When your business parking lot is filled with snow, the last thing you want to worry about is being scammed. However, this is the time of the year to be on the lookout for snow removal scams, according to the Better Business Bureau who says it’s commonly referred to as a ‘common cold weather deception’. This is when scam artists come to your business and offer their snow removal services for your sidewalks and parking lots. They quote you a price that seems reasonable enough, but when it comes time for the bill, they bill you a lot higher than what they quoted. With some precaution, you can avoid scams when you are looking to hire snowplow services this winter season.
Warning Signs & Tips to Avoid Scams
Fortunately, there are some clues that you might be witnessing a snowplow scam in process.
- Companies Who Are Not Who They Claim to Be
Many times, scam artists will use the names and addresses of reputable and legitimate companies even though they are not affiliated with them at all. When you are considering hiring a company, be sure to ask them for identification, particularly if they are driving an unmarked vehicle. You can also give the company office a call to check if they are even employed there.
- They Want Up-Front Cash in Full
Many reputable companies do ask for advance payments in full, however, if they are not willing to accept a credit card or check, that is not a good sign. The best thing to do is see if you can pay a part of the fee upfront and the rest after completion of the shoveling or plowing project. If you are dealing with a company that is highly reputable in the community, that is one thing. But, if it is a newer company, make payment arrangements. If they balk, that’s a sign of a red flag.
- Get a Few Quotes
Not every contractor that comes to your business is looking to scam you; however, it still doesn’t hurt to do some quote comparisons. You can even go to the BBB website and check out more information on the company and business reviews.
- Get your Signed Contract
It’s essential to have some conditions outlined in your signed contract such as what types of services does the company provide, what course of service do they offer in case of any damages they cause and do they have a plan B in the event their equipment breaks down? What are their terms of payment and are there any penalties for cancelling? Most importantly, do they have business insurance? You will also want to get their contact information, and verify it if possible.
There are various professional, quality companies out there that will perform your snow removal efficiently and safely. Choosing a service because it is cheaper is not a good idea. Usually, if it sounds like a bogus deal, that is probably what it is. That said, be sure you’re protected with commercial crime insurance.