Minnesotans who purchased a snow removal contract got their money's worth this year, but the more frugal types hate the idea of paying for something that could be a waste of money if it doesn't snow. Take the winter of 2011-2012, for example.
Try the free Plowz app for Apple or Android instead. Plowz introduced service in the Minneapolis St. Paul metro area at the end of December. They plow your driveway with no seasonal contract. To get your driveway plowed, just tap the "schedule a plow" button, choosing the day and morning or afternoon timeframe. The company saves your personal info (including a credit card) so you aren't starting from scratch each time. After it's done, the company emails a photo of the freshly plowed driveway.
What's great about scheduling a day or so out is that it allows the customer to cancel it if a kindly neighbor blows out part of your driveway and sidewalk. You may also want to wait until after the city plows have cleared the street or alley. Those chunks defy most snow blowers and flimsy, plastic shovels, but not a snowplow.
A smartphone is not required. if a person wants to call to schedule a plow with a credit card over the phone, call 1-800-489-8128 extension 2.
Pricing is based on driveway length and width. One to two car lengths to the street is $25 and nine to 10 car lengths is $45. The price may fluctuate during high demand, according to the website.
The site also recommends that a customer stake the driveway so the plow operator doesn't damage the grass, but it is not required.
Plowz is a national company servicing more than a dozen cities. Its drivers are independent contractors.
Plowz is not the only company in the Twin Cities to offer on demand snow plowing. Others do as well, including KG Landscape (612-669-9607) and Plow Pic and Pay in the White Bear Lake area (651-248-4034). They shovel walks too, usually for $55 to $75, all inclusive. Know of others? Add your comment.
Note: none of these companies were vetted by us. Ask for references if you want proof of quality of work.