*EDITOR’S NOTE: In February 2016, SnowTapp rebranded as Yardly.
Alberta’s Capital City has yet to be blanketed in snow (knock on wood), but when the first blizzard hits, you’ll be able to clear your driveway with just a few clicks.
SnowTapp is an online platform that matches shovelling requests with local contractors in the area.
“In the sharing economy, obviously you see so many businesses using the same model, like Uber and AirBnB, getting success,” said Sheldon Zhang, co-founder of SnowTapp.
“We’re basically modelling us as the Uber for snow removal.”
After months of work, the website launched at the beginning of November. The app will be available at the end of the month.
“It’s an online platform where customers can request either one-time service or monthly subscriptions,” explained Zhang. “We have a website and an app for that. We connect the service request to a network of local contractors who are licensed and insured to do quality service. We dispatch it to one of them who’s closest to the job and they get it done.”
Zhang and his partner Terry Song believe the on-demand service provides flexibility and choice for both homeowners and snow removal contractors.
“Traditionally, the service works as a five-month or one-season contract thing, where you don’t have much flexibility or control over what you’re getting,” said Zhang.
“It’s very convenient. They can pull out their phone and, a few taps later, they can get the service.”
The idea came to Song when he was getting ready to leave on a vacation in the middle of winter.
“Normally, I do the snow shovelling myself but when I was on vacation, I was like, ‘Who’s going to take care of my driveway?’
“Nowadays everybody has a cell phone and I was like, ‘Why don’t we develop an app and make it easy for us and make it more flexible?'”
Customers can even have a photo of the completed job sent to them through the website or app.
While the two creators have yet to see SnowTapp in action, the response from professionals in the field has been positive.
“Most of the providers we’ve talked to, they’re very interested. It’s very obvious they can get more work and they can save a lot of time,” said Song. “They don’t need to do any more commercials or anything. Their work time is more flexible…if they’re ready to work they can just take orders from us.”
The company says SnowTapp pricing beats the market average by 30 per cent. One-time requests start at $19.95 and monthly subscriptions start at $99.95. Residents can submit their address for a quote on the website.