BBB Tips on Fall Yard Cleanup
Fall is here suddenly and the leaves are falling in earnest. Between now and when the first batch of snowflakes hit the ground is when a lot of property owners aim to get their yards in order. This includes pruning trees and removing fallen leave...
Fall is here suddenly and the leaves are falling in earnest.
Between now and when the first batch of snowflakes hit the ground is when a lot of property owners aim to get their yards in order. This includes pruning trees and removing fallen leaves, debris and branches. Though there are many reliable companies that provide these services, there are also a few that are looking to be paid in full for services they have no plans to provide in full.
Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota reminds people that there are steps to take to ensure yards are in good hands. In the past year, BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota received 100 complaints on tree trimming businesses. However, 41 of those complaints were closed as unanswered.
"We advise people to take the same amount of care finding a business to perform work outside their homes as they do when they're preparing to remodel," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota in a news release. "Things often go wrong when that guideline isn't followed."
When you're looking for a tree trimmer or a yard service, keep these tips in mind: Hire a professional. Research companies for free atbbb.org or use the online directory to find BBB Accredited Businesses. Make sure to know who to ask for and how to reach them if problems arise.
Ask for references. Be wary of door-to-door solicitations. Each year, countless homeowners have tree trimming companies knock on their door and offer to provide their services at a discount. In too many cases, the work performed is shoddy or only partially completed - and the company fails to return, as promised - forcing property owners to hire a reliable company to do the job right. Ask if they're listed.
In Minnesota, all companies and individuals that provide tree care or tree trimming services and/or who remove trees, limbs, branches, brush or shrubs for hire should be listed with Minnesota's Tree Care Registry. This includes public, private, and governmental entities. To verify this, visit www2.mda.state.mn.us/webapp/lis/default.jsp. It's also a good idea to ensure tree trimmers and brush removal services have any necessary city permits.
Request an onsite inspection. The inspection should include the entire tree, not just parts that appear to be damaged, in poor condition or in danger of falling. The risk assessment can be done at the same time and it helps consumers with multiple trees determine which are categorized as higher-risk, therefore needing immediate attention.
Estimates should be given only after an onsite inspection. Companies that give an estimate without a visual inspection cannot be sure of the scope of the work involved and consumers run the risk of paying more than they were quoted. Estimates should include all labor, cleanup and disposal charges.
Get everything in writing. A contract should clearly state the services to be received, as well as when the job is expected to be completed, payment terms and conditions, contact information for the company - phone number and address - as well as any refund or cancellation policy. Verify insurance coverage. Confirm that the company has insurance that covers worker's compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Remember, you're the customer; it's your home. Never feel pressured to choose a business just because someone is standing on your doorstep. The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, or 800-646-6222.