Clogged gutters can cause a variety of problems in rainy weather, such as major water damage to a home, and spring is an ideal time to clear them out. While some homeowners opt to clean their own gutters, many others hire a professional company to handle their gutters — whether they need to be cleaned, covered, repaired or replaced. Consumers should do their homework before hiring a company to clean their gutters or purchasing new gutters or gutter covers.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) received more than 750 complaints last year about gutter contractors and gutter cleaning companies. Common complaints include dissatisfaction with the quality of work provided, contract issues, failure to complete the work and refund policies.
BBB Business Profiles are available on hundreds of gutter cleaning and gutter cover companies. BBB Business Profiles show how long a company has been in business, how many complaints, if any, have been filed against the company, and how the company has responded. BBB Business Profiles include BBB’s rating from A+ to F, the lowest rating BBB gives to any company. They also include customer reviews.
As you do your research, be sure to shop around and get multiple quotes based on the same criteria. Discuss the quotes in detail with each business to be sure they understand your work requirements and don’t cut corners, which can sometimes be factors in a “low-ball” bid. BBB’s Request A Quote service allows consumers to obtain an estimate from one or more BBB Accredited Businesses. These businesses have pledged to comply with BBB Standards, such as advertising honestly, honoring promises and responding to customers’ complaints.
BBB offers these additional tips to consider when hiring a gutter cleaning company or purchasing gutter covers:
• Check references. In addition to searching for a BBB Business Profile at bbb.org, ask for local references.
• Get it in writing. Always get verbal promises and estimates in writing and before work begins, request a written and signed contract. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and make sure you read and understand it before signing. The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates (or a specific schedule for recurring cleaning), a detailed description of the work to be done, payment arrangements, any material costs and warranty information. Specify who is responsible for any clean-up.
• Review warranty coverage. Find out if the company offers any type of warranty or guarantee. Make certain you understand the terms and conditions of the coverage.
• Verify license and insurance. Be sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your region.
• Inquire about a lien waiver. A lien waiver is a statement from your contractor that says all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.
• Arrange a payment schedule. For major jobs, never pay in full up front. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, or that you use a credit card.
• Get a receipt. Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment is made.
• Keep your contract. Hold on to your contract for future reference or if any questions arise after the work is complete.