Milwaukee, Wis. – Many people appreciate the convenience of hiring a snowplow contractor to help them get out of their driveway on winter days. It helps to make certain the contractor is reliable and predictable more often than the weather forecasted.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) encourages consumers to beware of scammers trying to take advantage of those who need snow removal especially when a wintry mix falls unexpectedly.
Get more than one estimate. BBB recommends researching at least three estimates before deciding. Ask for all the costs upfront to avoid any surprises and contact previous customers. Keep in mind the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best service. Check for Business Profiles on BBB.org for company information, complaint history and detail, and customer reviews.
Request a written contract. Never settle for a verbal agreement. Contractors should always provide a written contract. A representative should visit the property or do a virtual tour to make notes about services requested and observe any potential obstacles. Get all the details in writing and always read anything, especially the fine print before signing. Understand cancellation fees and any extra charges, like sidewalks or porches, that may apply.
Verify insurance coverage. Is the company fully insured in case of damage to property? Follow up by requesting a statement from the company’s insurer confirming current liability and workers’ compensation coverage.
Ask about scheduling. Some contractors provide snowplow services as a part-time job, and this may affect the availability to clear a driveway when needed. Always check to see if there is a schedule for snow removal.
Split the payments. Find out how the company expects payment. Most contracts take two forms: pay-per-plowing or pay-per-season. If the customer is expected to pay all fees upfront – consider it a red flag. Most contractors will split fees into two or three payments – one at the beginning, middle, and at the end of the season.
Ask for references. Remember even if a business appears to be reliable, it does not mean that it is. When a company is reluctant to answer questions, won’t supply proper information, or is unwilling to offer references – there could be cause for concern.
File a complaint. If you run into a problem that you cannot resolve on your own, file a complaint with BBB to begin helping resolve the issue.
Report a scam. If a business or offer sounds like an illegal scheme or fraud, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker. BBB’s Scam Tracker provides information on trending scams.
Check with us. BBB provides background information, complaint history, and resolution of complaints, and customer reviews in our Business Profiles. Check out snow removal services at BBB.org.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.