ST. PAUL, Minn. – HindSite Software recently released its 2014 Snow Industry Benchmark Report focusing on the challenges, services, marketing, education, and office and software practices among snow industry businesses. Respondents to this year’s survey included more than 150 snow industry businesses ranging in size from one-person operations to 100+ employee operations throughout North America.

Their responses helped uncover overarching business challenges and opportunities smart businesses can leverage to improve their operations and grow their revenue.

For most snow contractors, the 2013-14 snow season was a good one, says the Hindsite report. Revenue was up over last year, profit margins were above 20 percent and the economy either improved or at least stayed the same. But there are still concerns. Many contractors faced salt shortages and more cited rising costs – insurance, salt, equipment maintenance, fuel – as threats to their business.

For the most part, contractors were happy with the 2013-14 snow season. 44 percent of respondents indicated that their revenue increased by more than 20 percent. Just 9 percent saw revenue decrease from the previous year.

Not only was revenue up, but profitability was as well. Roughly 7 out of every 10 snow professionals saw their profit margins exceed 20 percent, with 16 percent indicating they had profit margins in excess of 40 percent.

Given those positive developments, it should come as no surprise that – in a business that’s wholly dependent on the weather – the weather was less frequently cited as the biggest external threat. The weather was still seen by nearly 1/3 of respondents as the biggest threat to their business, but that was down nearly 12 percent over the previous year.

And the positivity doesn’t end there. With the increased revenue and improved profitability, snow contractors plan to increase spending – or at least spend the same – on equipment and software to run their business. 71 percent expect to increase spending, while 27 percent expect spending to stay the same.

But there are still cost pressures snow businesses face, and many plan to respond to those pressures by raising prices in 2014-15.

The complete 2014 Snow Industry Benchmark Report is available by clicking here.