Watch out, Cowboys about!
As we roll through the Autumn and Winter months people will be thinking about getting their gutters cleaned out ready for the winter rain. You scan the internet in search of the cheapest gutter cleaners in your area because we all love a bargain, right? Of course, we all do but there are some things in life that we shouldn’t cut corners with and your home is easily top of the list.
In another scenario, the doorbell rings and as you open the door you are greeted by a street canvasser. He's very friendly and tells you that they are cleaning gutters in the area, and then asks if you would like yours done too. What do you say? Below are some of the questions you should be asking them.
• What is the name of your company? If they do have a company do a quick search for them online – look at the reviews and customer feedback.
• Do you have liability insurance? Ask to see proof. Would you let someone drive your car without insurance? Well, why let them work on your house without it. Homeowners end up paying thousands each year for repairs to their properties caused by uninsured tradesmen.
• Do they have video capability? If they use the gutter vac system, how can they be sure that the gutters are clear, in good working order and running freely if they
have no camera fitted? If by chance you are using a tradesman that still cleans gutters the old-fashioned way (by hand), get them to take a photograph at the end so you can see that they have been cleared thoroughly.
• Do your homework - Get quotations from at least 3 companies and compare what level of service you receive for each quotation.
• Alarm bells should ring if the price is outrageously high.
We often get call outs to attend people’s properties that have supposedly had their gutters cleared out. When we arrive, we put the camera up and instantly know that these unfortunate, hardworking people have been the victims of cowboy traders. Most of the
time they haven’t even removed anything from the gutters, or if they have it’s the bare minimum just so they have something to show the customer.
So, who do they target?
• The elderly – This is sadly the top of the list for a reason. Nearly all of the owners of properties that have been victims of cowboy tradesmen are elderly people and are usually living on their own. The cowboy will use all different methods to get the job. Intimidation, threatening behaviour, deception, charm and humour to name but a few.
• People with disabilities - Again sadly this is way up at the top of the list. They know the property owner isn’t as mobile as most people and maybe even housebound, so their shabby work goes unnoticed and unchecked.
• New home buyers - the unfortunate new owners get deceived by being told that they usually clean their house gutters or that the old owner knew they needed clearing but left them since they were moving out.
How to avoid the cowboy..
• NEVER go with someone canvassing that just happens to be in the area cleaning gutters. They will not be insured, nor be trained on the equipment, will not clean out your gutters and will charge you an extortionate fee for a terrible job. And guess what? When it goes wrong you have no way of getting in touch with them to either complain or rectify the problem.
• If in doubt, ask your family member or friend for their opinion - they may have had experience on the matter and/or can help you research for a reputable company.
• Use platforms on the internet to help you find reputable, vetted and verified tradesman/companies. Checkatrade.com, trustatrader.com and whichtraders.co.uk all offer a safe, secure way of finding a tradesman that is qualified, reputable and verified by previous customers.
• Ask them prior to starting if you can see before and after shots of your gutters, if they refuse or say it is not possible, then stay clear of them. You may pay that little bit extra by using a reputable exterior cleaning company, but at least you will only pay once. We can only imagine how people must feel when we have to go and do a job on their property that they have already paid someone to do.
The company's marketing, appearance and branding as well as the equipment they are using should represent a professional company and they should ALWAYS leave a method to give feedback on the
work they have completed.
Remember, don't be pressured into having the gutters cleaned there and then. There is no reason to rush into it, you always have time to research and if you do want to go with the company that has offered, then they will surely leave a number for you to arrange at your convenience.
For more information on Gray’s-ECS get in touch and we will be more than happy to come and visit you.
Now sit back and know that your gutters are doing their job this winter.