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New app makes plowing the driveway a breeze

Mark Hogan

Much of central New York got it’s first taste of winter this weekend. One local entrepreneur is hoping it sparks interest in a smartphone app that’ll bring a snowplow to your doorstep.

Plowzis a free smartphone app, and its creators hope it will help take the shovel out of your hands on those Syracuse mornings when you wake up to a snow clogged driveway.

“Instead of having to go out there and do it themselves, they tap a couple of buttons on their phone, and the closest plow driver is going to get the job," said William Mahoney of Manlius, one of the two recent Syracuse University grads who came up with the concept of an app that’ll order a snowplow for homeowners. "They can go back to bed and wake up and see a picture of their freshly plowed driveway on their device."

He and his partner, Andrew Englander of New York City, say there are 20 certified drivers signed up in the Syracuse area, who can respond to a request coming from the touch of a smartphone or tablet while on their regular routes.

"We have a map that we can see in real time where every driver is located," Mahoney said. "And they have a certain radius. So a driver in Camillus isn’t gong to see a job in Manlius. We want this to be as efficient and fast as possible.”

Mahoney says plow drivers are also encouraged to participate.

"We have a product that is very enticing to the plow driver," Mahoney said. "If they’re on their existing route, they can earn more money on a job that’s less than a mile away, and we manage all the payment processing for it. They don’t have to chase someone down for a bill. It’s all done by credit card. In two weeks they have a check, and we take care of everything.”

The price of each plow will be determined by the size of a driveway, starting at $25 a shot.

"You can be in Florida and order a plow for your grandmother," Mahoney said. "Or you could be in Florida half the winter and you’re coming home; you don’t have to worry about getting through the driveway. And the other thing is there's no contract, so you’re in complete control. You don’t have to sign a contract and after three inches, no matter what, that plow driver is coming and you’re going to get billed.”

Mahoney says there’s nothing like it in the Apple or Android rack of apps.
"We want to see how it goes here, and then spread it to go in different areas," Mahoney said. "Hey, Syracuse is an awesome market because we know it’s going to snow here.”

Mahoney says 600 people have downloaded the app so far, and if the concept works in Syracuse they’ll take it to other markets. The free app is available on both Apple and Android devices.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.