Watch Out For Snow Removal Scams This Winter
Unfortunately, it is not only large commercial lots that are targeted by snow removal scammers, but residential properties as well. After hearing about some upsetting incidents last season (2016/2017), we would like to take a moment to fill you in and make you an educated consumer. This way you know the red flags of snow removal scams to watch out for this winter.
Low Price Specials
The largest red flag warning is pricing. In most instances, when it comes to Winnipeg snow removal, a lower price is NOT better. A reputable snow clearing company in Winnipeg needs to charge at least $119/month to make a small profit.
Of course, the amount of snow changes each month. Some months the company may make more and some months it may actually lose money. But if the contractor you’re looking to hire is offering you a $60 special, that’s a huge red flag! When a legitimate company prices their services correctly, it allows them to offer you a reliable and consistent service. And without any hidden fees or headaches for the end consumer.
Contractors who are trying to rip you off will most of the time offer a surprisingly low price. It’ll seem a bit too good to be true. Here at Cleanr Snow, we have heard countless stories of people paying $60/month and the contractor only showing up once per month (even if snowed five times!).
Cheap prices like this can really appeal to the price-conscious customer. However, there is a steep trade off in service level. If the hired contractor does manage to make it through the season and provide a good level of service, you can bet they won’t be around next season as they will be losing money month over month at those low, too-good-to-be-true prices.
Other Snow Removal Scams
Once you sign up for snow removal with one of these fraudulent contractors, a number of things may happen to you, none of them good…
- They may ask for the full season payment up front. This can be standard for reputable companies. But when a fraudulent company does it, it’s because they plan to shovel once and then never come back. As long as they perform the service one time, it is tough to take them to small claims court and win and they know this.
- The contractor may just be booking up as many clients as possible prior to winter beginning and as soon as the season starts they may cancel the lowest paying clients. This leaves you hanging at a time when most reputable companies are already booked full for the season. At Cleanr Snow, we recommend booking by October 15th and never waiting until the day of a storm to call to book for the season, as we do book up quite early!
- The most common rip off in Winnipeg is not financially, but the level of service that is provided. For instance, last season (2016/2017) during the boxing day blizzard, at Cleanr Snow we cleared all properties within in 10 hours of the snow stopping. Granted this is higher than our average of 6 hours – we were dealing with 6-8” of very heavy snow. During that same storm, we received many calls DAYS LATER alerting us that their hired company still had not shown up! This means that people were potentially left stranded (we saw four foot drifts in front of garage doors!) and could not leave their homes for over 72 hours!
- The contractor does show up to do the work, and perhaps in a timely fashion. But look at the contract. It’s filled with vague loopholes and it allows the contractor to charge you additional fees for every little thing. This racks up your $60/month contract to $150/month in no time at all!
Do Your Research
In conclusion, always do your research before you hire a snow removal company. Beware of any companies offering extremely cheap, too-good-to-be-true specials. In the end, it will be you that will be left stranded if you do go with them. If you are in the market for a snow removal service that will not leave you stranded and will always communicate with you, contact us at Cleanr Snow and we would be happy to book you in for the 2017/2018 season!