DeLine employs about 30 drivers and uses Plowz & Mowz for additional revenue that he said comes without extra hassle.
"It just fills a gap in our current routes," said DeLine. "We don't have to gather customer information, we don't have to gather their billing information, and we don't have to bill them after the service is completed. All we have to do is show up to the job, plow it and send a picture when it's completed."
Last winter, when Syracuse was unusually dry, DeLine dispatched five trucks to Boston, which was seeing record snowfall. He said he made $15,000 on the trip and could not have done it without the app.
"It wouldn't have been feasible to travel there and do that based on the amount of work that we would have had to do to gain customers there at the drop of a hat," he said.
While there is no significant competition to Plowz & Mowz yet, there are still challenges to this model. It works for residential, but would need to be much larger scale to serve commercial properties, which require heavy equipment. The model also does away with old-fashioned customer relationships.
"It's going to be a significant change and more challenging. Before this, people had a route, operators, drivers, they were familiar with the properties in advance. Now they don't know," said Tirado. "The property could have steep inclines and declines, sensitive landscaping, where are you going to put the snow? Before, people did on-site inspections. It's going to be more challenging, but I certainly think people will adapt to it."
Mahoney said he hasn't had many issues with customer satisfaction. He notes that drivers have Google Maps, providing a picture of the property, and that customers can upload photos and instructions to their requests. Mahoney claims to have grown his app into a "multimillion-dollar company" in just three years. He said he has help from an angel investor and will be raising more funds soon.
No question, the promise of quick help after a storm is very attractive. With a possibly epic winter storm bearing down on Washington, D.C., where Plowz & Mowz does not yet operate, CNBC.com put a call in to a northern Virginia plow company Thursday to find out about weekend service. After sitting on hold for at least 10 minutes, we were told they could not guarantee a plow before Monday.