Our winter has been unpredictable, but your snow removal service shouldn’t be. Although the snow falls have been few and far between, when you need help digging out, you expect your service as promised. The Better Business Bureau has heard from consumers throughout Upstate New York with snow removal complaints. Homeowners and businesses alike state they were left to dig out themselves when snow removal services failed to show up or, in some cases, abruptly went out of business.
Unfortunately the BBB receives these type of complaints every year. “Many snow removal businesses are reliable, and often make their living with more than one outdoor talent, working as landscapers during warmer months,” said David Polino, Better Business Bureau President. “Whether a business is small or large, consumers should be able to find a business they can trust with the proper research. We offer hundreds of reliable snow removal business reviews consumers can consider.”
BBB urges consumers to keep some important tips in mind whether you still need snow removal help, or need to hire someone new that you can trust for next winter.
Ask Around: Don’t limit your search to the internet, the phonebook or advertising. Ask co-workers, family and friends to refer you to companies they’ve used. After you’ve done that make sure the company is a real company. Many times consumers are scammed by false addresses or phone numbers and lead to believe a company exists when they really don’t.
Be Specific: Know what areas of your property you would like cleared and if they are willing to complete it. If they can’t answer to your satisfaction, keep looking for a company until you find a company who can. You’re paying the bill and you deserve to get what you’re paying for. Take the time and make the right choice.
Get More than One Estimate: How much does the company charge? Is it a one time fee for the season or do you pay per visit? If it is a one time fee, what happens during times of extreme snow activity? Will there be additional charges? Do they charge by the square foot? Ask about any additional charges. There can be a lot of variables that go into consideration with snow removal. Make sure you know what you’ll be paying upfront so there are no surprises. The lowest price is not always the best indicator for the best service.
Review your Contract and Ask Questions: Always read before you sign. Know all the terms and conditions of the contract. Understand cancellation fees and any extra charges that can happen. Most snow plow contracts take two forms: pay per plowing or pay per season. Consumers may usually choose the type most beneficial to them. However, if you choose a pay per season contract in a light snow season like this year, the contractor is not obligated to refund any money. Don’t settle for a telephone conversation agreement; the contractor should provide a written contract.
A company representative should come out to examine your property and make notes about services requested and potential obstacles. Find out who will be responsible for damages such as cracked driveways or broken gates. Also, find out how you can terminate the agreement if necessary. Get all of these details in writing in your contract agreement.
Split Your Payments: Find out how you’re expected to pay for the services. If you’re expected to pay all fees upfront – consider it a red flag. Most contractors will split your fee into two or three payments – one at the beginning, middle and end of the season.
Contact Information: Make sure you know how to contact the company in the case of a snow emergency and know their policies about who to reach, standard contact phone numbers and any special number for urgent needs.
Beware of Scams: Even if a business appears to be a reliable business it does not mean they are. If the company is reluctant to answer questions, supply beneficial information or unwilling to offer references, there could be cause for concern. Your money might be spent wisely with another business.
Check with the Better Business Bureau: The BBB provides background information, complaint history and resolution to complaints in our Business Reviews. Check them out at bbb.org and if you can’t find a Business Review, ask the BBB to start one.
Keep in mind that a snow storms make traveling difficult for you and the snow removal business. During major snowfalls, workers are required to use more caution when plowing and traveling, therefore it may take longer for them to reach you and perform the work expected.