(WIVB) – With News 4’s weather team calling for temperatures in the 70s the rest of the week, would you even be thinking about hiring a snowplow contractor, now?
The Better Business Bureau thinks you should.
Melanie McGovern with the BBB says the labor shortage brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is even affecting small businesses this year, such as landscapers and snowplow contractors.
Without the help, plow operators might have to limit themselves to only commercial customers, or only residential – and McGovern says, start with an on-site estimate.
“Now is the time to start making those calls, to say, ‘hey are you going to be able to do my driveway again this year?’ McGovern said.
She adds that if it’s possible, get multiple estimates – and before the contractor puts their stake in the ground, insist on a contract, and get it in writing.
“If they are asking for cash upfront, those are the red flags,” she added.
Rather than pay the entire contract upfront, McGovern says work out a payment plan – half at the start of the contract, and the other halfway through, or in thirds, and insist that the contractor have insurance.
Some contractors might offer a pay-by-plow option.
“If you don’t need a plow a lot, it might be good – full contract might be best for you.”
In any case, McGovern says you want to know if your regular snowplow operator can get the job done now, and because if they can’t now is also the time to start looking.
“So you definitely want to give them that time to, but it also gives you time to find another contractor,” McGovern added.