Professional vs. DIY Snow Removal: Pros and Cons

When winter’s chill arrives and blankets your property with a layer of snow, the question arises: should you tackle the snow removal yourself or enlist the services of a professional snow removal company?

It’s a decision many homeowners and property managers face each winter, especially when dealing with commercial snow plowing. Both options have their merits and drawbacks, and understanding the pros and cons of each can help you make an informed choice.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of snow removal, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of both professional snow removal services and the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, ensuring you’re well-prepared to handle winter’s icy grip.

The Pros of Professional Snow Removal

1. Expertise and Experience

One of the most significant advantages of opting for professional commercial sidewalk snow removal services is the expertise and experience they bring to the table. Trained snow removal crews have encountered a wide range of snow and ice conditions, allowing them to make informed decisions about the best removal methods for each situation.

They understand the nuances of different types of snow and how to safely and efficiently remove it without causing damage to your property. Their experience enables them to work swiftly and effectively, minimizing disruptions to your daily routine.

2. Time and Convenience

Hiring professionals to handle snow removal saves you precious time and offers unparalleled convenience, especially when you search for ‘driveway sanding near me.’ Winter storms can hit at any hour, and shoveling or plowing snow can be a physically demanding task.

With a professional service, you won’t have to worry about waking up early to clear your driveway before work or returning home to find a mound of snow blocking your way. Snow removal companies operate on schedules that ensure your property is cleared promptly, allowing you to focus on other essential tasks.

3. Safety and Liability

Safety is paramount during the winter months, and professional snow removal services prioritize it. Snow and ice can create hazardous conditions, increasing the risk of slips, falls, and accidents. When you hire experts, you reduce the liability associated with snow-related injuries on your property.

They use specialized equipment and techniques to make surfaces safer for both pedestrians and vehicles. This added layer of safety not only protects you and your family but also visitors and delivery personnel who access your property. If you’re wondering, “When will it snow in Iowa?” it’s essential to be prepared with reliable snow removal services to maintain safety during the winter season.

4. Advanced Equipment

Professional snow removal companies invest in state-of-the-art equipment designed to handle various snow removal tasks efficiently. Whether it’s plowing, snow blowing, or de-icing, they have the right tools for the job.

This advanced equipment allows them to clear large areas quickly and effectively, ensuring thorough removal and reducing the likelihood of snow accumulation in problem areas. Additionally, they stay up-to-date with the latest snow removal technology, which often results in a more thorough and eco-friendly snow removal process.

The Cons of Professional Snow Removal

1. Cost

Professional snow removal services can be costly, especially for larger properties or when frequent snowfall requires regular service throughout the winter season. The cost of professional snow removal can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of the area to be cleared, the depth of the snow, and the location.

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $75 per visit for residential snow removal. For commercial properties or larger areas, the cost can range from $75 to $250 or more per visit. These costs can add up quickly, making it a significant expense for property owners.

2. Scheduling Dependence

When you hire a professional snow removal service, you are dependent on their schedule. While this can be convenient in some cases, it can also be a drawback. Snowstorms don’t always adhere to a convenient timetable, and if a storm hits outside of your service provider’s regular hours or during their busy season, you may have to wait longer for your property to be cleared. This can be particularly frustrating if you need immediate access to your property, such as for business operations or emergency situations.

3. Limited Control

Another drawback of relying on professional snow removal is the limited control you have over the process. You must trust that the service provider will prioritize your property, arrive promptly, and perform the job to your satisfaction. In some cases, your property may be one of many on their route, which can lead to delays.

Additionally, you may have specific preferences for how snow removal is done, such as where to pile the snow or how close to certain structures it should be removed. With professional services, you have less control over these details, which can be frustrating if you have specific requirements or concerns about the process.

The Pros of DIY Snow Removal

1. Cost Savings

One of the most significant advantages of opting for DIY snow removal is cost savings. When you handle snow removal on your own, you can avoid the expenses associated with hiring a professional service. Professional snow removal can cost anywhere from $25 to $250 or more per visit, depending on factors such as the size of your property and the depth of the snow.

Over the course of a winter season, these costs can add up significantly. In contrast, purchasing a snow shovel or snow blower, which may range from $20 to $500 or more depending on the type and quality, can be a one-time investment that pays off in the long run. By taking a DIY approach, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each winter.

2. Immediate Action

DIY snow removal allows you to take immediate action when snowfall occurs. You won’t have to wait for a professional service to fit you into their schedule, which can be especially advantageous in regions with unpredictable weather patterns.

Being able to clear your driveway, walkways, or parking areas promptly ensures that you have safe access to your property and reduces the risk of accidents or slip-and-fall incidents. It’s worth noting that some regions may have local regulations that require property owners to clear snow within a specific timeframe, making immediate action essential to avoid potential fines or liability.

3. Customization

DIY snow removal provides you with full control and customization over the process. You can choose the tools and equipment that best suit your needs and preferences. For example, if you have a small driveway, a basic snow shovel costing around $20 to $50 may be sufficient.

However, if you have a larger property or expect heavy snowfall, investing in a snow blower, which ranges from $200 to $500 or more, could be a wise choice. You can also tailor your snow removal strategy to address specific areas, such as clearing a safe path for pedestrians or protecting delicate landscaping.

This level of customization allows you to address snow removal in a way that aligns with your priorities and budget.

The Cons of DIY Snow Removal

1. Physical Demands

DIY snow removal can be physically demanding and even strenuous, which may not be suitable for everyone. Shoveling heavy, wet snow or operating a snow blower for an extended period can lead to fatigue, muscle strain, and even the risk of injury, particularly for individuals who are not accustomed to such physical exertion.

Moreover, if you have underlying health issues or physical limitations, snow removal can be especially challenging. While snow shovels can be relatively inexpensive, ranging from $20 to $50, the physical toll it takes on your body should be considered. If you have a large property or experience frequent heavy snowfalls, the physical demands of DIY snow removal may outweigh the cost savings.

2. Equipment Costs

While basic snow removal equipment like shovels can be affordable, more advanced equipment like snow blowers can come with substantial upfront costs. Snow blowers can range from $200 to $1,500 or more, depending on the type, size, and features.

Investing in high-quality snow removal equipment can provide efficiency and ease of use, but it may require a significant initial investment. Additionally, consider ongoing costs such as fuel, maintenance, and potential repair expenses. For some, these equipment costs can be a deterrent, especially if they only need to manage occasional snowfall.

3 Potential for Damage

DIY snow removal carries the risk of causing damage to your property or landscaping. Inexperienced operators of snow blowers or other equipment may inadvertently harm surfaces, such as driveways, walkways, or lawns. The sharp blades of a snow blower, if not used correctly, can damage grass or pavement.

Shoveling can also result in scraping or chipping on surfaces. Furthermore, there’s a risk of damaging the equipment itself if it’s not handled correctly or maintained appropriately. These potential damages may result in additional repair or replacement costs, negating some of the initial cost savings associated with DIY snow removal.


Ultimately, the choice between professional and DIY snow removal comes down to individual preferences, resources, and needs. Homeowners and property managers should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine which approach aligns best with their circumstances.

Whether you opt for the convenience of professionals or the hands-on nature of DIY, the goal remains the same: ensuring safe and accessible surroundings during the winter months.