DIY: Snow Blowing vs Plowing

I wanted to run over the logic behind me using a large expensive snow blower over paying for a plow company.

The Quick Story

My snow blower cost about $1000. Each plowing costs anywhere from $50 to $100 depending on the depth of the snow. My driveway is quite long. This means that 10 to 20 storms would cover it. Gas is .5 to 1.5 gallons per snow blow, and these days I pay about $2.30 per gallon. One annual oil change, which I also do myself costs about $5 for the oil and takes about 15 minutes. Once every few, maybe 5 years, I get a pro tune up including most importantly a cleaning of the carburetor. That’s about $200. Since I do the snow blowing myself, its done when I want it, and takes me about 45 minutes to 2 hours for a big 20″ snowfall. The big events happen two of three year or so. Depending on what that hour or so is worth to you, you could subtract from the savings.

All told I think payback for me was probably closer to 10 storms since we have had multiple 20″+ storms in the last few years. They cost a good deal more to plow.

Why You Should Not Snow Blow

My machine is heavy and requires a lot of muscle to move. Its a large, 28″ wide, two stage snow blower that can throw snow up to 30′. My wife is not strong enough to use it. If I am traveling, injured, or very sick, I can not do it. If you are not able to move the machine which is self propelled, then this is a bad idea. The fact is that you still have to use your strength to turn it and to guide it. As the years go by, and I age, I suspect I will no longer want to snow blow. Still this machine has more than paid for itself, and has plenty of life in it.

Savings So Far

I think that I am up probably over $2000and possibly over $3000 by now as there have been a lot of snow falls in the last few years. We had more than 1 20″ snow fall a couple years, and one this year we have not had one since we bought it. This year I have only used it 3 times, and 2 of them were this weekend including today. We had 4 inches of snow Saturday. Today was just under 7 inches.

Today’s snow fall


    1. This was a very light year for us. Normally we get like 35″ or so. This year, including a November storm, we got only 15″. I think last year we got like 50″ with 22″ in one storm.


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