When winter approaches, it means one thing above all for many people: additional stress. Because if you, as a house owner or tenant, are obliged to clear adjacent sidewalks and avoid dangerous slides, then that is a chore in the morning and in the evening. No wonder that more and more people – especially senior citizens and employed people – are deciding to hire private winter service providers for this task. This is an exciting opportunity for you to start your own business.
The duty to clear sidewalks in winter
There are few people who call winter their favorite season of the year. Long nights and short days, cold, snow and ice not only quickly create a bad mood, but unfortunately also lead to an above-average number of accidents. But not only the streets are a real focal point in winter. Sidewalks can also quickly turn into treacherous slides.
So that the risk of accidents is as low as possible, homeowners and sometimes tenants are obliged to clear the paths of snow and, for example, to spread gravel. The legal basis for this is the obligation to snow and clear. Anyone who does not comply with it and thus provokes accidents under certain circumstances is liable in the event of damage.
The obligation to clear snow and clear the house usually begins at 7 a.m. on weekdays and at 9 a.m. on Sundays and public holidays. It always ends at 8 p.m. This means that sidewalks must be cleared and gritted during this time.
This is how duty becomes a business idea
It is no secret that the obligation to snow and clear a house causes resentment among many tenants and property owners. Especially early in the morning it is simply annoying and time-consuming to clear the sidewalk first before going to work. But not only those in employment suffer from the obligation. While they are usually physically able to do so, old and sick people have a much more difficult time fulfilling their duties.
Here it becomes clear: The obligation to clear snow and snow provides space for a business idea that is as simple as it is ingenious: why not set up a winter service for private households and do the job that hardly anyone would like.
These are the tasks of a winter service for private households
As the owner of a winter service for private households, you must ensure that:
Sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and private roads are always cleared of snow
the corresponding surfaces are treated in such a way that there is no risk of slipping (e.g. from grit, salt or sawdust)
As you can see, the list of your tasks is quite manageable. Conversely, this does not mean that your work should be underestimated or even laughed at. Precisely because there are legal requirements, many people will be happy to use your services.
Which legal form for winter maintenance for private households?
If you want to set up a winter service for private households, then you absolutely have to register a business. This process goes hand in hand with the choice of a suitable legal form – a step that must by no means be dismissed as unimportant.
In principle, the business idea of a private winter service is not tied to any particular type of company. That means you can choose between different variants. Legal forms that are particularly suitable for winter services for private households are:
- one-man business
- UG (limited liability)
Due to the simplicity of the business idea, many founders choose a partnership such as a GbR or sole proprietorship. However, since you as a service provider are usually liable for any damage, it makes perfect sense to also consider establishing a corporation. This basically offers you more security and protects your private property in the event of bankruptcy.
What requirements do you have to meet?
In order to set up a winter service for private households, you do not need to have any qualifications or specialist knowledge. There is no training that prepares them for this profession. This in turn ensures that the business idea is ideally suited for career changers.
First and foremost, it is important that you are physically fit and have neither problems with the cold nor with getting up early. If this is the case, then you are prepared for all the challenges of this business idea.
Compensate for seasonal fluctuations
As the name suggests, as a winter service provider you will have very little to do in spring, summer and autumn. The seasonal fluctuations in this industry are correspondingly strong and must be compensated for if you want to live off your independence all year round.
Most winter services usually offer other services during the snow-free time of the year, all of which more or less revolve around property and property maintenance. Here are a few suggestions:
- Garden and green space maintenance
- Caretaker activities
- Facade maintenance
- Cleaning of parking areas and sidewalks
- Weed removal
- Green waste
You are of course largely free to design your range of services. It only becomes problematic when you want to offer various manual activities, for example electrical installation and work on the sanitary facilities. As a rule, you must have the appropriate training as a craftsman for this.
Address different target groups with the business idea
The good thing for you is that once the snow falls, pretty much everyone has an obligation to clear it up. Conversely, of course, that means: Lots of potential customers.
If you would like to set up your own winter service for private households, you can prepare yourself for these target groups in particular:
- private landlords who want to hand over the task to an external service provider
- working people who do not have time for it early in the morning and / or in the evening
- young people and families who travel frequently and are on the move
- old people who are no longer physically able to do so
- sick people who are physically incapable at times
This is how you draw attention to your business idea
It is not difficult to set up a winter service for private households. It usually only becomes complicated when it comes time to land the first orders and establish a permanent customer base. The magic word for this is: Marketing.
It is completely normal that you have to first draw attention to your business idea; after all, nobody knows that you are offering these services. You can initiate various measures to change this. These include:
- Advertisements in the local newspaper
- Flyers and posters
- Social media activities