Tips on hiring a Residential Snow Removal Contractor
Check if the contractor has a website with contact info, including an office phone number and customer service counter if possible. There is nothing worse than having only a cellphone # for a contractor which doesn’t get answered during a snow storm leaving you with no means of contact in the event of an emergency.
Enquire if the contractor can provide references for his service and check them out.
Consider how many clients the company has versus the number of years it has been in business. This speaks volumes about the company’s quality of service or lack thereof?
Make sure you know what services are included in your contract before paying. Will the company clear only after a storm or during the snowfall as well? If you choose to subscribe for ‘After the Storm’ service, but require service during the storm will you be able to get this service and, if so, will there be an additional charge for it? Ask to see the contractor’s ‘Terms of Service’ and request clarification of any ambiguous wording.
Before you sign any agreement, ask who will be responsible for damages to property. Ask if the contractor is insured or bonded. Also, find out how you can terminate the agreement if necessary. Under the Consumer Protection Act, all contracts for goods or services signed in the consumer’s home that are worth more than $50 are subject to a ten-day cooling-off period. The cooling-off period begins at the time you receive a copy of your contract.
Get several estimates. Prices can vary widely and are usually based on driveway size. Remember, the least expensive service is not always the best service. What does a $25-$50 difference in price mean between quotes received from one contractor to another? Answer: The cost of 1 service visit from the higher-priced contractor when the lower-priced contractor does not show up or you are unable to reach him by phone at a crucial time
Research the contractor’s pricing history and/or be wary of catch-phrase discounts. A sudden drop in price from one year to the next may mean that the contractor is unable to compete on service and needs to offer deep discounts just to get business. When a company drops its price it is forced to draw money from different areas of the business to compensate. Is money being taken out of its fuel budget in order to offer you a lower price?
Answer: Less fuel = less frequency of service! Is money being taken out of its drivers’ salaries to accommodate a lower price?
Answer: Less pay = less attention to detail on the part of its drivers = more accidents or more damages. Is money being taken out of the owner’s pocket when he offers you a cheaper price?
Consider whether the contractor is investing YOUR money to the best of YOUR interests. Does the contractor demonstrate a progressive mindset in terms of investing the money you pay him for service back into technologies which ultimately benefit you?
Does the contractor offer online GPS tracking for his vehicles?
Does the contractor have any Quality Control programs in place?
If you are a Veteran check if the contractor is a Registered Provider of DVA services.
Is the contractor you are evaluating offering you (the ‘New Client’) a cheaper price than what he is offering his existing clients? If the answer is ‘Yes’ there is a good chance he does not value customer loyalty and will be doing the same to you the following year.