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Trading lawnmowers for snowplows: Billings landscapers transition for winter

1st snowfall hits Billings
Matt Singer of John's Home and Yard Service
Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-08 20:15:15-05

BILLINGS — Billings had its first major snowfall of the season on Tuesday, prompting landscapers to trade in their lawnmowers for snowplows.

Many Billings residents may be dusting off their snow shovels—or hiring companies like John's Home and Yard Service—who clear sidewalks, driveways, and more.

"We landscape as long as there’s not snow on the ground, and the ground’s not frozen," said Matt Singer, second-generation owner of John's Home and Yard Service, on Tuesday. "As soon as the snow flies that’s how we make our money in the winter."

Singer's father, John, started the business more than 30 years ago, and Matt purchased the business from his father eight years ago.

"My dad did it with us as kids when we were little, just as a way to make extra money. My sisters all moved on to other things, and I stayed with it," Singer says. "So this is my 32nd year doing this."

But Singer explains that while there is plenty of work in Billings for snow services, the business has not been able to take on any new customers in months.

"I closed my snow list in July. I haven’t been able to take another customer on for the last three months," Singer explains. "I’ve probably turned down 200 people that have called, at least.”

Even in the summer, John's Home and Yard Service is booked out far in advance for landscaping needs.

Singer says that if he could find more employees, he could take on more customers, but he struggles to find employees.

The service had around 60 employees out on Tuesday clearing snow. Singer says they started working at midnight and were still going strong throughout the day.

"We plow probably half of the big supermarkets or box stores around, 25 HOAs at least, and a few hundred residential homes to go on top of that, and we love what we do,” Singer explains.

Singer believes 75% of their jobs are commercial, and the remaining 25% are residential.

When asked how he stayed warm, Singer explains that he enjoys the cold.

“I love what I do, I like the cold. I’m a Montana boy. We like the cold, I like the winter," Singer says. "I don’t like the hot, I like this right here."

To learn more about John's Home and Yard Service, please click here.