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Cleaning up without getting cleaned out

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I don't know about you, but I’m about ready to say "uncle" to Old Man Winter.

This year's record-breaking snowfalls, downed trees, roof collapses, mudslides, flooding and frozen pipes are leaving overwhelming clean-up and recovery in their wake. If you're thinking about hiring someone to help you dig out, keep these tips in mind:

  • If someone promises immediate clean-up or demands payment up-front, be skeptical. It won't save time — or money — if you hire someone who lacks the skills, licenses, and insurance to legally do the work.
  • Before you let anyone into your home or business, check them out with your state and local consumer protection officials. And, when they show up, check their ID.
  • Do tree and debris removal contractors need to be licensed in your area? Find out from local officials — and if so, confirm that the contractor you're considering is up to date.
  • Ask the contractor you're considering to show you a current license and certificate of insurance. If a contractor tells you some work is covered by your insurance, call your insurance company to confirm.
  • Don't sign documents you don't understand. Ask someone you trust, like a family member, to read them with you. You can always ask the company what the fine print means, but it's what's in writing that matters — not what someone tells you.
  • Negotiate a reasonable down payment in advance. Only pay in full when you're satisfied that the work is done — and done well.
  • Pay with a credit card or check. If a contractor asks for a deposit or full payment in cash, stop. That's a warning sign that something's not right.
  • Trust your gut. If you have any doubts about hiring someone or entering into a contract, take your business elsewhere.

For more tips to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from a weather emergency, visit Dealing with Weather Emergencies.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages


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Re: "Cleaning Up Without Getting Cleaned Out" thank you very much for the tip in this information, this is excellent information written in easy to understand language. Have a great day.

A guy just so happen to be walking down the street after one of the snowstorms we had with already 3 feet or so on my roof.. asked if I would be interested in having him clean my roof off.. I asked how much $200.. and then I asked... Do you have a business license? Are you bonded/insured? ..and then when I asked what is the name of the business.. he left.. of course giving me the one finger salute..I replied when he did..I said.. Yes, and you are number 1 in my book too.

This is really nice that would help us to be careful to anyone and be wise for everything ithnk you it's helping to much for us,,,,

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Find out how to get fewer unwanted mailings, calls and emails in this FTC article: Stopping Unsolicited Mail, Phone Calls, and Email.

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My wife got a call from scs? About lowering her interest on her credit cards.I hope this isn't scam because she gave them everything. We had a formal discussion about this and well i'm not happy. I don't think anyone with an accent should be able to help anyone with credit. They used all kinds of sweet talk to get her to reveal her information. I just hope it was ligit!

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