.

    I will never be without a blower. Less damage to the yard, drive is cleaned out sooner.

  11. Lee says:

    I have both a snow blower and, this year, I hired a service. The service works great if you don’t have to be out of your driveway at any particular time. So I do that myself if I need to get out and always leave the sidewalks to them. I live on a corner lot in Minneapolis so I have more sidewalk than driveway anyway. I also have a bad back and do taxes for a living. Having to plow the snow when I work 12 hour days, six days a week is really more than I can handle. No solution is perfact for me.

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