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28 Nov November 28, 2012

Hiring a Gutter Company

I have previously written about when you should have your rain gutters cleaned and who should clean your gutters.  The previous post were an introduction and summarized the topic of gutter maintenance, in this post I will go into more detail on how to hire a company that knows how to do the job right, identify the risks of hiring the wrong company, and minimize your exposure to an unqualified contractor working on your home.

Risk of hiring an unqualified Gutter Cleaning Company

You may say to yourself “They are only cleaning my gutters, what risk could I have?  If you hire an unqualified company there is a lot of risk.  If the company you hire is not insured to be on your roof and or be on ladders, and their “employee” gets hurt while working on your home you could be legally liable for his medical expenses and if there are permanent injuries or worse, you could be liable for future compensation. See Legal Match article.  The other exposure is if the contractor does not carry adequate general liability insurance and causes damage to your property or your neighbor’s property.  How can this happen? Murphy’s Law, ladder leaning on home, ladder falls hits car, window, fence, patio furniture, neighbor’s house, etc.. Ladder comes into contact with electrical wire, starts fire.  While these situations do not happen often, they do happen and if your Gutter Cleaning Company does not have general liability insurance you can and will be liable for the damages.

The next item you should check is to see if the company you hire is licensed in the state where the work will be done.  I say it that way because often a contractor may be licensed in one state and not licensed in an neighboring state.  Quite often contractors will work in states that they are not licensed in, each state requirements for licensing is different, and often any protections the customer may have by hiring a licensed contractor is lost if the work is not being done in the state that issued the license.

What is the expertise, motivation of the company doing the work?  Roofers, siding, window and landscaping companies offer gutter cleaning as a service their company provides.  It is not in your best interest to hire a company that is not a full services gutter company. Landscapers often offer it as part of the fall clean up of the yard debris, it can help extend the seasonality of their business.  However, they are rarely insured to be on ladders or roofs. Roofers, siding and window contractors usually use gutter cleaning promotions as a method of inspecting your property for the work they really want to do, new roof, window and siding installations.  Will any of these companies know if your gutters have other problems besides being clogged?  Will they be able to tell if your gutters are properly pitched, secured, or in need of replacement?

The company reputation for service is important.  Do they answer the phone when you call them? Are they open year round? How long have they been in business?  I know you are thinking it is only a gutter cleaning.  What you have to start thinking is that the company you hire to clean your gutters is really working on your “HOME”!  Do not hire a company that will but your home at risk, either from not doing the job right and you suffer damage to your property because the gutters overflow and you suffer water damage or hiring a company that is not adequately insured or licensed.

To protect yourself and your “HOME” before you hire a company to clean your gutters below is a check list:

  1. Get a copy of the certificate of insurance showing that they are insured to work on ladders and that the coverage includes both liability and workers compensation.  And if they use subcontractors you will need to get copies from both the contractor and the subcontractor
  2. Check with state regulatory authority for proper license and registration
  3. If doing gutter work is not prominently displayed as part of the services they provide, on their vehicles, uniforms, or business cards, they are not a full service gutter company
  4. Customer service,  hire a professional company that has been around, you have seen working in your neighborhood

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