Competing with Amateurs

Amateurs don’t have the overhead a professional snow removal contractor does, instead offering basic services at lower prices.

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It seems as if more and more amateurs are tossing their winter hats into the snow removal game. When it happens in your service area, though, are these newbies perceived as a threat to your business or a joke?

I pose this question because, last winter, I remember a bunch of teenagers hawking their snow removal services on my neighborhood’s Facebook page, armed with a simple shovel and the will to get the job done in the frigid Wisconsin temperatures. But I also remember how frequently desperate neighbors used the Facebook page as a call to action for either direct snow removal help or recommendations for pros.

Naturally, this memory led me to the question: How often do you have to compete for a snow removal account with amateurs? Social media and the sharing economy are giving them a more level playing field with professionals, with the likes of Facebook where kids can advertise their afterschool snow removal services, and other amateur service offerings from Craigslist and similar social platforms.

Of course, these greenfoots—most lacking a business license and proper insurance—don’t have the same overhead a professional snow removal contractor does, so they can offer basic services at a lower price point. How do you compete? Where does a snow removal pro fit in? Do you find yourself having to prove your professionalism is preferable to a cut-rate price from rookies and fly-by-nights?

How are you convincing your customers that paying a little extra out of pocket at the outset, instead of paying for the hassles of hiring amateurs later on down the line, is in their own interest? Drop me a line and let me know!