The Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan receives hundreds of complaints every year about snow removal contractors not complying with their agreements. If you plan on hiring a snow removal contractor instead of shoveling yourself, the Better Business Bureau recommends the following:
- Get several estimates. Prices can vary widely and are usually based on the amount of work involved in clearing your property. Remember that the least expensive estimate is not always the best choice.
- Ask the contractor about additional charges and price options. Beside the quoted price, there may be some additional charges during large storms.
- After the snow reaches a certain depth, some snow removal contractors charge by the inch, so you’ll want to find out how the company calculates these charges. Other contractors may offer a fixed price for an entire season, regardless of the amount of snow (or lack of snow).
- Make sure that you are aware of which services you are getting.
- Find out exactly what is included in the estimate.
- Are the walks and steps included?
- What about the cost of sand and/or salt?
- Will the company clear only after the storm, or during the snowfall as well?
- If the contractor has to come back more than once during the same storm, is there an additional charge?
- Ask for references, and check them out.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for a Business Review on a contractor you are planning on hiring.
- Do not agree to the terms of the contract over the telephone. The contractor should provide you with a written agreement.
- Before signing the agreement, find out who is responsible for damages such as cracked driveways or broken gates.
Your expectations of your snow removal contractor should be realistic. Keep in mind that a snowstorm makes traveling difficult for you and the contractor and that during major snowstorms, it may take longer for the contractor to reach you and perform the contracted work.