Stéphanie Garland: Tips for hiring a contractor in the fall | New
As the leaves begin to fall and the plants in the garden go to seed, homeowners may consider hiring a lawn or landscaping company to clean up yards before winter.
The Better Business Bureau advises owners to carefully check companies before hiring them and ask for a contract outlining what will be done and when.
Some yard maintenance or chimney sweep companies send mail with offers that sound almost too good to be true. Other service providers may knock on doors offering to clean up debris on site. Either way, it’s a good idea to do your research before hiring someone. The low-cost deal could force you to sign a longer, more expensive contract – or the company may do a poor job that doesn’t meet your expectations.
BBB company profiles are available for dozens of lawn care, tree pruning, or other outside service companies. Reviews provide an A + to F score, show how long the business has been in business, its physical address, complaints and how they were resolved, and reviews of how satisfied customers are with the work.
Here are more tips for hiring companies for fall cleaning:
• Look for an established business with a good reputation: View BBB company profiles and ask for referrals from multiple companies. It’s a good idea to get multiple offers for the same job before you make a choice.
• Watch out for door-to-door notaries: Homeowners often complain to the BBB about traveling tree cutters or chimney sweeps knocking on their doors, offering a low price, and asking for money up front. Too often, the job is done sloppy, if at all, and consumers cannot contact the company requesting a refund.
• Get a quote based on an on-site inspection: Unless a contractor examines your yard or house and understands what you want to do, the estimates might not be reliable. Estimates should include all labor, cleaning, and disposal costs, and a contract should state exactly what will be done and when the company expects to complete the job. If you need a service more than once, the cost and frequency should be stated in the contract.
• Check a company’s insurance coverage: Pruning trees and maintaining lawns can be dangerous. A business providing these services should be willing to demonstrate that it has insurance against work-related accidents, property damage and third party liability.
• Consumers should avoid businesses that push them to do business quickly, without checking the company’s reputation and credentials.
For more BBB tips or BBB company profiles, visit bbb.org or dial 417-862-4222.
Stephanie Garland is director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield. Some of the counties served by BBB Springfield include Jasper, Newton, McDonald, Lawrence and Barton counties. Emails can be sent to [email protected]