CLEVELAND - We dodged the snow this week, but we won't dodge it forever. It's time to start thinking about snow removal. But, finding the right company may take a little work.
Now is the time to act, because many reputable companies only take a set number of clients. It's common for all the slots to fill up by mid-November.
Erika Blum runs an in-home daycare, and needs her home plowed early so clients can get in and out.
"This co jumped out at me because he promised once before 6:30 AM and once before 5:30 PM. Twice a day service after two inches of snow," Blum said.
Blum also liked that plowing went through the end of April. Who knows when the last flakes will fall in the snow belt.
"$150 is also a phenomenal price," he said.
But, Blum said for that price she only got one plow all season. She complained to the Better Business Bureau.
"We probably get a dozen complaints on this industry and they are usually all bunched up involving three or four companies that have created the significant problems," said David Weiss, President of the Cleveland Better Business Bureau . "Every year we get a number of complaints from consumers who paid an upfront fee to a snow plower and never got any plowing done, or it was incredibly irregular or they caused horrible damage they didn't fix."
To avoid problems, get a specific contract. Ask if you can pay half the price up front, and the rest later in the season.
Check the company's Better Business Bureau record, and talk with friends to find a reputable company that's been in business for years.
"Especially neighbors and friends nearby because plowers are more willing to give you a better deal if they have others in your vicinity," Weiss said.
The better business bureau says $150 is a good price, unless you live in snow country. In the snow belt expect to pay $250 or more.
Make sure the price you pay is based on your driveway, rather than a universal price. You may also get a better deal if you're a repeat customer.
"We don't make much money on the snow plowing, you know, we get our money basically in the summertime. So the more snow plowing people we can get the more grass cutting we get," said Keith Stewart of Steward and Sons Landscaping.
While Stewart & Sons says damage from plows is rare, it happens in slick conditions. Ask for copies of insurance and licensing if your city requires it just in case you need it once the spring thaw begins.
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