Chad Wilke says he’d pay $1,000 more in taxes if the city would shovel his snow.
That’s why the Middleton resident has decided to launch an app for others like him, who would be able to get on-demand snow removal for a fee.
At first glance, My Snow Hero doesn’t seem like anything new, as people often get paid to clear local driveways with their truck-mounted plows. But My Snow Hero plans on charging $15 per visit, significantly lower than the industry standard of $50 to $60.
The drastic price cut stems from the time spent per driveway: only two minutes. While most plow services spend 15 to 20 minutes clearing the entire driveway, My Snow Hero plows will only take two or three passes and let homeowners do the rest. This will clear most of the surface along with the mountain of snow left by city plows at the mouth of the driveway.
Wilke’s first inspiration came from his own driveway. After a heavy, eight-inch snowfall, he was getting ready to break out his snow blower and get to work. That’s when his neighbor came by with a plow. He cleared the driveway in a fraction of the time it would have taken Wilke.
The second inspiration was his mother. She’s a healthy member of the “Baby Boomer” generation who’s perfectly capable of shoveling most snowfalls. But she runs into trouble at the end where the city plows leave large piles of dense snow.
Wilke recognized the potential danger of his mother trying to remove the snow by herself. His solution was a service that can be used by all of America’s “Boomers” — and others who simply want the help.
The nuts and bolts of the operation are still being fleshed out, Wilke said, though he compared it to other on-demand apps such as Uber.
Customers will wake up one morning to six inches of snow, hop on their smartphone, order a My Snow Hero plow, and 70 percent of the work will be done for them, he says.
Wilke is looking at employing people looking to make extra cash during the winter, but he’s also seeking partnerships with snow plow manufacturers, who could offer their customers a fast track to joining My Snow Hero.
My Snow Hero was a semi-finalist in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which culminates next week at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.
— By Isaac Zarecki,
Zarecki is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.