It's been a pretty quiet December for Minnesota snowplow drivers. But that's changing this week, thanks to Mother Nature and – in some cases – a newly popular smartphone app.
Looking for a way to avoid blowing or shoveling the snow from your driveway? Well, there's an app for that.
Taking a page out of Uber's book, Plowz & Mowz says it arranges on-demand snow plowing by linking customers with plow drivers looking for work. Enter your zip code, schedule a plow, and you can even get photo confirmation of the finished job. (They provide the same service for lawn mowing in the summer.)
Michael Hefferan, a plow driver whose business has signed up through the app, tells WCCO: “It’s a nice supplement to when you’re out plowing and you’re out of properties to plow. It’s also good for you name.”
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North of the border, Canadians already have two similar apps available, with a third one set to debut in January, the Globe and Mail reports.
Another type of snowplow app coming into use gives drivers a chance to track which roads have been plowed. Utah's transportation department released its snow tracker this past week.
The agency's operations manager tells KUTV it should help with a common type of winter call: "We still get the calls every snowstorm. 'Where are your plows? Why has my route not been plowed! You are not out there.' "
The same concept is spreading into the Denver area.
Hefferan, whose company is called Imperial Seal, tells WCCO plowers rely on wintertime income to carry them into the summer. Rates start at $35 and are based on the time it takes to finish a job, the station says.
John Swierczek of Walt's Plowing Company tells KSTP an average season sees eight to 10 plowable snowfalls, but this is only the second in the Twin Cities.
He says the costs of equipment, maintenance, gas, and insurance all need to be covered before a plowing company is making money.
The post-Christmas storm left five inches in Duluth and up to eight in northwestern Wisconsin, while a storm poised to hit central and southern Minnesota Monday into Tuesday could drop 6 to 10 inches.