Time to take a break from your snow blower? If hiring a snow-removal contractor is top on the list of your to-dos, read on.
Every year, more and more people here in New England earn money plowing snow. Most are professionals, but you need to be aware of who you hire.
5 Tips for hiring someone to plow your driveway and sidewalk:
#1 Personal referral. The best way to get a recommendation is to ask neighbors, co-workers, friends and family whom they use to plow their snow. Are they pleased with the service? What is the average cost of their snow plowing service? Do they charge per storm or by the amount of snow that has fallen? Are the snowplows available in a snowstorm?
#2 Ask several snowplow contractors for an estimate. Get written bids from several contractors. Plowing prices can vary widely. Have each snowplow contractor inspect the area you want to be plowed. Most snowplow contractors base their price on total area. Make sure to show your snowplow service the hard-to-access areas so they can include it in the price.
#3 Check each snowplow contractor’s background. Make sure your plowing service is insured. Visit the Better Business Bureau’s website (www.bbb.org). Have complaints been filed? If yes, how have they been resolved? Ask the snowplow contractor for references and call the names on the list.
#4 Get a written contract. The contract should spell out how you will be charged – per plow or a fixed amount per month or season. It also should state whether you are paying money (no more than one-third of the total cost) in advance, how much snowfall triggers plowing, and if sidewalk clearing and salting is included.
#5 Make sure your snowplowing company is insured.
“The best way to check if your snowplow service is insured is to ask to see the certificate of insurance,” says Jeff Gray, president of G&A Insurance. “You should look for the dates their policy runs through to make sure the policy is in effect and it will not expire during the winter season. If you’re having trouble finding a snow plow company that is insured in your area, we are happy to provide recommendations.”