'Uber of snowplows' expands to Twin Cities

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ST. PAUL—Wanna get rid of that snow? Your ability to hire someone to plow your driveway with a simple tap on a smartphone has expanded in the Twin Cities.

The on-demand snow removal service SnoHub, a free app, officially launched here this past week. It joins Plowz, another app-based snow removal service.

"We're very excited about coming to the Midwest," tech entrepreneur and SnoHub CEO James Albis said. "Minneapolis and St. Paul are an important market for us."

His cashless service, once called the "Uber of snowplows," is expanding to New England and across the Midwest.

How it works

You simply download either app on your smartphone and then enter details like your address and credit card information.

On SnoHub, you choose the areas around your house where you want snow cleared and a contractor should connect with you in under 10 minutes and be there within two hours.

SnoHub will send you a photo of the driver and their vehicle, which you can track with GPS. Upon arrival, photos are taken of each area and the snow depth is measured.

On both apps, a photo will be sent to your phone once the job is finished, then your credit card will be charged.

Minnesotans can expect to pay $59 for up to 12 inches of snow with SnoHub. Prices increase $10 per inch for snow over 12 inches.

You can order snow removal services on Plowz in the app or their website and get a quote for Plowz by entering how many inches of snow you want cleared and the size of your driveway.

The contractors

For SnoHub, most contractors already own snow removal equipment, but jobs are also open to people with snowblowers and even shovels. There are currently five SnoHub contractors and 25 customers in Minneapolis, but Albis is hoping for up to 1,000 customers and 100 contractors in the Twin Cities after marketing and PR efforts begin this week.

Harry Skrypec of Plymouth, Minn., downloaded SnoHub near the end of December to earn some extra income. He has accepted two SnoHub jobs this month—one in Plymouth and another in St. Louis Park. He uses a snowblower, a shovel and a plow on his pickup truck.

"I've made about $100 so far," Skrypec said. "I highly recommend it."

SnoHub contractors receive 70 percent of the customer's net charge and are paid directly to their bank accounts within three business days.

Founder

Founded by tech entrepreneur Albis, SnoHub soft-launched the app in January 2017 in Ridgefield, Conn., and served 200 customers and 25 contractors. Albis expanded the app to New York in November and plans to expand across the country by next year.

He created the app after seeing a gap in the $10 billion snow removal industry and experiencing personal frustration as a homeowner.

"Our business is focused exclusively on the residential," Albis said. "We're not here to step into plowing the parking lots of CVS or Walgreens."

What about Plowz?

Launched in 2014 by Wills Mahoney and Andrew Englander, Plowz was the first on-demand snow plowing app—starting out with eight snowplow trucks in New York.

They require all of their providers to have commercial grade equipment and general liability insurance, according to Plowz.

They currently offer lawn mowing and leaf removal in addition to snow removal services in 25 U.S. cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.