For Immediate Release – November 1, 2011 – Winter storms have already affected northeastern states and will be visiting us soon. Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns homeowners to make wise choices when selecting a snow removal service. Each year, BBB hears from unhappy consumers who hired unreliable snowplowing businesses and find themselves stranded during heavy snowfalls.
Last winter, homeowners in Solon and Twinsburg began complaining about The Snowplow Guys shortly after the first heavy snowfall. According to the complainants, they had contracted with Snowplow Guys for snow removal services for the 2010-2011 season. The contract stated the company would “…provide snowplowing services …when the snow depth exceeds 2”-3” or a reasonable amount of snow has fallen.”
Many customers contacted BBB when the business failed to plow driveways and did not respond to phone calls or text messages.
The Snowplow Guys has a record of failing to respond to consumer complaints forwarded from BBB and has an “F” rating. Calls to BBB indicate the business has been placing flyers in area mailboxes to advertise its service for this season.
Prestige Landscape & Design located in Mayfield Heights also has an “F” BBB rating for not responding to similar complaints. Homeowners told BBB the business failed to provide service and yelled at customers who called to complain.
The BBB offers these tips for choosing a snow removal service:
Choose a Reputable Company – Check the company’s BBB Business Review at cleveland.bbb.org or by phone at (216) 241-7678.
Get Written Estimates - Don’t just pick the first company that leaves a flyer at your door. Compare the services offered by several companies as well as the prices – the lowest price is not always the best deal. Ask what back up plan the company has if a truck breaks down during a heavy snowfall. Get customer references and call them to see if the company was reliable.
Get a Written Contract – When you’ve selected a company, be sure your contract includes the company’s address and, preferably, two telephone numbers to reach them. The contract should define the length of the service. It should be more specific than just “winter”. Beginning and ending dates should be clearly stated. Some contracts may be for a certain number of snow removals or “pushes”. The contract should also specify when removal will occur (e.g. accumulations of 2 inches or more). Find out what happens if we get a late season snowfall after your contract has ended – what will you be charged for additional pushes?
Insurance – Is the company fully insured in case of damage to property? Be sure to get it in writing on your contract.
Spring Clean up – Don’t assume the company will return in the spring to repair any damage to your lawn or other property – get it in writing.
Payment Terms - If you pay the full price of the contract and the plowing service doesn’t show, you’ll be out of luck. Check to see if you can pay monthly, by the “push” or other terms.
Remember to put stakes or other markers around the boundaries of your driveway to minimize damage to your yard or landscape decorations.