As every new homeowner knows, home and yard maintenance for each season is full of new tasks. If your new home has a driveway, you’ll need to decide between DIY snow removal (shovelling or purchasing a snow blower), or a reliable snow removal company. Here are tips to help you!
4 tips for hiring a reliable snow removal company
- Ask your neighbours for a referral
Check with your neighbours who used a snow removal company in the past. Were they happy with the snow removal company? Was the company reliable? Did they offer a discount when more than one neighbour used the service? How did the company communicate with you? Can you get a text or email to move your car before they arrive?
- Do your homework – talk to 3-4 different companies
As with any service, get quotes from at least 3 companies and check their BBB (Better Business Bureau) ratings. Licensed companies must provide proof that they are insured and that their vehicles are in good repair.
- Be specific about your snow removal needs
Ask about cleaning pathways, steps and porches. Are there extra charges for these services? Is there an extra charge for snow removal during a major storm (especially if they have to remove snow more than once during the same day)?
- Get your agreement in writing
Most snow removal contracts have a set price for a maximum snowfall per season. The amount is based on the average seasonal snowfall for your area. Find out in writing how much you will be charged if the snowfall is more than the contracted amount.
Don’t agree to a price over the phone. Don’t forget to ask how you can terminate the agreement if necessary. The Consumer Protection Act provides a 10-day cooling-off period on all contracts for goods and services that are signed in the consumer’s home (more than $50).
How to choose the right snow blower and shovel
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are going to clear your own snow. From snowblowers to shovels, you’ll need to know which tools suit your needs.
Electric snow blower
These are good for clearing light snow from sidewalks and small driveways. They’re lightweight and maintenance free, but the cord can sometimes get in the way.
Gas snow blower
Gas powered engines come in a variety of sizes and power levels. They all scoop snow and throw the snow out the chute. You might consider a more powerful engine if you get a lot deep snow and ice.
Gas blowers are especially helpful with the compacted heaps of snow and ice left by the city plow at the bottom of your driveway. If your drive way has a gravel surface, be aware that the snow blower is powerful enough to throw small rocks. Always read the manufacturer’s warning before you decide on the power level.
Everybody hates shovelling snow. But it's possible to make this chilly chore more bearable by choosing the right tool for the job. Consider buying more than one shovel. Try a large wide shovel for pushing and lifting, and a smaller, lighter one for whittling down a big drift. Ergonomically-engineered shovels are also a great way to avoid back strain and injury.
Are you a do-it-yourself snow removal kind of person? Share your tips for the best snow blowers and shovels you’ve used in the comments below.