While the city hasn't seen a major snow storm yet, it's only a matter of time until one hits and we find ourselves snowed in—and procrastinating the irritating task of shoveling the sidewalk (or digging out buried cars).
Somewhat inevitably, there's now an on-demand app, Shovler, that allows snowbound New Yorkers to hire snow shovelers at the touch of a button, rather than waiting for some altruistic, enterprising young person to show up at their stoop. It works like this: Users can enter a job into the system, and snow shovelers signed up on the app can assess available opportunities and decide whether to accept a job. You can also check out an instructional video below:
"For instance, say you left your car parked on the street, and need it by 9 am," explains Shovler CEO Daniel Miller. "You log on a couple hours before you need to leave, and put in, 'I'm parked on 72nd and Broadway,' with the license plate number, make, and color. Then someone can accept the job, show up, take care of it, then send you pictures of the completed job."
Miller tells us that the app, which has been in the works for a year, officially launched a couple of weeks back, and currently has 1,000 shovelers signed up nationwide, with 200 to 300 currently based in New York City (and spread around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens). The pricing is variable depending on the size of the job, the depth of the snow, and the star rating of the shoveler (lower-rated shovelers get less).
But Miller says that the typical price for shoveling out a car ranges from $20 to $35 ("$20 is a normal day, $35 is when the snow is just a disaster," he notes), while for a home, the range is between $35 to $75 (the lower range is for more normal days when there are three to four inches of now, he says).
There's also a cap on building size (a maximum of 1,000 square feet for larger buildings), the better to ensure that any job can be handled by a single shoveler. Still, Miller points out that the app is particularly relevant to New Yorkers who own multiple properties throughout the city, and need to have their sidewalks shoveled by a certain time in order to avoid getting hit with city fines (and irritating their tenants). Currently, there's no insurance for potential damage, though Miller says the company is looking into it as an option for next year.
It's certainly not as cheap as hiring a friendly young neighbor or just doing the work yourself, but consider this another excuse to avoid leaving the house on our next major snow day.
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