AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)–It is late October, and that means snow and the ravages of a Buffalo winter are just around the corner. We know it is coming, it is just a matter of when.
If you are a property owner who has already signed up a snow plow contractor, consumer advocates say you might want to review your contract. If you don’t have a contractor yet, now is the time to start calling.
Melanie McGovern, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York said the first step in hiring a snow removal contractor is getting at least three estimates, and have the would-be contractors come to your home to check the work out.
“Looks at your driveway, takes photos, knows what to expect. If you have a very narrow driveway, will the plow fit down it? If anybody just gives you a quote over the phone, without seeing your property, that is a red flag.”
Another important step, according to McGovern, would be to check with your local city, town, or village to see if the snow plow contractor has a license or permit which would include proof of insurance, and it would verify their driver’s license and vehicle registration.
McGovern also advises setting up a payment schedule of either one half now and one half in the middle of the season, or pay in thirds, and try to avoid paying with cash.
Then check their record with the BBB, “Check them out on BBB.org. Make sure that they are doing everything they should be doing. Check out their rating, check out their reviews, check out their complaints, and if they answered them, and how they answered them.”
McGovern added, make sure there is a minimum threshold in the contract for plowing the snow–the last thing you want is to have a stated minimum of 6 inches, when the snow is 5 inches deep. The BBB suggests three inches would be a reasonable depth.
You can find more tips from the Better Business Bureau for hiring a snow plow contractor here.