At SnowTapp, we’re not just aiming to be another snow removal company company, we’re aiming to reinvent an outdated industry that’s failing to meet the needs of its customers. But before we reinvented snow removal and yard maintenance, we reinvented ourselves. We want to share our journey of reinvention and self-discovery so that you can get a better sense of where we come from, what we’re aiming to do, and how we plan on meeting your needs in a way that’s better for you in every possible way.
"Don't let aiming get in the way of shooting"
Terry Song, Cofounder and CEO, SnowTapp
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in a small village in central China. My parents, and really everyone around me, were involved in agriculture. Despite their humble beginnings, my parents were incredibly hard-working, ambitious people and I think that they nurtured those same qualities in me from a young age. They were always working, always striving for more, and from what little they had they managed to build a pretty successful business. My parents are a huge part of who I am today and I’m incredibly grateful for them always pushing me to get more out of life.
What did you do before SnowTapp?
Like a lot of people my age, I decided that the village wasn’t for me so I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering in Aircraft Manufacturing. After leaving China and getting my Master’s Degree at the University of Alberta, I decided to settle in Edmonton where I met my beautiful wife and worked at Pentair Thermal Management as a Design Engineer.
Why did you leave engineering?
I guess that corporate life just didn’t nurture the ambition my parents instilled in me. While the pay was good and my co-workers were awesome, I felt unfulfilled. I wanted more out of life and above all, I really wanted to be challenged to see what I was made of.
What inspired SnowTapp?
My wife Jinny (who is now pregnant, yay!) came home from an extended visit to her family in China one week ahead of me. Naturally, she was exhausted and unfortunately, the driveway full of packed snow and ice wasn’t going to clear itself. I spent hours looking for some sort of on demand snow removal service so that she could get some rest only to find out that no such service existed.
I was honestly shocked that nothing was out there and from that moment on, I knew what I had to do. I finally had a great idea and a goal to put my ambition to use. I left Pentair and founded SnowTapp in September 2015. Deciding that I couldn’t do it alone, I called up my co-worker and old friend Sheldon Zhang and we’ve been business partners ever since.
A lot of the inspiration for the company and how I envisioned it would operate came from Uber as well. I've been an Uber driver for a while now and seeing the sharing economy in action from the provider's angle really helped me nail down how SnowTapp should function.
Why do you think SnowTapp is going to win?
Currently, snow removal, all yard maintenance solutions in fact, are operating on an outdated model that just isn’t working for consumers. It’s expensive and it’s inconvenient. One thing I’ve always loved about Canada is that we’re always looking for new solutions, for better ways to do things. Simply put, this is a better way of doing things and I think that’s why we’re going to win out in the end. It’s more affordable and more convenient for consumers, and it’s more efficient and profitable for providers. It’s a win for everybody. Aside from that, Sheldon and I really put a lot of thought into building our team. We really wanted to make sure we had people who were talented and above all, passionate. Fortunately for us, Edmonton has no shortage of those types of people so we were able to build a great team that’s truly dedicated to making SnowTapp the best that it can be.
What advice would you give to anyone considering starting a business?
Just do it.
A lot of people put a lot of emphasis on planning and preparation. While that’s definitely important, don’t get bogged down and stuck in that phase like a lot of people do. At some point, you’re just gonna have to pull the trigger and go for it. If you’re having any doubts, I can assure you that pursuing entrepreneurship is one of the most fulfilling, most exciting, and most meaningful things you can do.